I understand that there are a lot of rumors going around about me and the validity of my picks each week.
Last week, fellow SEC blogger Chris Low brought to light an issue with the NCAA and myself concerning my consistency of picking the winners week in and week out.
At this time, I can't comment one way or the other about my interaction with the NCAA, but at the appropriate time I will make an official statement. This has been hard on me, Chris and my cat Meeko, who has had to endure weeks of having a frustrated owner, who only wants the truth to come out.
It says a lot about my colleague that he would want to break this news to the public. I can only classify him as one thing: a sore loser.
As of Thursday, I am in the lead with a record of 39-6 (.866), while Chris is trailing with a record of 36-9 (.800). Chris told me this week that he needed a gimme pick, pleading that I choose an obvious loss to help him out. For shame, Chris. Begging (without money) will get you nowhere in this world. You're better than that.
Now, on to the picks.
MISSISSIPPI STATE at UAB
Edward Aschoff: The Bulldogs are looking to get their execution right on offense, while continuing to shuffle bodies along the offensive line. If this were an SEC team, I'd say the Bulldogs were in trouble, but they should be fine this weekend. Yes, UAB took Mississippi State down to the wire last year, but these Blazers are still looking for their first win. ... Mississippi State 27, UAB 10
Chris Low: The Bulldogs won’t get a chance to end their three-game SEC losing streak this weekend because they step out of conference to play UAB on the road. This is one of those no-win types of games for the Bulldogs, who nearly lost at home two weeks ago to Louisiana Tech. We’ll see how much they learned from that scare. … Mississippi State
31, UAB 14
KENTUCKY at No. 18 SOUTH CAROLINA
Edward Aschoff: There is a new quarterback under center for the Gamecocks and it's time to revitalize this South Carolina offense. Coach Steve Spurrier can't be so quick to yank Connor Shaw Saturday and with a week to prepare as the starter, the offense should look better, right? As for Kentucky, the offense has struggled to get anything going and has to face a defense that is finally playing up to its potential. ... South Carolina 24, Kentucky 6
Chris Low: Both teams are making changes to try to jump-start lethargic offenses. Connor Shaw is replacing Stephen Garcia as South Carolina’s starting quarterback, while Kentucky is thinking about pulling true freshman quarterback Bookie Cobbins’ redshirt and playing him at receiver. The good news for the Gamecocks is that they appear to be hitting their stride defensively, which means the Wildcats are staring down the barrel of a fourth straight loss. … South Carolina 30, Kentucky 7
VANDERBILT at No. 2 ALABAMA
Edward Aschoff: Vanderbilt is clearly overmatched on paper, but Vanderbilt's secondary concerns Alabama coach Nick Saban. No need to worry, Tide faithful -- Alabama's running game will wear down Vandy and any chance of a Commodores upset. Alabama's defense should also keep Vandy's struggling offense grounded for most of the day. ... Alabama 31, Vanderbilt 3
Chris Low: Alabama’s really good at not giving up touchdowns, and Vanderbilt’s really bad at scoring touchdowns, at least on offense. Nothing gets under Nick Saban’s skin more than seeing his team let down against an inferior opponent. But then, this bunch hasn’t shown any signs of letting down against anybody. … Alabama 34, Vanderbilt 3
GEORGIA at TENNESSEE
Edward Aschoff: This game is pretty big as far as the East is concerned, and the winner will momentarily assume the role of favorite in the division. Tennessee has a dangerous high-flying offense, while the Bulldogs' defense has really improved over the last three games. Tennessee coach Derek Dooley is looking for his first big SEC win and with a ferocious home crowd, the Vols squeak by. ... Tennessee 28, Georgia 23
Chris Low: After all the gloom and doom to start the season, Georgia is right back in the middle of the Eastern Division race. For that matter, who isn’t? This is a big game for Derek Dooley and the Vols, who are in search of that first signature win. But if the Bulldogs can win, especially with their schedule the rest of the way, they’re probably the favorite to win the East. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray is red-hot for the Vols, but Georgia’s defense is even hotter. … Georgia 31, Tennessee 24
No. 15 AUBURN at No. 10 ARKANSAS
Edward Aschoff: Arkansas is fresh off a valiant second-half comeback against Texas A&M, but is still pretty banged up. Auburn, on the other hand, somehow found a way to drive the ball late and upset South Carolina on the road. Auburn's defense improved mightily against the Gamecocks, but South Carolina was barely playing with a manageable quarterback. Arkansas' Tyler Wilson is still gaining yards on the Aggies and that trend could continue this weekend. ... Arkansas 38, Auburn 27
Chris Low: If only this game is half as wild as the one last season, then we’re all in for a treat. Auburn exploded in the fourth quarter to win 65-43. Both teams have injury issues coming in, and both teams have also had their issues when it comes to stopping people. Arkansas seemed to find something in the second half last week in its comeback win over Texas A&M and will ride that momentum at home to a key Western Division win. … Arkansas 34, Auburn 30
No. 17 FLORIDA at No. 1 LSU
Edward Aschoff: Florida is heading to Death Valley with a freshman quarterback and a hurt ego to face the No. 1 team in the country. Fortunately for the Gators, this isn't a night game. Jeff Driskel will likely get the start for the Gators; expect LSU's defense to try to punish the young gun early and often. Florida went into Baton Rouge with a true freshman quarterback in 2003 and won, but that was with a guy (Chris Leak) who started two games prior. Things will be much different this time around. ... LSU 27, Florida 13
Chris Low: It really ought to be against the rules to have to face Alabama’s defense one week and LSU’s the next. But that’s the predicament Florida finds itself in this week, and does so with a true freshman (Jeff Driskel) making his first start at quarterback. The Gators are good enough defensively to keep it close for a while, but they’re not good enough to go into Tiger Stadium and win. … LSU 24, Florida 14