Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
No love for the SEC defenses? It seems like all we've heard this week is how dysfunctional the offenses have been in the SEC, and granted, it wasn't a celebration of offensive football last weekend. You think, just maybe, that might have something to do with the fact that no other conference in the country plays defense the way they do in the SEC? Anyway, it's time for a little separation in the league with four key conference games this Saturday.
The prognosticating starts to get a little tougher now. I'm 24-5 through the first three weeks and was (um, let me clear my throat) 8-0 last week. That's 16-1 over the last two weeks. From the classic that is "Caddyshack" and in the immortal words of the old guy hacking it into the water, "Good golly, I'm hot today." Here are my picks for Week 4:
Auburn 17, LSU 13: OK, enough with the jokes about going to a football game and having a baseball game break out. Auburn's closer was just a little bit better than Mississippi State's last week. More to the point, you just don't go against Tommy Tuberville in a big game like this. Sure, Auburn's got some issues offensively, but there's a reason Tuberville has won nine of his last 12 against Top 10 teams. They don't call him Big Game Tommy for nothing.
South Carolina 24, Wofford 7: With 1,350 students, Wofford is the fourth smallest school in the country that plays Division I football. And before South Carolina fans exhale too much this week, they might want to remember that the Terriers were at the Gamecocks' 10-yard line in the final seconds in 2006 and threatening to tie the game before throwing an interception. This one will be closer than most expect.
Georgia Tech 21, Mississippi State 10: This is a crucial game for Sylvester Croom and the Bulldogs if they're going to carve out a second straight winning season, but they simply haven't been good enough on offense to think that they go on the road and beat anybody at this point. The Bulldogs were 0-of-14 on third-down conversion attempts in their 3-2 loss to Auburn. Unless you like punts, that's pretty ugly.
Georgia 34, Arizona State 21: Georgia probably needed a game like the one it got in Columbia last weekend. Now, the Bulldogs can settle in and play their game. Even with some of their pass protection problems, they're better than they showed against the Gamecocks. The Sun Devils won't be able to stop Knowshon Moreno, who gets back on his Heisman Trophy track.
Ole Miss 28, Vanderbilt 24: Ole Miss is getting healthy at just the right time. Defensive tackle Peria Jerry returned to the starting lineup last week, and defensive end Greg Hardy should be able to play some this week. Vanderbilt won't back down and will play well. The Commodores believe right now. They just won't have an answer for Jevan Snead.
Alabama 27, Arkansas 21: This will be Alabama's first true road test, and when you're playing as many freshmen as the Crimson Tide are, there's bound to be some surprises. Bobby Petrino needs another recruiting class or two to get the talent up to speed, but he's done wonders with the Hogs' passing game. They'll make it close, just not close enough to spoil the Tide's 4-0 start.
Florida 24, Tennessee 20: The Vols come out swinging after their embarrassing loss to UCLA two weeks ago. They just can't hold on, and similar to the 2006 affair in Knoxville, the Gators rally to win in the fourth quarter. Only this time, Tim Tebow is doing the running and the passing, and one of his favorite targets is a healthy Percy Harvin.