To get you ready for Saturday's action, ESPN reporters Sam Khan Jr. and Alex Scarborough give their picks and analysis of Week 12 in the SEC. Visit our college football PickCenter page for additional information on these games and many more.
Scarborough: All right, Sam. We're back at it after an interesting week in which you came oh-so-close to predicting Mississippi State upsetting Alabama. I was worried you would get that one, but the Tide pulled it off at the last second. So through 11 weeks of games, I'm in first place with a record of 68-16, and you're running out of time to catch up at 64-20. But let's see how this Saturday goes.
First things first: Do you see any upsets from Alabama-Mercer, Auburn-Lousiana Monroe, South Carolina-Wofford or Florida-UAB? I'm very, very tempted to take UAB. Bill Clark is doing coach-of-the-year-type things getting that program bowl-eligible after being shut down. But I just can't do it. I'll go chalk with the out-of-conference slate.
Khan: Once upon a time, South Carolina dropped one of these games to The Citadel, but that was two years ago and this is a much better Gamecocks team, so they should avoid a similar fate here. UAB-Florida intrigues me, because the Blazers are going bowling and Florida is reeling. That said, with an 11-point spread from the wiseguys, who are usually wiser than me, I'll trust them and take the Gators as well.
So on to the regular slate. Let's start with Mississippi State at Arkansas. Any reason to believe the Bulldogs won't take care of business here? The end seems to be nearing for Bret Bielema at Arkansas, with his athletic director getting the ax Wednesday. I feel like Dan Mullen & Co. go into Fayetteville and win easily.
Scarborough: Let's put it this way: If we were picking against the spread, I'd go with the Hogs and the 12½ points. This just feels like a trap game. Mississippi State gave everything it had against Alabama, and there's going to be a hangover from that. What's more, it's on the road. But given the tumult in Fayetteville and Bielema's hot-seat status, I'm going to go with the Bulldogs in a single-digit game. I think it's not pretty, but quarterback Nick Fitzgerald finds a way.
Khan: On to Kentucky and Georgia. The Bulldogs got a wake-up call last week from Auburn, and Kirby Smart's probably spending the week reminding them of it. I think they bounce back with a home win here.
Scarborough: Same here. I just don't see them coming out flat at home. While I was very disappointed in how conservatively Georgia played at Auburn, I don't see it as a trend and I have the Bulldogs winning.
Next up: LSU goes on the road to Tennessee. Any chance the Vols win one for interim coach Brady Hoke?
Khan: Yeah, I think there is. When a situation gets as untenable as it did under Butch Jones, once the change is made, I think a team at times plays looser and better. There's no pressure at this point. That said, hard for me to pick against LSU, which I feel is simply more talented. So I'll take the Tigers.
Scarborough: I thought Florida would have a kind of bounce-back game when Jim McElwain was let go and learned my lesson. So give me LSU, too. I like how it took care of business beating Arkansas by 23 points a week after losing a hard-fought game at Alabama.
On to Texas A&M at Ole Miss. What do you think? I'm going with the Rebs here, but I'm not overly confident. I just have a suspicion that the wheels have come off in College Station -- beating New Mexico doesn't count -- with Kevin Sumlin maybe on the way out.
Khan: This one is a total toss-up to me. These teams have played some wild, close games since A&M entered the league. One thing that stands out to me: Ole Miss is averaging more points per game (41.3) than any other SEC West team in the three weeks since Jordan Ta'amu took over at QB for an injured Shea Patterson. Texas A&M's secondary has taken its lumps and is also beaten up from an injury standpoint. So, for different reasons, I'll make the same pick: Rebels win.
Scarborough: Last one: Vanderbilt going to Missouri. Give me the Tigers here. I don't like what Vanderbilt showed against Kentucky, and I think Missouri QB Drew Lock and that offense are playing too well right now. And I'll say this: If there was a Bounce-back Coach of the Year, I'd give it to Barry Odom. After a disastrous start, going 1-5, Missouri has won four in a row.
Khan: I'm in agreement. Missouri's going bowling. The only SEC team averaging more points in the past three weeks than Ole Miss? Missouri, which is averaging 49 per game. After that disastrous start, the Tigers are actually going to be over .500 after this weekend. I guess Odom's fire-and-brimstone speech worked after all.