Sam Khan Jr.Alex Scarborough 414d

SEC Week 9 picks: Sizing up potential for a Georgia-Florida blowout

To get you ready for Saturday's action, ESPN reporters Sam Khan Jr. and Alex Scarborough give their picks and analysis of Week 9 in the SEC. Visit our college football PickCenter page for additional information on these games and many more.

Scarborough: OK, Sam, we're back. Last week was interesting for us. We both called for upsets -- I thought Ole Miss would shock LSU and you believed Kentucky could take down Mississippi State -- and we were both wrong. But other than that, we did all right. If my math is correct, I'm at 49-11 overall and you're 46-15 for the season.

Looking ahead to Saturday, let's start with the early game: Arkansas at Ole Miss. I'm going to be honest with you: I have no idea where to go with this one. On the one hand, the Razorbacks are in a nosedive I'm not sure Bret Bielema is capable of pulling out of. But then comes news that Ole Miss starting QB Shea Patterson is done for the season. Give me Arkansas in a bounce-back game, but don't ask me to put money on it because my confidence is slim.

Khan: Arkansas' defense has given me zero confidence, even with Ole Miss missing Patterson. Give me the Rebels.

Missouri has another nonconference game, this week against UConn. Those have gone well for the Tigers. I think this one will, too, and Mizzou actually strings together consecutive wins. What do you think?

Scarborough: I'm with you. I like Drew Lock to have a big game even with running back Damarea Crockett out. There won't be much defense, but I like Mizzou.

How about Vanderbilt at South Carolina? Can the Commodores right the ship after four consecutive losses?

Khan: I don't trust them to, especially on the road. South Carolina is getting healthier and gaining some bodies back on the offensive line, which is big. I think the Gamecocks take care of business here.

Scarborough: With no small amount of trepidation, I agree. My one concern is whether Vanderbilt's defense can pressure quarterback Jake Bentley. If so, this game turns in a different direction. But as it is, I like South Carolina at home.

Speaking of trepidation, how do you see Tennessee's trip to Kentucky playing out? The Butch Jones hot-seat watch continues.

Khan: The Vols' inability to generate significant offense in a month (the last time they scored 20 points was Sept. 16 vs. Florida) makes it hard to pick them. Kentucky's defense is not as good as the past three Tennessee has faced, but I still think the Wildcats are the pick here. Does Kentucky's loss last week to Mississippi State influence your decision-making on this one?

Scarborough: It makes me very wary of picking the Wildcats, yeah. Picking Kentucky over Tennessee just feels ... weird. But I'm going to do it, especially in light of running back John Kelly's suspension. He was the Vols' offense, accounting for 42.9 percent of their total yards. Without him, I think they struggle and the pressure reaches a breaking point for Jones.

What about Mississippi State going to Texas A&M? This feels like a game the Aggies should win. How do you see it playing out?

Khan: This one is probably the most interesting on the board to me. Remember what Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald did to the Aggies last season? And that's when the Bulldogs weren't as good as they are now. That said, the Aggies are way better defensively now than they were when these two met last November. And more importantly, they're fresher -- the Aggies have been on the field for 102 fewer snaps through seven games this season compared to last year. I'll take Texas A&M in a close one here.

Scarborough: We're agreeing too much, Sam. But I can't help but agree with you again. I like the confidence Texas A&M is playing with, and I still think the right defense won't have trouble locking down Mississippi State's receivers. Do that and stopping Fitzgerald isn't such an issue. I like the Aggies by double digits.

Finally, we've got Georgia-Florida. What's your read on this matchup?

Khan: First ... how strange have things become at Florida? This has been a weird week in what has been a weird season for the Gators. But here's some optimism for them: This is the third time UGA has entered the Florida game undefeated and untied, and the Bulldogs lost the previous two (2002 and 2005). I mention all that to say ... it won't matter. Georgia is flat-out better. The Bulldogs are second nationally in defensive efficiency behind Alabama. They'll keep the Gators offense mostly off the scoreboard. The Bulldogs win, and I don't think it will be close.

Scarborough: I agree. Florida is off the rails right now. I have no idea what's going on with Jim McElwain and even less of an idea how the Gators are going to generate offense against a very good Bulldogs defense. I think it's a new era at Georgia under Kirby Smart and we don't see the traditional slip-up in this game that we've become accustomed to from the Bulldogs. I see a blowout in the three- to four-touchdown range and some serious questions afterward about whether Florida and McElwain can get on the same page again.

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