Just like making birdies on Nos. 14, 15 and 16, it’s nice to be hitting a hot streak in my picks as we approach Week 11.
I was 7-1 last week, the only miss being LSU’s 24-21 win over Alabama, which makes me 17-2 over the past three weeks. Yep, I'm pretty much in the zone right now.
For the season, I’ve climbed back to the .800 plateau with a 60-15 mark.
And get this: I’m still picking games that mean something. My esteemed ACC colleague, Heather Dinich, quit doing that the third week of the season.
Without further ado, my picks for Week 11:
Florida 28, South Carolina 21: The Head Ball Coach returns to the Swamp with a trip to the SEC championship game at stake. A lot of people never thought he would make it this far at South Carolina. But here he is. The only problem is that it appears the Gamecocks might have peaked too early this season. They’re not playing their best football, and the Gators are. Throw in the Swamp factor, and it all adds up to a Florida win and a third straight trip to the SEC championship game.
Auburn 38, Georgia 31: There may not be 108 points scored in this one like the Arkansas-Auburn shootout last month, but you might want to loosen up the old neck muscles before watching. It’s going to be a track meet. Georgia certainly has the offensive firepower to pull off the upset, and Auburn has had its share of off-the-field issues to deal with. But the Tigers have been clutch all season in the fourth quarter, and that’s not going to change now.
Alabama 24, Mississippi State 17: It’s been a while since the Crimson Tide have played a November game when they weren’t trying to keep alive their national championship hopes. Those hopes went down the drain last week at LSU, so we’ll see how Alabama responds. Mississippi State is still coping with the death of defensive end Nick Bell last week. The Bulldogs have won six in a row, but the Tide will find a way to pull this one out at home.
Tennessee 31, Ole Miss 28: The Vols haven’t had a lot of good things happen to them this season, but they’ve hung in there. Freshman quarterback Tyler Bray has provided a spark, and the receiving corps is finally healthy. Ole Miss is hopeful of getting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli back from a concussion. In the end, Tennessee’s defense will make more key stops than Ole Miss’ defense in the second half, and the Vols will keep alive their bowl hopes.
Kentucky 31, Vanderbilt 17: The Wildcats need one more win to ensure their fifth straight bowl appearance, and they will get it against a Vanderbilt team that’s limping to the finish -- literally. Every time Vanderbilt coach Robbie Caldwell turns around, he’s losing another player. His entire running back stable has been decimated by injuries.
LSU 35, Louisiana-Monroe 3: They’re all of a sudden loving “The Hat.” Well, not everybody. There is always going to be that sect of fans who grumble following a big win because they think it means they’re stuck that much longer with Les Miles, who by the way is 59-16 at LSU. The Tigers shouldn’t have any problem this week, although it probably won’t be pretty coming off the emotional high of beating Alabama.
Arkansas 41, UTEP 14: Steve Spurrier said earlier this week that the Hogs were as good as any team he’s seen this season. Despite some key injuries, Bobby Petrino has his club playing some of its best football. Arkansas gets a breather this week before jumping back into SEC play. A 10-win season remains very possible for the Hogs.