It’s rivalry week in the SEC, which means the picks always get a little tougher.
Or course, with the roll I’m on right now, tougher is better.
I’m Larry Bird, and the basket looks the size of the Pacific Ocean.
I’m Jack Nicklaus, and the cup looks the size of the Grand Canyon.
I’m Les Miles, and the scrumptious blades of green grass stretch on forever.
You get the idea.
I was 6-0 last week and am now 72-16 (.818) for the season. Over the past five weeks, I’m a scorching 29-3.
They absolutely remember what you do in November, and here we go with my picks for Week 13:
Alabama 34, Auburn 31: It’s difficult to see either defense shutting the other offense down, which means it’s going to get down to who can make a clutch stand defensively in the second half or force a timely turnover. Alabama’s passing game will be the key. If Greg McElroy is on, which he has been for most of this season, look for him to take advantage of a suspect Auburn secondary. Cam Newton will get his yards, but the Crimson Tide will get the win.
Arkansas 31, LSU 21: It’s always a treat to watch one of the best offenses in the SEC go up against one of the best defenses. Of course, LSU didn’t play like one of the best defenses last week in its 43-36 escape against Ole Miss, and Arkansas’ offense is more explosive than ever now that Knile Davis has become such a home-run threat in the running game. The Hogs are playing as well as anybody in the league right now, which will only be reinforced Saturday in Little Rock.
Ole Miss 30, Mississippi State 24: The “school up north” hasn’t had a lot to cheer about this season. In fact, it’s been one of those seasons most fans of the “school up north” would just as soon forget. That’s why we have rivalry games. One win can help make up for an entire season of disappointment. The “school up north” is due to put one of those wins together Saturday at home.
Tennessee 37, Kentucky 34: The Vols and Wildcats should make an agreement before the game that the first team to 40 points wins. In other words, don’t look for a lot of defense in this one. The Vols are starting to believe right now after winning three in a row, and even though history doesn’t win football games, it’s difficult to get past Tennessee’s 25-game winning streak in this series.
Florida State 24, Florida 17: Urban Meyer has owned his rivals since taking over at Florida in 2005 and has never lost to Florida State. There’s a first time for everything, especially when your offense is as hit and miss as the Gators have been this season on that side of the ball. Playing at home, the Seminoles will turn to their defense to end a six-game losing streak to the Gators.
South Carolina 27, Clemson 21: Yes, I know all about the history in this rivalry and that Clemson has dominated and South Carolina hasn't won two in a row since the Gamecocks won three straight from 1968-70. But repeating something the Head Ball Coach said back in August, this is a different South Carolina football team, not to mention a South Carolina team with Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery taking turns carving opposing defenses apart. If the Chicken Curse were still hovering, South Carolina fans would have reason for concern. But it was permanently exorcised at the Swamp two weeks ago, meaning the Gamecocks get their ninth win of the season Saturday.
Georgia 38, Georgia Tech 21: Georgia redshirt freshman Aaron Murray has had time to rest up after taking a beating in the Auburn game two weeks ago. He should be good to go, and so should A.J. Green in what will almost certainly be his final game in Sanford Stadium. A couple of farewell touchdowns by Green will send the Yellow Jackets packing.
Vanderbilt 28, Wake Forest 24: As bad as Vanderbilt looked last week in a 24-10 loss to Tennessee, there’s still some life left in the Commodores. For one, they see a Wake Forest team that has lost nine in a row. They also may be playing for their coach, Robbie Caldwell, who conceded this week that there are no guarantees he will be back next season.