SEC predictions: Week 2

Before we do anything else, we’ll step off the 15 yards for my penalty.

It was an egregious personal foul, the likes of which won’t be tolerated. I will accept my punishment and move on.

My actual record in Week 1 was 10-2. I missed Northwestern’s win over Vanderbilt and Jacksonville State’s upset of Ole Miss. But as promised, I will add a loss to my record as part of the penalty for my SEC/Big Ten faux pas. I was also disciplined internally, but those are matters we'll keep in house.

We might not win every game around here, but we’re going to play with discipline.

So there you have it. Officially, I was 9-3 (.750) in Week 1. That’s not going to get me into any BCS bowls. I need a big Week 2. Here goes:


Mississippi State 31, Auburn 30: Why not a thriller in the first SEC game of the season? These two offenses have come a long way since the 3-2 tug-o-war two years ago in Starkville. Both programs have made considerable strides across the board, but Mississippi State’s defensive line will be the difference. Now that I’ve made my pick, it’s OK for Mississippi State fans to go ahead and ring their cowbells.


South Carolina 24, Georgia 20: The Head Ball Coach once had Georgia’s number when he was at Florida and reveled in beating the Bulldogs. They’re the only team in the Eastern Division he hasn’t beaten at home since taking over at South Carolina. That changes on Saturday thanks to a stingy Gamecocks defense and a few timely big plays on offense, not to mention the fact that the Bulldogs will be playing without their best player -- A.J. Green.

Alabama 31, Penn State 13: There’s such rich history between these two teams, and to see Joe Paterno on the sideline in Bryant-Denny Stadium will be a treat. It won’t be a treat for his Nittany Lions when the No. 1 Crimson Tide crank up that offensive machine of theirs. Even with Mark Ingram watching from the sideline, they’re good enough to win this game going away.

Oregon 38, Tennessee 21: It’s never easy to come all the way across the country to play a football game, but this is an Oregon team that’s playing on a different level right now than Tennessee. The Vols might hang around for a while, but they don’t have the depth, talent or experience to take down the No. 7 Ducks, who are the class of the Pac-10 this season.

LSU 27, Vanderbilt 14: The Tigers better hope they don’t need Patrick Peterson to save them this time, because something says the Commodores won’t be kicking to him. The game a year ago between these two teams wasn’t decided until the final quarter. Vanderbilt appears to be better on offense, but LSU’s big-play ability will keep the Tigers unbeaten and the Commodores winless after a tough loss to Northwestern in the opener.

Florida 42, South Florida 10: Urban Meyer and Skip Holtz might be longtime friends, but that won’t keep the Gators from taking out some frustration in this one, particularly on offense. Quarterback John Brantley will take dead aim at that South Florida secondary, and with a few missing pieces back on offense, the Gators will return to form after an ugly first outing.

Arkansas 51, Louisiana-Monroe 7: The Hogs head to Little Rock for their second scrimmage of the regular season. Bobby Petrino saw a lot he liked in their first one, a 44-3 battering of Tennessee Tech. He wants to see more consistency in this one along with more forced turnovers from the defense and more big plays out of the running game. Here’s betting he gets his wish as Arkansas gears up for its trip to Georgia next week.

Ole Miss 41, Tulane 14: The residue of last week’s 49-48 loss to Jacksonville State in double overtime is probably still lingering in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, which means getting out of town may be the best thing for the Rebels. Maybe a night on Bourbon Street will do them some good. Whatever it takes, they need to drown their sorrows in a hurry and not let one bad loss turn into one really bad season.

Kentucky 34, Western Kentucky 10: This shouldn’t be construed as a slight to the obvious upgrades the Wildcats have made with their program, but wouldn’t everybody love to have their September schedules? There’s a reason they’ve won 16 consecutive regular-season nonconference games. After holding off Louisville in the opener, they’ll put the finishing touches on the state championship this week with an easy win over the Hilltoppers.