SEC predictions: Week 4

First off, I can assure you, Arkansas fans, that I will absolutely make good on my promise after whiffing on the Arkansas-Georgia pick last week.

As we speak, a Hog Head is being secured for me there in Fayetteville. I’ll cut a short video wearing it this weekend and post it on my blog.

And, no, I’m not going to call the Hogs. I couldn’t do it if I wanted to. That takes talent, and my talent right now -- especially when it comes to picking games -- has suddenly started to wane.

I was 6-2 last week, also missing Vanderbilt’s win over Ole Miss. For the season, I’m now 23-6 (.793). Dipping under .800 is embarrassing.

But there’s still a lot of football left to be played, and they remember what you did in November and December … not September.

Now, onto my picks for Week 4:

Alabama 31, Arkansas 27: Going against Arkansas two weeks in a row is tough. Bobby Petrino clearly has his best team in Fayetteville, and not only that, but it’s a team playing with a ton of confidence. The Hogs will play much better offensively than they did a year ago against the Crimson Tide, and Ryan Mallett will hit some big throws. The problem will be running the ball and stopping the run. I don’t think the Hogs will be able to do either good enough to win.

South Carolina 28, Auburn 24: It’s been a gut-wrenching past few days for the Gamecocks after learning that their all-time leading receiver, Kenny McKinley, committed suicide earlier this week. You never know how a team will respond from a tragedy like that. Auburn is coming off a physically draining game in overtime last week against Clemson and had enough in the tank to win that one at the end. The Tigers won’t be so fortunate this time around against a South Carolina defense that will rise to the occasion with some key stops in the fourth quarter.

Georgia 23, Mississippi State 17: It seems like Georgia keeps on facing must-win games every week, but that’s what happens when you keep on losing SEC games. Mississippi State took Auburn into the fourth quarter at home two weeks ago, and this game won’t be any different. It looks like Georgia will get a few players back, though, and redshirt freshman quarterback Aaron Murray will make the plays he didn’t on the road a couple of weeks ago at South Carolina.

Florida 34, Kentucky 21: Picking against the Gators at home is never wise. And when they’ve won as many games in a row as they have against the Wildcats (23), it’s downright foolish. Still, this is a Florida offense that doesn’t scare anybody right now, and the Randall Cobb-Derrick Locke combo for Kentucky is enough to scare anybody. That’s what the Wildcats will do: Put a scare into the Gators, who will follow a familiar script and pull away in the second half.

LSU 24, West Virginia 17: Can the Tigers continue to win with quarterback Jordan Jefferson throwing for an average of 114.7 yards per game? We’re going to find out. Of course, as long as the defense continues to play at the level it has for the past eight quarters, the Tigers are going to have a chance against everybody they play. Corralling Noel Devine will be a chore. He’s rushed for more than 100 yards in each of his first three games, but the Tigers are allowing just 2.2 yards per carry. Plus, there’s just something about Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.

Ole Miss 27, Fresno State 21: Consider this Ole Miss’ last stand. It’s now or never if the Rebels want to save this season. I’m going with now. Fresno State has to travel all the way across the country to play the game, and that’s never easy. Ole Miss’ defense is also past due to rise up and play the way it’s capable of playing. There’s still a lot of pride left in that group.

Tennessee 24, UAB 14: This is where the Vols can’t let down. They hung in there last week in the second half in a tough 31-17 loss to Florida, and now a couple of starters are out on the offensive line. The best thing Tennessee can do is put UAB away early, even though the Blazers proved last week they were capable of coming back from the dead. It won’t be easy, but the Vols will find a way to close out the month with a win and then turn their attention to an October schedule that is brutal.