SEC predictions: Week 6

OK, that was a little more like it last week.

I can live with 6-1, although I guess I need to have my head examined for continuing to pick Georgia. I’ve picked the Bulldogs for the last three weeks, and they’ve lost all three games.

Sorry, Dawg fans. I’m not doing it on purpose.

Georgia’s 29-27 loss to Colorado was the only game I missed last week, even though I probably deserved half a loss for picking LSU over Tennessee.

No, I didn’t frantically change my pick with only seconds remaining before the deadline or submit 13 picks for that one game. I just feel sheepish about counting it as a win.

But, hey, if the Mad Hatter’s not going to give it back, I’m sure not.

For the season, I’m now 34-9 (.791). Another one-loss week would put me right at .800, which is the minimum standard I’ve set for myself. I refuse to settle for anything less.

In honor of Miles, I can tell you there’s a tremendous want to achieve victory.

By the way, I asked Heather Dinich from the ACC if she wanted to come over and help me pick this week. But she said something about basketball practice getting ready to start.

Oh well, maybe next week.

Here are my picks for Week 6:

Alabama 23, South Carolina 17: Lost in Mark Ingram's stirring performance last season was the fact that South Carolina was right there and did an excellent job of shutting down Alabama’s passing game. If the Gamecocks can make the Crimson Tide one-dimensional again, they’ll have a shot, especially playing at home. That’s easier said than done. Greg McElroy has been masterful running this offense, and Alabama’s defense is on a tear of forcing turnovers. South Carolina, meanwhile, has already turned it over eight times in four games.

Florida 24, LSU 10: If only the Tigers could score, this is a game that could easily go down to the last few possessions. Maybe it still will. LSU’s defense is the real deal, and the Tigers have the kind of athletes on offense that surely will break out at some point. It will be interesting to see how healthy Florida quarterback John Brantley is. Sore ribs are never a good thing for a quarterback. And even though the Gators have been inconsistent on offense, their defense is as stout as ever and will be the key to breaking this game open in the second half.

Arkansas 38, Texas A&M 24: Something says the Hogs are poised to make a few teams pay for their bitter loss to Alabama two weeks ago. This is a team that still has a lot out in front of it this season, and playing in Cowboys Stadium is always a nice perk. Running the football successfully remains a concern for Arkansas, but this figures to be more of a shootout with Ryan Mallett spreading the ball around and putting up big numbers to give the Hogs a renewed sense of confidence heading into the Auburn game next week.

Georgia 27, Tennessee 21: Here we go again. Yes, I’m picking Georgia for the fourth straight week. And, yes, I think the Bulldogs are better than they’ve played to this point. The Vols, despite their youth and inexperience, have hung in there under Derek Dooley and fought back from that second-half embarrassment against Oregon the second week of the season. Both teams need something good to happen. Georgia is probably a little more desperate, and with A.J. Green back in the lineup for a second straight week and playing at home, that should be enough to squeeze out the Bulldogs’ first SEC win.

Auburn 34, Kentucky 21: The Tigers’ only other road game this season was a close one, and the defense saved them in the second half in a 17-14 win at Mississippi State. Since that game, Cameron Newton and the offense have taken off. Plus, the Tigers had a chance to rest a lot of their starters in the second half last week in the 52-3 romp over Louisiana-Monroe. The Wildcats are talking like this is a make-or-break game for them. They’re good enough offensively to pull it off, but they’re not quite there defensively.

Mississippi State 28, Houston 21: The Bulldogs felt like they got the shaft a year ago in their 31-24 loss to Houston when a penalty that went against them was never even reviewed and wiped out a big gain. But getting back to the present, this is a win that could go a long way toward putting the Bulldogs in prime position for a bowl game. The Cougars’ two top offensive players (quarterback Case Keenum and receiver James Cleveland) are out, and the Bulldogs are fourth in the SEC in scoring defense (16.2 points per game). Look for Manny Diaz to turn his guys loose and bring home Mississippi State’s first road win of the season.

Vanderbilt 34, Eastern Michigan 14: The Commodores will be getting one key defensive player back this week, but will be losing another. Senior defensive tackle Adam Smotherman went through his first contact work this week in practice since tearing his ACL in the spring and is expected to start Saturday. However, junior middle linebacker Chris Marve underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Wednesday and will miss this game. Ultimately, it shouldn’t matter. Eastern Michigan has lost its last 17 games and given up 214 points in its five losses this season.