SEC Week 11 predictions

All eyes will be on Death Valley this week when Nick Saban takes Alabama into Baton Rouge to face a resurgent LSU squad. A win by the Tide keeps them on a playoff path. A victory by the Tigers and they can start dreaming of making a late run. Outside of that game, there's not much excitement in the league this week. Texas A&M's swoon has taken the juice out of its matchup with Auburn. Ole Miss and Mississippi State should feast on cupcakes, and it's hard to get excited about Georgia after its performance last week. So we'll go all-in on LSU-Alabama, the only game our writers disagreed on.

Edward Aschoff: So much is riding on this game. LSU can legitimately get back in the SEC hunt, while Alabama’s SEC and playoff hopes hinge on a win in Death Valley. Both teams are hitting their strides, but Alabama is a little banged up. Honestly, this is a coin flip. I think we're in for another defensive struggle, and while LSU’s defense hasn’t been as consistent as Alabama’s, I love the way it’s playing right now. The offense doesn’t have to be great -- and it won’t be -- but the defense is going to force mistakes and put that bullying run game in great position to make plays on the positive side of the field. Expect some beautiful Bayou brilliance from the Mad Hatter. LSU 17, Alabama 14

David Ching: A month ago, most LSU fans dreaded this game because the Tigers looked nothing like the hard-nosed Les Miles teams of old. They’ve gotten back to LSU’s trademark style -- leaning on power running and feisty defense -- during a three-game winning streak that has the Tigers back in the conversation for a playoff spot. However, beating Alabama requires proficiency at quarterback that the Tigers haven't displayed yet. Unless Anthony Jennings plays the best game of his career, Alabama escapes this slobberknocker with a narrow win. Alabama 24, LSU 23

Sam Khan Jr.: This game is usually a close, down-to-the-wire affair, and I expect nothing less Saturday night in Death Valley. The Crimson Tide have more to play for, with a top-four spot in the College Football Playoff there for the taking if they can take care of business down the stretch. The Tide have what it takes, ranking in the top 10 nationally in offensive and defensive efficiency, according to ESPN Stats & Information, the only team in the FBS with that distinction. And I have a hunch Blake Sims is going to come up big for them this week and make the needed plays to win in this tough road atmosphere. Alabama 24, LSU 17

Chris Low: LSU has done a terrific job of rallying from that crushing 41-7 loss to Auburn, and the Tigers are playing a lot of young players who are starting to come into their own. Tiger Stadium will be electric, no question, and Alabama has been a different team on the road this season. But the Crimson Tide have been more explosive offensively and have the playmakers, namely Amari Cooper, to attack LSU through the air. The Tigers' forte offensively is running the ball, but how many teams line up and mash the ball down the Tide's throats? It will be close. This game always is, but Alabama will force LSU to be one-dimensional and sneak out of the Bayou with a win. Alabama 24, LSU 20

Greg Ostendorf: Part of me doesn’t want to bet against Les Miles at home in a night game. He already burned me once when I made the mistake of picking Ole Miss over LSU. But if anybody is going to go in there and get a win, it’s Nick Saban. I expect a classic knockdown, drag-out fight between the Tide and the Tigers on Saturday. Maybe not quite like the 2011 game in Tuscaloosa, but close. The difference will be Amari Cooper. He’s the best player on the field. Alabama 24, LSU 20

Alex Scarborough: There are two rules for facing the LSU Tigers: get them late in the year and get them at your place. Unfortunately for Alabama, it goes to Death Valley in November. The Tigers' confidence has risen considerably in the past month, their running game is on a roll and the defense has improved. That's not to say the Tide aren't playing well. But Alabama has been different on the road. Inside a raucous Tiger Stadium, communication could be an issue for the offensive line and QB Blake Sims. Penalties and turnovers will be the difference. LSU 20, Alabama 17

Unanimous picks

Georgia over Kentucky: It will be interesting to see how Georgia bounces back from its implosion against Florida -- and the Bulldogs typically struggle when in Lexington -- but expect Mark Richt’s club to get back on track. Georgia 35, Kentucky 17

Ole Miss over Presbyterian: What a perfect spot on the schedule for this game. Following two emotional losses, the Rebels have a chance to sort out their offense without injured receiver Laquon Treadwell against an FCS opponent. Ole Miss 34, Presbyterian 7

Auburn over Texas A&M: At one point we pictured this as a shootout, much like when the Tigers and Aggies met last season. But A&M has been slumping lately and Kyle Allen didn’t provide much reason for optimism in last Saturday's narrow win over Louisiana-Monroe. Auburn 45, Texas A&M 24

Florida over Vanderbilt: Was it temporary Jacksonville magic or did Florida’s offense find something last week by bludgeoning Georgia with the run? Maybe a bit of both. Either way, the Gators leave Nashville with a win. Florida 28, Vanderbilt 14

Mississippi State over UT-Martin: Take control and get the starters out early, Bulldogs. With a closing stretch of Bama-Vandy-Ole Miss still to go, you’ll need Dak Prescott, Josh Robinson & Co. to be as healthy as possible in order to remain undefeated. Mississippi State 38, UT-Martin 3


Greg Ostendorf 68-14

Edward Aschoff 67-15

David Ching 66-16

Chris Low 66-16

Alex Scarborough 65-17

Sam Khan Jr. 61-21