Randy Smith: SEC Picks Week Four

Thursday, September 20, 2018 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
There have been few surprises in the SEC through the first three weeks of the season. One of them however is Alabama. Why you might ask? Well, the Crimson Tide seems to be even better than we all thought. In fact, I don't know if any team in the country can beat them this year. For instance, this week against a top-25 Texas A&M team, 'Bama is a 28 point favorite. 

Texas A&M at Alabama

Aggies' fans are beyond excited about the start of the Jimbo Fisher era in College Station. A&M is 2-1 with the only loss a two point defeat at home to second ranked Clemson. They actually feel their team can beat Alabama. The big question is, can the Texas A&M defense at least slow down the potent Tide offense, with the two headed monster at quarterback. Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts have each been impressive in the teams' 3-0 start. A&M quarterback Kellen Mond has been really good and shredded the vaunted Clemson defense for 500 yards. Maybe Jimbo Fisher has something up his sleeve for Nick Saban.

Alabama  33 Texas A&M 17
 
Arkansas at Auburn

I feel sorry for Arkansas as the Razorbacks have to face the Auburn Tigers a week after they were upset at home by LSU. Arkansas is not a very good team at all, while Auburn is one of the top three teams in the SEC West. With Coach Gus Malzahn's team being a bit raw over losing to the Bengal Tigers. You can look for a lot of points in this one, with Auburn scoring most of them. This one will get ugly really fast.

Auburn 57 Arkansas 20

Georgia at Missouri

This game is a bit intriguing. Missouri has another high powered offense and can put up points quickly. Georgia 's only real test this season came at South Carolina and the Bulldogs passed with flying colors. Georgia had plenty of incentive to clobber the Gamecocks but I not so sure they are as excited to be playing Mizzou. Georgia is a 14 point favorite in the game and if they are not focused they could be in trouble. Tiger quarterback Drew Lock will provide a tremendous challenge to the Bulldog secondary. Georgia needs to be ready to play or Mizzou could get the upset.
Georgia 33 Missouri 27

Louisiana Tech at LSU

The Bengal Tigers pulled out a huge win last week at Auburn winning 22-21 on a last second field goal. LSU is 3-0 to start the season and Coach Ed Orgeron is gaining more and more support each and every week in Baton Rouge. LSU is a very good SEC team with certainly a lot to play for. The Tigers look to be 4-0 when they entertain Ole Miss next weekend in Tiger Stadium.

LSU 38 Louisiana Tech 10
 
Mississippi State at Kentucky

It's a battle of unbeaten teams as Kentucky hosts Mississippi State in Lexington. This could be one of the best games in college football this week. The Wildcats are 1-0 in SEC play and are intent on challenging Georgia for the East title;something they've never won. The Bulldogs are sleepers in the SEC West with enough firepower to challenge for a top three spot. The key player in this game is MSU quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and if h e is on his game, it will be a long contest for the Wildcats.

Mississippi State 31 Kentucky 24

Kent State at Ole Miss

The Rebels may still be in a state of shock after last week's 62-7 thrashing by Alabama. A lot of people felt that game would be a lot closer and it was....up until kickoff. Ole Miss has a chance this week to put things back together against Kent State and unless they're suffering from "Post 'Bama trauma as Vandy was last year, they should right the ship. 

Ole Miss 45  Kent State 21 

South Carolina at Vanderbilt

Vandy is 2-1 on the year after a solid performance in losing at Notre Dame last weekend. Since this is the Commodores' first SEC game of the year a lot of folks are wondering if this team is as good as they appear to be. My opinion is, maybe. We'll know a lot more after the game with the Gamecocks. South Carolina was unable to play last week due to Hurricane Florence so they're still trying to shake the cobwebs from their heads after being destroyed by Georgia two weeks ago. This one will be close.

South Carolina 24 Vanderbilt 21

Florida at Tennessee
It's Florida week in Knoxville as the Volunteers host the Gators Saturday night at Neyland Stadium. The last time the two teams met in Knoxville, The Vols crushed Florida, snapping an eleven game losing streak to the Gators. The Vols should have won last year in Gainesville but quarterback Felipe Franks created some magic with a desperation TD pass at the end salvaging a Florida victory. The Gators lead the all time series 27-20 and they've won 12 of the last 13 meetings. This game is always important to both teams as in the past the winner of this one would get a leg up on the SEC East race. That's not the case in 2018 as both teams won only four games each last year and missed a bowl game.Tennessee is still growing under first year head coach Jeremy Pruitt. The Volunteers defense hasn't given up a touchdown since their game one loss to West Virginia. That factor alone gives them a chance this week against the Gators. It's hard to believe Tennessee is facing Florida this season with neither team ranked among the nation's top 25 teams.

Tennessee 28 Florida 24

Last Week :   9-2
Year to Date: 30-8   

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Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com


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