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Lock of the Week, Rivalry Week

As usual, there are a lot of great games during rivalry week.

Week 12 Recap

Our voters selected Texas A&M as the lock of the week, and Vanderbilt didn't even score, so that worked out well.  Overall, our voters went 3-3, getting the Aggies, Tennessee, and Kentucky while missing LSU, Auburn, and Florida.  I picked Tennessee, and they added themselves to the long list of teams that have made Missouri's offense look bad.

2015 Results

Lock of the Week: 10-4

Overall Votes: 30-38

Myself: 8-7


Missouri vs Arkansas in Fayetteville (ARK -14) Friday game

Missouri needs a win to go to a bowl game, and since Arkansas is already 6-5, they are playing to get in a slightly better bowl.  Missouri has much more motivation for this one, and the team records are not that different.  However, Arkansas really is a much better team, and at home, this shouldn't be a one possession game.  As some of you noticed last week, Arkansas does not have a very good pass defense, but Missouri won't be exploiting that weakness this week.

Georgia vs Georgia Tech (UGA -5)

Georgia got a decent practice test against the triple option during their overtime win over Georgia Southern.  Meanwhile, Georgia Tech hasn't exactly taken advantage of any momentum that they received after their Gator Bowl win against MSU.  They have lost five games this year by a touchdown or less, but they did manage to beat 14th ranked Florida State.  UGA fans would be extremely angry about losing to a 3-8 Georgia Tech team, even if it is in Atlanta.  However, as long as UGA wins, they will finish 9-3, which should be enough to temporarily stop any talk of Richt being on the hotseat.

Louisville vs Kentucky (UL -4)

Just like last year, Kentucky needs to beat Louisville to go to a bowl game.  However, Vegas is giving Kentucky a better chance than they gave them last year.  The interesting thing about Louisville is that they don't really have any superstar players on offense.  Louisville does have a good rushing defense, which isn't good for Kentucky since Stanley "Boom" Williams is their most consistent offensive threat.  Louisville hasn't blown out any teams this year except for Syracuse, and Samford, but that one was expected.  This one should be another close game for Louisville.

Clemson vs South Carolina (CLEM -17.5)

The question isn't if South Carolina can beat Clemson, but if they can even provide their fans with some false hope for a few quarters.  Skai Moore does have four interceptions for the Gamecocks, so maybe he can do some damage to Deshaun Watson's Heisman campaign.

A quick note: All three of these games start at 11:00, and the quality of games throughout all of college football doesn't really decrease.  Rivalry week is so much more intense than last week, which you could call FCS Week.

Alabama vs Auburn (UA -13.5)

If you talk to Alabama or Auburn fans, you will probably be informed that "you have to throw out the record for the Iron Bowl".  You actually don't have to do that, as seasons such as Tuberville's last year in 2008, or Chizik's last year in 2012, or even 2011 show that if Saban's team is a lot better than Auburn's, the game probably won't be close.  2009 admittedly was an exception to this generalization, but there is an exception to any generalization.  The gap in talent between these two teams is very large.  Auburn has played better as the year has gone on, especially on offense, but there hasn't been enough improvement to make the outcome of this game doubtful.  A storyline to watch is whether or not Jeremy Johnson gets to start, since Sean White has recovered enough to possibly start.

Vanderbilt vs Tennessee (UT -16.5)

Tennessee really hasn't played well in the last couple weeks on offense against North Texas and Missouri.  With Missouri's defense, that one is understandable.  Vanderbilt's defense could keep this close.  However, they never really developed a passing game, and it is hard to score when everybody expects the ball to go to the runningback.  After some early season criticism, Butch Jones should finish 8-4.  Florida may be the ones going to the SEC Championship, but without Will Grier, Tennessee is the best team in the East division.

Florida State at Florida (FSU -2)

McElwain went into a very detailed criticism of his team's psychological state against Florida Atlantic last week.  Normally when an SEC team is 10-1 and an ACC team is 9-2 and on the road, the SEC team is favored, but a very down SEC East and almost losing to Vanderbilt and Florida Atlantic has led to Florida State being slightly favored.  Florida is the anti-Georgia Tech, going 5-1 in games decided by a touchdown or less this season.  Florida State did somehow lose to 3-8 Georgia Tech, but they played Clemson close and beat everyone else.  Florida's outstanding defense vs. Dalvin Cook would normally be one of the matchups of the day to watch, but Florida's defensive line is not healthy at all.

Texas A&M vs LSU (LSU -5.5)

I thought Les Miles would somehow survive, but the media consensus is that he will be gone after this season.  The media consensus also seems to be that he doesn't deserve to be fired, but as Clint Eastwood once said, "Deserving has got nothing to do with it."  All we can hope for is that this game does not have a normal ending, or at least isn't completely anti-climactic like last week.  There has also been a lot of drama in Aggieland this season, but if Kyle Allen is healthy, and if an injury is why he played so badly in the middle of the season, they should be dangerous.  The good news for LSU is that they finally face a struggling rushing defense, which hasn't happened recently.  I think LSU wins, but it should be close enough to where I'm not picking the spread.

The Battle for the Golden Egg (UM -1)

There will be plenty on this topic later in the week.  While watching the Arkansas game, it did seem like Mullen was letting Prescott run more often on first and second down, which slightly surprised the Hogs defense.  Being unpredictable when letting Prescott run the ball could make the difference in this one.

The Picks

Alabama and Florida State.  Yes, picking Florida State was painful.