published Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Picks for Nov. 12 SEC football games

With three games remaining in the season, if the points spreads are to believed, Louisiana Tech will win at Ole Miss today.

If that happens, La. Tech -- Derek Dooley's former program -- will have more wins over SEC teams this season than Dooley's current Tennessee program, which plays at No. 8-ranked Arkansas.

In Year 2 of the Dooley era, the Vols are still seeking a signature win. (And while UT's 45-23 win over Cincinnati looks better and better each week as the Bearcats run roughshod over a bad Big East and may be headed to a BCS bowl game, no self-respecting UT fan will brag about beating Cincinnati in anything other than basketball.)

The longer the search continues for a hallmark victory for Dooley and Co., the greater the divide of the dichotomies that resonate in Knoxville.

Plus, until Dooley's Vols deliver a keynote win, the wondering and whispers will continue. It's not unlike the first hurdle that every successful coach clears.

"At the end of the first season we beat LSU in Little Rock with a bunch of young freshmen," said Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, who has his team 8-1 this year and with some luck could land a second consecutive BCS bowl bid in Year 4 with the Razorbacks. "That really helped us a lot because it gave our kids some confidence in themselves and what we were doing."

A win today for Tennessee could do the exact same thing.

Last week's SEC guesses: 5-2 overall, 3-4 against the spread

Season's SEC guesses: 59-11 overall, 42-25-3 against the spread

Florida at South Carolina

Noon, Williams-Brice Stadium

TV/Radio: CBS

Breakdown: Each team is expecting its starting quarterback to be ready today. Either way, this is a matchup of top-20 defenses against teams that have struggled to score points recently. The difference here likely will be which playmaker -- USC's Alshon Jeffery or Florida's Chris Rainey -- makes the biggest play.

The line: South Carolina minus-3.5

The pick: Florida, 17-13

Kentucky at Vanderbilt

12:21 p.m., Vanderbilt Stadium

TV/Radio: WDSI/1370 AM

Breakdown: Which is more surprising this week, that Ole Miss is a home underdog on homecoming to Louisiana Tech or that Vandy is a double-digit favorite against an SEC opponent?

The line: Vandy minus-13.5

The pick: Vandy, 31-13

Auburn at Georgia

3:30 p.m., Sanford Stadium

TV/Radio: CBS/102.3 FM

Breakdown: Auburn is the nation's highest ranked team with three losses -- those defeats came to teams that are a combined 25-2. Georgia has won seven in a row, but those wins have come against teams that are a combined 38-35. What does that mean for today? Not sure, other than this feels like it could go down to the wire.

The line: Georgia minus-13

The pick: Georgia, 31-27

Tennessee at Arkansas

6 p.m., Reynolds Razorback Stadium

TV/Radio: ESPN2/106.5 FM

Breakdown: It's hard to remember a time when a quick start is more important for a team than it is today for the Vols. Considering the young quarterback, the uncertain confidence of a young team on the road against a good opponent and the Vols' second-half woes, for UT to keep this one close it has to be very good very early tonight.

The line: Arkansas minus-14

The pick: Arkansas, 44-20

Western Kentucky at LSU

7 p.m., Tiger Stadium

TV: ESPNU

Breakdown: How much respect are the oddsmakers giving the LSU defense? Consider these numbers: LSU is a 41-point favorite and the over/under total is 48. That means the perfect splits to hit each bet on the number means LSU wins 44.5-3.5.

The line: LSU minus-41

The pick: LSU, 49-3

Louisiana Tech at Ole Miss

7:30 p.m., Vaught-Hemingway Stadium

TV: CSS

Breakdown: Houston Nutt resigned this week, and it's a safe bet that the feeling was mutual considering that if the Rebels win today it would be viewed an upset. Over La. Tech. At home. Ouch.

The line: La. Tech minus-2

The pick: Ole Miss, 27-24

Alabama at Mississippi State

7:45 p.m., Davis Wade Stadium

TV/Radio: ESPN/97.3 & 99.3 FM

Breakdown: Last year, Alabama had the unfortunate schedule that included more than half its opponents having an off week (no game) before facing the Tide. This year, MSU has had the unfortunate schedule that included more than a few of its opponents having an off week (playing poorly) before facing the Bulldogs. Mississippi State again gets another irritated foe tonight, and the only thing more frightening than playing a team as good as Alabama is playing that team when it's ticked off.

The line: Alabama minus-18

The pick: Alabama, 38-10

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Harleigh said...

How about them gators? Wonder if they miss Spurier?

November 12, 2011 at 5:02 p.m.
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