published Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Ole Miss to be among SEC winners

Houston Nutt, the oft-maligned Ole Miss coach, said this week that "winning is a cure-all, a tremendous antidote, and it brings a lot of energy and a lot of hope."

Nutt was talking about Vanderbilt -- yes, Vandy. He could have been speaking of Derek Dooley's orange pants, which are magically 2-0, have their Facebook page and got addressed in Dooley's news conference this week. (Dooley said: "I don't know. That's the last thing I'm worried about. I can assure you the orange slacks aren't the reason we're winning." He did not say he wouldn't wear them, though, and the orange slacks were unavailable for comment.)

Nutt's assessment is 100 percent accurate. Winning cures all ills. Period.

Be it home openers against Utah State or SEC openers at Sanford Stadium, it doesn't matter who plays better. It only matters who wins.

It's that way in picking games, too, and last week was a good week. And remember, last week's performance does not guarantee future gains -- even in the world of orange pants.

Last week's guesses: 9-1 overall; 8-1-1 against the spread

Season's guesses: 18-2 overall; 14-5-1 against the spread

Auburn at Clemsom

Noon, Tiger Stadium

• TV: ABC

• Breakdown: "We're very fortunate to be 2-0 considering we've played average football," Auburn coach Gene Chizik said this week. Fair point considering the Tigers have won twice -- at home -- by either scoring a TD in the final minute or stopping their opponents at the goal line in the final seconds. Still, Auburn has won 17 games in a row overall and 14 straight against Clemson. And Auburn is still getting points? OK. Thanks.

• The line: Clemson minus-3.5

• The pick: Auburn, 35-31

Ole Miss at Vanderbilt

12:21 p.m., Vanderbilt Stadium

• TV/Radio: WDSI/1370 AM

• Breakdown: Vandy's 2-0 start has been a feel-good story highlighted with smart play. This Ole Miss team is 1-1, desperate and athletic. There are a few truths in football; among them is that "happy and smart" is no match for "athletic and desperate."

• The line: Ole Miss minus-1.5

• The pick: Ole Miss, 31-21

Coastal Carolina at Georgia

1 p.m., Sanford Stadium

• TV/Radio: Pay-per-view/102.3 FM

• Breakdown: Georgia will look to score a lot, and this one could become a laugher. But regardless of the score, it won't be as big a hit as the YouTube clip of CCU coach David Bennett saying he wants his players to be dogs. Check it out, and you're welcome.

• The line: Georgia minus-32

• The pick: Georgia, 55-10

Tennessee at Florida

3:30 p.m., Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

• TV/Radio: CBS/106.5 FM

• Breakdown: Florida's secondary is filled with point guards; Tennessee's receivers look more like forwards. Edge to Tennessee. That said, the Vols may still be a few more "big-game" moments from winning games like this one.

• The line: Florida minus-10

• The pick: Florida, 30-28

Navy at South Carolina

6 p.m., Williams-Brice Stadium

• TV: ESPNU

• Breakdown: This could be a scary game for the Gamecocks, who escaped Athens with a big SEC win over Georgia last weekend. South Carolina's athletic defensive line will be tested by Navy's option. In the end, too much Marcus Lattimore is to much for the Midshipmen.

• The line: South Carolina minus-17

• The pick: South Carolina, 31-20

Louisville at Kentucky

7 p.m., Commonwealth Stadium

• TV: ESPNU

• Breakdown: Joker Phillips plans on giving freshman running back Josh Clemons a bigger role in the offense. UK fans better hope quarterback Morgan Newton starts assuming a better role in the offense very soon.

• The line: Kentucky minus-6

• The pick: Kentucky, 24-20

Troy at Arkansas

7:30 p.m., Reynolds Razorback Stadium

• TV: CSS

• Breakdown: Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said, "Competition is great for everybody," this week. Obviously he meant everyone else, since his Razorbacks are about to pound their third straight nonconference patsy. But competition is coming for Bobby and the boys with a trip to Alabama next week.

• The line: Arkansas minus-23

• The pick: Arkansas, 42-17

North Texas at Alabama

7:30 p.m., Bryant-Denny Stadium

• TV/Radio: Pay-per-view/97.3 & 99.3 FM

• Breakdown: On the SEC teleconference this week, Tide coach Nick Saban said, "The focus of our team is to improve each week and improve on our deficiencies, and the challenge for us is to challenge ourselves to be the best we can be." He then added, "We believe that children are the future, teach them well and let them lead the way." OK, the last part was made up, but you have to try to find something that makes this game interesting. Alabama's defense throttles the Mean Green; the running game is overpowering; the reserves get plenty of reps. Yawn.

• The line: Alabama minus-46

• The pick: Alabama, 41-6

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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