LSU / SEC Week 13 Picks

For Les Miles’ sake, I really hope there’s no drama in the LSU / Arkansas game Saturday night. No drama in the sense that Arkansas wins by 30 wouldn’t be a good thing, but a nice, uneventful last few minutes would be a good thing for the coach.

I really don’t know what I expect out of this game. I can’t say the Hogs are particularly impressive. Yes, they are No. 1 in the SEC in passing and total offense, but their big numbers are weighted heavily toward their least challenging games. They have broken past 500 yards in total offense three times this season, against Missouri State, Eastern Michigan and Troy. They have been held under 400 yards by Alabama, Florida, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The closest Arkansas has come to an impressive win was probably their 33-16 win over 6-5 South Carolina.

So I don’t know that I fear the Arkansas offense – which pretty much means their passing offense. I’m surely not impressed with their defense (No. 95 nationally in total defense; No. 63 in scoring defense). The questions, then, are whether LSU’s defense can contain Arkansas’ offense and whether LSU’s offense can exploit the poor Arkansas defense.

And I think the Tigers can contain Arkansas’ pass game. But it’s not rational to project a big day on offense by LSU, which sits at No. 106 in total offense nationally and No. 76 in scoring offense. We’re down to one true running back – Stevan Ridley – who has any carries this season, and we could well have a coaching staff that thinks “run” first, second and third after getting in so much trouble calling passes last week. The logical thing to do against this Arkansas defense is to throw early and throw often (they are No. 108 in pass defense), so we’ll see if Miles and Crowton have the balls to run the game plan they (hopefully) know they need to run.

How will this play out? I have no idea. About the only thing that would surprise me is if Les Miles isn’t super-quick to call his timeouts. I’ll help Miles get over Ole Miss with a bit of a homer pick.

LSU 26 – 20

Elsewhere in the SEC:

No. 2 Alabama at Auburn. Pointless to analyze this particular rivalry game. A better shot for an upset in this one than in Florida / Florida State. Wouldn’t shock me, but I got no specific case to make for Auburn.

Bama 24 – 13

Florida State at No. 1 Florida. I don’t see how the Gators could come this far, be this close and then have a weak FSU take it all away in Tebow’s final game at home. Not a likely rivalry upset.

Gators 49 – 21

Georgia at No. 7 Georgia Tech. Hard to imagine the Dawgs can pull themselves together on the road against a strong Tech team the week after UGA lost at home to Kentucky. Georgia could have a shot in this one since their rush defense is fairly strong and all Tech has on offense is the run. If they hadn’t screwed the pooch against Kentucky, I might actually pick them here.

Jackets 31 – 27

No. 18 Clemson at South Carolina. The Cocks have lost four out of five, with their sole win coming over Vandy by four points. Clemson has won six straight, and apart from a regretful loss to Maryland only has a three-point loss to No. 7 Georgia Tech and a four-point loss to No. 4 TCU blemishing the record. Quite a nice season for Clemson; yet another one falling short for Spurrier and his chickens.

Clemson 35 – 24

No. 25 Ole Miss at Mississippi State. If Nutt were to drop this one after the roller-coaster year, I’d be mighty surprised. Ole Miss fights its way back into respectability.

Rebels 41 – 20

Tennessee at Kentucky. Well, well. Kentucky sits at 7-4; Tennessee at 6-5. Kiffin needs this one bad to finish out the season on a non-sour note. A .500 season wouldn’t look good after the promise the Vols have shown at times. I think the Vols have it together more than Georgia, which is probably the difference in this one.

Vols 27 – 26

In the frenzy of hideous uniforms and inexplicable coaching performances, I let last week’s tally get past me. I only missed Kentucky beating Georgia after picking Ole Miss to win – but not the way they did. For the week: 5-1; for the season: 75-12.

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