The Alabama/Auburn game headlines the weekend for state football fans. There are plenty of other interesting games, too.
Let’s get to the picks:
No. 3 Alabama (10-1) at Auburn (6-5): If this was a better Auburn team, I’d pick the Tigers. Weird things happen to Alabama when the Tide enters Jordan-Hare. Exceptionally weird.
It doesn’t matter if Alabama is better or not — unless Auburn isn’t very good. That’s the case this year, as the slumping Tigers have lost three in a row. More importantly, they don’t have their ace quarterback (Bo Nix) or ace kicker (Anders Carleson).
One feature of Jordan-Hare I’m curious to see if Nick Saban has figured out: in the fourth quarter, make sure your offense isn’t heading toward the end zone with the Jumbotron and big speakers. Those didn’t help Alabama’s issues with false-start penalties in the fourth quarter of the loss at Auburn two years ago. … Alabama 34, Auburn 20.
Missouri (6-5) at No. 25 Arkansas (7-4): Arkansas ranks 14th in the country in rushing offense, while Missouri ranks 125th out of 130 teams in rushing defense. … Arkansas 31, Missouri 17.
No. 1 Georgia (11-0) at Georgia Tech (3-8): Georgia ranks No. 1 nationally in total defense and scoring defense. The Bulldogs have won three straight over Georgia Tech, and none has been close. This one won’t be either. … Georgia 34, Georgia Tech 9.
No. 2 Ohio State (10-1) at No. 5 Michigan (10-1): Ohio State has won the last eight in this series and 15 of the past 16. The one loss came in 2011 when Ohio State was 6-7 and that was by only six points.
Ohio State leads the nation in scoring and yards. … Ohio State 35, Michigan 24.
Penn State (7-4) at No. 12 Michigan State (9-2): Penn State and its coach, James Franklin, are reported to have agreed to a 10-year contract. Last week, it was reported that Michigan State was preparing a 10-year contract to offer head coach Mel Tucker. If MSU nosedives, how will that affect the offer? … Penn State 24, Michigan State 21.
No. 15 Texas A&M (8-3) at LSU (5-6): LSU’s wins this year have come against McNeese State, Central Michigan, Mississippi State, Florida and Louisiana Monroe. … Texas A&M 31, LSU 10.
Florida State (5-6) at Florida (5-6): After Jacksonville State beat Florida State, I never thought we’d get to this point in the year with John Grass, Dan Mullen and Ed Orgeron out of jobs while FSU’s Mike Norvell still has his. … Florida State 27, Florida 24.
Vanderbilt (2-9) at Tennessee (6-5): One of the Vols’ losses came to Florida, and it’s easy to imagine they wish they could replay that one now. UT is 11th nationally in scoring and 15th in yards. … Tennessee 38, Vanderbilt 10.
Kentucky (8-3) at Louisville (6-5): Kentucky has won its last two games against Louisville 56-10 and 45-13. … Kentucky 31, Louisville 22.
No. 23 Clemson (8-3) at South Carolina (6-5): After early issues with a sputtering offense, Clemson has won four straight, and the Tigers have scored at least 30 in each. … Clemson 31, South Carolina 17.
No. 16 Iowa (9-2) at Nebraska (3-8): Nebraska has maybe the weirdest stat in college football: Even though the Huskers are 3-8, they’ve outscored their opponents by 70. They’re 1-7 in the Big Ten but have outscored opposing teams by seven.
Nebraska beat Fordham 52-7, Buffalo 28-3 and Big Ten foe Northwestern 56-7. The Huskers have lost six games by seven points or less, one by eight points and another by nine. On Saturday against Iowa, they’ll start Muscle Shoals graduate Logan Smothers at quarterback. … Iowa 24, Nebraska 23.
Last week: 7-3. Missed on Auburn’s loss at South Carolina and Jacksonville State’s loss at Eastern Kentucky. Also missed on Missouri’s win over Florida.