There's a terrific selection of games on tap today, as SEC teams begin playing major opponents both in and out of conference. Hopefully, my picks can measure up. Odds from USA Today.
Mississippi State +8 against Georgia Tech
I like Paul Johnson, and am a big proponent of the triple option. But Tech hasn't had long enough to really install and become familiar with Johnson's offense.
Prediction: Mississippi State 17, Georgia Tech 16
Alabama -9 against Arkansas
The Crimson Tide sport a quality defense (giving up 7.7 points per game thus far this year). The Razorbacks sport an offense that lost two first-round picks at running back.
Prediction: Alabama 24, Arkansas 3
Florida -7.5 against Tennessee
Tim Tebow apparently made a bet with Kenny Chesney: if the Gators win, Chesney must sing "It's Great to be a Florida Gator," while if the Vols win, Tebow has to sing Rocky Top. The faint strains of what is perhaps the most annoying fight song in the country shouldn't be echoing around the interwebs any time soon.
Prediction: Florida 31, Tennessee 17
Vanderbilt +5.5 against Ole Miss
Look out for Vandy! Well - not really - but the Commodores have a decent-enough squad to keep it close.
Prediction: Ole Miss 20, Vanderbilt 17
LSU -2 against Auburn
This game is pretty much a toss-up to me; both teams are terrific on defense, but somewhat lacking on offense. Auburn, though, has debuted a new offense that, without being much more effective, manages to take a lot more chances. Taking chances against very good defenses results in turnovers.
Prediction: LSU 17, Auburn 9
Georgia -6.5 against Arizona State
Look for the Bulldogs to line up and run the ball down the Sun Devils' throat, and for - when Arizona State tries to throw the ball to catch up - Georgia's pass rush to absolutely crush ASU quarterback Rudy Carpenter. This is a big game between quality teams. It could still get ugly.
Prediction: Georgia 38, Arizona State 24
Michigan State -8.5 against Notre Dame
The Irish have looked like quality thus far in the season; still, they'll struggle to stop, or even slow down, MSU halfback Javon Ringer, who last week rushed for a ridiculous 282 yards.
Prediction: Michigan State 31, Notre Dame 21
Last week: 5-3 (still not ideal, but better)
Season: 9-14 (OUCH, but not as much ouch)