Sports, Thrill of Victory

SEC’s longest rivalry headlines weekend slate

Georgia gets healthier and heads to Auburn, while Vandy tries to get bowl eligible against Kentucky. Here’s a run-down on that, and all the other Southeastern Conference this week. Lines are according to as of Saturday morning.

Georgia at Auburn (-3): Georgia’s getting some players like Todd Gurley and Chris Conley back, and should be able to put up some points and yards against an Auburn defense that’ll give some up. The question is, though, how healthy is Gurley? I’m not hearing that he’s 100 percent, but if he can play close to it, Georgia may be able to match Auburn at its own game, which is controlling clock and tempo on the ground. That would also open things up for Aaron Murray and Chris Conley, who can burn anyone deep. The issue, though, is that these are still unknowns, than Auburn has run the ball against most everyone, and that Georgia’s defense is not at the level that its offense is. It’s hard to bet against the Tigers given how they blistered Tennessee last week, though if quarterback Nick Marshall starts turning the ball over, the Tigers could get upset — but I’m not picking it. Auburn 38, Georgia 27

Caleb Azubike, last year's SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week, hopes to lead Vandy to bowl eligibility today.

Caleb Azubike, last year’s SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week, hopes to lead Vandy to bowl eligibility today.

Kentucky at Vanderbilt (-12): The Commodores can get bowl eligible in Week 10, huh? That would have seemed incredible three years ago, but incredible is becoming routine under coach James Franklin. The issue for Vanderbilt is that it’s going to have to start moving the ball more than it has — so many points are coming off short fields due to turnovers, and UK doesn’t turn the ball over a lot. On top of that, UK may not be a push-over given how competitive the Wildcats have been in a lot of tough games lately. On the other hand, Franklin has absolutely crushed the teams in their two meetings. I’d like Vandy by more if it were doing better in moving the ball with quarterback Patton Robinette, but I still think VU will find a way to win solidly.

Florida at South Carolina (-12.5): If you thought the Gators’ QB issues were bad under Tyler Murphy, wait and see what happens now that Skyler Mornhinweg takes his first collegiate snap with Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney staring him down on the other side of the line. Florida’s defense is still pretty good, but it’s being asked to do too much as the Gator offense has virtually no chance today. South Carolina 27, Florida 3

Alabama (-23.5) at Mississippi State: These two teams play every year, and since 2007, MSU has come within 17 just once (2011) in that time. Alabama is like a powerful hurricane that picks up more force with each passing week, and if you read me every week, you know my thoughts on State and how it plays against good teams. I just don’t see any scenario under which this game’s close late in the fourth quarter, especially as versatile as ‘Bama has become in running the ball. Alabama 42, Mississippi State 10

Troy at Ole Miss (-28): If you read my blogs each week, you know I think Ole Miss is severely underrated, and I have no question that the Rebels will roll today. The only question is whether they’ll beat that 28-point spread. As good as the Rebels have been, they’ve only really hammered one of the three bad teams on the schedule, and I wonder if Ole Miss might be looking ahead to Missouri and Mississippi State the next two weeks. That’s why I’m picking this: Ole Miss 42, Troy 27