As with every week, ESPN writers Sam Khan Jr. and Alex Scarborough size up the weekend's SEC action and pick their winners for each game. Visit our college football PickCenter page for additional information on these games and many more.
Scarborough: Well, Sam, last week was not the kindest to either one of us. It looks like we were both wrong on Ole Miss going out west and beating Cal, and we underestimated Kentucky. I did try to warn you about Tennessee winning a game it was supposed to, though. Overall, our records are 30-5 and 26-9, respectively. You've got some catching up to do, so let's see what this week holds.
Are we in agreement that Tennessee should beat UMass and South Carolina will beat Louisiana Tech? And as far as Syracuse-LSU, I don't suspect you're ready to jump on the Dino Babers upset bandwagon, are you? I like Dino a lot and I'm skeptical of LSU, but I'm not walking out on that ledge today.
Khan: Not in Tiger Stadium, no. I think LSU bounces back this week and we're in agreement on the other two.
Let's start with Florida-Kentucky. I'm impressed with what the Wildcats did last week to South Carolina. The Gators pulled out a dramatic win over Tennessee, but I'm still not impressed with them at this point. I'm taking Kentucky. You saw the Gators up close and personal last week. What do you think?
Scarborough: I think I needed to visit the eye doctor after that game, Sam. It was that hard to watch at times. Those were two of the worst offenses I've seen in a long time. The execution was terrible, and I still can't understand why both coordinators didn't just get the ball into their playmakers' hands. Tennessee should be feeding John Kelly and Marquez Callaway way more than they do. The same goes for Florida and Kardarius Toney.
I'm with you. I like Kentucky to break the streak. I just don't trust Feleipe Franks at this point in his career to read the defense, and we all know that Mark Stoops knows how to call a good defense. I think it will be a close, low-scoring game that Benny Snell ends up deciding late.
But before we move on to the next game, let's say that we're both right. What do you think happens with Jim McElwain? Is it too soon to say he's on the hot seat? I can tell you from being in Gainesville that the natives are awfully restless.
Khan: I think it's a tad early to call it "hot," especially coming off a pair of division titles, but there will certainly be cause for concern, because if the Gators lose, that will be three consecutive ugly performances to start the year, even though one of them was a win. That, as part of a 1-2 start, is not what you want in a division that's basically wide open.
Alright, speaking of hot seats, let's get Auburn-Missouri out of the way. Mizzou was too listless last week for either of us to trust them this week, right? Until they show some signs of life, I have to pick against them, so give me Auburn, despite that the fact they haven't been impressive, either.
Scarborough: Yeah, I just looked at the betting line; Auburn is favored by 18 points. And that's going on the road. So thank our lucky stars we don't pick against the spread, because I don't see Gus Malzahn covering. I like Jarrett Stidham to have a big game, though, and the return of Kerryon Johnson at running back should make a difference.
But really if we're talking hot seats, shouldn't we be talking Arkansas-Texas A&M? I heard some folks calling it the Buyout Bowl. What's your take on both coaching situations and the game itself?
Khan: Buyout Bowl? That's funny, because there's a little bit of truth there. I think Bret Bielema has a longer leash than Kevin Sumlin at this point. Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long doesn't seem in a hurry to make a move and Bielema's buyout at this point is steeper. Sumlin's AD, Scott Woodward, put the public on notice this offseason and put him in a tough spot, so I feel like a loss in a game A&M fans think they should win will start the clock, so to speak.
As for the game, I like the Aggies. Arkansas' offense doesn't give me much confidence and the Razorbacks' special teams is a mess. A&M's defense is quietly getting better and I think the Aggies can run the football. What say you?
Scarborough: Confidence is a word I wouldn't use to describe either of these programs right now. I like Arkansas, and really, it's just a gut feeling. I think Austin Allen will play well and Texas A&M will fade in the second half.
Let's look at Alabama-Vanderbilt now. I'll preface my pick by saying how impressed I've been with Derek Mason and Co. The defense hasn't lost a beat without Zach Cunningham, and the offense is finally at a place where it can win some games. Kyle Shurmur is a legit SEC quarterback.
But with all that said, and while I think Vanderbilt's front seven will give Alabama trouble running the football, I just don't see an upset in the works. Shurmur won't be able to move the football consistently, and Jalen Hurts will make enough plays to pull away late.
Khan: Vanderbilt's defense is good enough to keep this game low-scoring and help the Commodores cover, but you're right, Alabama's defense will make life really difficult on Shurmur, Ralph Webb and Co. Give me the Tide by a couple touchdowns.
All right, now for the most intriguing game of the week, Mississippi State vs. Georgia. I'll take this moment to remind you that "I had that," with Mississippi State upsetting LSU last week. The defense is playing well, the offensive line was great and Nick Fitzgerald was, well, Nick Fitzgerald. I have no reason to jump off the bandwagon now. Clanga.
Scarborough: I'm at a loss with this one. I wasn't just wrong last week, I was loud wrong. I picked LSU by three touchdowns, and I own that. But going on the road to Athens against a confident, ranked Georgia team is tough. Kirby Smart has that defense playing well and there's no underplaying the value of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel running the football. With all that said, though, I'm going to hold my breath and pick Mississippi State. Fitzgerald will make just enough plays with his feet, and I think the difference will be Todd Grantham's defense giving freshman quarterback Jake Fromm fits.