Weekend Predictions: Downgraded LSU-Bama rivalry still shines

Posted: November 3, 2017 at 2:49 a.m.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban, right, greets LSU interim head coach Ed Orgeron after their NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. Alabama won 10-0. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

There's a full slate of SEC games this week, including four nonconference match-ups that should help teams who are struggling.

Despite the up-and-down season, LSU is involved in the biggest game this week at Alabama -- although it doesn't have the excitement it has in the past because of LSU's inconsistent offense.

Last week was a good week, going 6-1 to bring the season record to 64-16.

Here's this week's picks:

Coastal Carolina at Arkansas

Homecoming has a forecast of partly cloudy and 76 degrees, which means a good crowd for the payday game. The Razorbacks need to make this a November to remember by winning out, but LSU and Mississippi State are improving. Missouri is a mystery team, and yes the Chanticleers deserve more respect this Saturday -- they did play Arkansas State University to within 34 (losing 51-17) and they have a fine punter. Arkansas 63-10.

LSU at Alabama

This once was a glorious rivalry that determined half the SEC Championship Game, but the Tide have continued to improve every year while the Tigers have struggled to find a quarterback -- and on a lot of Saturdays an offense, period. It might be a little closer than expected, but only as close as Nick Saban allows it to be. Alabama 35-20.

Auburn at Texas A&M

Gus Malzahn and Kevin Sumlin are not popular with their fans, who want a change. The Tigers are in a fight for second place in the SEC West, their only losses at Clemson and at LSU by a combined 12 points. The Aggies are coming off a huge home loss to Mississippi State, 35-14. Auburn 28-17.

Florida at Missouri

Randy Shannon may not have a shot at having the interim taken off his title as Gators coach, but closing out in fine fashion would put him in line for a head coaching job elsewhere. The Tigers will have to score a bunch to win this one. Florida 17-14.

South Carolina at Georgia

To put it simply, Will Muschamp's alma mater is about to put a whupping on him. Kirby Smart is having the season everyone unfairly expected last year when he was a rookie head coach. The Bulldogs are almost as good as the Crimson Tide. Both can score and are stingy on defense. Georgia 23-14.

Ole Miss at Kentucky

It seems a bit odd that the Wildcats are already bowl eligible, but all the wolves howling for head coaches' heads are busy elsewhere in the SEC. The Rebels couldn't protect a 24-point lead against the Hogs. This is a season to forget for the Rebels. Things will get better though. Kentucky 35-21.

UMass at Mississippi State

The Bulldogs are the surprise team of the SEC. They were picked to finish last in the SEC West in the preseason, but there's no way that is happening now. Mississippi State 42-10.

Southern Miss at Tennessee

The Golden Eagles are inconsistent, having won some big games but they also lost some they shouldn't have. Probably the only way they win this game is if the Volunteers have quit. Winless in SEC play and 3-5 overall is a heavy burden. Their last win was against UMass 17-13. Problem is there are no ties in college football. Tennessee 17-14.

Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt

Unless you went to school at either place, there isn't much interest in this game. Vandy is winless in SEC play and has been outscored 233-100 by conference foes. The Hilltoppers need a victory to become bowl eligible. The Commodores started the season with three wins and have since lost five in a row. Vanderbilt 21-17.

Sports on 11/03/2017