Is Georgia in trouble against an improving Florida team in the Cocktail Party?

Tony Barnhart

Jacksonville, Fla.--We finally got a couple of breaks last week and finished with a solid 4-2 record against the spread:

**--I felt there was no way LSU was going to cover 11 ½ against Auburn because of Auburn’s defense. LSU got over 500 yards but scored only 23 points.

**--Alabama easily covered 32 points against Arkansas despite playing a backup quarterback. Texas A&M easily covered 10 ½ against a Mississippi State team that is going downhill fast.

**--My two losses proved to be very dumb picks. I picked South Carolina (a 41-21 loss to Tennessee) and Notre Dame (a 45-14 loser) to win straight up. Ugly.

So we head into Week 10 with a 30-23-1 record against the spread.

This, my friends, is going to be a November to remember. On with the picks:

The game: Georgia vs. Florida ( (Jacksonville) (plus 6 ½), 3:30 p.m., CBS.

The winner: Georgia.

The score: Georgia 24, Florida 17.

The skinny: This line started at 4 ½ but has grown to the Bulldogs by almost a touchdown. Both teams have had a week off.

Florida would appear to be in better shape heading in the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” They finally are healthy on defense with their two best end rushers, Jabara Zuniga and Jonathan Greenard are ready to go. The key to this game will be whether not Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm can complete enough passes to loosen a Florida defense, which is determined not to let the Georgia running game and D’Andre Swift take control.

This is nothing less than an elimination game for the SEC East championship.

Dawgs win and (barely) cover.

The game: Vanderbilt (plus 15) at South Carolina, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network

The winner: South Carolina

The score: South Carolina 28, Vanderbilt 10

The skinny: South Carolina, which upset No. 3 Georgia just three weeks ago, is coming off a brutal 41-21 loss at Tennessee, which puts them at 3-5 with only four games left against Vanderbilt, Appalachian State, at Texas A&M and Clemson. Winning three of those will be a tall order. Getting back home gives South Carolina a sense of urgency. Gamecocks win and cover.

The Game: Mississippi State at Arkansas (plus 7 ½ ), 4 p.m., SEC Network.

The winner: Mississippi State

The score: Miss. State 31, Arkansas 10.

The skinny: Two teams in desperate need of a win. Mississippi State (3-5, 1-4), has lost four straight games and five of their last six. So the Bulldogs have to find three wins in their last four games with Arkansas, Alabama, Abilene Christian, and Ole Miss. I believe they will beat Arkansas and Abilene Christian and it will all come down to the Egg Bowl.

Arkansas has conference games remaining with Mississippi State, LSU, and Missouri. The Hogs have to win one to avoid going 0-8 the conference for the second straight year. Their best shot is this game. Too bad. Mississippi State wins and covers.

The game: Ole Miss (plus 19) at Auburn, 7 p.m., ESPN

The winner: Ole Miss.

The score: Auburn 28, Ole Miss 13.

The skinny: Auburn’s only two losses are both on the road to No. 6 Florida and to No. 1 LSU. The Tigers’ defense was great last week holding the LSU offense (50.1 points per game) to only 23 points. It appears unlikely that Auburn can win the SEC championship but with Georgia (Nov. 16) and Alabama (Nov. 30) coming to Jordan-Hare Stadium the Tigers can have a say about who does. This will be the first of four straight home games for Auburn. Auburn may look sluggish but they it will win. But they won’t cover the 19.

The game: UAB (plus 12) at Tennessee, Time TBA SEC Network.

The winner: Tennessee

The score: Tennessee 31, UAB 17.

The skinny: Tennessee (3-5, 2-3) had its most complete game of the season last week beating South Carolina 41-21 in Columbia. Now the rejuvenated Volunteers are hoping for a good November surge that will get them into a bowl—something that did not seem possible just a few weeks ago. But while everybody is patting Tennessee on the back, they had better look out for the UAB Blazers of Bill Clark (6-1), whose only loss this season was at Western Kentucky (20-13). Tennessee wins and covers.

The game: UTSA (plus 38) at Texas A&M, Time TBD

The winner: Texas A&M

The score: Texas A&M 45, USTA 3.

The skinny: Texas A&M (5-3, 3-2) played one of its most complete games of the season in beating Mississippi State last week and need a win against USTA (3-4) in order to become bowl eligible. That’s important because the Aggies’ final three games are South Carolina at home followed by No. 8 Georgia and No. 1 LSU on the road. Kellin Mond has another big day and the Aggies cover.


Tony Barnhart