Should No. 4 Georgia be on upset alert at Auburn?

Tony Barnhart

After a 5-1 record the week before, your humble scribe fell back down to Earth at 3-3 last week.

The misses:

**--I picked Alabama to beat LSU because the Crimson Tide had won 48 of its last 49 games at home and had Nick Saban coaching them. Neither was enough to overcome LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.

**--Appalachian State had already beaten North Carolina so I didn’t think the Mountaineers could also beat South Carolina in Columbia. But they did 20-15.

**--As bad as Arkansas was, I didn’t think the Hogs could lose at home to Western Kentucky. Arkansas got embarrassed 45-19 and fired their coach, Chad Morris.

The hits: Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida all won.

That gives us a respectable record of 38-27-1 against the spread for the season.

We have four Saturdays left in the 2019 season. Man it has gone by fast.

On to the picks:

The game: Georgia at Auburn (plus 3), 3:30 p.m., CBS

The winner: Georgia.

The score: Georgia 21, Auburn 17.

The skinny: This will be an old-fashioned, slobber knocker, in the trenches game. Georgia is second nationally in scoring defense (10.10 ppg) and has not given up a rushing touchdown this season. Auburn is one of only six teams in the country to hold every opponent this season to 24 points or fewer. Earlier this season it held LSU’s explosive offense (46.8 ppg) to only 23 points. Georgia has an advantage at quarterback with Jake Fromm (31-6 as a starter). Auburn holds the edge on the defensive line with Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson, who will both be making a lot of money in the NFL next season. I’m picking Georgia to win and the cover, but an Auburn win would not be a surprise.

The game: Alabama at Mississippi State (plus 21), Noon, ESPN.

The winner: Alabama.

The score: Alabama 42, Miss. State 17.

The skinny: The big question here is whether or not Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (ankle) will play and if he does, how long will he play? Tagovailoa was limping at times against LSU and still threw for 418 yards and four touchdowns. So does Alabama rest him this week and again next week (Western Carolina) so that he can get well for the monster game at Auburn on Nov. 30? Alabama is at No. 5 in the College Football Playoff rankings and doesn’t need an ugly game at this point in the season. It won’t be pretty but Alabama wins and covers.

The game: LSU at Ole Miss (plus 21), 7 p.m., ESPN.

The winner: LSU.

The score: LSU 42, Ole Miss 20.

The skinny: LSU (9-0) is No. 1 and has a seemingly easy path to the SEC championship game with games against Ole Miss (4-5), Arkansas (2-8), and Texas A&M (6-3). So the Tigers need to keep winning and keep winning convincingly. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow threw for 393 yards and three touchdowns last week against Alabama and could all but lock up the Heisman Trophy with another dominant performance. LSU wins and gets a late score to cover.

The game: Florida at Missouri (plus 7), Noon, CBS.

The winner: Florida.

The score: Florida 28, Missouri 14.

The skinny: This game will get Florida’s attention for two reasons:

1—Florida (5-2 SEC) is still in the hunt for the SEC East. If the Gators beat Missouri at Noon, they will tune in to watch Georgia play at Auburn at 3:30 p.m. If Georgia (5-1 SEC), loses to Auburn and then loses at home to Texas A&M on Nov. 23, the Florida goes to the SEC championship game.

2—Last season Missouri went into the Swamp and thumped the Gators (which would go on to finish 10-3) by the score of 38-17. The season before that Florida went to Missouri and got boat raced 45-16. Florida beat Vanderbilt 56-0 last week.

The game: Kentucky at Vanderbilt (plus 10), 3:30 p.m., SEC Network.

The winner: Kentucky.

The score: Kentucky 24, Vanderbilt 13.

The skinny: After leading 13-3, Kentucky lost a 17-13 heartbreaker last week at home against Tennessee. Kentucky continues to build its offense around wide receiver turned quarterback Lynn Bowden, Jr., with mixed results. The only team struggling more on offense than Kentucky is Vanderbilt (2-7), which has lost four of its last five and has scored only 23 points in those four losses. Kentucky (4-5) needs to win two of its last three games with Vanderbilt, UT Martin, and Louisville to go to its fourth straight bowl under Coach Mark Stoops.

The game: South Carolina (plus 11) at Texas A&M, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network.

The winner: Texas A&M.

The score: Texas A&M 31, South Carolina 17.

The skinny: Since upsetting Georgia on Oct. 12, South Carolina (4-6, 3-4) has gone into a decided nose dive, losing four of its last five games. The status of Coach Will Muschamp, which seemed to be secure just a month ago, seems uncertain. South Carolina needs a win to keep its bowl hopes alive, but next week the Gamecocks host No. 3 Clemson. Texas A&M (6-3) wants to pick up its seventh win because the Aggies close with road games at No. 4 Georgia and No. 1 LSU.

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Tony Barnhart

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