SEC Football Capsules: Week 13 Predictions

Friday

No.

7 LSU (9-2, 5-2 SEC) at Arkansas (4-7, 2-5)

Where:

Fayetteville, Ark., Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium

When:

2:30 p.m.

The

blitz: After suffering a scare in their final home game of the season, the LSU

Tigers should come out ready to go in this one. Even after giving up 35 points

to Donte Moncrief and the Ole Miss offense, LSU’s defense still ranks top-10 in

the country and should be able to contain the No. 88 scoring offense nationally

– especially one that kills itself with turnovers. The Razorbacks are playing

for little other than pride, while the Tigers have a BCS bowl bid potentially

on the line. It’s unlikely Les Miles will need another inspired (and hilarious)

post-game speech to media members.

Pick:

LSU, 27-13

 

Saturday

Georgia Tech (6-5) at No. 3 Georgia (10-1, 7-1)

Where: Athens, Ga., Sanford

Stadium

When: Noon

The blitz: In terms of national

importance, this game could not mean less to Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets

already clinched a spot in the ACC title game thanks to Miami’s self-imposed

bowl ban, and, at 6-6, are simply playing for a more respectable

middle-of-the-pack bowl. But for Georgia, everything is at stake, as the

Bulldogs are two wins away from playing for the BCS title. A week removed from

facing Georgia Southern’s triple-option attack, Georgia’s 18th-ranked

scoring defense should not be overmatched or confused by much. And points are

never a problem against Paul Johnson’s defense. So it’s really a matter of

avoiding injuries before the upcoming matchup with Alabama in the SEC title

game.

Pick:

 Georgia, 41-17

Kentucky (2-9, 0-7) at Tennessee (4-7,

0-7)

Where:  Knoxville, Tenn., Neyland Stadium

When:   12:21 p.m.

The blitz:  It’s a shame this game took place so late in the

season, because it could have provided an SEC win to bank on for both now-former

coaches, Joker Phillips and Derek Dooley, each of whom were fired before

logging a conference win this season. The Volunteers will have an interim coach

on the sidelines for this one (Jim Chaney), and his team might just get a win

against the toothless Wildcats’ offense. Kentucky is playing much more inspired

than Tennesee – even carrying Phillips off the field after last week’s win –

but as long as Tyler Bray gets back on track, the Volunteers’ offense will be

too explosive.

Pick:

Tennessee,

33-21

Vanderbilt (7-4, 5-3) at Wake Forest

(5-6)

Where: Winston-Salem, N.C.,

Groves Stadium

When: 3:30 p.m.

The blitz: James Franklin has done one of the best jobs in the

country this season, transforming Vanderbilt into an seven-win team already, so

perhaps its fitting he travels to play another headman (Jim Grobe) who knows something

about getting the most out of limited resources. The 2012 season has not been

kind to the Demon Deacons, and the Commodores balanced attack and disciplined

defense does not spell out better news. Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews has

been a matchup nightmare even for SEC opponents – 101.64 receiving yards per

game, 12th nationally – so expect his quarterback, Jordan Rodgers,

to find him early and often. Vanderbilt gets its sixth straight win.

Pick:

 Vanderbilt, 27-20

No. 4 Florida (10-1, 7-1) at No. 10 Florida State (10-1)

Where: Tallahassee, Fla., Doak

Campbell Stadium

When:  3:30

p.m.

The blitz:  Put this rivalry game right there with

Georgia-Georgia Tech, Alabama-Auburn and Notre Dame-USC in terms of BCS

implications. Both Florida schools still have a shot at the national title,

especially if the No. 1 Irish are upset in Los Angeles Saturday. At No. 4 in

the BCS standings, Florida has the best shot at the crystal ball, but has not played

well offensively of late. Safe to say, the Gators’ performances against

Louisiana-Lafayette and Jacksonville State will not suffice in keeping up with

the 14th-ranked offense. Can Florida lean on its defense once

more?

Pick: Florida State, 24-21

 

Auburn

(3-8, 0-7) at No. 2 Alabama (10-1, 6-1)

Where:  Tuscaloosa, Ala., Bryant-Denny Stadium

When: 3:30 p.m.

The blitz:  Let’s be honest here, nobody expects this one to

be close. It will be surprising If this is even a three-score game at halftime,

as the Auburn Tigers have struggled to score on practically everyone, much less

Nick Saban’s defense. With the Crimson Tide’s renewed season – Saban’s team

needs just two wins to play for the national title – the home team will not

take this one lightly. Barring uncharacteristic turnovers (like against Texas

A&M), this one should be over quickly.

Pick:  Alabama, 38-9

 

Mississippi

State (8-3, 4-3) at Ole Miss (5-6, 2-5) 


Where: Oxford, Miss., Vaught-Hemingway

Stadium

When: 7 p.m.

The blitz: For the first time

in years, the Egg Bowl features two intriguing teams, as Ole Miss’ revival and

Mississippi State’s ongoing consistency under Dan Mullen continues. If both

coaches stay put, this could be the first in a long line of interesting

end-of-the-season rivalry games in Mississippi. The Rebels’ offense was

clicking on most cylinders versus LSU last week, but was unable to close the

game out with the upset. Mississippi State is not LSU, but the Bulldogs’ secondary

will present quarterback Bo Wallace and his receivers with plenty resistance (4th-best

turnover margin in the country). LaDarius Perkins’ versatility out of the

backfield (10 total touchdowns) will be the key for Mullen’s squad to pull

through.

Pick:  Mississippi

State, 31-24

 

No.

12 South Carolina (9-2, 6-2) at No. 11 Clemson (10-1) 


Where: Clemson, S.C.,

Memorial Stadium

When:  7 p.m.

The blitz: A Tigers’ home game – at not-the-real Death Valley,

according to Steve Spurrier – should provide all the emotional backdrop needed

for a hard-fought rivalry game. The real question: Who is going to stop Tajh

Boyd? With a flurry of offense in the closing weeks of the season, Boyd now has

41 total touchdowns and is the second-rated quarterback nationally, hopping

right back into the mix for a wide-open Heisman race. This could be his

signature moment, as long as he can avoid the dynamic pass rush of ends

Jadaveon Clowney and Devin Taylor. South Carolina’s offense has (as expected)

not been the same without star running back Marcus Lattimore, even being held

to just seven points through three quarter against Wofford, so can quarterback

Connor Shaw muster enough firepower to keep this rivalry firmly in the grasp of

the Gamecocks?

Pick: Clemson. 38-28

 

Missouri

(5-6, 2-5) at No. 9 Texas A&M (9-2, 5-2)  


Where: College Station, Texas, Kyle Field

When:  7 p.m.

The blitz:  This

game is on the radar for one reason and one reason only: Johnny Manziel. As the

freshman who is second in the country in total offense and has 38 touchdowns on

his resume looks to make Heisman history, he won’t find himself on the national

stage for his final game before voting takes place, so he’ll need to make it

extra special against an underwhelming Tigers defense which has allowed 79

combined points over the past two games. The other conference newcomers have

not had similar success as Texas A&M in its inaugural SEC season, and that

is not likely to change as coach Kevin Sumlin surges forward with his National

Coach of the Year campaign.

Pick:  Texas A&M,

45-20