The Fearless Friday Forecast:
1. Arkansas at Auburn: This game features the two hottest quarterbacks in the SEC in Ryan Mallett of Arkansas and Cameron Newton of Auburn. I’m giving the edge to Auburn at home and because the Tigers will be able to run the ball with Newton and Michael Dyer and limit Mallett’s posssessions. Auburn will also play a little more defense with Nick Fairley up front. Auburn 27, Arkansas 21.
2. Vanderbilt at Georgia: The Bulldogs finally showed some signs of life last week in beating Tennessee 41-14 and should be able to take care of a Vanderbilt team that is still having some issues on offense (11th in the SEC in scoring) when running back Warren Norman does not have a big game. UGA VIII starts with a win. Georgia 28, Vanderbilt 10.
3. Middle Tennessee State at Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets take a break from conference action to play the Blue Raiders of Rick Stockstill. MTSU will be playing its second game with quarterback Dwight Dasher, who sat out the first four games of the season on suspension. Dasher is a good athlete but Tech rolls and starts getting ready for next week’s big trip to Clemson. Georgia Tech 31, MTSU 10.
4. South Carolina at Kentucky: South Carolina’s upset of No. 1 Alabama last Saturday has the Gamecocks’ fans dreaming of their first-ever trip to the SEC championship game. But those same fans have seen their hopes dashed before when the Gamecocks have stumbled after a big win. If Kentucky RB Derrick Locke (shoulder) can’t go, that changes this game significantly. The Cats’ Randall Cobb is good, but South Carolina wins because of defense. South Carolina 24, Kentucky 20.
5. Ohio State at Wisconsin: Ohio State just moved to No. 1 but the Buckeyes have to play on Saturday night at Camp Randall Stadium, where the Badgers are 40-4 since 2004. Make that 41-4. Our Upset Special for this week: Wisconsin 17, Ohio State 16.
6. Maryland at Clemson: After three straight losses to Auburn, Miami, and North Carolina, Clemson really needs a win against the 4-1 Terps. Maryland has won three of its last four meetings with the Tigers but Clemson gets it done at home. Clemson 24, Maryland 20.
7. Ole Miss at Alabama: Yes, I know. Ole Miss has had a week off and Alabama is coming of its first regular season loss since the 2007 season. Doesn’t matter. Alabama and Nick Saban are mad, refocused, and have to take it out on somebody. That somebody will be Houston Nutt and the Rebels. Alabama 31, Ole Miss 10.
8. Mississippi State at Florida: For only the second time since Urban Meyer became coach in 2005, Florida has lost two straight games. The Gators have never lost three in a row under Meyer. It will be an ugly game because Florida’s offense is, well, ugly. Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, the former OC at Florida, will not have a pleasant Homecoming. Florida 21, Miss. State 10.
9. Texas at Nebraska: Some of the national spice got taken out of this game when the Longhorns dropped two straight games to UCLA and Oklahoma. But the folks at Nebraska have had this one circled on the calendar since last December then they lost a controversial Big 12 championship game to the Longhorns. This will be the last time these two teams will meet as members of the Big 12. Nebraska wants it to be a game to remember. Nebraska 23, Texas 14.
10. North Carolina at Virginia: The Tar Heels have had a season of distractions but they are still very much in the ACC Coastal race. The Tar Heels haven’t won in Charlottesville since 1981. That changes Saturday. North Carolina 27, Virginia 20.
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