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Vince’s Vibe – Thanksgiving Week picks (Week 13)

Here’s the complete schedule of SEC football games this weekend with details, analysis and a score prediction for each game.

My record last week picking SEC games was 5-2. My record after week 12, straight-up, is 76-15 (56 %.)

The SEC has 8 bowl eligible teams at the moment. Ole Miss and Missouri can get to a bowl game with wins on Saturday. The Southeastern Conference has 9 bowl tie-ins this year. If both Ole Miss and Missouri lose, and the SEC gets one team into the BCS Championship Game, the league will have seven teams left for nine bowl games. That means the bottom two bowls (Advocare V100 Independence Bowl in Shreveport and BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham) would need to go outside the league to find teams. That’s just something to look for this weekend that doesn’t happen often with the strength and depth of the SEC.

Schedule for Friday, November 23

*Rankings are BCS

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

2:30 p.m. ET / 1:30 p.m. CT • CBS Sports

Fayetteville, Ark. • Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium (72,000)

Vince’s Vibe: Arkansas, much like Ole Miss, frequently gives Ole Miss trouble, even when LSU is much better. I wouldn’t be shocked if that happens again here. The game is in Fayetteville and you could see an inspired Razorbacks team showing some appreciation for John L. Smith in his final game as head coach. The outcome, however, will be as expected. Arkansas starts 4 freshmen and 2 sophomores on a defense that’s been hit hard by injuries all season. LSU has found some offense in recent weeks. LSU is too physical and talented.

Winner: LSU 37-17

 

Schedule for Saturday, November 24

Georgia Tech (6-5) at #3 Georgia (10-1, 7-1 SEC)

12 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. CT • ESPN

Athens, Ga. • Sanford Stadium (92,746)

Vince’s Vibe: No team in the SEC is benefitting from its easy FCS game last week (7 of them had an FCS opponent) more than the Georgia Bulldogs. Not only did Georgia get to look ahead to its rivalry game with Georgia Tech because of last week’s light opponent, but it actually had a chance to play and prepare for the same triple-option offense of Georgia Southern that GT runs. That’s either extremely shrewd scheduling or a very lucky break. It is typically very difficult to prepare for the Yellow Jackets in one week. UGA basically had two weeks, which is a big advantage. Georgia is #1 in the country in passing efficiency. I think the Dawgs will get big plays in the passing game, and win this game going away.

Winner: Georgia 52-21

 

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

12:21 p.m. ET / 11:21 a.m. CT • SEC Network

Knoxville, Tenn. • Neyland Stadium / Shields-Watkins Field (102,455)

Vince’s Vibe: This game features two more coaching firings than conference wins between them. Joker Phillips will coach Kentucky for the final time. You will never see Derek Dooley on the Tennessee sideline again, as he was fired on Sunday. OC Jim Chaney is the interim coach. I’d expect a lot of passing from the pass-loving Chaney, now that he doesn’t have anyone leaning on him to keep running the ball. What does Chaney have to lose? He won’t be a candidate for the Vols head coaching job. He may never get to be a head coach again. Why not do it your way in maybe your only chance to run a team on a Saturday. This game features two of the top six tacklers in the country (UK’s Avery Williamson – 3rd and UT’s A.J. Johnson – 6th, both at over 11 tackles per game.) Tyler Bray starts at QB despite being pulled in the loss to Vanderbilt and looking somewhat disinterested in the game. He and the receivers should put-up big numbers in this game. The Vols defense will make Kentucky look dynamic too, as has been the case for most of UT’s opponents. I think Tennessee will make some mistakes, as usual, but it will play looser and from ahead. Tennessee will get SEC win number one.

Winner: Tennessee 49-35

 

Auburn (3-8, 0-7 SEC) at #2 Alabama (10-1, 6-1 SEC)

3:30 p.m. ET / 2:30 p.m. CT • CBS Sports

Tuscaloosa, Ala. • Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,821)

Vince’s Vibe: Don’t think that Alabama players and coaches will take Auburn lightly. They all will savor a beat-down in Bryant Denny Stadium of their Iron Bowl rival. Bama opened as a 34 point favorite. It’s down a little bit from that now. I don’t think the points are enough. Auburn can’t hang with Alabama when the Crimson Tide isn’t motivated. Problem is, Alabama will be highly motivated. A trip back to the national championship is in sights for the Crimson Tide if it takes care of business. Bama will be sharp and determined to beat the hated Tigers, and get back at Auburn for ruining their season two years ago. This will get ugly, my friends.

Winner: Alabama 48-3

 

Vanderbilt (7-4, 5-3 SEC) at Wake Forest (5-6)

3:30 p.m. ET / 2:30 p.m. CT • ESPNU

Winston-Salem, N.C. • BB&T Field (31,500)

Vince’s Vibe: Does Vandy have a letdown following a tasty, dominating spanking of the Tennessee Volunteers last Saturday night in Nashville? I don’t think so. HC James Franklin has the team as confident as I’ve ever seen a Vanderbilt team. Vandy will win its 8th (yes, that’s right) game of the season. That’s only been done once before in VU history. Wake Forest isn’t as good as some past feisty Demon Deacons teams have been. The ‘Dores get it done on the road.

Winner: Vanderbilt 30-10

 

#4 Florida (10-1, 7-1 SEC) at #10 Florida State (10-1)

3:30 p.m. ET / 2:30 p.m. CT • ABC Sports

Tallahassee, Fla. • Doak Campbell Stadium (82,300)

Vince’s Vibe: This is another SEC vs. ACC matchup. Both of these teams still have outside shots at the national championship. Florida needs to just win and hope for help. Florida State needs to win in impressive fashion and hope a lot happens in front of it. Florida continues to struggle on offense. The defense is one of the best in the country (3rd – under 12 ppg.) Florida State is more balanced and more explosive (14th in offense, 5th in defense.) FSU QB E.J. Manuel is playing well, better than Jeff Driskel. I think this is a fairly low-scoring game with the Seminoles making enough early and late plays to win it.

Winner: Florida State 23-16

 

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

7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • ESPNU

Oxford, Miss. • Vaught-Hemingway Stadium / Hollingsworth Field (60,580)

Vince’s Vibe: Ole Miss gave LSU all it wanted last week in a heartbreaking road defeat late. A bowl berth is on the line for the Rebels under first-year head coach Hugh Freeze. I don’t know how much MSU can improve its bowl slot position with a win. It is the Egg Bowl, so state bragging rights are on the line. The Bulldogs have owned the state during the Mullen era. I think Ole Miss will give State’s defense fits and win a close, high-scoring game.

Winner: Ole Miss 41-38

 

Missouri (5-6, 2-5 SEC) at #9 Texas A&M (9-2, 5-2 SEC)

7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • ESPN2

College Station, Texas • Kyle Field (82,589)

Vince’s Vibe: Texas A&M needs a win to keep its BCS Bowl game hopes alive. These two know each other well from the Big 12. Texas A&M has made the transition to the SEC much better than Missouri. Mizzou can’t defend the dual-threat of QB Johnny Manziel. This will be another incredible statistical game for the Aggies offense. It will keep Missouri from a bowl game as well

Winner: Texas A&M 42-14

 

#12 South Carolina (9-2, 6-2 SEC) at #11 Clemson (10-1)

7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • ESPN

Clemson, S.C. • Clemson Memorial Stadium (82,500)

Vince’s Vibe: I’m very disappointed in this South Carolina team. I think their weak performance versus Wofford last week tells you about their motivation (or lack thereof) for the rest of the season. Clemson meanwhile continues to dominate games offensively and with their team speed. The defense still gives up points but the offense is rolling as good as anyone right now. QB Taj Boyd is playing out of his mind (8 total TDs last week) and the wide receiving group is as good as it gets in the country. Clemson hands it to the hated Gamecocks at home in similar fashion to last year’s 21 point win by SC.

Winner: Clemson 38-17

 

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