Mark Edwards' picks: Tide draws slumping Arkansas; AU will fall
by Mark Edwards
medwards@annistonstar.com
Oct 18, 2013 | 2416 views |  0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alabama will play at home Saturday. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
Alabama will play at home Saturday. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
slideshow
Three weeks into the season, Arkansas appeared it might have enough juice to challenge a team such as Alabama. Four losses later, and that horse has left the barn.

Meanwhile, Auburn visits Texas A&M, the team that drove the final nail into Gene Chizik’s coffin. If you are an Auburn fan and are one of the few who stayed for all four quarters of that 63-21 home loss in 2012, you should’ve gotten 2013 season tickets for free.

Revenge will come some day for the Tigers, but not as long as Johnny Manziel is wearing maroon and white.

Arkansas (3-4) at No. 1 Alabama (6-0): Arkansas was 3-1 against Mike DuBose and 3-1 against Mike Shula. Nobody named Mike is in charge at Alabama any longer, as Nick Saban hasn’t lost to the Razorbacks since hitting Tuscaloosa.

Arkansas ranks fifth in the SEC in rushing offense, but after a slow start, Alabama has rebounded in run defense. The Tide has allowed only 51.5 rushing yards a game in the last four contests.

The Razorbacks have had it tough lately, playing (and losing to) Rutgers, Florida, Texas A&M and South Carolina. It doesn’t get any better today. ... Alabama 34, Arkansas 13.

No. 24 Auburn (5-1) at No. 7 Texas A&M (5-1): Auburn already has two more wins than it had all of last season, but the Tigers have played on the road only once — a loss at LSU.

Texas A&M ranks 113th nationally in total defense, and Auburn can run the ball, ranking seventh nationally in that category.

However, what chance does Auburn have of slowing down the Texas A&M offense, which is No. 3 in the nation? The Tigers give up about 400 yards a game. ... Texas A&M 45, Auburn 31.

No. 5 Florida State (5-0) at Clemson (6-0): It’s been a long time since the nation had such a big matchup that didn’t involve an SEC team. Our state has rooting interests. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is a Pelham native and a former Alabama player and assistant coach. He took over for Tommy Bowden five years ago.

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is a freshman out of Hueytown. He ranks second nationally in passing efficiency with 17 touchdowns and only two interceptions. A big win and a convincing performance today would put him firmly in the Heisman Trophy race.

The same could be said of Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, who is eighth in passing efficiency with 15 touchdowns and two interceptions. ... Florida State 33, Clemson 32.

No. 15 Georgia (4-2) at Vanderbilt (3-3): Georgia gets a break from a schedule that has included Clemson, LSU, South Carolina and Missouri. The Bulldogs give up 33.7 points a game, which is what Vanderbilt averages scoring. ... Georgia 35, Vanderbilt 28.

No. 11 South Carolina (5-1) at Tennessee (3-3): According to Associated Press research, the Vols have lost 19 straight against Top 25 teams. They also have lost three straight to South Carolina. ... South Carolina 28, Tennessee 20.

No. 6 LSU (6-1) at Ole Miss (3-3): LSU’s Odell Beckham ranks second in the country in all-purpose yards to Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews. The Bengal Tigers average 41.4 points a game. ... LSU 38, Ole Miss 24.

No. 9 UCLA (5-0) at No. 13 Stanford (5-1): Stanford has won 12 straight at home, while UCLA is looking to go 6-0 for the first time since 2005. ... Stanford 26, UCLA 21.

No. 22 Florida (4-2) at No. 14 Missouri (6-0): The Gators are missing four starters to injury, but Missouri won’t have starting quarterback James Franklin, who has a bad shoulder. Matty Mauk will make his first career start against a Florida defense that ranks third nationally in yards allowed. ... Florida 20, Missouri 18.

Southern California (4-2) at Notre Dame (4-2): Apparently, reinstating desserts at the training table paid off for interim USC coach Ed Orgeron, who led the Trojans to a 38-31 win over Arizona in last week’s debut. “Give a lineman a cookie, he’s happy,” doesn’t seem like a bad motto.

Notre Dame hasn’t beaten USC at home since 2001. The Irish didn’t play last week, and head coach Brian Kelly is 13-2 when coming off a bye week. ... Notre Dame 30, Southern California 24.

Iowa (4-2) at No. 4 Ohio State (6-0): The Buckeyes are coming off a bye week, and they are riding the nation’s longest win streak at 18 straight.

According to the school, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer’s teams are 34-2 when they have more than a week to prepare. ... Ohio State 28, Iowa 17.

Last week: 6-4.

Overall: 56-14.
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