Mark Edwards' college predictions: Tide, AU face minor tests; JSU will win
by Mark Edwards
medwards@annistonstar.com
Oct 25, 2013 | 3087 views |  0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Auburn now stands at No. 4 in the AP poll and fifth in the coaches rankings. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
Auburn now stands at No. 4 in the AP poll and fifth in the coaches rankings. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
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Don’t expect much drama at the home games of either of our state’s two power teams.

Alabama is favored by 28 to beat Tennessee, which is two points more than the Crimson Tide was favored to beat Kentucky.

Auburn is favored by 23.5 to beat Florida Atlantic, which won’t offer much of a challenge.

This week, Nick Saban blasted Tide fans who leave home games early — University of Alabama students, he’s talking about you — but Auburn might have a bigger problem with the crowd not sticking around, especially with kickoff not coming until 6:30 p.m.

Tennessee (4-3) at No. 1 Alabama (7-0): After giving up an incredible 42 points to Texas A&M earlier in the year, Alabama’s defense has rolled. The Crimson Tide has allowed only 16 points in the last five games.

Even the great Alabama defense of 1992 and 2011 didn’t have a stretch like that. The last time Alabama did better was a five-game stretch to start the 1979 season, in which the Tide allowed only nine points.

Even with that performance against Texas A&M, Alabama still leads the nation by allowing only 9.7 points a game. The Tide has given up eight touchdowns (six to A&M), and that leads the nation. ... Alabama 35, Tennessee 9.

Florida Atlantic (2-5) at No. 11 Auburn (6-1): The Tigers are brimming with all sorts of confidence, which is something they lacked a year ago.

It shows most up front, where Auburn is third in the SEC in sacks and tied with Arkansas for fewest sacks allowed. ... Auburn 45, Florida Atlantic 13.

Jacksonville State (5-2) at Tennessee Tech (3-5): Watson Brown coaches Tennessee Tech, and from what data I can find, he appears to be college football’s losingest coach with 195 defeats. He broke a tie coming into the year with Amos Alonzo Stagg, who coached 555 games to Brown’s 322.

Tech has lost its last three and all four in the Ohio Valley Conference. On top of that, Tech is facing a JSU team that got a much-needed bye last week. ... Jacksonville State 34, Tennessee Tech 18.

No. 20 South Carolina (5-2) at No. 5 Missouri (7-0): Missouri beat Florida last week, despite not having its starting quarterback, James Franklin, who will miss this one too with a separated shoulder.

South Carolina won’t have its quarterback either, as Connor Shaw is down with a sprained knee. ... Missouri 24, South Carolina 22.

No. 12 UCLA (5-1) at No. 2 Oregon (7-0): UCLA is coming off a loss at Stanford and must now play at Oregon, which has scored at least 45 points in every game this year. ... Oregon 48, UCLA 24.

Penn State (4-2) at No. 4 Ohio State (7-0): Penn State is coming off a bye week, and before that, the Nittany Lions scored an inspired overtime win over Michigan. However, Penn State still is the team that lost to Indiana and Central Florida. ... Ohio State 31, Penn State 20.

No. 6 Baylor (6-0) at Kansas (2-4): For all Oregon fans who believe their team deserves a place in the BCS National Championship Game because their high-scoring offense should be showcased against a defensive-minded SEC team, pay attention to Baylor.

The Bears score, too, and they do it better. They’re first in the nation in total offense and scoring, averaging 64.7 points a game. Their quarterback, Bryce Petty, leads the nation in passing efficiency — not Oregon’s Marcus Mariotta.

Kansas, by contrast, is No. 118 nationally in total offense. ... Baylor 51, Kansas 15.

North Carolina State (3-3) at No. 3 Florida State (6-0): N.C. State has won two of the last three against the Seminoles. FSU’s Jameis Winston is second nationally in passing efficiency. ... Florida State 38, N.C. State 21.

Vanderbilt (4-3) at No. 14 Texas A&M (5-2): Texas A&M leads the SEC in scoring offense but is last in rushing defense, scoring defense and total defense. ... Texas A&M 45, Vanderbilt 38.

Furman (3-4) at No. 13 LSU (6-2): LSU has won 44 straight regular-season games against non-conference opponents, which is the best nationally. ... LSU 44, Furman 9.

Last week: 5-5. (In case you’re curious, I missed on LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Auburn-Texas A&M, but got Alabama, Ohio State, FSU-Clemson, Stanford-UCLA and Notre Dame-USC.

Overall: 61-19.
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