Mark Edwards' picks: No sweep this week: AU will fall
by Mark Edwards
medwards@annistonstar.com
Sep 20, 2013 | 3479 views |  0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Auburn wide receiver Trovon Reed is hoping to celebrate in Baton Rouge, La., on Saturday. (Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
Auburn wide receiver Trovon Reed is hoping to celebrate in Baton Rouge, La., on Saturday. (Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
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Finally, the biggest game in the state this weekend features Auburn.

Auburn-LSU is the biggest game in the SEC. And if Auburn wins, it will be the biggest game nationally. But while Gus Malzahn has coaxed remarkable improvement from the Tigers, LSU still is LSU, and Auburn isn’t quite what it used to be.

Meanwhile, look for Alabama to roll big over an overmatched Colorado State team, which is coached by Jim McElwain, the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator in 2008-11.

Also, Jacksonville State should improve to 4-0 against struggling Georgia State.

Auburn (3-0) at No. 6 LSU (3-0): LSU suffered some losses to its defense from a year ago, but quarterback Zach Mettenberger is leading a better offense than the Bengal Tigers had in 2012. After throwing 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions last year, he has nine TD passes and no interceptions through three games. He is third nationally in passing efficiency. Odell Beckham ranks first in the nation in all-purpose yards.

Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has come a long way in three games, but this is his first road trip as a starter in the FBS. … LSU 31, Auburn 16.

Colorado State (1-2) at No. 1 Alabama (2-0): This is a gift game. McElwain did well as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, and as a gift, the school is giving Colorado State $1.5 million to come to Bryant-Denny Stadium for a beating. That’s the most Alabama has paid for a money game.

McElwain was a fine offensive coordinator, but Colorado State is struggling. The Rams won nine games in three years before McElwain took over. They went 4-8 in his first season last year. They’ve lost to Colorado 41-27 and Tulsa 30-27 while beating Cal Poly last week 34-17. … Alabama 42, Colorado State 10.

Jacksonville State (3-0) at Georgia State (0-3): Georgia State is in the process of reclassifying to FBS, and it’s a struggle for the Panthers. The best players might be receiver Albert Wilson, who has team highs in catches (15), receiving yards (299) and touchdowns (three). He also is tops with 527 all-purpose yards.

Georgia State allows 250.3 rushing yards a game, and only nine teams in FBS are worse than that. If you’ve seen the way JSU has run the ball at times this year, you know how much the Gamecocks’ running backs probably are looking forward to this one. … Jacksonville State 27, Georgia State 14.

Tennessee (2-1) at No. 19 Florida (1-1): This used to be the SEC’s game of the year. During 1993-2000, one of these two teams won the SEC Championship Game seven times. Since then, they’ve combined for only two title game victories (Florida in 2006 and 2008). Florida has won eight straight in the series. The Vols are fourth nationally in turnover margin, while Florida is first in time of possession. … Florida 27, Tennessee 12.

Michigan State (3-0) at No. 22 Notre Dame (2-1): All Manti Te’o girlfriend jokes aside, he really did mean something to the Irish defense. So even with eight starters back, Notre Dame has allowed 71 points in three games. The Irish gave up 72 through eight games a year ago.

Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees has thrown for more than 300 yards in every game this year. ... Notre Dame 27, Michigan State 23.

Texas State (2-0) at No. 25 Texas Tech (3-0): Texas State coach Dennis Franchione, the former head coach at Alabama, needs only one more win for 200 in his career. Texas State hasn’t started the season 3-0 since 1983.

Texas Tech, which is 2-0 all-time against Texas State, has a true freshman at quarterback in Baker Mayfield, who has passed for 996 yards and eight touchdowns. … Texas Tech 45, Texas State 21.

Arkansas (3-0) at Rutgers (2-1): A passing team under Bob Petrino, Arkansas now leads the SEC in rushing with almost 300 yards a game. ... Arkansas 28, Rutgers 27.

Troy (2-1) at Mississippi State (1-2): MSU barely escaped at Troy last year, winning 30-24 as the Trojans gained 572 yards. Troy’s quarterback, Corey Robinson, has thrown for more than 11,000 career yards. ... Mississippi State 31, Troy 29.

No. 23 Arizona State (2-0) at No. 5 Stanford (2-0): Everybody talks about Oregon, but Stanford is the defending Pac-12 champion. Stanford looks a tad like an SEC team, rushing for about 200 yards a game. ... Stanford 26, Arizona State 21.

Kansas State (2-1) at Texas (1-2): Starting quarterback David Ash should be back with the Longhorns after missing last week’s loss to Ole Miss. ... Texas 34, Kansas State 31.

Last week: 8-2.

Overall: 25-5.
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