Mark Edwards' picks: AU should tough one out; Tide will sail
by Mark Edwards
medwards@annistonstar.com
Oct 04, 2013 | 2646 views |  0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has his team within a victory of a national title. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has his team within a victory of a national title. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
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Nick Saban should enjoy an easy day when No. 1-ranked Alabama hosts Georgia State. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Associated Press)
Nick Saban should enjoy an easy day when No. 1-ranked Alabama hosts Georgia State. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Associated Press)
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Auburn is coming back from a week off, Alabama essentially gets a week off, and Jacksonville State continues the grind.

Auburn will host Ole Miss, which badly needs a win, especially after playing Alabama and having Texas A&M and LSU next on the schedule.

Jacksonville State hits the road to face Tennessee-Martin, which won its Ohio Valley Conference opener last week. JSU didn’t and needs a win to remain in the race. However, if anybody can knock off OVC favorite Eastern Illinois, more power to them.

No. 24 Ole Miss (3-1) at Auburn (3-1): If you’re looking for differences between these two teams, there isn’t much. However, Auburn is third in the league in rushing offense and has one of the best field goal kickers in Cody Parkey, who is tied for the SEC lead with seven field goals.

Ole Miss is favored, but Auburn is at home. … Auburn 27, Ole Miss 20.

Georgia State (0-4) at No. 1 Alabama (4-0): When Alabama played Georgia State in 2010, the Crimson Tide dominated so thoroughly it ended the game with a walk-on wide receiver playing quarterback. Times haven’t changed much, as Alabama will get a bit of a rest.

Look for backup quarterbacks Alec Morris and Blake Sims to play a good bit, as Nick Saban does like he always does in these types of games — try like crazy to keep from scoring 50. … Alabama 49, Georgia State 10.

Jacksonville State (4-1) at Tennessee-Martin (3-1): This game matches up the OVC’s top two rushing teams. JSU leads the league with 249.6 rushing yards a game and 14 total rushing touchdowns. Martin is second with 217.5 rushing yards.

Martin suffered its one loss at Boise State 63-14. Even with that game in the books, the Skyhawks are second in the league in total defense. … Tennessee-Martin 27, Jacksonville State 26.

No. 6 Georgia (3-1) at Tennessee (3-2): The Bulldogs already have beaten South Carolina and LSU, while the Vols’ best win came over Western Kentucky. Georgia ranks sixth nationally in total offense, while Tennessee gives up more than 400 yards a game. ... Georgia 42, Tennessee 28.

Arkansas (3-2) at No. 18 Florida (3-1): Florida ranks first nationally in rushing defense. Arkansas, which has lost two straight, is 22nd in the country in rushing. ... Florida 24, Arkansas 13.

No. 10 LSU (4-1) at Mississippi State (2-2): The Bengal Tigers haven’t scored fewer than 35 points in a game this year and have scored 28 touchdowns this season. MSU has allowed only seven touchdowns.

LSU hasn’t lost to Mississippi State since falling 17-16 in 1999. Before that, the Bengal Tigers hadn’t lost in the series since 1991. ... LSU 38, Mississippi State 21.

No. 25 Maryland (4-0) at No. 8 Florida State (4-0): FSU freshman quarterback Jameis Winston ranks second in the nation in passing efficiency. He threw four touchdown passes at Pittsburgh and four more at Boston College. ... Florida State 38, Maryland 25.

Missouri (4-0) at Vanderbilt (3-2): After a rough opening year in the SEC, Missouri is one of only two unbeaten teams left in the league. However, the Tigers have done it against a pretty weak schedule: Murray State, Toledo, Indiana, and Arkansas State. With the help of that slate, the Tigers lead the SEC in rushing and rank third in rushing defense. ... Missouri 35, Vanderbilt 33.

No. 4 Ohio State (5-0) at No. 16 Northwestern (4-0): The Wildcats haven’t won a game against a top-five team since beating No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 5 Iowa in 1959.

For Ohio State, Braxton Miller is back. He threw four touchdown passes last week against Wisconsin after missing two games because of a sprained knee. ... Ohio State 31, Northwestern 21.

Notre Dame (3-2) vs. No. 22 Arizona State (3-1): These two teams are playing in Arlington, Texas, and Arizona State, one week after getting Southern California coach Lane Kiffin fired, has a chance to drive another nail in Notre Dame’s coffin.

The Irish haven’t played badly this year, and their two losses are to two good teams — Michigan and Oklahoma. But Arizona State is No. 11 nationally in scoring, and Notre Dame isn’t the same defense it was in 2012. The Irish allowed 124 points in 12 regular-season games in 2012 and have given up 119 through five in 2013. … Arizona State 31, Notre Dame 27.

Last week: 8-2.

Overall: 42-8.
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