Mark Edwards' picks: Trends favor Alabama, Auburn but not JSU
by Mark Edwards
medwards@annistonstar.com
Nov 15, 2013 | 2982 views |  0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Auburn running back Tre Mason celebrates with a young fan after beating Tennessee. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
Auburn running back Tre Mason celebrates with a young fan after beating Tennessee. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
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Auburn, Alabama and Jacksonville State play trend games today, although expect all three trends to change.

Auburn has lost five of its last six to Georgia but should reverse that trend.

Alabama has struggled at times post-LSU but should reverse that trend, too.

Jacksonville State has won all five of its road games, and that trend won’t stay the same, either.

No. 1 Alabama (9-0) at Mississippi State (4-5): The last time Alabama lost to Mississippi State was in 2007 after a tough seven-point loss to LSU.

The Crimson Tide put together a lackluster performance two years ago in beating MSU, and it came after falling to LSU. Last year, Alabama suffered its only loss (Texas A&M) after beating LSU.

Nick Saban has talked often this week that MSU has lost to five good teams this season (Oklahoma State, Auburn, LSU, South Carolina and Texas A&M). But the four wins just aren’t impressive at all — Alcorn, Troy, Bowling Green and Kentucky.

We’re supposed to expect Alabama will be challenged by this team, which is mediocre in every major statistical category, except time of possession. MSU is fourth nationally in that. ... Alabama 38, Mississippi State 13.

No. 25 Georgia (6-3) at No. 7 Auburn (9-1): Georgia has won the last two in this series by a combined 83-7, but this is a different Auburn team.

If the Bulldogs have a chance, it’s this — although Auburn is third nationally in rushing offense, the Bulldogs are better at stopping the run than they have been at times in the past, ranking 20th in rush defense. ... Auburn 29, Georgia 24.

No. 22 Jacksonville State (8-2) at No. 2 Eastern Illinois (9-1): Eastern Illinois’ closest game in the Ohio Valley Conference this year was an 18-point victory at Tennessee State. The only game EIU has lost was 43-39 at Northern Illinois, an FCS team that is 10-0.

JSU is 5-0 in road games this year, but EIU hasn’t lost at home. ... Eastern Illinois 35, Jacksonville State 21.

Florida (4-5) at No. 11 South Carolina (7-2): The Gators have lost four straight. It’s worth noting Will Muschamp’s record is 22-13. Ron Zook went 23-14 during 2002-04 at Florida and was fired. ... South Carolina 27, Florida 10.

Kentucky (2-7) at Vanderbilt (5-4): The Wildcats haven’t won a Southeastern Conference game since the 10-7 win over a Derek Dooley Tennessee team in 2011. Dooley, by the way, now coaches receivers for the Dallas Cowboys. ... Vanderbilt 31, Kentucky 17.

Texas Tech (7-3) vs. No. 4 Baylor (8-0): Baylor leads the country in scoring and total offense, but the Bears also are No. 9 nationally in total defense and seventh in scoring defense. ... Baylor 52, Texas Tech 24.

No. 12 Oklahoma State (8-1) at No. 23 Texas (7-2): The Longhorns have won six straight under embattled coach Mack Brown, beating Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Texas Christian, Kansas and West Virginia. Texas replaced Manny Diaz as defensive coordinator after two games with Greg Robinson, and the Longhorns have gotten better results since then.

Oklahoma State also has lost to lowly West Virginia, which is 4-6 with its other wins coming over William and Mary and Georgia State. … Oklahoma State 35, Texas 33.

No. 14 Michigan State (8-1) at Nebraska (7-2): Michigan State ranks first in the nation in rush defense and total defense. ... Michigan State 21, Nebraska 18.

No. 5 Stanford (8-1) at Southern California (7-3): The Trojans are 4-1 since firing Lane Kiffin and replacing him with Ed “Give a Lineman a Cookie” Orgeron. The lone loss came at Notre Dame 14-10. They are now 17th nationally in total defense, including third nationally in the red zone.

Stanford is coming off the emotional win over Oregon, although the Cardinal is 4-0 in its game after Oregon the previous four years. … Southern California 24, Stanford 21.

No. 24 Miami (7-2) at Duke (7-2): Miami is coming off two losses to Florida State and Virginia Tech, while Duke has won five straight. Duke has clinched its first winning season since 1994 when it went 8-4. ... Miami 27, Duke 26.

Last week: 6-4. (In case you’re interested, I missed on Jacksonville State-Eastern Kentucky by a lot. JSU won 68-10. I also missed on Pitt’s win over Notre Dame, Vandy’s win over Florida, and Virginia Tech’s win over Miami.)

Overall: 85-25.
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