A huge 15-5 week by Phillip has vaulted him into the lead heading into rivalry weekend. Phillip now sits at 166-70 on the season, three games ahead of Bryan, who is 163-73 after a rough 11-9 week.
Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley celebrates a sack
On to our week 13 picks to see if Phillip can increase his lead or Bryan can bounce back.
No. 2 Auburn (11-0, 7-0 SEC) at No. 9 Alabama (9-2, 5-2)
Phillip’s take: There are ample reasons to pick either team to win this game. Auburn has answered every challenge this season and has an offense that has not really been slowed down the second half of the season. Alabama has won 20 straight games at Bryant-Denny Stadium and, remarkably, has given up just one rushing touchdown in that stretch. It will be the most hostile atmosphere any Auburn team has faced in many years. Can Auburn slow down Mark Ingram and the Alabama running game and avoid getting burned through the air? Can Alabama contain quarterback Cam Newton and an Auburn offense averaging more than 42 points per game? My guess is that it will come down to who turns the ball over or makes mistakes at the wrong time. My gut feeling is that this Auburn team has come too far to stop now.
Auburn 31, Alabama 27
Bryan’s take: Auburn’s the better team and the two best players on the field -- Cam Newton and Nick Fairley -- will be wearing AU’s on their helmets. The Tigers have plenty of motivation on their side with a BCS championship game appearance assured with two more wins. The Bryant-Denny crowd will be an advantage for Alabama but not nearly enough, not against this Auburn offense.
Auburn 42, Alabama 28
Kentucky (6-5, 2-5) at Tennessee (5-6, 2-5)
Bryan’s take: Let’s see ... Tennessee has won 23 straight over Kentucky and is playing at home for a bowl game. Vols freshman quarterback Tyler Bray looks like a future star. Kentucky has already clinched a bowl bid. I like Tennessee to make it 24.
Tennessee 34, Kentucky 31
Phillip’s take: Derek Dooley has done a terrific job of bringing Tennessee back from oblivion. The Vols can get bowl eligible if they beat Kentucky. And they always beat Kentucky.
Tennessee 27, Kentucky 24
No. 6 LSU (10-1, 6-1) at No. 12 Arkansas (9-2, 5-2)
Phillip’s take: LSU still holds dreams of somehow squeezing into the BCS Championship Game. It can almost certainly lock up a BCS bowl game with a victory and an 11-1 finish. Arkansas is very tough in Little Rock, but somehow The Hat finds a way again.
LSU 31, Arkansas 30
Bryan’s take: It seems like this is one of the most entertaining games every year and this one should be no different with a potential BCS bowl bid on the line. The Arkansas offense is averaging 44.5 points in the last six games and I think they’ll light up the scoreboard again at Razorback Stadium. I doubt LSU’s offense will be able to keep up.
Arkansas 38, LSU 28
Florida (7-4, 5-4) at No. 22 Florida State (8-3)
Bryan’s take: Florida’s offense is embarrassingly bad against quality competition and I don’t see the Gators catching fire in Tallahassee. Florida State is nothing special but is 5-1 at home this season ... make it 6-1.
Florida State 20, Florida 17
Phillip’s take: Things have gotten so bad at Florida that the Gators celebrated beating Appalachian State last Saturday. First-year Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher by winning this game, and the Seminoles are playing at home.
Florida State 28, Florida 17[/i]
[b]No. 25 Mississippi State (7-4, 3-4) at Ole Miss (4-7, 1-6)
Phillip’s take: Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen has written a big check with his constant ridiculing of Ole Miss. If I was at Mississippi State, I would think real hard before ridiculing anyone. Look for Mullen’s check to bounce.
Ole Miss 34, Mississippi State 28
Bryan’s take: Credit Ole Miss for bouncing back from a putrid performance at Tennessee to nearly pull off an upset over LSU last weekend. Still, I’m not impressed. Seven wins is big for Mississippi State. Eight would be huge.
Mississippi State 27, Ole Miss 24
No. 18 South Carolina (8-3, 5-3) at Clemson (6-5)
Bryan’s take: South Carolina showed maturity and focus in its demolition of upset-minded Troy last week. Clemson has been very inconsistent this season but is 5-1 at home. But Marcus Lattimore is on a roll and the Gamecocks are just too balanced for the Tigers.
South Carolina 28, Clemson 17
Phillip’s take: At Florida, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier was 1-3-1 against Florida State in seasons in which he played in the SEC Championship the following week. How much attention is he paying to Clemson and how much is he paying to Auburn? Also, let’s not forget this is the same South Carolina team that was utterly humiliated by Arkansas just two games ago. Upset special …
Clemson 21, South Carolina 20
Wake Forest (2-9) at Vanderbilt (2-9, 1-7)
Phillip’s take: Now, this is a game to really get the blood boiling. A pair of two-win teams with 15 consecutive losses between them. Will anybody show up to watch? Vanderbilt is playing at home and has the shortest losing streak at six games. I guess we’ll have to go with the Commodores.
Vanderbilt 3, Wake Forest 2
Bryan’s take: Vanderbilt has lost six straight and Wake Forest nine straight heading into this battle of the bad. I’ll take the Dores because their at home and a bad SEC team should still be good enough to beat a bad ACC team even if it is Vanderbilt. Show your gold!
Vanderbilt 20, Wake Forest 17
Georgia Tech (6-5) at Georgia (5-6, 3-5)
Bryan’s take: The Bulldogs are playing for a bowl bid and had two weeks off to prepare. Tech is coming off a solid win over Duke. Once again, I’ll take the SEC over the ACC.
Georgia 31, Georgia Tech 20
Phillip’s take: When you look at the talent Georgia puts on the field, it’s mystifying that it has lost six games this season. The Bulldogs are left with nothing to play for other than maybe a trip to Birmingham. But they’ll get revved up for Georgia Tech.
Georgia 38, Georgia Tech 24
Phillip’s picks: Texas A&M 38, Texas 17; Oklahoma 49, Oklahoma State 31; Ohio State 31, Michigan 17; Michigan State 24, Penn State 20; Boise State 42, Nevada 14; Utah 21, BYU 17; Washington 34, California 31; USC 24, Notre Dame 23; Miami 30, South Florida 20; Maryland 20, North Carolina State 17; West Virginia 24, Pitt 20; Tulsa 42, Southern Miss 31.
Bryan’s picks: Texas A&M 30, Texas 28; Oklahoma State 41, Oklahoma 35; Ohio State 16, Michigan 14; Penn State 21, Michigan State 20; Boise State 38, Nevada 21; Utah 28, BYU 24; Washington 27, California 24; USC 30, Notre Dame 27; Miami 23, South Florida 17; Maryland 16, N.C. State 13; Pittsburgh 19, West Virginia 16; Tulsa 38, Southern Miss 34.