Night games at Jordan-Hare Stadium are seldom fun for opponents, but the oddsmakers are convinced LSU will have plenty of fun Saturday. The Bayou Bengals are a three-touchdown favorite.
Kiehl Frazier will face a stern test from LSU's defense/Robin Conn photo
Can Auburn, off to a staggering 1-2 start, pull it together and challenge the nation's No. 2 team? Can sophomore quarterback Kiehl Frazier deal with the rampaging LSU defense? Can freshman offensive tackles Greg Robinson and Avery Young cope with perhaps the best pair of defensive ends in the game? Can Auburn's defense keep from being brutalized by LSU's running game?
It won't be easy.
Senior Writer Phillip Marshall isn't having an easy time as a Fearless Forecaster either. Senior Writer Bryan Matthews continues to pull away. Bryan was 17-5 last week and is 51-15 for the season. Phillip was 15-7 and is 44-22 for the season.
On to this week's games.
No. 2 LSU (3-0) at Auburn (1-2)
Phillip's take: There is little question that Auburn players are going to do everything they can o leave it all on the field Saturday night. This is their chance to turn their season around, and they know it. The matchups clearly are in LSU's favor - perhaps the nation's best defensive ends against two freshman offensive tackles, a powerful running game against a team that has struggled against the run. But it'll be at Jordan-Hare Stadium under the lights. Something tells me these Tigers are going to give a very good account of themselves. To win, they would have to avoid turnovers, force turnovers, run the ball successfully, contain LSU's running game and have some fortunate bounces. I look for a very conservative game plan on offense and some different looks from Brian VanGorder's defense.
LSU 28, Auburn 16
Bryan's take: LSU is a better and more talented team than Auburn right now and I'm picking the Bayou Bengals to win. However, here's what I think Auburn needs to do to pull off an upset. First, they need to get off to a good start and keep the crowd into the game. Jordan-Hare on a Saturday night can be very intimidating to opponents. Auburn is (-7) in turnovers after three games. They have to flip that trend Saturday. Auburn must slow down LSU's running game and find a way to run effectively against an excellent LSU defense. Lastly, Auburn must make several big plays on special teams.
LSU 42, Auburn 17
Ole Miss (2-1) at Tulane (0-2)
Bryan's take: Ole Miss took a physical beating in a 66-31 loss to Texas but I don't think Tulane is a good enough team to take advantage of a beat up Rebel squad.
Ole Miss 23, Tulane 19
Phillip's take: Ole Miss isn't very good and must go on the road, but Tulane isn't any good at all.
Ole Miss 34, Tulane 24
Kentucky (1-2) at No. 14 Florida (3-0)
Phillip's take: Florida appears to be significantly better than last season and has won two SEC games on the road. Kentucky lost to Western Kentucky. That's enough said.
Florida 42, Kentucky 14
Bryan's take: Kentucky is just a bad football team and I don't think Joker Phillips will make it to the end of the season. Florida is back on its way up to the top of the SEC East.
Florida 49, Kentucky 7
Missouri (2-1) at No. 7 South Carolina(3-0)
Bryan's take: This is a really intriguing game, but I think the Gamecocks are more talented and playing at home gives them an edge.
South Carolina 20, Missouri 10
Phillip's take: South Carolina doesn't appear to be as strong as advertised, but Missouri won't like its first taste of the SEC road.
South Carolina 31, Missouri 24
Florida Atlantic (1-2) at No. 1 Alabama (3-0)
Phillip's take: There are mismatches, and then there are real mismatches. This is a real mismatch.
Alabama 63, Florida Atlantic 0
Bryan's take: One of what should be several blowouts in the SEC this week. The Tide continues to roll.
Alabama 56, Florida Atlantic 7
Rutgers (3-0) at Arkansas (1-2)
Bryan's take: Tyler Wilson is back at practice and I suspect he'll play against an undefeated Rutgers team. Will that be enough for a reeling Razorback squad to bounce back with a win. I think so.
Arkansas 27, Rutgers 17
Phillip's take: This might be the most intriguing game of the day. If quarterback Tyler Wilson plays, Arkansas would seem to have an edge. But Rutgers is pretty good, and things seem to be in disarray in Hog land. Wilson accused his own teammates of giving up in a 52-0 loss to Alabama. There's no longer any question John L. Smith is going to be one-and-done as head coach.
Rutgers 21, Arkansas 20
South Alabama (1-2) at No. 23 Mississippi State (3-0)
Phillip's take: Mississippi State's nonconference schedule is flat out embarrassing. The Bulldogs almost got caught napping at Troy last Saturday. South Alabama won't make this one close.
Mississippi State 38, South Alabama 10
Bryan's take: Not sure if it will be a blowout, but I expect Mississippi State to take care of business.
Mississippi State 31, South Alabama 17
South Carolina State (1-2) at Texas A&M (1-1)
Bryan's take: Should be an easy win for the Aggies.
Texas A&M 45, South Carolina State 6
Phillip's take: I hope South Carolina State is getting a nice check
Texas A&M 49, South Carolina State 3
Akron (1-2) at Tennessee (2-1)
Phillip's take: Terry Bowden returns to SEC country in his first season as Akron coach. The Vols aren't anything to get excited about, but they'll be way too much for the Zips.
Tennessee 49, Akron 17
Bryan's take: I imagine the Vols will take out their frustration on Terry Bowden's Zips Saturday.
Tennessee 48, Akron 14
Vanderbilt (1-2) at No. 5 Georgia (3-0)
Bryan's take: Georgia's offense is piling up the yards and points and I don't see Vanderbilt slowing the Bulldogs down any this week.
Georgia 45, Vanderbilt 17
Phillip's take: Just when you think things are changing at Vanderbilt, you realize it is still Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs almost got caught looking past the Commodores last season in Nashville and Vandy head coach James Franklin and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham almost had a fight after the game. That adds up to a bad day in Athens for the Commodores.
Georgia 38, Vanderbilt 7
Phillip's take: Florida State 40, Clemson 24; Georgia Tech 28, Miami 17; North Carolina 31, East Carolina 20; Duke 24, Memphis 16; Michigan 28, Notre Dame 24; Oklahoma 28, Kansas State 17; UCLA 28, Oregon State 27; USC 23, California 16; Southern Miss 20, Western Kentucky 17; New Mexico State 34, New Mexico 31.
Bryan's take: Florida State 20, Clemson 17; Georgia Tech 31, Miami 14; North Carolina 24, East Carolina 21; Duke 28, Memphis 10; Notre Dame 24, Michigan 18; Oklahoma 17, Kansas State 14; UCLA 38, Oregon State 17; USC 38, California 21; Western Kentucky 17, Southern Miss 14; New Mexico 31, New Mexico State 28.