Should be electric in Death Valley on Saturday Night at 7 PM Central. The LSU fans should be good and intoxicated by kickoff, and the atmosphere will be raucous. Can the No. 1 Crimson Tide clear this hurdle?
AU takes on a resurgent Vanderbilt team in Auburn as the Tigers try to keep on grounding out 300 to 400 yard rushing games, make plays in the passing game with the constantly improving Sean White, and have their front four dominate.
Some other key matchups in the SEC and nationally. Here's a look at this week's headliners.
Last week: 16-8
Overall: 142-64, 69%
No. 1 Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) @ No. 13 LSU (5-2, 3-1)
Tiger Stadium, 102,321
7 PM CT/8 PM ET, CBS
Coach O will have his unit pumped up exponentially and the crowd will be rocking in Death Valley. Leonard Fournette wants to prove he is the big time running back he is portrayed to be, but this time against the best defense in the country that totally shut him down last year in Tuscaloosa.
I like Big game Bama to get the job done and get out of Baaton Rouge, as Howard used to say, with a major SEC and national statement victory and keep matriculating towards the playoffs, yet with another roadblock ahead against the Auburn Tigers.
Crimson Tide 31, LSU 21
Vanderbilt (4-4, 1-3) @ No. 9 Auburn (6-1, 4-1)
11 AM CT/ Noon ET, ESPN
Not picking due to conflict of interest being a VU alum, but here are the keys to victory for both teams.
1.Somehow slow down the awesome Kam Pettway and Kerryon Johnson 1-2 punch. Pettway has been on fire, so that's a really tall order. When you have a 6'0", 240 pound Sherman Tank coming at you that's a heavy load to take on and bring down. The Commodores are going to have to stay in their gaps, contain well on the perimeter and really tackle well. Going low on Pettway and with some real force is the only way to get that hoss down.
2. Run the ball well and the offensive line has to impose its will somewhat on a superb front 4 for the Tigers.
3. VU will have to be better in special teams, need a big play in the kick and punt return game, and the kicker, Tommy Openshaw, needs to convert field goals when he has the opportunity.
4. Believe they can win in a challenging environment to do that.
1. Pretty much the opposite of Vandy. Unleash Kam, Kerryon, and make plays in the play action passing game.
2. The front wall on both sides needs to be dominant.
3. Kicking game needs to be solid as usual. Daniel Carlson is the best kicker in the country.
Should be fun.
No. 11 Florida (6-1, 4-1) @ Arkansas (5-3, 1-3)
2:30 PM CT/3:30 PM ET, CBS
This is going to be another epic in my opinion. Still believe in Brett Bielema and his team. I'm going to go with the upset in Fayetteville on Saturday afternoon.
Hogs 31, Gators 28
No. 4 Texas A&M (7-1, 4-1) @ Mississippi State (3-5, 1-3)
11 AM CT/Noon ET, SEC Network
State is just not having their best year. I see Mullen getting them back next year to being a much better team, though I do think they'll give A&M some trouble in Davis-Wade Stadium. A&M was a surprise coming in at No.4 in the Playoff rankings, so we'll see what they're made of the rest of the way. Home games against Ole Miss and LSU coming up for the Aggies, too. I see them getting through this challenge, but not as easily as expected.
A&M 35, State 28
Missouri (2-6, 0-4) @ South Carolina (4-4, 2-4)
3 PM CT/4 PM ET, SEC Network
Really like the job that Will Muschamp has done in Columbia. Like the Gamecocks to get victory No.5 here.
South Carolina 31, Missouri 17
Georgia (4-4, 2-4) @ Kentucky 5-3, 4-2)
6:30 PM CT/7:30 PM ET, SEC Network
The Wildcats have been the surprise team in the SEC with an outstanding last second victory over State two weeks ago, and a blasting of Missouri last week on the road. But I'm putting my trust in Kirby this week. Still like his great players, Chubb, Michel and Isiah McKenzie. Really like freshman quarterback Jacob Eason already. He's going to be special in the upcoming years. Kirby and the Dawgs rebound from the Florida loss last week.
Dawgs 35, Wildcats 27
Other SEC scores
Ole Miss 45, Georgia Southern 28
11 AM CT/ Noon ET, ESPNU
Tennessee 48, Tennessee Tech 7
3 PM CT/4 PM ET, SEC Alternate Channel
No. 14 OU 42, Iowa State 35
6:30 PM CT/7:30 PM ET, ESPN
I see the Sooners having a tough time in Ames. Matt Campbell is a fine young football coach and OU's two running backs, Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon, are both out with injury and suspension respectively. Baker Mayfield does enough to get the job done for the Sooners.
No. 15 Colorado 45, UCLA 28
8 PM CT/9 PM ET, Fox Sports 1
Mike MacIntyre is doing a superb job in Boulder. They have a chance to be in the Pac-12 Championship game representing the South and make the Rose Bowl.
No. 6 Washington 38, California 35
9:30 PM CT/10:30 PM ET, ESPN
I really like Chris Peterson and the job he's doing in Seattle. Washington is a very solid team, but they've got a tough road ahead with a tricky one this Saturday in Berkeley, then a tough game at home against a resurgent USC team that has started to live up to its talent and is playing outstanding football. Then the Apple Cup against the Washington State Cougars on the road which will be highly demanding, Friday, Nov. 25th. The Huskies have a lot of work ahead of them if they want to get into the playoffs.
No. 11 Louisville 42, Boston College 17
11 AM CT/ Noon ET, ESPN2
Still believe the Cardinals are a top four team in the country. Their close victories over Duke and Virginia just showed they have mental toughness and both of those teams have excellent coaches and hard working, ambitious players, who will fight you hard. Those are good victories and the demolition of Florida State and the razor thin loss at Clemson convinced me this is a team that is for real. Lamar Jackson sure is.
Northwestern 28, No. 8 Wisconsin 24
11 AM CT/ Noon ET, ABC
Like the Wildcats, a good, underrated football team, to upset the Badgers at home.
No.3 Meechigan 42, Maryland 17
2:30 PM CT/3:30 PM ET, ESPN
Like James and the Wolverines to keep getting it done, this week in the Big House.
No. 2 Clemson 42, Syracuse 21
2:30 PM CT/3:30 PM ET, ABC or ESPN2
Dabo and the Tigers have been getting by this season, barely several times, but they're getting it done at the end and that's all that matters. They're a very good football team.
No. 6 Ohio State 41, Nebraska 28
7 PM CT/8 PM ET, ABC
Like Urb and his troops to snap back this week after a tough loss at Penn State two weeks ago, and a close win over a good Northwestern team, 24-20, at the Horseshoe last week.
No. 18 Oklahoma State 45, Kansas State 42
2:30 PM CT/3:30 PM ET, ABC or ESPN2
Like the Cowboys, after their huge victory over previously unbeaten and top 10 West Virginia, to keep it going in the Little Apple, Manhattan, Kansas.
No.25 Washington State 49, Arizona 31
3 PM CT/4 PM ET, Pac-12 Network
Love the job that Mike Leach does in Pullman. I'm expecting a colossal showdown with Washington @ Washington State on Friday, Nov. 25th @ 2:30 PM CT/3:30 PM ET ON Fox or Fox Sports 1. The Cougars are 5-0 in the Pac-12 and 6-2 overall. They're a very good team that has found a pretty good defense to go along with a prolific offense.