Tide, LSU in close ones; UGA walks
About two hours after Alabama had beaten Tennessee in Knoxville in 2002, several reporters gathered their things to leave the Neyland Stadium press box.
The Crimson Tide had ended a seven-game losing streak, and a Tennessee writer told an Alabama writer that he wondered if the Vols might have to wait a long time to win in this series again.
Dennis Franchione appeared to have the Crimson Tide program up and running, and reporters north of the state border had noticed.
"Especially with Brodie Croyle just a freshman, Tennessee might not like playing Alabama for the next few years," the Tennessee reporter said.
Oh, well, so much for grand predictions. Alabama heads into Saturday with a chance to end a two-game losing streak to the Vols, and in this corner, we're picking the Tide ... with reservations.
As for Auburn, we want to pick the Tigers. We really do. But LSU looks a little too strong.
Anyway, on to the predictions. Keep in mind that these games are used for THE DAILY's Pick Against the Pros contest. Tennessee (3-2) at Alabama (6-0): It wouldn't surprise if the Vols squeak out a win, but for now, let's go with ... Alabama 22-17. Auburn (5-1) at LSU (4-1): Before Tommy Tuberville arrived at Auburn, LSU had won three of four against the Tigers. Since then, LSU is 2-4 in this series. Even so, take LSU by a nose. ... LSU 24-23. Arkansas (2-4) at Georgia (6-0): Arkansas plays well when wounded, but then again, the Hawgs were wounded when they met Southern California and lost 70-17. ... Georgia 35-17. Texas Tech (6-0) at Texas (6-0): Texas Tech throws awfully well, but the Longhorns have a little too much going for them. ... Texas 38-30. Baylor (4-2) at Oklahoma (3-3): It's hard to imagine a mediocre Oklahoma team, even though they were common during the Sooners' drought of the 1990s. Nevertheless, Oklahoma should win, but won't dominate. ... Oklahoma 19-10. Houston (3-3) at Mississippi State (2-4): The Bulldogs are good enough to win this one, but they're bad enough to lose it, too. Houston's wins have come over Sam Houston State, Tulane and Tulsa — hardly a fearsome trio. ... Mississippi State 21-17. Kentucky (1-4) at Ole Miss (2-4): If the Rebels had a better decision-maker at quarterback, they would blow out Kentucky. Then again, if they had a better-decision-maker at quarterback, they would've beaten Alabama. ... Ole Miss 20-10. Vanderbilt (4-3) at South Carolina (3-3): With Blake Mitchell back at quarterback, South Carolina looks like a much better team. ... South Carolina 27-17. Texas Christian (6-1) at Air Force (3-4): The Horned Frogs are ranked No. 21 in the latest Associated Press rankings, and although they lost to SMU, they've scored wins over Oklahoma, Utah, Brigham Young, New Mexico, Wyoming and Army. Air Force broke a four-game losing streak with a win Saturday over Nevada-Las Vegas. ... Texas Christian 28-25. Southern California (6-0) at Washington (1-5): How will the Trojans respond after needing a last-play touchdown to beat Notre Dame?
My guess is that it won't be pleasant to be Washington on Saturday. ... Southern California 59-20. Purdue (2-4) at Wisconsin (6-1): Beating Minnesota last week with a blocked punt in the last minute, Wisconsin is living a charmed life. Expect a letdown, but not enough of one to lose. ... Wisconsin 21-14. Other games: Ohio State 28, Indiana 14; Virginia 29, North Carolina 17; Iowa 25, Michigan 22; Penn State 28, Illinois 10; UCLA 40, Oregon State 30; Oregon 30, Arizona 21; Memphis 22, East Carolina 14; Arizona State 32, Stanford 21.