News from the Tennessee Valley Sports


AU won't face big challenge

Auburn has struggled to run the ball, throw the ball and score many points this year.

However, that won’t matter much this weekend.

Picking the Tigers (5-3) to win at home Saturday against Ole Miss (2-6) is about as safe as it gets.

Auburn’s defense, which ranks 15th nationally in total defense and points allowed, makes the difference. ... Auburn 28, Ole Miss 10.

No. 9 Florida (5-2) vs. No. 20 Georgia (5-2) at Jacksonville, Fla.: Georgia has had two weeks since a 20-17 win over Vanderbilt. That should help the Bulldogs figure out how to slow Florida’s Tim Tebow, who is first in the nation in passing efficiency.

Remember, though, that the Gators have won seven of the last eight in this series, with the lone loss coming in 2004. ... Florida 34, Georgia 27.

Mississippi State (4-4) at No. 14 Kentucky (6-2): If the Wildcats didn’t have such a good offense, the visiting Bulldogs might be able to get this one in a run-based, defensive battle, which is how they beat Auburn.

However, Kentucky is eighth in the nation in scoring offense, and quarterback Andre Woodson has thrown 26 touchdowns to four interceptions. ... Kentucky 40, Mississippi State 17.

No. 15 South Carolina (6-2) at Tennessee (4-3): Steve Spurrier has won eight of his last 11 games against Tennessee, but lost last year, 31-24 in Columbia, S.C. Tennessee is at home, and the Gamecocks looked awful in last week’s 17-6 loss to Vanderbilt. ... Tennessee 24, South Carolina 20.

Fla. International (0-7) at Arkansas (4-3): The Razorbacks are No. 4 in the nation in rushing offense, No. 2 in passing efficiency defense and No. 4 in the SEC’s Western Division. Figure that one out. ... Arkansas 55, Florida International 7.

Miami (Ohio) (4-4) at Vanderbilt (4-3): It’s worth noting that even though a win Saturday can put the Commodores that much closer to a winning season for the first time since 1982, they have Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee and Wake Forest left on their schedule. Those four teams are a combined 20-9. ... Vanderbilt 28, Miami (Ohio) 14.

No. 9 Southern California (6-1) at No. 5 Oregon (6-1): Oregon ranks second in the nation in total offense, while USC is third in total defense. Trojans quarterback John David Booty has missed the last two games with a broken figure but is close to being ready to return. ... Oregon 29, Southern California 22.

No. 6 West Virginia (6-1) at No. 25 Rutgers (5-2): West Virginia’s only loss came Sept. 28 to South Florida, which lost to Rutgers on Oct. 18. Rutgers lost to Maryland and Cincinnati. Rutgers’ Ray Rice ranks fourth in the nation in rushing, while West Virginia is second in the country in team rushing. ... West Virginia 28, Rutgers 21.

No. 1 Ohio State (8-0) at No. 24 Penn State (6-2): The Big Ten isn’t what it used to be, and exhibit “A” in that discussion is Michigan, which fell to Appalachian State and got hammered by Oregon, but only needs to win out to win the league title.

Ohio State is first in the nation in scoring defense and total defense and second in pass defense and run defense, and while those stats probably wouldn’t stand up to a decent team from another conference, they work fine in the Big Ten. ... Ohio State 24, Penn State 9.

Alabama State (4-3) vs. Alabama A&M (6-1) at Birmingham: In one of the Southeast’s top rivalries, A&M enters on a three-game win streak and has a chance to win its second straight Southwestern Athletic Conference championship. Kelcy Luke has thrown 17 touchdown passes to only six interceptions. ... Alabama A&M 22, Alabama State 18.

Last week: 8-2.

Overall: 62-18.

Mark Edwards Mark Edwards
DAILY Sports Editor

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