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Randy Smith: SEC picks week thirteen

I was 7-3 last week which gives me an 85-19 (82 percent) season total. I’ve never hated a miss more than Tennessee’s loss to South Carolina last week. The Vols were 22 point favorites…I picked them to win 41-17…they lost 63-38. It was absolutely the worst defensive performance I’ve ever seen. It also robbed the Volunteers of any chance they had of making the college football playoffs. This is the final week of the 2022 regular season, with the championships set for next weekend.

State of Mississippi at Ole Miss (Thursday)
The Egg Bowl has provided some exciting moments for SEC football fans, and this year’s clash could turn out to be just as good as any. The Rebels, who may lose their head coach, played as if something was very wrong in their loss to Arkansas last week. Both teams go to bowl games and the winner could get better post-season travel. When Ole Miss lost a squeaker to Alabama two weeks ago, Lane Kiffin actually thought he had a real shot at beating the Crimson Tide…but he fell just a little short. It wasn’t even close last week in Arkansas. The Razorbacks had a healthy KJ Jefferson and he led the way to a big win.
State of Mississippi 38 Ole Miss 24

Arkansas in Missouri (Friday)
As mentioned above, KJ Jefferson is back to health and Arkansas is more dangerous when in the lineup. Missouri has been up and down like a yo-yo all year and they are still one win away from qualifying for a bowl game. 6-6 looks a lot better than the 5-7 the Tigers will have if they lose on Friday. Arkansas has been very inconsistent this season as well, but the Hogs’ loss to Ole Miss last week tells me they’ve got the ship back on track.
Arkansas 30 Missouri 23

Florida in the state of Florida (Friday)
For years past, this has been the game of the day and possibly the game of the year in college football. Things have changed in the Sunshine State. Florida State is actually 16th in the country, going 8-3 before the start of this game. The Seminoles have seemingly turned the tide as they sit second in the ACC Atlantic Division. The Gators are 6-5 and probably headed to a bowl game under first-year head coach Billy Napier. But winning in Tallahassee is going to be very difficult.
State of Florida 33 State of Florida 30

Georgia Tech in Georgia
The Bulldogs struggled a bit in their 16-6 win in Kentucky last week. The Bulldogs’ struggles were mostly offensive because they only managed one touchdown all day. They added three field goals and the ‘Dawgs’ defense was excellent as always. Things get easier this week when the Yellowjackets invade Athens to face the Bulldogs. Georgia has beaten Tech four times in a row, and barring a major meltdown on the Georgia sidelines, their fifth straight win comes this weekend.
Georgia 27 Georgia Tech 10

South Carolina at Clemson
The Gamecocks knocked Tennessee out of the playoffs last week and they’d like to do it with Clemson this week. The Tigers are far from making it, but they sit 8th in this week’s rankings and need some help getting in… as long as they mind their own business. Clemson will finish the regular season 11-1. If they beat North Carolina in the ACC championship game, they’re 12-1 and it’s going to be extremely difficult to keep them out. The Gamecocks got the better of Tennessee last week, but Clemson’s defense is a lot better than Tennessee’s. This game hasn’t been this close in a few years, but this one could be a lot tighter than the Tigers would like.
Clemson 40 South Carolina 24

Louisville in Kentucky
This rivalry was quite intense, but is not considered one of the greatest rivalries in the game. Kentucky has won three straight times in the series, but Louisville comes in with a record of 7-4 and ranks 25th in the top 25 poll. The Wildcats have struggled 4-0 since the start of the season. They have only won twice in the last seven games and they just have to do their best to get the win. I think the ‘Cats take victory number seven for coach Mark Stoops.
Kentucky 23 Louisville 16

LSU at Texas A&M
The LSU Tigers have had a wonderful season since the opening loss to Florida State and the big loss to Tennessee in October. They currently sit fifth in the College Football Playoff poll and the Tigers have a real shot at getting in with a win over the Aggies and an upset win over Georgia in the SEC championship game. Both wins are a real opportunity for Coach Brian Kelly and his Bengals. If there was ever a season for an expanded playoff system, it would be 2022. LSU is making the Aggies live another week this week.
LSU 29 Texas A&M 13

Auburn in Alabama
This isn’t a typical Iron Bowl match. Auburn fired their coach a few weeks ago and Alabama needs a miracle to get into the playoffs. ‘Bama is heavily favored in the game as Carnell “Cadillac” Williams ends his tenure as Auburn’s interim head coach. The Tigers have some talent, but they can’t really compete with Alabama. With Ole Miss playing the “Egg Bowl” lane on Thursday, Kiffin gets a chance to see his next team play the Crimson Tide. ‘Bama should win this easily.

Tennessee near Vanderbilt
This game has had a lot less glamor since the Volunteers imploded in South Carolina last week. In addition to the lopsided loss to the Gamecocks, Tennessee lost starting quarterback Hendon Hooker to a cruciate ligament tear. It couldn’t have been much worse. Tennessee is favored over the Commodores, but with Hooker out there are now some real questions about what happens when the Vols have the ball. To be perfectly honest, I think Joe Milton will do a good job as a quarterback. He has a lot of skill and maybe the strongest throwing arm in the country. Last year he hadn’t touched the ball, but he could throw it more than seventy yards. However, when he got the chance to play this year, he did a remarkable job. Milton is Hooker’s heir apparent for the 2023 season and these next two games will give him a real lead. Vandy has won two straight SEC games after losing 26 straight games. It won’t be a cakewalk, but I think the Vols will recover.
Tennessee 42 Vanderbilt 24

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Randy Smith can be reached at [email protected]