SEC college football picks, Week 13 odds: Alabama cruises past Auburn in Iron Bowl, Tennessee bounces

Rivalry Week is upon us, which means bragging rights are on the line in the SEC, including No. 7 Alabama taking on SEC rival Auburn in the Iron Bowl on CBS Game of the Week. The Crimson Tide have been eliminated from SEC West contention, but a state championship is on the cards after last season’s four-overtime thriller. Auburn has had a tough campaign, but an upset of the Crimson Tide with interim head coach and legendary Tigers running back Carnell Williams at the helm would send the program into the offseason on a much-needed high.

Elsewhere, No. 1 Georgia will take on Georgia Tech as the Bulldogs look to close out another perfect regular season, No. 5 LSU looks to keep its faint College Football Playoff hopes alive at Texas A&M, and South Carolina will look to score a second straight upset of No. 8 Clemson.

Let’s break down each game and make picks straight up and against the spread.

Appetizer: Style points for the Tigers

Don’t be surprised if LSU coach Brian Kelly takes his foot off the gas against Texas A&M if his Tigers can get ahead. He knows that in this day and age, making a great final impression can go a long way. No, Texas A&M isn’t exactly a juggernaut this year. In fact, it’s a disaster.

Let’s play a game for a second. Let’s say, hypothetically, LSU blows the doors off Georgia in the SEC Championship game. Would the CFP Selection Committee give the two-loss Tigers a spot in the four-team playoff? They would have two quality wins over Georgia and Alabama, but the loss to Tennessee doesn’t feel as big as it did before Tennessee’s loss to South Carolina, and the season-opening loss to No. 16 Florida State didn’t justified. team that deserves the title.

LSU outscored UAB 41-10 last week despite only being a two-key favorite. A blowout win over Texas A&M coupled with a potential upset over Georgia would show the committee that it’s peaking at the right time while creating some interesting conversations in that boardroom.

Main Course: Revenge?

Auburn is a 22-point underdog to Alabama, which suggests this edition of the Iron Bowl is poised to be a blowout. Not so fast. It was a 20.5-point margin last season, and Alabama needed four overtimes to defeat an Auburn team led by quarterback TJ Finley, who was hampered by a foot injury all game.

This is in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and there is no doubt that the crimson and white crowd will make things difficult for the Tigers. However, Auburn’s pass defense has been much better over the last three games — two of which came against pass-happy Mississippi State and Western Kentucky. The Crimson Tide receiving corps has been inconsistent all year. If Auburn can shut down deep threats and force Alabama to be one-dimensional, it will have a chance.

Plus, assuming Carnell Williams doesn’t have the full-time Auburn job, sending him on a three-game winning streak to beat a team he had 204 rushing yards with in 2003 would be a storybook ending to a frantic season on the plains.

Dessert: Return of Rattler

Once upon a time, South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler was the Heisman Trophy favorite at Oklahoma. He didn’t live up to that hype, but he looked the part last Saturday when he threw for 438 yards and six touchdowns in a 63-38 win over Tennessee. Could he repeat the feat and end Clemson’s CFP hopes? It will take an even better effort than the one we saw against the Volunteers.

The Tigers are giving up just 214.5 passing yards per game and, more importantly, 6.2 yards per attempt. Big plays in the passing game are exactly what made the Rattler successful Saturday, when he averaged 11.8 yards per attempt. The Rattler destroyed Tennessee’s CFP chances last weekend and have a chance to do the same this weekend against their team’s archrival. However, it will take a lot more magic than last week.

Choices

Straight up: 75-25 | Against the spread: 46-44-2
*Previous selections were made on Instagram from the start of Week 3 SEC Smothered & Covered

Mississippi State at No. 20 Ole Miss

Selected game | Ole Miss Rebels vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs

The Rebels have lost two runs and their defense has regressed to the point where even a 703-yard offensive effort can win. Additionally, rumors are swirling that Rebels coach Lane Kiffin could be looking at other jobs within the SEC. The Ole Miss pass defense is giving up 216.1 yards per game through the air (10th in the SEC), and Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers will stay hot in an upset win over the scrappy Rebs. Pick: Mississippi State (+2.5)

Selected game | Missouri Tigers vs. Arkansas Razorbacks

The Tigers’ offense has struggled for most of the season, and that’s not a good sign considering Arkansas just beat an Ole Miss team designed specifically for penalties. Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson is back and it’s almost impossible to prepare for how he operates as a runner and passer between the tackles. Jefferson and star running back Raheem Sanders will run away from the Tigers in the second half. Pick: Arkansas (-3)

Florida at No. 16 Florida State

Selected game | Florida State Seminoles vs. Florida Gators

The Seminoles have topped 38 points in each of their last four games, which included a 38-3 win over Syracuse two games ago. This will force Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson to become more of a threat with his arm, and that is not his strong point. Yes, he threw for 400 yards in last weekend’s loss to Vanderbilt, but he had to do it for his team to have a chance after a slow start. I’ll take the Seminoles to win and cover, especially since a 10-point win redeems itself. Pick: Florida State (-9.5)

Georgia Tech ranked No. 1 in Georgia

The Yellow Pages have been playing really good defense lately, including last week when they held a potent North Carolina offense to 365 yards in a 21-17 upset win at Chapel Hill. They’ll be able to force enough stops to keep this within five touchdowns. Don’t get me wrong, Georgia will win and control it throughout, but the Bulldogs have bigger fish to fry and will take their first steps in the fourth quarter. Pick: Georgia Tech (+35.5)

South Carolina at No. 8 Clemson

Selected game | Clemson Tigers vs. South Carolina Gamecocks

The Gamecocks will come back down to Earth in Clemson as the Rattlers fail to recapture last week’s magic against a much better pass defense. Tigers quarterback DJ Uiagalelei will avoid mistakes, make long runs to make sure the Rattlers stay on the sideline, and their strong defensive front seven will make enough mistakes to give them some late coverage. Pick: Clemson (-14.5)

Selected game | Kentucky Wildcats vs. Louisville Cardinals

The Cardinals could be without star quarterback Malik Cunningham, though even if he does play, he’s unlikely to be 100 percent. The Wildcats shut down Georgia’s offense for most of last week’s loss and won’t be intimidated by anything the Cardinals do with or without Cunningham. Wildcats coach Mark Stoops will get a balanced performance from running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. and quarterback Will Levis, which will be enough to win it by a touchdown or more. Pick: Kentucky (-3)

Auburn at No. 7 Alabama

Selected game | Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Auburn Tigers

The “Cadillac factor” under interim coach Carnell Williams made a huge difference for the Auburn Tigers, but this is a different animal. This is the Iron Bowl against an Alabama team that is far more talented and has a quarterback in Bryce Young who will likely make his final start at home before moving on to the NFL. I fully expect this to be close for two and a half quarters, but for things to go sideways late and Young to go out with a bang. Pick: Alabama (-22)

No. 5 LSU at Texas A&M

Selected game | Texas A&M Aggies vs. LSU Tigers

Honestly, I have no idea why LSU is only a 10-point favorite against an Aggies team depleted by injuries and facing the end of a miserable season. LSU ran a punishing rushing attack with John Emery Jr. and Noah Cain in the backfield and quarterback Jaden Daniels taking the snaps. The last thing Texas A&M will want to do is get into a fistfight when there’s nothing on the line. This is going to get really, really bad. Pick: LSU (-10)

No. 10 Tennessee at Vanderbilt

Selected game | Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Tennessee Volunteers

Let’s go back in time to a month ago and think about how crazy it would be to say that Tennessee would only be favored by two touchdowns against Vanderbilt in the regular season finale. Yet here we are with the scrappy Volunteers facing a Commodores crew riding a two-game winning streak. Volunteer quarterback Joe Milton steps on to replace Hendon Hooker and lights up the ‘Dores pass pass up’ defense to take that penalty. Vandy won’t be able to keep up and the Vols will enter bowl season with some momentum. Pick Tennessee (-14)

Which college football picks can you confidently make in Week 13, and which top-25 teams will fall hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned nearly $3,000 in winnings over the past six-plus seasons — and find out.

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