Another weekend of college football, although the forecast says our local teams will get wet. Let's get on to the picks:
Mercer (0-0) at Jacksonville State (0-1): This is Mercer's first game under new head coach Drew Cronic, who was head coach at Lenoir-Rhyne for the past two years and four years overall. His record is 47-6.
Jacksonville State had a good showing last week against Florida State, although the defense struggled against the run, especially as the game wore on.
Still, the Gamecocks prepared about as well as they could've hoped in unusual circumstances. The big worry was that JSU might not be ready for a sustained, 60-minute, full-contact game after two months of doing nothing but practicing. Five preseason scrimmages helped, and JSU should be even more ready this week. ... Jacksonville State 31, Mercer 17.
No. 2 Alabama (2-0) at Ole Miss (1-1): Could 68-year-old Nick Saban cover Lane Kiffin? Sadly, we won't find out Saturday. That might be a much more interesting matchup than Alabama/Ole Miss.
Kiffin, a former quarterback, playfully joked that Saban, a former defensive back, couldn't cover him these days.
"I don't play and he doesn't play, so we would have a better chance if that was the case," Kiffin told reporters. "I don't think he can cover me. He's in his like 60s. I was telling someone the other day, 'I'm really worried about Coach. He's elderly now.'"
Saban answered back when he spoke with reporters: "I think he's probably right. I wouldn't disagree with him. I guess what I would ask is, when he's my age, what's he going to do? I don't know, it's a little bit of a disadvantage to be my age and have had a hip replacement, but I still pride myself on my ability to cover. I just don't think I can cover him." … Alabama 45, Ole Miss 20.
Arkansas (1-1) at No. 13 Auburn (1-1): The Tigers have former Arkansas coach Chad Morris on staff as offensive coordinator. Morris went 4-18 in two years with the Razorbacks. Auburn center Nick Brahms said about Morris and this game: "It's definitely personal for him. In that way, we're playing for him."
Who's selling the storyline that Arkansas was somehow wrong in firing Morris? How in the world can you justify that? … Auburn 27, Arkansas 16.
No. 4 Florida (2-0) at No. 21 Texas A&M (1-1): Kyle Trask, a projected career backup at Florida, has turned into an excellent starter. Since the start of last season, he has 35 touchdowns to eight interceptions. As a starter, his only losses came last year to LSU and Georgia. … Florida 38, Texas A&M 27.
No. 17 LSU (1-1) at Missouri (0-2): This one was supposed to be at LSU but was moved because of Hurricane Delta. … LSU 31, Missouri 13.
No. 14 Tennessee (2-0) at No. 3 Georgia (2-0): Tennessee eventually will hold its own in this series. Not Saturday, though. … Georgia 27, Tennessee 12.
South Carolina (0-2) at Vanderbilt (0-2): This is Derek Mason's seventh season at Vanderbilt, and he's 10-40 against Southeastern Conference teams. I know this is Vanderbilt, but good grief. When do the Commodores decide enough is enough? ... South Carolina 28, Vanderbilt 14.
Mississippi State (1-1) at Kentucky (0-2): Two games into the Mike Leach era, Mississippi State has discovered what Texas Tech and Washington State did before them:
Leach will put a fun and entertaining team on the field. They'll score more points than they'll give up. They'll win more than they lose. But, they'll have head-scratching losses along the way, as they did last week against Arkansas. ... Kentucky 34, Mississippi State 32.
No. 7 Miami (3-0) at No. 1 Clemson (3-0): Trevor Lawrence has thrown 13 touchdown passes with no interceptions, and his passer rating is 199.1, which is fifth in the nation. (By the way, Alabama's Mac Jones is first at 222.10.) Until somebody proves otherwise, Clemson and Lawrence are the clear class of the ACC. ... Clemson 38, Miami 23.
Florida State (1-2) at No. 5 Notre Dame (2-0): The Irish has allowed only 13 points this year, and a good second half against Jacksonville State notwithstanding, the Seminoles haven't shown they have much in the way of firepower. ... Notre Dame 35, Florida State 14.
Last week: 7-2. Missed on Ole Miss' win over Kentucky and Arkansas' win over Mississippi State.