Auburn trying to avoid the Hog-Gator sweep

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 14, 2006

The best team in the state of Alabama stepped forward last weekend, but to many people's surprise it was the Arkansas Razorbacks.

The Razorbacks completely humiliated the Auburn Tigers on Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium in the early wee hours Saturday morning, something the Tigers should thankful for since most of the nation missed seeing it.

Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt has had Tommy Tuberville's number for years now and the Razorbacks exposed many holes in the Auburn defense.

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The Tigers must regroup this weekend as the No. 2 Florida Gators come to Plains for all to see and ESPN will be broadcasting the game on all of their networks as part of their Full Circle presentation.

Here are this week's picks (home team listed first):

No. 11 Auburn vs. No. 2 Florida

The Tiger offense and defense was exposed last weekend against Arkansas and this week's opponent, the No. 2 Florida Gators, has as good of defense and offense as any team in the country.

The Florida quarterback tandem of senior Chris Leak and freshman Tim Tebow, or Leak-bow as they have affectionately become known as, have lit up scoreboards and good teams this year to lead the Gators to a No. 2 ranking.

Urban Meyer's defense has been one of the most effective units in the nation and if Al Borges and the Tiger offense doesn't come out of its shell, it could be a long day for the Auburn faithfulŠ

Florida 28, Auburn 20.

Alabama vs. Ole Miss

Although it wasn't pretty, the Alabama Crimson Tide got back on track last weekend with a much needed win over the Duke Blue Devils.

Quarterback John Parker Wilson has continued to shine and running back Ken Darby rushed for a 100 yards in a game for the first time all season.

Many fans were unhappy after the game, which was apparent by the boos.

The Tide cannot afford another game like last weekend's, especially to an SEC opponent.

Ole Miss has struggled so far this season and star linebacker Patrick Willis has been on the field way too long.

Quarterback Brent Schaeffer has not been the productive player head coach Ed Orgeron would have hoped for, which is nothing new since he has struggled at all three of his college stops.

The Tide needs this one bad and that is something Alabama head coach Mike Shula does understandŠ

Alabama 24, Ole Miss 14.

Washington State vs. No. 10 California

Bill Doba's Washington State Cougars are coming off a huge 13-6 emotional-filled victory over Oregon State while the Cal Bears took care of the other Oregon school, the Ducks, last weekend.

For the effort in the Oregon State game, Washington State linebacker Scott Davis was named as Pac-10 Player of the Week. Davis finished with three sacks while defensive end Mkristo Brooks leads the nation in sacks with 10.

The Bears floundered in the season-opening loss to Tennessee but has regrouped since then with five consecutive wins.

California has lost 10 straight games in Pullman and a win here would go a long way in keeping the Bears in the Pac-10 hunt leading up to the showdown with USCŠ

Washington State 30, California 28.

Penn State vs. No. 4 Michigan

Happy Valley has not been so happy this season, as Penn State sits at 4-2, including a close loss to Ohio State, but the Nittany Lions are perfect at home and undefeated since the loss to the Buckeyes.

Last season the Nittany Lions' only loss came at the hands of the Wolverines on a last-second touchdown pass from quarterback Chad Henne to wide receiver Mario Manningham.

Manningham was hurt during last weekend's win over Michigan State and will miss Saturday's game after having surgery to repair his right knee Tuesday.

Henne has completed 62 percent of his passes this season while throwing 13 touchdowns and only four interceptions.

Nothing would be bigger for Joe Pa's Nittany Lions than a win Saturday, but the Michigan Wolverines are poised to make a championship runŠ

Michigan 30, Penn State 22.

Texas A&M vs. No. 19 Missouri

Since leaving the University of Alabama, Texas A&M head coach Dennis Franchione has had a hard time living up to his multi-million dollar contract and another loss Saturday would not do wonders for his future in College Station.

The Aggies lost a last-second thriller to Texas Tech two weeks ago and then barely hung on for a last-second win over Kansas last week,

The Tigers are 6-0 for the first time since 1973 and are looking at going 7-0 for the first time in 46 years.

Missouri's 1-2 punch of quarterback Chase Daniel and running back Tony Temple is as dangerous as any team in the Big 12, which is a good thing for the Tigers since Kyle Field will be rocking come Saturday.

Kyle Field is known for being the 12th man but if the Aggies continue to play like they have been playing, it might take up to as many as the 15th manŠ

Missouri 21, Texas A&M 17.

Last week: 6-3

This week: 4-0

Overall: 34-15

Austin Phillips is The Greenville Advocate sports editor. He can be reached at 382-3111 ext. 122, by fax at 382-7104 or by e-mail at