The final week of September will feature two lopsided rivalry games, several middle-tier conference showdowns and a few tune-ups as teams prepare for the meat of the SEC schedule coming in October.

How will Week 5 shake out in the SEC? Let's break it down with some picks against the spread (and hopefully improve up on that record).

Record straight up: 35-8 (6-2 last week)
Record against the spread: 10-21-1 (2-5-1 last week)
*Games without lines are not counted in the ATS record

Main courses

Tennessee at No. 2 Georgia (-31.5)

  • Bulldogs have to fix things
  • Pruitt needs something good
  • Get ready for a bludgeoning 

The rivalry between the Volunteers is expected to be a one-sided affair, but how both teams respond to Week 4 will be what's most important here. The Vols couldn't block Florida, quarterback Jarrett Guarantano got knocked out of the game and they turned the ball over six times en route to getting trounced by the Gators. The Vols need something to go right just to give them something to build on. The problem is, that's easier said than done against this Georgia team -- which struggled on third down offensively, stopping the run defensively and was all-around sloppy in last week's win at Missouri. Georgia has topped the 40-point mark in every game this year, and will cruise past it again in Game 5 against a Vols team that will struggle to break double digits. Pick: Georgia (-31.5)

Florida at No. 23 Mississippi State (-7.5)

  • Rebound for the Bulldogs
  • Florida momentum?
  • Comes down to QBs

The "Mullen Bowl" kicks off Saturday night in Starkville, as Gators coach Dan Mullen heads back to his old stomping grounds in the land of the cowbell. Mississippi State got worked last week at Kentucky, revealing some holes for Joe Moorhead's crew -- particularly the offensive line and lack of a downfield passing attack. Florida dominated Tennessee, but an offense that managed just 387 yards and went 3-of-11 on third down leaves a lot to be desired. The Gators defense will have some success against Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and the vaunted rushing attack. But Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks will force too many tough passes late, and give Mississippi State a big win -- but not a cover. Pick: Florida (+7.5)

Strong cocktails

Ole Miss at No. 5 LSU (-12)

  • Sneaky rivalry
  • Ole Miss can't play defense
  • Chance for Tiger secondary to shine

LSU didn't exactly cruise last weekend vs. Louisiana Tech, but Ole Miss didn't cruise against Southern Illinois and Kent State in September. What's wrong with the Rebels? They don't play defense. It doesn't look like they even try to play defense. LSU's secondary will shut down quarterback Jordan Ta'amu, wide receivers A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf, and the rest of the offense for a full four quarters. Tigers signal caller Joe Burrow won't have to do much, running back Nick Brossette will run wild and Ed Orgeron's crew will obliterate that spread. Pick: LSU (-12)

South Carolina at No. 17 Kentucky (-1.5)

  • Big Blue Nation rolling
  • Bentley will be under fire
  • Snell finishes it off

The Kentucky hype train kept rolling Saturday night against Mississippi State, and it will be full steam ahead this week against South Carolina. Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley will be under fire from Wildcats linebacker Josh Allen and that fierce front seven, and he won't be able to hold up for a full four quarters. Benny Snell will have another big day and break off a big run or two in the fourth quarter against a worn out South Carolina defense to lead the Wildcats to 5-0. Pick: Kentucky (-1.5)

Arkansas at Texas A&M (-20.5)

  • Aggies defense on point
  • Hogs can't throw
  • Let's get sideways

Lost in the Alabama hoopla is the fact that Texas A&M's defense held the Crimson Tide to just 109 rushing yards and 3.89 yards per carry last week. All things considered, that's not that bad. They'll do the same against an Arkansas offense that ranks 13th in the SEC in rushing, and force quarterback Ty Storey to throw. Tua Tagovailoa could do it last week against the Aggies, but Storey won't have the same success. The Aggies will turn this one sideways in a hurry. Pick: Texas A&M (-20.5)


Southern Miss at Auburn (-27)

  • All about Tigers OL
  • Get some confidence
  • Get starters out

How crazy it that Auburn was a bigger favorite over Arkansas than it is over Southern Miss? Nevertheless, it's clear through four games that the Tigers have major issues along the offensive line that need to be addressed. As long as they address them against the Golden Eagles, the game will be a success. Auburn's starters played virtually the entire game vs. Arkansas. With Mississippi State looming next week, they'll find the bench quickly and allow Southern Miss to slide in the back door for a cover. Pick: Southern Miss (+27)

Louisiana-Lafayette at Alabama (-49)

  • Holy cow, those points
  • Tide can play dial-a-score
  • Call off the dogs

Instead of analyzing how Alabama is a 900-pound gorilla that can destroy the soul of pretty much every FBS team outside of the top five, we'll make this really simple. A 49-point spread is (super-deep analysis alert) a whole lot of points. But Louisiana-Lafayette is one of only two teams in the country that has scored touchdowns on every trip to the red zone (10-of-10). The Ragin' Cajuns are coached by Billy Napier -- a former Alabama assistant under Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban. As was the case last week vs. Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M, Saban will call off the dogs to prevent massive embarrassment to a former employee ... and maybe the Cajuns cash in a red zone trip or two if they get there. Pick: Louisiana-Lafayette (+49)

Side dish

  • Vanderbilt over Tennessee State

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