There are only five games this weekend involving SEC teams, but one of them happens to be the biggest college football game of the weekend. No. 9 Auburn will enter Death Valley to take on No. 2 LSU in a game with massive SEC West and College Football Playoff implications. Auburn already has a loss to Florida on the docket, and can't afford another loss. LSU is cruising along with an unblemished record, but will go up against the best defensive front it has seen this season.
No. 1 Alabama is the other big story of the weekend. No, not because it's playing Arkansas. Winning should be no problem. But all eyes will be on second-string quarterback Mac Jones, who will be making his first career start in place of the injured Tua Tagovailoa (ankle). Evaluating Jones' performance will be critical considering Alabama has a bye week next week before hosting LSU in the biggest game of the season.
Let's break down the SEC slate and make picks straight up and against the spread.
2019 record straight up: 51-19 (72.9%)
2019 record against the spread: 36-33-1 (52.1%)
No. 9 Auburn at No. 2 LSU (-10.5): We haven't seen LSU's offense slow down this season either on the scoreboard or with the tempo it runs with. Why stop now? Quarterback Joe Burrow has been phenomenal this year either with a clean pocket or under pressure, so he shouldn't be fazed by Auburn's stud defensive front enough to put the win at risk. The biggest question in this one is Auburn's offense. Coach Gus Malzahn's method of operation has always been running a hurry-up, spread scheme. But with a true freshman on the road in a hostile environment, the path of least resistance might be to slow it down and try to keep Burrow and Co. on the sideline. Auburn isn't built to do that and Malzahn won't do it even if they were. LSU runs away late. Pick: LSU (-10.5)
Arkansas at No. 1 Alabama (-31.5): The staff has confidence in Jones, but he doesn't have the arm strength and accuracy of Tagovailoa. Will he be able to fit the ball into tight windows like Tagovailoa does on those quick slants that the Crimson Tide offense has been so successful with this season? Probably not as much. Because of that, expect coach Nick Saban and offensive coordinator to try some different things to see what works -- including a more traditional power rushing attack. It's a trial and error game, which means the starters will stay in for nearly a full four quarters and allow the Tide to cover late. Pick: Alabama (-31.5)
South Carolina at Tennessee (+4.5): The Vols are 0-7 against Will Muschamp during his stints at Florida and South Carolina. That will change this week on Rocky Top. No, the Vols won't have Brian Maurer under center and will start either Jarrett Guarantano or J.T. Shrout -- with both seeing snaps. This will be Guarantano's redemption. He went rouge last week on a quarterback sneak in the fourth quarter against Alabama which essentially ended the Vols chance at an upset. But he has had moments that suggest that he can get the job done. South Carolina's defense ran out of gas this week, and the absence of Rico Dowdle at running back will make it hard for the Gamecocks to establish the run -- even with Tavien Feaster still in the lineup. Give me the Vols straight up in an upset. Pick: Tennessee (+4.5)
Mississippi State at Texas A&M (-10.5): Jimbo Fisher's second year at the helm hasn't gone according to plan. SEC West title chances are long gone, the running game can't get going and the offense has been disjointed all year. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are are a mess. They can't figure out how to find a passing game and the defense is giving up 6.2 yards per play. This will be Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond's best game of the season. Fisher will get him involved in the passing game, wear the Bulldogs defense out and cruise to a cover in the fourth quarter. Pick: Texas A&M (-10.5)
Missouri at Kentucky (+10.5): "Road Missouri" is an abject disaster while "Home Missouri" looks like the best team in sports history (sarcasm). "Road Missouri" will get right this weekend against a Wildcats team that is an absolute mess at quarterback and has been forced to run a modified version of the option offense with wide receiver Lynn Bowden taking the snaps. That won't fly. It puts too much pressure on the defense, which will crumble in the second half when quarterback Kelly Bryant and running back Larry Rountree III put this game to bed. Pick: Missouri (-10.5)
So what CFB picks can you make with confidence in Week 9? And which line is shows Vegas is way off? Visit SportsLine now to see which teams win and cover the spread in every game this week, all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,200 in profit over the past four seasons.