Pasquali’s Pix: Bulldogs, Tide to roll; Vols to topple Aggies

University of Georgia photo by Tony Walsh / Georgia football coach Kirby Smart picked up a 22nd consecutive SEC regular-season victory with Saturday night's 51-13 demolishing of Kentucky in Sanford Stadium.
University of Georgia photo by Tony Walsh / Georgia football coach Kirby Smart picked up a 22nd consecutive SEC regular-season victory with Saturday night's 51-13 demolishing of Kentucky in Sanford Stadium.

Should top-ranked Georgia do the unexpected Saturday and win at Vanderbilt — oops, let's start over.

Should Kirby Smart's Bulldogs thump Vandy in Nashville, they would earn a 23rd consecutive Southeastern Conference regular-season triumph. That would move Georgia's current run into a tie for third all-time with Georgia's 1980-83 teams that had some running back named Herschel Walker for most of those victories.

With Georgia having next week off, a 24th straight SEC win would have to transpire down in Jacksonville at the expense of Florida, which won 24 in a row under Steve Spurrier during the 1994-97 seasons. Smart was asked about the streak during his Wednesday appearance on the SEC teleconference, and he admitted that he and Spurrier are — gasp! — congenial to one another.

"He's an incredible person, and I have a lot of respect for him," Smart said. "He abused me as a player, but that's neither here nor there now. What he's done for college football and for the game of football in general is really incredible. I've gotten to know him a little better now these last 10 years, because we play in a golf tournament every summer, and I just enjoy being around him.

"His wife, Jerri, has been good to my wife. She's been a young head coach's wife. When we started out, she spent some time with my wife about those duties, but he's just a great man and has such a great personality. So many Georgia fans dislike him or even despise him for the years he spent there, but I just enjoy being around him."

Alabama holds the standard at 27 SEC wins in a row under the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant, a streak that began after a 21-0 defeat at Georgia in 1976 and ended with the memorable 6-3 loss to Mississippi State at Jackson in 1980.

The Bulldogs could get to 27 by winning at Tennessee on Nov. 18, but they must first get to 23 Saturday and then to 24 against the Gators, which would pull Smart even with Spurrier.

"It's nice to know we have a chance to do that," Smart said, "because it might remove the teams that I was a part of that got beat by him so many times."

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LSU fifth-year senior quarterback Jayden Daniels is not on pace to match the 60 touchdown tosses that Joe Burrow threw for the 2019 national championship Tigers, but he's putting up plenty of impressive numbers of his own.

For five straight games, Daniels has accounted for at least four touchdowns.

"He's playing at an elite level," LSU coach Brian Kelly said. "He leads the SEC and is ranked second nationally in total offense. He leads the SEC in total touchdowns and pass efficiency. His development has been well-chronicled, and he's done all the things necessary to put himself in this position.

"He has worked his tail off, and it's great to see him have this kind of success. Our offense has really been driven and led by him."

Daniels' current passer rating of 196.74 ranks fourth in SEC history behind Alabama's Mac Jones (203.06) in 2020, Burrow (201.96) in 2019 and Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa (199.44) in 2018.

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The favorite part of Lane Kiffin's week is not when the Ole Miss coach turns in questionable officiating calls to the SEC office.

"We turn them in, although it just makes you more upset when they respond back like this week and say a number of them weren't penalties that were called during very impactful plays in the game, including the protection of the quarterback," Kiffin said. "It kind of just frustrates you more, especially when, during the game, you're telling them it's wrong as you're seeing it."

***

Auburn had lost 10 straight times in Baton Rouge before pulling the 24-19 surprise two years ago in what was the unquestioned highlight of Bryan Harsin's turbulent 9-12 regime on the Plains.

Now it's Hugh Freeze hoping to taste victory after going 0-3 at LSU during his five seasons with Ole Miss from 2012-16.

"We had two shots of winning there," Freeze said. "One was a whipping. We didn't get it done, and it's a really difficult place to play. They obviously always have some of the best talent in the country.

"That was a pretty big rivalry for me when I first got in this conference."

Freeze's Rebels lost 41-35 in 2012 and 10-7 in 2014, with the whipping being the 38-21 outcome in 2016. Ole Miss did beat LSU in Oxford during Freeze's two opportunities to hold serve at home.


Pasquali's Pix

Georgia at Vanderbilt: This marks the first CBS appearance for the Commodores since their 59-0 loss to Alabama in 2017. Bulldogs 38, Commodores 3.

Arkansas at Alabama: Crimson Tide kicker Will Reichard is a perfect 12-of-12 on field-goal attempts and 18-of-18 on extra-point tries so far this season, having gone a perfect 13-of-13 and 84-of-84 in 2020. Tide 37, Razorbacks 10.

Texas A&M at Tennessee: The Aggies have racked up 26 sacks this season. The Volunteers have allowed six. Vols 30, Aggies 23.

UTC at Mercer: The Mocs have to get off the emotional mat and face a Mercer team that has won four of the past six series meetings. Bears 27, Mocs 24.

Florida at South Carolina: The Gators have lost 13 of their last 14 games away from the Swamp, and the Gamecocks are coming off their open date. Gamecocks 23, Gators 22.

Auburn at LSU: The higher-scoring this one gets, the more Auburn will be in trouble. LSU 38, Auburn 19.

Missouri at Kentucky: The winner of this is bowl eligible before mid-October. Wildcats 23, Tigers 16.

Southern California at Notre Dame: The Trojans have won 12 of the last 20 series meetings, but the Fighting Irish have won seven of the past 11. Irish 31, Trojans 28.

Other picks:

Tulane 31, Memphis 24

Colorado 42, Stanford 19

Michigan 55, Indiana 18

Ohio State 38, Purdue 21

Florida State 33, Syracuse 22

Utah 34, California 15

Penn State 59, UMass 6

Washington 27, Oregon 20

Virginia Tech 26, Wake Forest 17

Wisconsin 20, Iowa 13

Louisville 35, Pittsburgh 28

Washington State 29, Arizona 16

Miami 24, North Carolina 23

Oregon State 17, UCLA 10

Duke 30, N.C. State 27

Kansas 28, Oklahoma State 25

Maryland 21, Illinois 14

Last week:

Winners — 19

Cristobals — 6

Pasquali is 126-24 overall (84.0%) this season.

Contact David Paschall at [email protected].

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