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Andy Hodges

ANDY’S PICKS: Do you really think Hogs have a shot against Georgia?

The Hogs aren’t ready to win over highly-ranked Georgia, but they are ready to keep things much closer than most people expecting in opener.

It’s more than mildly entertaining to listen to an Arkansas fan trying to justify how he seriously believes there is a chance to win Saturday against No. 4 Georgia.

Unlike some tend to fall into the trap of thinking, last season (or last week) has absolutely nothing to do with the game in front of the Razorbacks.

Since the Hogs came to the SEC in 1992, playing against the Bulldogs hasn’t worked out well, winning just twice in that time period, both of them coming against Georgia teams with a losing record.

The Hogs simply haven’t been in the same class for the last decade.

And none of that matters Saturday. In a year filled with civil unrest piled on top of a global health crisis, now we have football where we really have no idea what players are going to be able to play in the game until they kick it off.

Thank you, quarantine. To date, the number of college football players having serious issues from the corona virus is so small as to be virtually insignificant. So far, the fear of passing the virus from player to player in a game hasn’t been realized.

It’s that quarantine from being in contact with someone that tests positive we isolate healthy people with no symptoms to “contain the spread,” which may or may not work depending on which “expert” you choose to believe.

All of that is why this could be a wacky football season and picking winners of games without knowing for certain who will even be on the field is somewhat of a gamble … at best.

For the complete season all picks carry the exact same disclaimer members of Congress use in their remarks: We reserve the right to edit and extend our comments for the record.

We’ll even let Peter Morgan use that excuse. Once again, he strolls into the opening week full of hope that will have enough spark to last until somewhere between Halloween and Thanksgiving before he gets desperate.

But back to this game.

Georgia -28 at Arkansas

For the first time in a couple of years, the Hogs have a coach that actually has a clue what he’s doing in the SEC. Yes, Sam Pittman makes that big of a difference.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t have enough depth to win this game unless the Bulldogs are completely inept on offense, which is probably not going to happen.

What I think is they won’t be good enough to win by four touchdowns in an opening game with no spring practice and a guessing game at quarterback.

For once, the Hogs are the stable team at quarterback with Feleipe Franks taking charge of this team’s offense.

It may not be enough to win, but it will be enough to stay within four touchdowns.

Georgia 34, Arkansas 24

Florida -13.5 at Ole Miss

The Gators were my preseason pick to win the SEC East, partly because that’s what I’ve done every year since 1992 and mainly because I think they’re going to be better at the quarterback spot.

The Rebels are breaking in a new coach and figuring out which quarterback to play, which is why I think this game might be a little more open than some do.

Florida 28, Ole Miss 10

Kentucky +7.5 at Auburn

In looking at this one, either folks are giving the Wildcats some high expectations or they are aware of the two-headed trainwreck running the offense for the Tigers now.

Chad Morris is the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for Gus Malzahn, who has once again said he’s letting somebody else call the plays.

Based on past experience, that means Bo Nix will be in the transfer portal by Halloween and Malzahn will once again be on the hot seat before the end of the year.

The Tigers will win this one, but that’s simply because they are home and I’m not ready to drink the blue koolaid of Kentucky until they do something.

Auburn 21, Kentucky 17

Mississippi State at -17 LSU

The defending national champions will probably be a step behind last year’s team which was good enough to be 2-3 steps ahead of everybody else in the SEC.

Meanwhile in Starkville, Mike Leach takes over a program torn apart inside for two years with a lack of discipline and other issues.

This one could get out of hand quick and get bad.

LSU 49, Mississippi State 14

-28 Alabama at Missouri

Welcome to the SEC, Eli Drinkwitz.

Maybe no one in the SEC has been quieter during the fall camp process than the Crimson Tide where Nick Saban has just gone about the business of doing whatever he has to to have a team ready for a season.

This one won’t be close by the end of the first quarter.

Alabama 52, Missouri 7

Vanderbilt at -30 Texas A&M

Are things going the wrong way for Derek Mason with the Commodores? Probably. That’s how it has gone with the program for the last 40 years or so.

The Aggies are hoping they are in the hunt for a playoff spot but nobody really thinks so. But they are good enough to handle this one, although 30 might be too big of a number to cover.

Texas A&M 41, Vanderbilt 21

Tennessee at +3.5 South Carolina

This might be the best game of the opening week of the season from a competitive standpoint between two coaches who need a winning year or they might be gone.

The guess here is Jeremy Pruitt had one of those seasons last year that gives everyone enough hope the coach better win something quick or he’s going to have a problem.

And Will Muschamp figures it out … again.

South Carolina 17, Tennessee 13

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