Now that the SEC schedule for 2013’s arrived, Christmas has descended early on the Southland and now we’re virtually ignoring what is still a gangbusters 2012 for the conference.

Alabama and Florida were named your BCS No. 1 and No.2 – although that won’t be the National Championship Game unless all hell breaks loose on the schedule.

Anyway, here are our predictions for this week.

And the soundtrack? We’re going with the Drive By Truckers’ ‘Kings Of The South’, from their incredible album ‘Southern Rock Opera’. It’s a beautiful thing….

So here we go….

SOUTH CAROLINA AT FLORIDA

If we believe Steve Spurrier, Marcus Lattimore and virtually the whole Gamecocks side is out of the game with bruises, cuts, or rabies. But while half of us wants to believe the Ole Ball Coach, the other half thinks it’s a bit of a smokescreen after the 23-21 loss at LSU where the Gamecocks were outclassed in the boiling pot known as Tiger Stadium. As for Florida, they woke up in the fourth quarter against Vanderbilt, but the Gators were poor. Having said that, Jeff Driskell’s still breaking games open, and if South Carolina is as ill and injured as they say, then they are going to struggle with his speed (as well as that of Mike Gillislee, who should be considered for a Heisman right now). Oh, and the game’s going to be The Swamp, where old fans of the 4-point favored Gators will respect Steve Spurrier, but the young ones won’t be so friendly. It’s going to be one hell of an atmosphere – even for 3.30 in the afternoon.

BOTTOM LINE: With South Carolina’s injuries, Florida gets a jump on South Carolina and never lets go. Florida by 7. Of course, if you believe Steve Spurrier.

LSU AT TEXAS A&M

Some people are really ****ed off that this game’s on at 12.30 (11.30 Texas time), but not us: It means we get to watch a good match-up all the way through the day (Well, until the first quarter of Alabama vs Tennessee’s over, anyway!). Field goal-favorite LSU knows what it’s going up against: A very, very loud crowd, male cheerleaders, and some guy called Johnny Football, who’s thrown for 1,600 yards and run for nearly 700 more. He’s the second coming of Aggie Jesus. LSU was great against the run last week, but can they do the same after a game like that?

BOTTOM LINE: LSU wins by 7 in a game that goes down to the wire. Johnny Football plays well though.

ALABAMA AT TENNESSEE

We just have this to say: Tennessee sure knew how to make 20-point favorite Alabama angry when they decided that this game – of all games in the 2012 season – would be the one to honor the man that Crimson Tide fans despise the most: Phil Fulmer. Vegas should have moved the line on this one, because we think that it’ll prompt Nick Saban will try and go for it in the third quarter – even when the game’s out of hand and Neyland’s empty. But it should be a fantastic atmosphere before the game – even though tickets are going from just $50. And there’s really not a bad seat in Neyland, friends. Oh, and the rumors are untrue that instead of pledging (which they are no longer allowed to do in Tuscaloosa), Alabama frats are simply making their guys sit in front of the TV and watch all four quarters of this one – which will be a struggle, even for a Tide fan.

BOTTOM LINE: Alabama out of sight. Crimson Tide by 27.

AUBURN AT VANDERBILT

We really enjoy listening to Al.com’s Auburn podcasts, and this one’s not any different. However, the Auburn fans seem to be misguided if they think that Auburn’s going to turn it around from the mess that they are already in. The quarterback situation is nothing less than terrible. The team can’t seem to play for four quarters (see Ole Miss for details). People want Gene Chizik out. And 7-point favorite Vanderbilt – despite being rather disappointing this year – aren’t really that great either, but Jordan Rodgers & Co can really pull this off and call this a scalp!

BOTTOM LINE: Vanderbilt wins by 10. That’s how bad we think Auburn is.

KENTUCKY AT GEORGIA

If there’s one team more awful than Auburn this season, it’s Kentucky – but unfortunately for us all, Auburn and Kentucky aren’t playing each other this year, so we can’t have three hours of train crash on Jefferson Sports Pilot (or whatever it’s called now) to laugh. Because believe us, it would provide the hilarity. And while it seems that the knives are already out for Joker Phillips (if you believe everybody, Joker Phillips is going to be following John L. Smith out the door quickly), people are sharpening them for Mark Richt – particularly after the Bulldogs’ abysmal performance at South Carolina, when they were hit by a few Spurrier haymakers in the first quarter and simply couldn’t get up. If 27-point favorite Georgia doesn’t perform exceptionally – and we mean win by at least four or five touchdowns – Athens may well get sacked (check out me and my classic Greek references!!)

BOTTOM LINE: Georgia storms back, winning by 40. Doesn’t win any friends with the BCS though – even with South Carolina losing.

MTSU AT MISSISSIPPI STATE

Ready for our prediction? Really ready? We think Mississippi State’s going to win easily! There you go!

BOTTOM LINE: CLANG! CLANG! CLANG! Cowbell ring a lot as Mississippi State runs wild, wining by 28.

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