By Brian Edwards
**Kentucky at Florida**
--Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened Florida (5-1 straight up, 4-2 against the spread) as a 19-point favorite, but the number has moved into the 24-25 range. On Sunday night before becoming aware of UK’s injury situation (below), I made UF a 20-point ‘chalk’ with a total of 46½. On Thursday, LVSC opened the total at 48.
--Kentucky (5-2 SU, 3-3 ATS) will be without at least four starters on offense for Saturday’s trip to The Swamp. Senior WR Dicky Lyons Jr., sophomore RB Derrick Locke and OG Christian Johnson are each out for the rest of the season. Also, junior OT Justin Jeffries remains “out” with a sprained MCL. The defense is banged up even more. DT Myron Pryor has been ruled “out” with a high ankle sprain. Pryor leads the team in tackles for loss (7½) and is tied for the team lead in sacks with 3 ½. LBs Micah Johnson (high ankle sprain), Johnny Williams and Braxton Kelly are all “questionable” along with CB David Jones (arm/elbow). All four players missed practice Wednesday, according to GatorBait.net.
--The Gators are healthy after enjoying an open date. They are also in a look-ahead spot here with next week’s showdown against Georgia looming.
--UF running back Emmanuel Moody will play this week after missing the last two games since suffering a high ankle sprain in a 31-30 home loss to Ole Miss back on Sep. 27. Also, LB Dustin Doe will be back after missing the 51-21 win over LSU with a sports hernia.
--UF has won 21 in a row over UK. The Gators won 45-37 as seven-point road favorites in a shoot-out last season.
--Florida QB Tim Tebow has a 10/1 touchdown-interception ratio this season.
--Urban Meyer’s team leads the SEC in scoring offense, producing 38.5 points per game. Kentucky leads the SEC in scoring defense, giving up just 11.9 PPG. UF is second in the SEC in scoring defense, allowing 13.0 PPG.
--The Gators are first in the SEC and third in the country in turnover margin (+10). The Wildcats are tied for second in the SEC with Vandy (+7).
--UK hasn’t won in Gainesville since 1979.
--Kick-off is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Eastern.
**Alabama at Tennessee**
--LVSC opened Alabama (7-0 SU, 4-3 ATS) as five-point favorite with a total of 40 ½. I made ‘Bama a 7 ½-point ‘chalk’ with a total of 40. As of Thursday, most books had the Tide listed as a 6 ½-point road favorite. The Vols are plus 200 on the money line (risk $100 to win $200).
--Tennessee (3-4 SU, 4-3 ATS) is off a 34-3 win over Mississippi St. as an eight-point home favorite, but bettors shouldn’t feel like the Vols solved their offensive problems. They led the Bulldogs 6-3 at intermission and scored two of their touchdowns on interception returns in the third quarter.
--Alabama is perfect on the road this season, winning 49-14 at Arkansas and 41-30 at Georgia. Meanwhile, UT is 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS at home this year.
--Since 2004, the Vols have only been home underdogs five times, posting a 4-1 spread record. However, the one defeat was a 30-6 loss to Florida earlier this season.
--Tennessee is fifth in the SEC and 17th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 16.0 PPG.
--‘Bama DT Terrence Cody, the team’s mammoth run-stuffing nose tackle, is out at least 2 weeks with a sprained knee.
--ESPN will provide television coverage at 7:45 p.m. Eastern. Temperatures in Knoxville on Saturday night are expected to dip into the low 40s.
**Ole Miss at Arkansas**
--Most books have installed Ole Miss (3-4 SU, 4-2 ATS) as a 5 1/2-point favorite with a total of 53.
--Saturday will be an emotional time for Houston Nutt, who was born and raised in Arkansas and had his dream job as the leader of the Razorbacks for 10 mostly successful seasons. But after leading the Hogs to a thrilling 50-48 win at top-ranked LSU in an epic triple-overtime struggle to close the 2007 regular season, Nutt turned down a lucrative contract extension and resigned, stressing that the Razorback faithful needed to get back on the same page. You see, the Mitch Mustain-Damian Williams Debacle had fractured the fan base, and Nutt could/would no longer function with such negativity surrounding his program.
--As this space suggested as far back as October of 2007, Nutt quickly moved on to Ole Miss. The record says 3-4 to date, but that doesn’t even begin to tell the story of the 2008 Rebels. They pulled one of the biggest shockers of the season, winning 31-30 at Florida as 23-point underdogs. They dominated Alabama in the second half in Tuscaloosa last week, only to drop a 24-20 decision as 12-point ‘dogs. The four losses have come against ranked teams by an average of 4.8 PPG, and no defeat has come by more than seven points.
--Arkansas (3-4 SU, 2-4 ATS) had lost three in a row by a combined score of 139-31 to Alabama, Texas and Florida. However, the Razorbacks came to life two weeks ago in a surprising 25-22 win at Auburn as 16 ½-point underdogs. Bobby Petrino’s team went into Lexington last week and held a 20-7 advantage at the 5:00 mark of the fourth quarter. But UK rallied to capture a 21-20 victory. Nevertheless, the Razorbacks took the cash as 7½-point underdogs.
--Arkansas RB Michael Smith leads the SEC in rushing (131.8 yards per game) and all-purpose yards, but he suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter of last week’s 21-20 loss at Kentucky. According to HawgSports.com, Smith participated in parts of Wednesday’s practice and is considered “questionable.”
--Arkansas has won four consecutive games against Ole Miss, which has only won once in seven trips to Fayetteville.
**B.E’s Bonus Nuggets**
--South Carolina is off this week, while Auburn plays at West Va. on Thursday. Vandy can become bowl eligible for the first time since 1982 if it can beat Duke at home Saturday. The Commodores are 10-point favorites at most books. Mississippi St. will play host to Middle Tennessee as a 10-point home 'chalk.'
--Ranking this year’s SEC Coaching jobs to date:
1-Nick Saban (Alabama)
2-Bobby Johnson (Vandy
3-Rich Brooks (Kentucky)
4-Urban Meyer (Florida)
5-Les Miles (LSU)
6-Houston Nutt (Ole Miss)
7-Steve Spurrier (South Carolina)
8-Mark Richt (Georgia)
9-Bobby Petrino (Arkansas)
10-Phillip Fulmer (Tennessee)
11-Sylvester Croom (Mississippi St.)
12-Tommy Tuberville (Auburn)
QB- Tim Tebow (Florida)
RB- Michael Smith (Arkansas)
RB- Knowshon Moreno (Georgia)
WR- Percy Harvin (Florida)
WR- A.J. Green (Georgia)
TE- Jared Cook (South Carolina)
OT- Michael Oher (Ole Miss)
OT- Andre Smith (Alabama)
OG- Herman Johnson (LSU)
OG- John Jerry (Ole Miss)
C- Jonathan Luigs (Arkansas)
DE- Antonio Coleman (Auburn)
DE- Tyson Jackson (LSU)
DT- Terrence Cody (Alabama)
DT- Myron Pryor (Kentucky)
LB- Brandon Spikes (Florida)
LB- Patrick Benoist (Vandy)
LB- Rolando McClain (Alabama)
CB- Trevard Lindley (Kentucky)
CB- D.J. Moore (Vandy)
FS- Ryan Hamilton (Vandy)
SS- Emanuel Cook (South Carolina)
PR- Derek Pegues (Mississippi St.)
KR- Brandon James (Florida)
PK- Jonathan Phillips (Florida)
P- Tim Masthay (Kentucky)