One quarter of the season is already over and SEC conference play is about to ramp up full throttle. This is the last weekend of creampuff scheduling in the league. It is the last week to pad stats on weaker competition, the last week to get younger players experience in expected blowouts, but also the last week for some teams to fine tune part of their game. Here is a look at this weekend’s slate.
Townson vs. LSU
If there is a team that needs tuning up, it is LSU. No disrespect to the Tigers from Maryland, but this game is only about the Tigers from the bayou. LSU was a three touchdown favorite at Auburn last week, but only managed to win by two. That game showed that LSU still has work to do concerning its offense, particularly the passing game. This is the last week LSU has to fix anything before hitting the meat of their schedule. LSU will win, but seeing if they decide to work out any kinks will be the bigger story here.
Missouri vs. UCF
Missouri has been beaten up in its first two conference games. They get a break from grown man football and take a trip to the University of Central Florida. Missouri quarterback James Franklin has been slowed down by injury the past few weeks, but is still expected to start on Saturday. Missouri will try strike first and fast to get a comfortable lead and get Franklin out of the game. Even with injury concerns, Missouri will be able to outclass UCF and try to rest some of their starters late in the game.
Ole Miss vs. Alabama
The good news for Ole Miss: they are 3-1 and look like an improved team this year. The bad news: the one good team they’ve played destroyed them. Now, the Rebel Black Bears travel to Tuscaloosa and take on Alabama. While there are no moral victories in football, Ole Miss would have to be encouraged it this game was competitive for a quarter. The main concern should be to get quarterback Bo Wallace out of there in one piece. Alabama has been steam rolling everyone, but the Tide have yet to be tested. That trend will continue for another week.
South Carolina vs. Kentucky
There was no hotter quarterback in the SEC last week than Connor Shaw. He had one, ONE, incompletion on the day and it was his very first pass. While the Gamecocks passing game was cooking, they have been a little sluggish in the running game. Look for Marcus Lattimore to have a good showing against the 13th ranked rushing defense in the league. The Wildcats’ offense will have their hands full with the monstrous pass rush of South Carolina, led by Jadeveon Clowney. It is going to be a long night for Kentucky quarterback Maxwell Smith.
South Carolina 35-13
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M
Traditional rivals meet for the first time as division foes when Arkansas travels to College Station, TX. I have run out of ways to describe just how bad things have gotten for Arkansas. Never has a championship contender fallen so far, so hard, so fast. Texas A&M comes in feeling good about themselves as they flexed their muscles on lesser teams for a couple of weeks. As much as I think Arkansas will roll over and completely quit after another tough loss, the Hogs will muster up some pride and play a good game at Kyle Field. There will be plenty of fireworks (and probably not a lot of defense) in this game. Being a shootout, I want to go with the experienced quarterback, Tyler Wilson, but A&M has a better defense that gets after the quarterback. The Aggies get their first ever SEC win.
Texas A&M 52-45
Tennessee vs. Georgia
Derek Dooley visits the stadium where his father, Vince, became a legend. Unlike the elder Dooley, Derek’s position is not such a sure thing; it is all about performance and winning games now. Early in the season Dooley’s offense looked like it would give the Vols a chance in every game. That has turned a little south in the past few weeks. The offense stalled out in the second half against Florida and had a bit of a shootout last week against Akron. Now, Dooley needs a win and he needs one against a marquee team. Georgia fits the bill. Unfortunately, Tennessee is a one dimensional team on offense, with no running game to speak of. The Vols also have a tough time stopping anyone on defense. That is not a good combination as Georgia has developed a strong ground game with freshman Todd Gurley. If that weren’t enough, Georgia is finally at full strength on defense with reinstated players Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo. And of course there is Aaron Murray, who is quietly having another All-SEC season.
Georgia is too complete in all phases of the game for Tennessee. This one could get a little ugly.
Those are our thoughts for the upcoming games in the SEC. What do you think of these matchups? Any potential upsets? Let us know in the comments!