LSU vs. Texas A&M
The opening SEC game of the weekend (for the life of me, I cannot figure out why) is the renewal of an old rivalry. LSU and Texas A&M have shared a sporadic rivalry through the years, and Saturday will begin that rivalry anew. The Aggies come into the contest riding a five game winning streak. It all starts with quarterback Johnny Manziel, or Johnny Football as he is better known. The guy is dynamic and has already set lots of SEC records for total offense (he currently leads the league in rushing yards). LSU is coming off of their best performance of the season, defeating, then third ranked South Carolina in Death Valley. Their offensive line was in shambles, but they managed to rush for 258 yards against the second best run defense in the conference. The passing game was still an issue, but there were no drops in this game (baby steps). If the Tigers can contain Johnny Football and continue to run at will, it will be a long day for the Aggies.
Alabama vs. Tennessee
It’s the third Saturday in October, which means it is time for Alabama to meet its oldest rival, Tennessee. The Vols may be the first team to truly challenge Alabama, at least through the air. The trio of Tyler Bray, Corderelle Patterson and Justin Hunter is one of the most dangerous aerial attacks in the nation and can put some pressure on that Tide secondary. The problem for Tennessee is they cannot run the ball or defend the run on defense. The worst thing to be against this Tide defense is one dimensional, no matter how good that one dimension is. On the other side, the story will be the health of Bama quarterback AJ McCarron. There have been conflicting reports that McCarron has a tear in his meniscus. He will play, but keep an eye out for his knee. Alabama will control the line of scrimmage, but Tennessee may expose a few holes in the Tide secondary.
Auburn vs. Vanderbilt
Auburn is an eight point underdog at Vanderbilt. This is how far the mighty Tigers from the Plains have fallen. Their defense cannot stop anyone, their offense cannot move the ball, and they have no quarterback. The heat is cranking up on Gene Chizik. It will be hard for him to keep his job if he goes winless in the SEC. They have already lost to an Ole Miss team that was winless in the league for two years. Losing to Vanderbilt will be insult to injury. The insults are about to rain down.
Middle Tennessee vs. Mississippi State
This game is not about Middle Tennessee. Sure, Middle Tennessee put a beat down on Georgia Tech, so Mississippi State should not take them lightly. However, this game is only an obstacle in getting to Tuscaloosa and having a matchup of undefeated teams. That would likely be the biggest game in State history. To get to that place, State cannot afford a loss that would surely derail them. This game is about State managing those emotions and not overlooking a very capable Blue Raider team. State will manage their emotions, but it could cause a slow start in this game.
Georgia vs. Kentucky
Kentucky is, hands down, the worst team in the SEC this year. It is not all their fault; they have been ridden with injury for most of the season. Even without the injuries, they just are not very talented. Georgia is coming off a humiliating loss to South Carolina. To make matters worse, the Bulldogs have had two weeks to stew over that game, being off last week. Georgia cannot make any more mistakes if they hope to make it to Atlanta, and they’ll be angry. Sorry, Kentucky.
South Carolina vs. Florida
This game can potentially decide the winner of the SEC East. South Carolina was dominated by LSU, but since the loss came to a SEC West team, the Gamecocks can lead the division with a win over Florida. A win by Florida would give the Gamecocks their second loss and essentially put them out of the conversation, as well as put Florida in the driver seat. South Carolina’s chances took a big hit with
the news that Marcus Lattimore may not play in this game. Just the threat of Lattimore takes a little pressure off of quarterback Connor Shaw. If Lattimore does not play the game will hang on Shaw, who has struggled against the best defenses he has played (LSU is the 2nd ranked defense, while Vandy is the 38th). Florida will look to mimic LSU and pound the ball right at South Carolina. Florida also has the
added benefit of a dangerous mobile quarterback Jeff Driskel who can grab chunks of yards with his feet. Florida will overwhelm the Gamecocks and face Georgia next week with the East on the line.
Florida 31- 14
What do you think of the matchups for the SEC? Are there going to be any upsets this weekend? Let us know what you think in the comments!