Conference games are in full swing in the SEC. A third of the way through the season, some things are beginning to take shape, but new questions have been presented. This week as a number of division foes face off, some separation will begin to take place.
Georgia State @ Alabama
The Crimson Tide finally showed signs of a complete game (at times) as they shut out Ole Miss last week, even though they were possibly stealing the Rebel Bears’ signs. This week Alabama gets to put up another complete game against outclassed Georgia State. The Tide will only do the basics in this game. Expect a vanilla game plan, just enough to work out some of the kinks, but will end up padding their stats. There won’t be much to see here but a bloodbath. Alabama BIG.
Georgia @ Tennessee
Two of the traditional powers of the SEC East meet for the headlining afternoon game. This game has been one sided for some time. Georgia has won the last three and four of the last five. Tennessee is still not a program that can compete with Georgia, as shown by their effort against Florida and Oregon. Georgia is arguably the best team in the SEC, and certainly the best in the SEC East. One day Tennessee will get back on track, but it won’t happen this weekend. Georgia 48-17.
Ole Miss @ Auburn
Ole Miss returns to the state of Alabama again this week to take on Auburn. This is one of the more intriguing matchups in the league this year. Ole Miss has been the hot name in the conference after their strong close to last season and their opening game with Vanderbilt. Last week Alabama brought them down to earth a little, but that was to be expected. Similarly, Auburn has received lots of good will in how they opened the season, even with a lost to LSU that showed the Tigers’ improvement. This is a critical game for both teams. For Ole Miss, this is the second of a four game stretch that includes Alabama, Texas A&M, and LSU. For the Rebels to really prove they are as good as people think, they have to split this four game gauntlet, and they are already down one game. For Auburn, it is a game against a hot team, with comparable talent, that could be a signature win. This is going to be a close game, and because of that I have to go with the home team. Playing in Auburn will make a difference, and Gus Malzhan will get his signature win of the season. Auburn 33-30.
Arkansas @ Florida
Florida’s offense has shown a little more life since Tyler Murphy took over as the Gator’s starting quarterback. Florida is taking advantage of his athleticism (probably out of necessity) to give the Gators an edge they couldn’t consistently produce with Jeff Driskel. Much like the Tennessee game last week, Florida outclasses Arkansas from an athlete standpoint. Murphy will get live reps to help his development without much chance of losing the game. The Hogs will hang in there and fight, as they showed last week playing A&M tough, but Florida’s defense is a different animal. In the end, they will be the difference in this game. Florida 27-13.
LSU @ Mississippi State
LSU is coming off of a heartbreaking loss to Georgia last week where they were exposed, at least on the defensive side of the ball. Zach Mettenberger and the offense lived up to their end of the bargain, putting up 41 points on the Bulldog defense, but, through numerous problems throughout the whole unit, the Tigers gave up 44. Besides the fact that Mississippi State can exploit some of those issues on defense, the question is whether LSU will have a letdown game or a renewed sense of purpose. Mississippi State has had big success the past few weeks with Dak Prescott running the show. He’s a big physical runner at the QB position and fits the mold of the type of quarterback Mullen needs for his offense (think Tim Tebow, who Mullen coached at Florida). Mullen has announced that he is returning to starter Tyler Russell, who was hurt earlier in the season. How Mullen handles his quarterback situation will impact this game. Even if LSU plays down, the Tigers have become an offensive juggernaut and will score points. LSU 41-24.
Missouri @ Vanderbilt
There are only two undefeated teams in the SEC: Alabama and…Missouri. No one saw that coming. Much like the Auburn/Ole Miss game, this is a game both teams need for validation. After feasting on some lesser opponents, this is the first conference game of the season for Missouri. The Truman Tigers need to show that they are an improved team and can make some noise in the SEC. Vandy has already suffered two losses in conference, one to a perceived heavy weight in the East (South Carolina) and another hot up and comer in a thriller of a game (Ole Miss). The Commodores can’t seem to take that next step and a loss to Mizzou make it seem as if they never will. This is another toss up game, and again in these games it’s all about location, location, location. Vandy 27-21.
Kentucky @ South Carolina
Connor Shaw is expected to start for the Gamecocks after injuring his shoulder last week. The Gamecocks were a little sluggish when Shaw went down, so keeping him healthy is keep for South Carolina. As for Kentucky, well, basketball season is starting soon. South Carolina 33-13.
Which game are you most looking forward to this week? Is there an upset somewhere in the making? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!