After South Carolina’s comeback win over Missouri, the SEC East is wide open. Mathematically, South Carolina, Missouri, Florida, and Georgia are all still in it. One of those teams will be eliminated when Georgia and Florida meet. It’s a quiet weekend on the other side of the conference, with the exception of a brewing rivalry started in the summer heat of Alabama.
Alabama State @ Kentucky
Kentucky has yet to get a win in conference play. They came close last week in Starkville, but could not put it all together and suffered a disappointing six point loss. Fortunately, the Wildcats get a team they physically out match and should have no problem with. Unfortunately, it is probably the last win of the season. Kentucky wins.
UTEP @ Texas A&M
The Aggies welcome the Miners of UTEP to Kyle Field this weekend. UTEP currently ranks 118th allowed in the nation. A&M can roll out of the bed and win this one. The Aggies will jump on the Miners early so Johnny Manziel can take a nap starting in the second quarter. A&M rolls.
Auburn @ Arkansas
Since SEC Media Days, things have been a little chippy between the first year coaches of Auburn and Arkansas. Starting with that disagreement over up-tempo offenses, the brewing rivalry between Gus Malzahn and Bret Bielema has now escalated to a game tape controversy. If it wasn’t a sure thing before, it is a pretty safe bet now that this means a bit more to both coaches. Auburn is the better team, and winning a game in Arkansas has meaning for Malzahn (he coached at Arkansas and Arkansas State), which should translate to his players. Arkansas isn’t nearly as talented and is looking firmly at the wrong end of an 0-8 season. Bielema may manufacture some emotion in his players, but it won’t be enough. Auburn 37-17
Mississippi State @ South Carolina
Mississippi State’s quest for a bowl continues this week in South Carolina. Currently sitting at four wins, the Bulldogs need to pick up two Ws. They won’t get one here. State hasn’t beaten any good teams so far, and only have one win in conference, Kentucky. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks are coming off an emotional win against Missouri. Connor Shaw showed his worth as a player and leader, leading the comeback in the fourth quarter. He has been underrated, and he makes South Carolina that much better. South Carolina 34-24.
Tennessee @ Missouri
Tennessee came close to springing the upset on Georgia. Missouri did spring the upset on, but it all came crashing down with a beat down in Tuscaloosa. Tennessee now has to try to catch another vulnerable team, but must do so with a true freshman making his first start at quarterback. The fact that Vols coach Butch Jones wanted to red shirt Josh Dobbs, but cannot because of injury, says everything about Tennessee’s situation. Missouri has made a living playing back-up quarterbacks all season. Sporting one of the most productive defensive lines, the Truman Tigers are able to consistently pressure the quarterback and capitalize on the mistakes of these young players. Matty Mauk has, for the most part, kept the offense on track, so scoring will not be an issue. Missouri 37-13.
Georgia vs. Florida
The game formerly known as “The World’s Biggest Outdoor Cocktail Party” has long had an effect on the outcome of the SEC East. Since 2003 there have only been three times when Florida or Georgia has not represented the East in the SEC Championship game. This year, both teams are on the outside looking in for the East crown and will be officially eliminated from the race with a loss. Georgia has been decimated by injury all year, but they may finally get the best running back in the conference, Todd Gurley, back this week. Florida has already lost one quarterback for the year, and it appears that Tyler Murphy is banged up going into this game. To try to relieve some of the pressure, Muschamp is inserting true freshman Kelvin Taylor at running back. Taylor has shown promise when given the opportunity so far. The key to this game is Gurley. If he plays, and it looks like he will, Georgia will be able to grind the Gators to a halt. Georgia 31-17.