It’s Rivarly Week in college football, which means we have reached the end of the regular season. This is always a bittersweet time of year. Rivalry Week normally brings good games with teams that hate each other, but once the game is over, there is only the waiting until the last games in bowl season. To add to the mixing feels that occur every year, this year both division champions will be crowned this weekend. This promises to be a wild race to the finish line in the SEC!
Ole Miss @ Mississippi State
The Egg Bowl, called that because of the shape of the trophy awarded, is typically the game to determine the cellar dweller in the SEC West. Thanks to a couple of big wins by Ole Miss and the stench coming from Arkansas, neither team will claim that honor this year. The story of this game is if it will be the nail in the coffin of Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen. Ole Miss has made a splash and looks to be heading up, while State has plateaued under Mullen. An embarrassing loss to the Rebels could send him on his way. Both teams will be up for this game and it should be an exciting, back and forth game. Mississippi State may have a bit more depth than Ole Miss, but the Rebels are more talented. Ole Miss 37-24.
Arkansas @ LSU
Battle for the Golden Boot, the rivalry is named after the trophy. The trophy is a golden replica of the states of Arkansas and Louisiana, which looks like a giant boot. This is the last year these two teams will play during Rivalry Week. The rivalry felt forced, as it happened simply because Arkansas joined the SEC and needed someone to be paired with. Even though the rivalry never caught on, this series has been filled with close games and upsets. Normally, LSU is the superior team, but finds a way to sleep walk through this game and let Arkansas keep it close, or actually catch them napping. This year has a similar feel. Coming off of their rout of Texas A&M, LSU is clearly the better team, while Arkansas has yet to win a conference game. To the Hogs credit, they have been playing hard, and they do the one thing that LSU has struggled with all year; running between the tackles. If LSU sleeps on Arkansas they will be in another dog fight. However, the effort shown by the Tigers last week looks to be something the Tigers will build on. If that is the case, this won’t be much of a rivalry wrap-up. LSU 41-20.
Florida State @ Florida
Florida lost to Georgia Southern last week. Georgia Southern is the first FCS school to defeat the Gators. Georgia Southern was able to beat the Gators without completing a single pass. Now, they welcome in Florida State, a team that is beating their opponents by an average of 33 points. To figure out who will win this game, just watch this video.
Georgia @ Georgia Tech
This is a hard game to call. The Georgia Bulldogs have handled Georgia Tech, so it is safe to assume they have a handle on the triple option attack. It is hard to pick this game because the Bulldogs will be playing without Aaron Murray. The most prolific passer in SEC history suffered an ACL injury last week, on Senior Day no less, and his Georgia career is over. It was such a devastating end to one of the greatest careers ever and one of the most well-liked and respected players in the SEC. Without Murray, it is time for Hutson Mason to step up. The junior performed well relieving Murray against Kentucky, but becoming the starter is different. Luckily, the Bulldogs will hold the Yellow Jackets in check; all Mason has to do is not make any mistakes. Georgia 24-13.
Clemson @ South Carolina
Waiting to see its fate in the SEC East, this matchup has little impact on Carolina’s conference aspirations, but the Gamecocks would love to ruin Clemson’s season. South Carolina has been solid, but never looked spectacular. The question is whether the Gamecocks defense can keep Clemson’s explosive offense in check. South Carolina ranks 20th in scoring defense, however, the Gamecocks lost to the most explosive offense they’ve played (Georgia). Clemson is a different type of attack, but Clemson has more talent on offense. South Carolina will try to shorten the game, which they are capable of doing with Connor Shaw and strong running from Mike Davis. South Carolina 34-31.
Texas A&M @ Missouri
Missouri needs this game to make their way to the SEC Championship for the first time. Missouri has been the most complete team in the East and sports what is arguably the best defense (especially defensive line) in the conference. The Truman Tigers also got their starting quarterback, James Franklin, back at the right time. Texas A&M is coming off of the worst performance of Johnny Manziel’s career. Against LSU, Manziel completed less than 50% of his passes and only threw one touchdown to two interceptions. Going up against a better defense, it would seem that Missouri should be able to get the win, but only one team has been able to stop Manziel. Missouri will take a few cues from LSU defensively to stop Manziel, but it is hard to see him being stopped twice. Texas A&M 38-31.
Alabama @ Auburn
For the first time in the history of this rivalry, the Iron Bowl will be to determine the winner of the SEC West. Alabama has done what was expected of them: roll through their schedule and are in line to play in their third straight national championship game. Auburn is the biggest surprise in the league. Last year, Auburn went 3-9, and 0-8 in the conference. Gus Malzhan has done a great job turning that program around in such a short time, only stumbling once this season. Conventional wisdom says Alabama should struggle in this game. Under Saba, the Tide have had issues defending spread teams. The difference is, where most spreads are done to throw the ball around, Auburn’s is a run first spread attack. That makes it a better match-up for Alabama. The biggest issue for Auburn is that they have not been as balance as they could be. With the way Auburn has run the ball, throwing it has not been an issue. Without showing that consistent balance, the Plain Tigers will have a difficult time. However, the game is being played in Auburn, and the Plain Tigers have done some special things in Jordan-Hare this year. It will be a tough game, but Auburn will shock the world. Auburn 27-24.
What do you think of our bold prediction for Auburn? Let us know in the comments!