Week 3 SEC Previews and Predictions
Texas A&M vs. Alabama Highlights Week 3 SEC Games
The week college football fans all across the country have been waiting for all offseason is finally here as Alabama travels to College Station to take on Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M. You all remember when the Aggies went into Tuscaloosa last year and knocked off the defending champions 29-24 and now Nick Saban tries to exact some revenge on the team who ruined his perfect season.
This is not the only meaningful rematch of a game from last year on the ticket for this slate’s week of games featuring SEC opponents. South Carolina and Vanderbilt enter this week’s game with 1-1 records. The Commodores played them close last year in a 17-13 defeat. Also in the eastern division, Kentucky hopes to put a dent in the Heisman bid of Teddy Bridgewater and pick up their first win since 2010 against in-state rival Louisville and end their BCS title aspirations.
In the western division Ole Miss travels to Austin to take on Texas after allowing 66 to the Longhorns a year ago, but get them after an embarrassing defeat to BYU. Ole Miss is ranked for the first time in a few years and riding the wave of momentum. Mississippi State beat Auburn last year 28-10 for the first win over the Tigers since 2007 and the Bulldogs need this game if they want to make it to a fourth straight bowl game.
Here are the previews and predictions for the aforementioned games and the other SEC games this week, including Tennessee traveling to No. 2 Oregon. I went 11-1 in predictions last week to give me a season total of 22-3.
No. 7 Louisville at Kentucky
Mark Stoops can really put Kentucky on the map with a signature win against the in-state rival and Heisman hopeful Teddy Bridgewater in front of the home crowd. However, I just don't think the Wildcats have enough firepower yet on offense or depth on defense to slow down Bridgewater and company. I think Kentucky will battle and give Louisville their toughest test so far, but I like Louisville to win 38-20
Southern Miss at Arkansas
Two games into the Bret Bielema era at Arkansas sees the Razorbacks at 2-0 and playing the type of physical football his teams are famous for. Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins are as good of a running back duo in the SEC and the defense will be able to overpower the No. 113 ranked scoring offense of the Golden Eagles. Arkansas wins 34-14
Tennessee at No. 2 Oregon
Tennessee is 2-0 and has given up 20 points total in the first two weeks, but Oregon is capable of surpassing that in the first quarter. Tennessee will need to keep the ball away form Oregon with a run-controlled offense to keep Marcus Mariota and De'Anthony Thomas off the field as much as possible, but even that may not be enough. Oregon can score in seconds and Tennessee's defense has been opportunistic, but not necessarily dominant in their first two wins. Oregon has the No. 2 rush attack and No. 3 scoring offense in the nation and will win this game as a result. Oregon wins 49-24.
No. 1 Alabama at No. 6 Texas A&M
The game of the year between Alabama and Texas A&M has been talked about since the winter and should be full of drama as much as last year's game that served as the coming-out party for Johnny Manziel. The reigning Heisman winner is coming off a 403-yard passing effort last week and looks every bit of the dynamo as he was last year. Alabama is coming off a bye week and Nick Saban has been scheming against Manziel for the better part of a year. I think Manziel is going to have his hands full vs. the Crimson Tide defense and commits three turnovers. That will be enough for AJ McCarron and company to take advantage as they get much more production out of their offense with a week of practice. Alabama wins 38-27.
Mississippi State at Auburn
Mississippi State has questions at quarterback at the time of publishing, but if Tyler Russell does start expect to see Dak Prescott in certain situations after a nice game vs. Alcorn State. LaDarius Perkins should be back at running back where the Bulldogs have some nice depth. Auburn has a lot of depth at running back and Nick Marshall is getting more comfortable at quarterback, but still has some work to do. This game will come down to who makes the most plays in the passing game. Auburn is more of a known quantity and are at home. I'll take Auburn in a close one 23-17
Vanderbilt at No. 13 South Carolina
South Carolina is reeling after losing at Georgia with a frustrated Jadaveon Clowney questioning how he's used on defense. I expect him to have a big game vs. Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks defense has been under the microscope, but the offense has been very good with Connor Shaw and Mike Davis. Vandy will hand with them into the third quarter, but ultimately South Carolina is deeper and more talented on both sides of the ball. Furthermore, the home crowd will be a big factor and Clowney is angry, and you don't want to see him angry. South Carolina wins 27-17.
Kent State at No. 8 LSU
LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger may be the most improved player in the conference through the first two games. he is coming off a record-breaking performance vs. UAB and with a potentially dominating offense to balance out the always dominant defense the Tigers are the biggest threat to Alabama this season. Kent State won't pose much of a threat as LSU dominates in all three phases. LSU wins 45-13.
No. 25 Ole Miss at Texas
Ole Miss is out for revenge after losing at home to Texas last season 66-31 and gets the Longhorns after they were thoroughly embarrassed vs. BYU. Texas gave up a program worst 550 rushing yards and 250 to BYU quarterback Taysom Hill and fired their defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. Adding injury to insult Texas receiver Daje Johnson is out and quarterback David Ash is questionable with a head injury. Simply put, the Rebels are catching Ole Miss at the perfect time and have momentum on their side after entering the ranks of the top 25. I like Ole Miss to pull off the "upset" and win 41-28.