Week 10 SEC Previews and Predictions
SEC Game of the Week: The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party
The Week 9 schedule in the SEC was relatively uneventful as three of the seven games from the week featured non-conference cupcake opponents on the schedule and if you include Alabama hosting Tennessee, that number goes up to four.
I went 6-1 with my predictions for the week to bring my cumulative total to 64-13 on the season with the lone blemish of the week coming in the game of the week with Missouri hosting South Carolina.
It looked like I would have a perfect week after the first three quarters in Columbia, but then Connor Shaw went off and turned in the gutsiest performance of the 2013 college football season. Shaw led the Gamecocks from a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter to a win in double overtime after Missouri missed a game-tying field goal that would have forced triple overtime.
Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, LSU and Alabama are idle this week and Texas A&M and Kentucky are playing non-conference opponents, but the four games between conference opponents offer plenty of intrigue and provide championship implications.
The SEC east in particular has a number of championship implications, but oddly enough ‘The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party’ between Georgia and Florida does not have the same championship cache as it normally does. However, don’t count out Georgia from making things interesting in the east if they can get a little lucky.
Without further ado here are the previews and predictions for the six games with SEC opponents this week.
Mississippi State at No. 14 South Carolina
South Carolina played their way back into the SEC east race with a win in double overtime, but shouldn't overlook a Mississippi State team looking for an upset. The Bulldogs and Dan Mullen need a win over a ranked opponent as they look for a second SEC win in a row, but will need Dak Prescott to have a big day with his arm and his feet. That will be tough to come by against this Gamecock defense. South Carolina wins 31-20.
Georgia vs. Florida
Can you believe that 'The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party' doesn't feature a single ranked team? Both teams have been decimated by injuries this season but Georgia will be getting healthy with the highly-anticipated return of Todd Gurley, Michael Bennett and Tray Matthews. They will be without Chris Conley and Josh Harvey-Clemons, but the return of Gurley should be the difference.
Florida has the top-ranked rush defense in the SEC and a unit that ranks in the top 10 nationally, but they've been gashed recently, having seen Missouri run for more than 200 yards against them in their last game. I think Gurley will have more than 100 yards and Georgia will win for the third time in the row. 'Dawgs on top 27-17.
No. 11 Auburn at Arkansas
This one might be more interesting if Gus Malzahn and Bret Bielema wrestled, because the two teams are going in two different directions with Auburn having all the momentum and the Hogs on a five-game losing streak. Maybe the bye week helped Arkansas in their preparation, but their struggles in the passing game has hamstrung a potent rushing attack and the Hogs have been limited to 17 points in their last three games. Granted that it's been against some stout defenses, I don't think they can score enough to keep up with Auburn. Tigers win 37-23.
Tennessee at No. 9 Missouri
Missouri needs to win out in all likelihood to win the SEC east and needs to avoid letting their double-overtime loss a week ago impact their effort vs. a hungry and capable Tennessee team. Tennessee will be starting true freshman Josh Dobbs at quarterback for the first time and the road venue against a great front four could be a tough test. However, the Vols offensive line will slow down Michael Sam, Kony Ealy and the Tigers' line to an extent to allow Dobbs to make plays and for the run game to lessen the pressure. However, Missouri will manage to close out Tennessee in the fourth quarter after learning from their failures of a week ago. Missouri wins 41-28.
Alabama State at Kentucky
The good news for Kentucky is they finally see a non-conference opponent after a grueling schedule. The bad news is Alabama State is riding the momentum of a six-game winning streak and scored at least 31 points in each of those games. Yes, of course the SWAC isn't the SEC, but Mark Stoops' team won't have a total cupcake on their hands at Commonwealth Stadium. Having said that, Kentucky wins 38-16.
UTEP at No. 12 Texas A&M
If you want a recipe for a blowout win, then sending UTEP and their No. 118 ranked scoring defense to Texas A&M and the Aggies' No. 4 ranked scoring offense will qualify as such. A&M has scored at least 41 points in each of their games this season and UTEP is in the midst of a five-game losing streak and just allowed Rice to score 45 on them. Texas A&M wins easily 59-20.