Week 13 SEC Football Previews and Predictions
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M Seek Revenge at LSU in SEC Game of the Week
After a limited slate of games in the SEC last week with only five games on the schedule the Week 13 docket offers up some intriguing matchups that will put some teams on upset alert. I improved to 81-14 for the season with a perfect 5-0 mark in Week 12 SEC action that was highlighted by the crazy ending at Auburn with the Tigers escaping with a 43-38 win over Georgia.
This week’s action could provide similar close finishes, but they likely will not be decided on Hail Mary deflections in the final seconds on fourth-and-18. However, half of the eight games this week could go either way. The other half of this week’s games are nothing more than tune-ups in advance of Rivalry Week next week with Alabama, Florida, South Carolina hosting cupcakes and Georgia hosting the worst team in the conference, Kentucky.
While Rivalry Week is next week for most teams we are treated to a little rivalry action in the Volunteer State with Tennessee hosting Vanderbilt with the Vols looking to avoid losing two straight to the ‘Dores for the first time since the 1920s. This week’s games are highlighted, however, by two matchups featuring ranked opponents with Texas A&M traveling to LSU as both teams jockey for bowl position and Missouri headed to Ole Miss with the SEC east title on the line.
Here are this week’s previews and predictions for the eight SEC games, and they feature some juicy upset picks.
Mississippi State at Arkansas
Mississippi State is coming off a game vs. Alabama where they had their chances to pull off the monumental upset, but they just didn't have enough firepower on offense because of injuries to their top two signal-callers. Dak Prescott and Tyler Russell may not be able to play at Arkansas which gives the Razorbacks their best shot to win in two months. Both teams desperately need to win this game, but if Prescott and Russell can't play for Dan Mullen's team it will be tough to win with a true freshman in Damian Williams. Arkansas takes advantage of the Bulldogs' injuries and snaps their seven-game losing streak, 24-23.
Coastal Carolina at No. 11 South Carolina
Nothing like a nice cupcake to feast on before next week's game vs. Clemson for the Gamecocks. South Carolina needs to fine tune things on offense and defense but more importantly get everyone healthy for the season finale. We should see some Dylan Thompson at quarterback in a game that figures to be a rout early. South Carolina wins 45-14.
Georgia Southern at Florida
When you're trying to end a five-game losing streak as Florida is seeing Georgia Southern on the schedule is a nice respite from the SEC gauntlet and next week's game vs. Florida State. The Gators will have their hands full at times defending their option attack, but they will have no problem ending the losing streak. Florida wins 31-10.
Chattanooga at No. 1 Alabama
After Alabama looked very sloppy in their narrow win at Mississippi State last week, you can expect to see a much more disciplined and clean effort against the inferior Chattanooga team. This is nothing more than a tune up for the Crimson Tide in advance of the Iron Bowl next week, and you can expect to see a lot of freshmen and sophomores in the second half. Alabama wins 52-3.
No. 12 Texas A&M at No. 22 LSU
LSU is the only team to keep Johnny Manziel out of the end zone in his 23-game career thus far at Texas A&M, and in the Tigers' win last year they forced five Manziel turnovers and held the SEC's leading rusher to 27 rushing yards. The LSU defense has the blueprint to slow Manziel and an offense this year to win if this turns into a shootout, which is likely will considering both defenses. Both teams are coming off a bye week, but I give the slight edge to the home team in a shootout. LSU wins 42-38.
Kentucky at Georgia
Is Georgia one of the best four-loss teams of all-time? One week after their heart-breaking loss at Auburn, Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs look to take out the frustration of a lost season on the downtrodden Wildcats in Murray's final home game in Athens. Georgia wins 41-14.
Vanderbilt at Tennessee
Vanderbilt has not won consecutive games against their in-state rival since they won six straight from 1920-1926, and this is a game where the Vols remind Commodores that this is their state. Vanderbilt has had the better season, but the Vols will have the better day Saturday coming off the bye week in Neyland Stadium Saturday evening. Tennessee needs this to keep their bowl hopes alive and I think they get it behind a resurgent effort form the veteran offensive line where at least four starters will be playing their final home game. Tennessee wins 28-27.
No. 8 Missouri at No. 24 Ole Miss
Missouri controls their destiny in the SEC East and needs to win out to earn a berth to the SEC Championship Game. But that won't come easy against Ole Miss who has won four in a row while averaging 42.75 points per game and is undefeated at home this season. Missouri is getting quarterback James Franklin back, but he could be rusty early which could open the door for the Rebels to take advantage and build an early lead in front of the Vaught-Hemingway crowd. I like how the Rebels' highly-touted freshmen are emerging, including top recruit Robert Nkemdiche, the reigning SEC lineman of the week. Ole Miss wins 38-34
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