Week 9 will be a bit of a bore in the SEC as there are only two games that bring serious entertainment value. If the Tennessee Volunteers are better than expected and give the Alabama Crimson Tide a run for their money, this week becomes better, but other than that you’re left with two good matchups accompanied by other really weak games. The two meaningful games are the Ole Miss Rebels vs. LSU Tigers and the South Carolina Gamecocks against the Auburn Tigers.
Both games will be good, but the one you should watch is Steve Spurrier‘s Gamecocks traveling to Jordan-Hare and facing Nick Marshall and the Tigers.
The main reason is because of what this game will mean. Both Auburn and South Carolina will be in the thick of the conference championship race. The other two could potentially, but it’s not as safe of a bet. The Tigers and Gamecocks are legitimate contenders for their respective divisions, and it is possible, albeit not likely, that this game could be a conference championship preview.
Regardless it will be a fun to watch. Both teams are searching for replacements for big-time playmakers on the defensive side of the ball this season, and neither have proven options to hand the keys over to. Dee Ford and Jadeveon Clowney left big holes to fill. Whichever team can fill those holes most adequately will likely have the more successful season.
By Week 9 we will have a clear picture of which team has accomplished this task.
The offensive side of the ball for each team has playmakers that will put points on the board. Everyone knows what Marshall is capable of, and the Tigers have a stable of running backs to ease the loss of Tre Mason. Points won’t be too difficult to come by for Gus Malzahn and Auburn.
Likewise, the Gamecocks return Heisman dark horse Mike Davis and Dylan Thompson takes over at quarterback. Both are proven commodities and should execute the offense efficiently. They should be able to light up the scoreboard in this game.
It’s all going to hinge on who can get just a few more stops on defense, allowing their offense to get ahead. The Tigers are probably a little more equipped to do that at this point. Malzahn and his staff (along with the previous regime) have recruited well, stocking talent on defense. It is unproven at this point, but they will have more depth than the Gamecocks.
At this point in the season that depth is going to matter tremendously, and the Tigers will get the stops they need. Auburn wins this one, getting a key defensive stop and running the ball well in the fourth quarter to put it on ice.
Final score: Auburn 28, South Carolina 17