As the SEC football season winds down, Week 13 brings few intriguing games as most teams step out of conference and play teams drawing a paycheck, giving a break before rivalry week. There are a couple games worth watching but only one that you should set your calendar for, and that is when the Missouri Tigers face off against the Tennessee Volunteers.
These teams will likely be a fairly even matchup as each team is in a similar place, albeit through different paths. The Volunteers will have embarked on a season where they are hoping to continue to build momentum and get back to national prominence. The Tigers, after a great second season in the SEC, will come back down to earth a little bit after losing a ton of talent.
Their records will be similar at this point and they will probably jockeying for fourth or fifth in the eastern division. Both teams will be either just barely bowl eligible or need another win to get there. This fact should make the stakes in the game high.
The Tigers will have the leg up in one very important area, and that is at quarterback where Maty Mauk is the unquestioned leader of their football team. He will be the starter from Week 1 and brings experience into this season that he gained playing for the injured James Franklin in 2013. Tennessee is not in the same position.
They enter this season with an unsettled battle at quarterback. Only recently has Butch Jones named senior Justin Worley the starter after a long battle with sophomores Joshua Dobbs and Nathan Peterman. Many thought the talented Dobbs might beat out Worley, but Jones decided on experience to start the season.
This could definitely change by Week 13.
Both teams should have good skill players and be solid on defense, although the Volunteers have a slight edge there. Returning linebacker A.J. Johnson enters his senior season on just about every watch list available to linebackers and is an All-American candidate. His presence will be felt throughout the season and gives an edge on defense over the Tigers as they must find answers to replace Michael Sam and Kony Ealy.
This will undoubtedly be a tightly contested ball game with much at stake for both teams. The Tigers might have the overall edge in talent, but the home-field advantage and general momentum of the Tennessee program make it likely they get a victory. They win this game late, getting bowl eligible for the first time since 2010.
Final score: Tennessee 24, Missouri 21