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Oct. 30, 2013
Last week’s record: 6-1 (85.7%)
Season record: 64-13 (83.1%)
The Predictions Dept. got back on the right track last week, getting six of the seven games correct, and this week, a mini-vacation is our reward. Alabama is off, awaiting a showdown with LSU next Saturday. For this week, Missouri attempts to hold onto its SEC East lead, which was put in jeopardy after losing to South Carolina in overtime, while Florida and Georgia play in Jacksonville.
FLORIDA vs. GEORGIA (at Jacksonville, Fla.)
It might seem silly to talk about this, but the Florida Gators are not assured of even going to a bowl at this point. Florida has one guaranteed win left on the schedule, Georgia Southern. The rest of the schedule includes three solid SEC East opponents and a season-finishing game against rival (and undefeated) Florida State. Injuries have been mostly to blame for Florida’s woes this season, but they’ve also wrecked Georgia’s title hopes. The Bulldogs get a couple of players back for this game, but this will be a matchup of all-offense, no-defense Georgia and all-defense, no-offense Florida and that dynamic, more than the injuries, is the big issue. Florida can stop Georgia from scoring, particularly since the Bulldog running game is limping at the moment. But can Florida put enough points up to beat the Bulldogs? The Florida offense is barely functional at the moment and Georgia has more to play for. But the Bulldogs have fooled us plenty of times this season already. This one could go either way – and not because these are two great teams facing off.
ALABAMA STATE at KENTUCKY
The Wildcats have shown signs of improvement here and there, coming close against South Carolina and Mississippi State but getting blown out by Alabama. The Wildcats should have greater luck this week with Alabama State, but it very well might be the last win on the Wildcat schedule for 2013. ASU is an impressive 6-2 with some quality wins at the Division-IAA level, but Kentucky should still be able to pull off the victory.
Alabama State 24
TENNESSEE at MISSOURI
This will be the first bounce-back test for Missouri, and the Tigers fortunately catch Tennessee coming off a blowout loss to Alabama – as well as dealing with an injury to QB Justin Worley. Missouri needs to win out to ensure a trip to Atlanta, as South Carolina controls the head-to-head if the teams end the year tied with one another. Missouri should sail by Kentucky, but faces tough matchups against Ole Miss and Texas A&M. Faltering against a subpar Tennessee outfit would be exactly what Missouri doesn’t need, but then again, wouldn’t be all that surprising given Missouri’s hard-luck history. If Tennessee can leverage its offensive line to sustain long drives and keep the Mizzou offense off the field, an upset is possible here. But the Volunteers haven’t shown they’re interested in resisting temptation to take the offense in other directions. Missouri’s offense is inconsistent without James Franklin at quarterback, but the Tennessee defense has been just plain bad at times. Both teams are wobbling a bit, but Missouri is at home and has a little more talent overall.
MISSISSIPPI STATE at SOUTH CAROLINA
With the Bulldogs just getting by Kentucky last week, it should be clear that the 2013 season isn’t going like Dan Mullen had planned it. South Carolina has been somewhat of a grease fire itself, but the Gamecocks have managed to piece together a 6-2 record anyway, and they rarely lose at home to vastly overmatched opponents. Mississippi State is likely looking at a scenario where it must win games against Arkansas and Ole Miss to get bowl-eligible – because it’s highly unlikely the Bulldogs will win this one. The Gamecocks are capable of completely shutting down the Bulldog offense if they put their minds to it.
South Carolina 27
Mississippi St. 10
AUBURN at ARKANSAS
Gus Malzahn’s teams do one thing consistently: They put up massive offensive numbers against teams with borderline-to-poor defenses – which is exactly what the Razorbacks will field this Saturday. Arkansas’ offense is inept enough as it is, but the defense steals the show by being just plain bad, except up front. Unfortunately for Arkansas, this game will be more about the play of the linebackers and safeties, and Arkansas is severely lacking in both. Auburn’s defense isn’t great, but Arkansas is one-dimensional on offense and can’t throw the ball at all. Auburn should have no trouble despite the fact this game is on the road.
TEXAS-EL PASO at TEXAS A&M
Words cannot describe the extent of this beatdown, and the pictures might be too gory to view.
Texas A&M 61
IDLE: Alabama, Vanderbilt, LSU, Ole Miss
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