By Jess Nicholas, TideFans.com Editor-In-Chief
Oct. 9, 2012
Last week’s record: 2-4 (33.3%)
Season record: 48-8 (85.7%)
Alabama took Week 6 off. So, apparently, did the Predictions Dept.
Just as the Alabama defense is prone to giving up one seemingly easy drive to an opponent’s offense each game, the Predictions Dept. seems to have one bad week every year. Here’s hoping Week 6 was that week. For Week 7, South Carolina travels to LSU in what is undoubtedly the SEC’s game of the week, while on the other end of the spectrum, Auburn visits Ole Miss in a game that will go a long way toward determining the SEC West’s first-ever seventh-place finisher. This week’s slate of games may actually be tougher to pick, as a whole, than was last week’s games.
FLORIDA at VANDERBILT
Both teams are coming off close victories last week, but Florida’s win over LSU was a bit more important in the grand scheme of things than was Vanderbilt’s victory over Missouri. It would not be a surprise this week if Florida failed to cover the betting spread on the road against the Commodores, the byproduct of both an emotional letdown following the LSU win and the physical nature of the battle Florida staged with the Tigers. Vandy, at 2-3, can now smell a bowl invite again, as there are four or five winnable games left on the Dores’ schedule. This doesn’t appear to be one of them, however.
ALABAMA at MISSOURI
See our extended preview!
SOUTH CAROLINA at LOUISIANA STATE
Just as Florida figures to be a good candidate to slog through its matchup with Vanderbilt, no one will be surprised if South Carolina suffers a bit of a letdown on the road against LSU a week after everything went right against Georgia. LSU, though, is a beaten-up football team in its own right, and QB Zach Mettenberger looks less effective with each passing week. South Carolina hit all the right notes against Georgia, but can the Gamecocks do it again in front of a hostile crowd?
South Carolina 14
TENNESSEE at MISSISSIPPI STATE
This game is as hard to figure as LSU-South Carolina, but not for the same reasons. In this game, the steady Bulldogs face a potentially explosive Tennessee team that has a slipshod defense. As long as Tennessee’s ground game is troubled, MSU has a chance to win, as Tennessee’s strength (its passing game) plays right into the Bulldogs’ best attributes (pass defense). State probably wins this game so long as it keeps Tennessee from opening with two or three quick scores, as the Bulldogs aren’t built for quick comebacks.
Mississippi St. 23
KENTUCKY at ARKANSAS
Talk about ugly affairs. Until Arkansas knocked off Auburn last week, this game was shaping up to be the Dante’s Inferno of college football – abandon hope, all ye who enter the stadium. Presuming Arkansas is really turning things around, the Razorbacks should dismantle Kentucky. The Wildcats are terrible on offense and only slightly better on defense. The UK secondary, in particular, is prone to give up backbreaking plays in key situations. This is also a matchup of two SEC coaches who don’t figure to be with their respective teams in 2013.
AUBURN at MISSISSIPPI
Had the Rebels held on against Texas A&M, we might be talking about the surprise third-place finisher in the SEC West. But Ole Miss found a way to be Ole Miss, the Aggies won the game and now the outcome of this game goes back into the who-knows category. Ole Miss clearly has a better offense than Auburn, which has no offense, but the Tigers have a much stouter defense. Moreover, Auburn players faced this type of offense every day in practice for three years and has similar personnel, so the Tigers ought to know how to stop it. The question is whether Auburn can score points at all. Somehow, Arkansas’ Swiss cheese defense looked like the Steel Curtain in Jordan-Hare Stadium last week while facing the Tigers. This is a crucial game for both teams, as the loser will probably pack in whatever is left of the season.
Ole Miss 21
TEXAS A&M at LOUISIANA TECH
Ah yes, the infamous Hurricane Isaac game. Don’t look now, but this matchup is suddenly between two ranked teams. Louisiana Tech is undefeated and plays a brand of offensive football that can frustrate even the best defenses. Texas A&M, though, is starting to come into its own under first-year coach Kevin Sumlin, and the late comeback win over Ole Miss ought to give the Aggies some confidence heading into this game. Biggest question in this matchup is how in the world Texas A&M ever agreed to go on the road to play this game.
Texas A&M 45
Louisiana Tech 35
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