SEC Previews and Predictions: Week 5

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SEC_logoBy Jess Nicholas

TideFans.com Editor-In-Chief

Sept. 22, 2014

Last week’s record: 6-2 (75.0%)

Season record: 35-7 (83.3%)

So maybe Missouri really isn’t all that. There seems to be one team each year that befuddles the Predictions Dept., and the seem destined to be that team in 2014. A loss to Indiana at home undid just about every good thing Missouri has done to this point in 2014, and now the slate of games starts with a road trip to South Carolina, one of the biggest games of the week. In other action, is in the trap game of the week against Arkansas, while tries to prove it’s for real in a matchup with old rival Georgia.

at GEORGIA

is trying to turn back the clock in this game. The Volunteers started the process with their customary off-week before the first big SEC game, but it’s not the big deal it once was given the Vols’ struggles against most all good teams. Georgia worked out the kinks in a 66-0 throttling of Troy, but Tennessee will give the Bulldogs a tougher challenge than they’d probably like. Tennessee’s run defense has been better than expected, but the offense still has a long way to travel. Georgia needs to avoid the boom-bust approach to it has suffered from under Mark Richt’s and polish off the Vols like is capable of doing.

Georgia 34

17

 

VANDERBILT at KENTUCKY

The Commodores appeared to take a couple of steps forward against South Carolina, but the Commodore offense is in the dumps and Vandy would likely not have stayed in the game as long as it did were it not for a pair of long kickoff returns. Kentucky was impressive two weeks ago against Florida, but the Gators might be worse than expected and the tough, overtime loss Kentucky suffered in that game is one of those losses that tends to stick with a young team for a while. Kentucky’s potential is about equal to Vanderbilt’s current level, but neither team is playing precisely to script at the moment. The one certainty in this game is the loser won’t be a threat to go bowling.

Kentucky 31

Vanderbilt 20

 

MISSOURI at SOUTH CAROLINA

By virtue of its win over Georgia, South Carolina is in the driver’s seat for the SEC East. The real question is how will Missouri’s defense match up with South Carolina’s offense, which is still a bit erratic. Missouri ranks 72nd in total defense despite playing a schedule of South Dakota State, Toledo, Central and Indiana. There are a couple of decent offensive teams in that bunch, but Missouri is an SEC team and is supposed to have superior athletes on defense. South Carolina, meanwhile, is ranked 111th in total defense and can’t stop a decent passing attack, something Missouri happens to possess. This game could devolve into track meet status early on.

South Carolina 41

Missouri 37

 

ARKANSAS vs. TEXAS A&M (at Arlington, Texas)

Jerry Jones’ personal sandbox will host this game, which features the quarterback-driven spread offense of versus one of the most surprising, ground-based attacks in college football. Arkansas has run up gaudy numbers in the past month, but the one-sided loss to Arkansas in the opener should temper enthusiasm just a bit. Texas A&M ranks 2nd nationally in total offense and 4th in passing offense, but aside from its opener against South Carolina’s porous secondary, the Aggies haven’t played anyone. So this becomes a matchup of a pair of teams with great stats, but not much of a resume at this point. Assuming can get even just a handful of defensive stops, the Aggies will score quicker and more consistently than the Razorbacks can answer.

37

Arkansas 27

 

at AUBURN

lost to Northwestern State last week. The Bulldogs previously had begun to impress in wins over and North Texas, but any talk of an upset of the century ended when the Bulldogs couldn’t get out of their own state without dropping a game to a lower-division opponent. Auburn, meanwhile, has questions to answer following its near-miss in Manhattan, Kansas. LSU is on the schedule next week and Auburn needs to make good use of its time here.

Auburn 47

21

 

NEW MEXICO STATE at LOUISIANA STATE

Somewhat surprisingly, New Mexico State comes into this game with a 2-2 record. For those who have kept up with the Aggies in recent years, a game against a high school team wouldn’t be considered a sure-fire win. But New Mexico State has no chance at all against an LSU team that was just upset at home by and is looking to right the ship before any more SEC games get away from it. This will be an open audition for the LSU quarterback and the will pile on the scores in the process.

LSU 52

New Mexico St. 7

MEMPHIS at MISSISSIPPI

Memphis is getting better; the almost upset UCLA in Week 2 and have blown out Austin Peay and MTSU. But Ole Miss has more speed, a better defense and more weapons than UCLA, and now the Tigers aren’t sneaking up on anybody. Ole Miss might get caught up looking ahead to Alabama, but more likely, the Rebels will be able to overpower and out-quick the Tigers in this game. Only a flood of turnovers would give Memphis a real shot here.

Ole Miss 38

Memphis 20

IDLE: Florida, Alabama,

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