By Jess Nicholas
Nov. 14, 2018
Last week’s record: 6-1 (85.7%)
Season record: 74-17 (81.3%)
Kentucky going back to being Kentucky cost the Predictions Dept. a perfect record in Week 11. This week, it’s mostly a bunch of freebies, with some B-level SEC games mixed in. Most of the big-dog games will wait for Week 13.
IDAHO at FLORIDA
Teams don’t downgrade from FBS often these days, but Idaho did it. The Vandals’ admission that they couldn’t hack it in college football’s top tier had to be painful. Not as painful as a whoopin’ at the hands of Florida is going to be, however.
THE CITADEL at ALABAMA
See our extended preview Thursday!
MASSACHUSETTS at GEORGIA
UMass has a prolific offense, but one of the worst defenses in all of college football this season. The Minutemen have given up 50 or more points five times already in 2018. Make it six.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE at KENTUCKY
Of all the years you’d think Kentucky would take care of business against Tennessee, 2018 would have been it. But then a UT gear-wearing Lucy pulled Charlie Brown’s football out from in front of the Wildcats, and the result was an upset loss that probably took Kentucky out of major bowl consideration. Worse yet, Kentucky didn’t play with much passion at all. Enter MTSU, which is 7-3 and winners of four games in a row. Kentucky gets a despondent Louisville team next week in a rivalry game, so you know the Wildcats aren’t really thinking about this one with each waking moment. If the Blue Raiders show up to play, watch out.
MISSOURI at TENNESSEE
This might qualify as the most interesting SEC matchup of the week, as Missouri can get to eight wins and a good bowl pairing, while the Vols need one more win either against the Tigers, or against the Commodores next week. We’re betting that win comes against Vanderbilt, if it comes at all, because Tennessee would seem ill-equipped to shut down Missouri QB Drew Lock or a rushing offense that has proven to be more than just decent. On the other hand, Missouri skated by Vandy last week to get to six wins. Just how good are these Tigers, anyway?
TENNESSEE-CHATTANOOGA at SOUTH CAROLINA
The Gamecocks are bowl-eligible. Well, they’re not technically bowl-eligible yet, but they will be after this lopsided affair.
South Carolina 52
MISSISSIPPI at VANDERBILT
This game used to come at the second or third week of the season and Vanderbilt would get the upset an inordinate percentage of the time. This year, it comes in Week 12, but Vanderbilt might still get the upset. Ole Miss’ offense should be one of the best in the league, but it hasn’t performed up to par when such a performance was most-needed. Vanderbilt has to win both its remaining games to make the postseason. It doesn’t make sense, but take the Commodores, who actually have something to play for.
Ole Miss 27
ARKANSAS at MISSISSIPPI STATE
Here’s a matchup of an Arkansas team that played LSU closer than expected last week, against a Mississippi State team that played Alabama closer than expected last week. The result is (or should be) a pair of teams that just finished getting beat to pieces by physical opponents who now have to play each other. There’s nothing on the line here; Mississippi State is going to a bowl and Arkansas isn’t. With two losses to end the regular season, State would finish an embarrassing 6-6, so playing to avoid that fate is a concern.
Mississippi St. 27
LIBERTY at AUBURN
Don’t look now, but Liberty is capable of scoring a lot of points. The Flames just aren’t able to do much about their opponents also doing the same. Auburn’s loss to Georgia came in a rather humdrum performance that sort of defines the 2018 Tiger squad. Letting Liberty hang around longer than it should wouldn’t be a surprise. A loss? That would probably cause an immediate review of all those votes of confidence being cast Gus Malzahn’s way.
RICE at LOUISIANA STATE
Rice is 1-10 and has scored fewer than 20 points in 5 of its last 6 games. As bad as the Owl offense is, the defense might be worse. Can you make gumbo out of Owls?
ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM at TEXAS A&M
UAB is 9-1 on the season, but a quick glance of the schedule shows why. The two toughest teams the Blazers will play are Texas A&M this week and MTSU next week. Still, it’s impressive that the Blazers have won eight in a row following a Week 2 loss to Coastal Carolina. The Blazers have held six opponents to fewer than 10 points scored. Texas A&M, though, won’t be No. 7 on that list.
Texas A&M 44
Follow Jess Nicholas on Twitter at @TideFansJessN
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