SEC Preview and Predictions: Week 11


Last Week’s Record: 6-0 (100.0%)
Season Record: 64-18 (78.1%)

An undefeated Week 10 for the Predictions Dept. has us flying confidently into a Week 11 that is going to be dominated by the circus that is the Alabama-LSU matchup. ESPN College Gameday will be in town, as will the president of the United States, so if you were hoping to find a parking space close to Bryant-Denny Stadium, you’re going to have to hope the real estate agent can close on the purchase by Friday morning. Otherwise, get ready to walk in from Duncanville. There’s also no strong second game to follow this week, either.

This is the kind of week you’d expect Florida to forget to show up to play, having just come off a loss in the Cocktail Party to Georgia and watching their SEC East hopes evaporate in the process. But the Gators have the luxury of playing a Vanderbilt team that really didn’t show up against South Carolina when its coach needed them to the most. If Vanderbilt couldn’t be bothered to be competitive against the Gamecocks, don’t expect better results this week. Florida will probably be a bit lethargic for the first quarter or two of this game, but look for the Gators to pull away late.
Florida 30
Vanderbilt 7

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No SEC team has had a more erratic flow to its season than Missouri, which opened with a loss at Wyoming, bounced back to dominate West Virginia and South Carolina, but comes into this game on a two-game losing streak against arguably the weakest FBS teams on its schedule, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. Still, Missouri ranks 11th in total defense and has been one of the best teams against the pass in all of college football. The Tigers aren’t accustomed to winning with defense, which has been a necessity of late as the Tigers try to cope with the repeated injuries to QB Kelly Bryant. Bryant is questionable for this week’s game, and if he can’t go Missouri likely has no chance at all. They probably don’t, anyway, just thanks to Georgia being Georgia. The Bulldog defense has stiffened in recent weeks and Missouri already needs Bryant at 100 percent to challenge UGA; with him hurting, Georgia moves from a strong favorite to a presumptive blowout.
Georgia 38
Missouri 14

Kentucky has begun to find itself a bit on offense, despite having recent games with wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. under center in a full-time Wildcat-like look. Tennessee, though, is also coming in on a bit of a “competent streak.” The Volunteers have won back-to-back games, doing so in fairly convincing fashion over South Carolina and UAB. Both teams here are vying for bowl eligibility; if Tennessee loses this game, it still has a good shot to get postseason-eligible, as games against Missouri and Vanderbilt remain to be played. Kentucky has an even easier road, needing two wins against the likes of Vanderbilt, Tennessee-Martin and Louisville. Even if a loss doesn’t completely kill one team’s hopes, it does put that team on the win-or-else list the rest of the way in. Given Tennessee’s health advantage at quarterback, take the Vols.
Tennessee 31
Kentucky 27

Appalachian State is within a field goal of being undefeated coming into this game. Only a 24-21 loss last week to Georgia Southern has interfered with Appalachian State’s shock-the-world mentality. Now we find out how well a low-level FBS team can fight back. South Carolina is 4-5 and it’s going to take a major upset to get the Gamecocks bowl-eligible, and that doesn’t include winning this game. Lose here and it’s almost a sure thing the Gamecocks will miss the postseason.
South Carolina 27
Appalachian St. 10

Given how awful Arkansas is this year, it would be trendy to pick the Razorbacks to fall to an also-ran like Western Kentucky, but the 5-4 Hilltoppers haven’t been the picture of good health, either. WKU is 5-4 and its best win was probably a close call against UAB much earlier in the season. Arkansas was blown out by Mississippi State last week, a mere seven days from suffering the same fate against Alabama and two weeks from falling in similar fashion to Auburn. This is probably Arkansas’ last chance to get a win in 2019; make it a good one.
Arkansas 30
W. Kentucky 21

New Mexico State didn’t challenge Alabama and the Aggies won’t challenge Ole Miss, either. The Aggies are 0-8 on the season, and have scored more than 17 points in a game only twice. Last week saw NMST fall 41-7 to Georgia Southern. Ole Miss isn’t playing the best football in the conference by any stretch, but the Rebels are getting more comfortable with John Rhys Plumlee at quarterback. Close losses the last three weeks to Missouri, Texas A&M and Auburn have probably helped build confidence, as the Rebels weren’t controlled by any of those three opponents. It’s going to be a tall order for Ole Miss to avoid a losing season – the Rebels have to sweep the rest of their schedule, one that includes LSU – but the emergence of Plumlee has helped build some optimism for future years.
Ole Miss 52
N. Mexico St. 10

IDLE: Auburn, Mississippi State, Texas A&M

Follow Jess Nicholas on Twitter at @TideFansJessN

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