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SEC Preview and Predictions: Week 5

Week 4 was a disastrous one for the Predictions Dept., but with the outcome of the Alabama-Georgia game being one of our four misfires, we won’t complain too much. This week has only four games on the slate, as Covid-related shutdowns continue to hamper efforts on some campuses. Only one of them (Alabama-Tennessee) is an easy pick.

Last Week’s Record: 1-4 (20.0%)
Season Record: 17-9 (65.4%)

The hardest games to pick aren’t the ones between two good teams or two bad teams, but between two mediocre ones. Missouri and Kentucky have both improved significantly since their opening games, but we’re still not entirely sure what their respective ceilings are. Missouri’s game against Vanderbilt last week was postponed due to Covid testing, and we’re eager to see the Tigers again with Connor Bazelak playing quarterback. Bazelak led an upset of LSU two weeks ago, but we would caution getting too excited given LSU’s problems in the secondary and Kentucky’s strength being on defense.

On the other hand, the Wildcats need help to score. Kentucky was up 14-0 on Tennessee last week before the offense ever really had a chance to get cranked up, thanks to two pick-sixes thrown by UT’s Jarrett Guarantano. With the game in Missouri, we’ll give the slight edge to the Tigers based on whatever meager home-field advantage Covid-19 allows. The Tiger defense is just good enough that Kentucky would seem to need help that it might not get from Bazelak.
Missouri 27
Kentucky 24

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Can South Carolina make it two weeks in a row? The Gamecocks knocked off Auburn last week, but that was a home game against a team with no offense. LSU has an offense – we think. Quarterback Myles Brennan is probably out for this game, which would leave LSU picking between two freshmen to replace him. The other question for LSU is whether the defense has improved any, especially a secondary that ranks pretty much at the bottom of all of FBS. South Carolina QB Collin Hill isn’t capable of stretching defenses much, although against Auburn, the Gamecock wide receiver corps began to shine a little. After a disappointing opener, South Carolina played gamely against Florida, then destroyed Vanderbilt and controlled the game against Auburn. They’re improving, but can the Gamecocks knock off LSU?
South Carolina 33
LSU 28

In retrospect, the game we’re kicking ourselves the most over from Week 4 wasn’t the Alabama-Georgia prediction, but rather the Ole Miss-Arkansas pick. Ole Miss played it straight out of central casting: lose to Alabama in a physical matchup one week, fail to show up at all the next week against an inferior opponent. QB Matt Corral threw six interceptions and Ole Miss didn’t score a point the entire first half after putting up 48 total against Alabama. Auburn, meanwhile, is experiencing some real adversity at the moment after the loss to an inferior South Carolina team.

The boo birds are out after Gus Malzahn, even though Auburn is not really in a financial position to fire him over the offseason, much the same as other teams are having to grin and bear it after a year that will end up being a fiscal disaster for all. Auburn has basically nothing to play for at the moment; the Tigers basically have to hope for Alabama to lose twice down the stretch while they play perfect football themselves. That means wins over Ole Miss, LSU, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Alabama, all teams that are better in at least one phase of the game than is Auburn. A loss here basically starts the train wreck.
Ole Miss 41
Auburn 27

IDLE: Florida, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Texas A&M


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