SEC Preview and Predictions: Week 8

Because of how the SEC is handling contact tracing and other Covid-related issues – that is to say, hamhandedly – we’re down to three games this week even though there aren’t that many positive cases to report. It’s unfortunate, because a week of interesting games has been whittled down into a schedule dominated by … Arkansas at Florida?

Last Week’s Record: 3-1 (75.0%)
Season Record: 27-13 (67.5%)


ARKANSAS at FLORIDA
The Gators are hitting on all cylinders offensively, having just knocked Georgia all but out of the SEC championship race. This week, the Gators get a better-than-expected opponent in Arkansas, which knocked off Tennessee last week with a 24-point explosion in the third quarter, a win that has given the Razorbacks possession of fourth place in the SEC West.

At last report, Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman, a Covid-positive case, will miss this game. Arkansas wasn’t likely to upset Florida before, but Pittman has been the emotional leader of this ragtag group and without him, it’s hard to imagine the Razorbacks having any real chance. But Arkansas has already done plenty of surprising this year, so don’t write the Hogs off just yet. It’s just going to be really hard for a rebuilding Arkansas defense to slow down Florida’s offensive attack, regardless of Pittman’s presence on (or absence from) the sidelines.
Florida 41
Arkansas 24


VANDERBILT at KENTUCKY
This is essentially one of just two winnable games left for Vanderbilt, which is trying (but will likely fail, eventually) to avoid an 0-10 season. If the Commodores can’t pull it off this week against offense-allergic Kentucky, then the only remaining hope will be to catch Tennessee self-destructing on Nov. 28. Both teams have good defenses, but Kentucky’s defense is capable of actually being special.

The Wildcats need better QB play and have scored just 13 points over their last two games combined. The problem for Vandy is the Wildcat defense has already stifled much better offenses in 2020, and while Kentucky has its own offensive problems to worry about, the Wildcats aren’t exactly facing Tom Brady in his prime this week.
Kentucky 30
Vanderbilt 10


SOUTH CAROLINA at MISSISSIPPI
Rumors are starting to fly that Will Muschamp is entering his last few weeks as South Carolina’s head coach. Blowouts in consecutive games to Texas A&M and schizophrenic LSU the week before overshadowed a nice win over Auburn. The Gamecocks are just 2-4 and lack a playmaker at quarterback. Ole Miss, meanwhile, is also 2-4 but its growing pains suggest a different long-term outcome than what faces South Carolina.

The Rebels are an elite offensive team, but the defense is about as bad as any SEC team in recent memory. The question here is whether South Carolina still cares enough to try to keep up.
Ole Miss 44
South Carolina 30


IDLE: Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee

Follow Jess Nicholas on Twitter at @TideFansJessN




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