The Predictions Dept. is slowly getting back to its typical success rate in SEC games, no thanks to Covid-19, and finally has a somewhat full slate of games to work with in Week 9. There isn’t really a headliner, though, as none of the games on the SEC slate are particularly meaningful. The best of the bunch may be the LSU-Arkansas matchup due to the controversy boiling in Baton Rouge.
Last Week’s Record: 3-0 (100.0%)
Season Record: 30-13 (69.8%)
FLORIDA at VANDERBILT
Florida has hit its stride offensively and suddenly QB Kyle Trask is a potential Heisman finalist. Vanderbilt finally got out of the offensive doldrums a bit last week against Kentucky, a surprising development given how stout Kentucky has been on defense this year. But no matter how much better the Commodores might have looked last week, Vandy can’t match Florida’s firepower. The march to a winless season continues for the ‘Dores.
MISSISSIPPI STATE at GEORGIA
Georgia will finally be trying a new quarterback, and it has the perfect opponent on the schedule against whom to try it. Mississippi State was throttled by Alabama in its last outing, and while the Bulldogs’ defense proved to be a reasonable test for Alabama’s offense, the current MSU offense isn’t fooling anyone. Georgia’s defense might be the worst matchup for Mississippi State’s offense in the entire SEC, and that’s saying something given the Bulldogs were shut out by Bama.
Only a massive collapse on the part of Georgia could really affect this score in any way, and it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Georgia loses, save for a sudden attack of coronavirus at the end of the first quarter.
Mississippi St. 7
MISSOURI at SOUTH CAROLINA
The Gamecocks finally pulled the trigger on Will Muschamp’s firing, and hopefully that marks the end of the immature Muschamp’s tenure as an SEC head coach at any school. His sideline behavior was the stuff of nationwide jokes, and Muschamp’s ascension to head coach at even one SEC school, let alone two of them in succession, is the Peter Principle personified.
The Gamecocks are still more than capable of knocking off Missouri, because the talent differential between these two schools is almost nothing. But Missouri is riding the right kind of momentum coming into this game, enough even to pull out a victory on what is one of the longest intraconference road trips.
South Carolina 21
TENNESSEE at AUBURN
Auburn has bounced back nicely after a grim start, winning three of its last four – although the one loss came, inexplicably, against South Carolina. Tennessee, though, is in freefall. The Volunteers don’t have a quarterback, and have long lost whatever poise they might have had at the beginning of the season. Head coach Jeremy Pruitt suddenly finds himself on a bit of a hot seat, although his contract plus the economic damage of Covid-19 makes a coaching change in Knoxville this year unlikely.
Auburn is Pruitt’s most hated opponent and he always seemed to have more success than not against the Tigers when he was a defensive coordinator somewhere, but his team just doesn’t seem to have it, mentally, right now. A comfortable win here over Tennessee and Auburn will once again be warming up for a late-season game against Alabama while on a dangerous upswing.
LOUISIANA STATE at ARKANSAS
LSU’s week in the media could best be described as somewhere between severe food poisoning and septic shock. Ed Orgeron’s job is suddenly very much in danger, with Tiger fans wondering if he could be fired for cause after allegations hit that the program has essentially buried numerous sexual assaults and other malfeasance over recent seasons.
Orgeron is far from being the only LSU official implicated, but given the Tigers’ grotesque start to the 2020 season and the creeping feeling among Tiger fans that the 2019 championship team was a one-hit wonder, there isn’t a lot of good will left for Ed and his bosses. Meanwhile, he and a team of Tigers that as much as quit to the point of purposefully ducking Alabama, have to face a resurgent, scrappy Arkansas team with something to prove in an early game.
From a pure talent standpoint, even the rebuilding Tigers should win this game by three touchdowns. But the only way that happens is if Orgeron can get his charges to funnel all their dysfunction into a desire to win … the Golden Boot trophy? Good luck, Ed.
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