SEC Preview and Predictions: Week 12



Last Week’s Record: 6-0 (100.0%)
Season Record: 47-14 (77.1%)

Two consecutive perfect weeks has brought the Predictions Dept. more in line with its typical season performance, but Week 12 is full of trap games.

LSU is even thinner this week than last, and its performance against Alabama leaves no hope that the Tigers can challenge Florida. Had LSU managed to not lose star TE Arik Gilbert after the Alabama game, we would expect the Tigers to at least score more points against the Gators than it did against the Crimson Tide, but that’s questionable now. LSU needs a pit of pillows, because the crash landing is well underway, and then news broke Thursday of this: A rather laughable act of offering up a bowl ban to settle its ever-expanding NCAA case, in a year in which the Tigers are probably going to finish with a losing record anyway. We hope the NCAA doesn’t let LSU get away with those shenanigans, but then again, if the Tigers keep quitting, they’ll have a losing record next year, too.
Florida 55
LSU 21

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If we knew just how good Missouri’s defense really was, this might be one of those games you start looking for action on, because the Tigers have been lurching toward improvement while Georgia hasn’t always played to its own level in 2020. The biggest problem is, quite frankly, Missouri’s most recent game. After giving up just 10 combined points in its two prior games, Missouri beat Arkansas 50-48 last week, and it wasn’t a victory that looked in the bag at any point. If Missouri plays defense like that against Georgia, all talk of a potential upset goes right out the window. But if Missouri brings the same defense it brought to the Vanderbilt, South Carolina or Kentucky games – maybe even the defense it put on the field during the opener against Alabama – then Georgia can’t just sleepwalk to a win. Take out an oddball loss to Tennessee in Week 2, and Missouri is 6-2 and in the fight for a major bowl appearance, but the Tigers have flown under the radar since then. This would be a statement game to end all statement games for them, but everything has to go exactly right for it to happen.
Georgia 35
Missouri 27

This game may yet be canceled if Vanderbilt continues to bleed off players. If it isn’t, it will be this year’s Two Pigs Fighting Over a Turnip Bowl, because both the Volunteers and the Commodores are advancing to the rear with all due speed. This now becomes almost a must-win game for Jeremy Pruitt, who began the year with a cushion, pulled off an impressive win over Missouri in Week 2, but then watched his team disintegrate due to bad quarterback play and other self-inflicted wounds. Pruitt hasn’t helped things, rotating quarterbacks with no clear plan, losing the confidence of his team and now, beginning to lose traction on the recruiting trail. With Hugh Freeze semi-available as a candidate, and with Auburn also considering firing Gus Malzahn, Tennessee may feel the need to strike while the iron is hot and beat Auburn to Freeze’s doorstep. Losing against Vanderbilt would almost ensure it.
Tennessee 30
Vanderbilt 21

Similar to the tight spot in which Jeremy Pruitt finds himself in Knoxville, Gus Malzahn is going through a series of one-game seasons right now while trying to hang on to his job. The loss to Alabama had to have been expected, but even if it was, the manner in which it happened removed any security blanket Malzahn thought he had. Texas A&M has clearly pushed Auburn into its rearview mirror as a program, and now comes along a scrappy Mississippi State team that may not be very competitive, but it has yet to give up at any point in the season. Auburn, though, is showing signs of doing just that. If Malzahn does anything but score a clean, clear victory against the Bulldogs, his time in Auburn is probably over. Meanwhile, Mike Leach has shown enough in his first year in Starkville that he can afford to coach without fear of being picked off, so this becomes a dangerous spot for the Tigers. The MSU defense has overachieved, and Auburn’s pass defense is vulnerable. A good day from the MSU quarterback room, and Malzahn might need to bring home a change-of-address form.
Auburn 31
Mississippi St. 27

IDLE: Kentucky, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Texas A&M

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