Of all the games we had to work with for Week 12, the only game less likely to have been an upset than LSU beating Florida was Alabama somehow losing to Arkansas. But like a fast-starting racehorse in the Belmont, the Gators threw a shoe down the stretch and couldn’t close the deal. Now the dream of playing for a national title is all but over, and Florida must find motivation to upset Alabama without a whole lot of payoff in the end – while at the same time, Covid-rescheduled games gives the SEC its first multi-game final week since before the inauguration of the SEC Championship Game in 1992.
Last Week’s Record: 4-1 (80.0%)
Season Record: 51-15 (77.3%)
MISSOURI at MISSISSIPPI STATE
For about two quarters last week, Missouri was feeling like it might have been in the middle of a statement game. But Georgia pulled away from the Tigers, and did so in a way as to remind Missouri just how much of a gap there is between the second- and third-best teams in the SEC East. Mississippi State is coming off losses in its rivalry game, the Egg Bowl, and then against Auburn, two games that would have been winnable with any semblance of offense. Expecting an offensive explosion this week probably isn’t the best course of action, either. Missouri’s defense has chewed up equal or lesser teams, having trouble mainly with the elites of the conference (save for a shootout win over Arkansas). The Bulldogs are certainly of lesser make.
Mississippi St. 17
FLORIDA vs. ALABAMA (at Atlanta, Ga.)
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TEXAS A&M at TENNESSEE
This game comes at a weird time for the Tennessee program, given that Jeremy Pruitt’s fate may be tied to it. With the early signing date now a thing of the past, players who signed with the Volunteers may not know who exactly they signed with. Pruitt, the current coach, would need a miracle to beat Texas A&M, and it might take that to keep him out of Nick Saban’s former head coach rehabilitation program. Rumors suggest that Tennessee will either move quickly to install Liberty’s Hugh Freeze as head coach after the near-certain loss, or that the Vol brass already has him locked up behind the scenes and is just biding its time. Pruitt fell out of favor with a horrendous finish to the Tennessee season, and the slide isn’t likely to stop against a Texas A&M team that will be scoring every point it can get its hands on as it tries to make a case for back-dooring into the College Football Playoff.
Texas A&M 52
MISSISSIPPI at LOUISIANA STATE
By far the most weirdly exciting game of the week, Ed Orgeron’s LSU team put the “foot” in football last week by beating Florida after a wild scene in which the Gators literally threw away a shot at making the College Football Playoff. Now LSU gets to try to put together a second consecutive solid outing, and the opponent is the all-offense/no-defense Ole Miss Rebels. Lane Kiffin is allegedly auditioning for the Auburn job, according to some, and what better way to get Auburn’s attention than to pull off an upset over the far more talented LSU Tigers? It might not ultimately matter what Kiffin does – Kevin Steele may get the job by the time this article goes to press – but one thing’s for sure: Kiffin isn’t going to let LSU skate to a victory if there’s anything he can do about it.
Ole Miss 40
IDLE: Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Auburn
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