Now we’re on a roll. The Predictions Dept. scored its second consecutive perfect week, making us 22-0 since the Sept. 10 week of games. The quality of matchups goes up significantly in Week 5, and Alabama-Arkansas might not even be the most intriguing matchup.
Last week’s record: 10-0 (100.0%)
Season record: 43-6 (87.8%)
EASTERN WASHINGTON at FLORIDA
At the time of this writing, this game was still on but had been moved to Sunday. Obviously Hurricane Ian could end up getting the game postponed further or outright canceled; it’s an unnecessary game that Florida has little to no chance of losing. Our concerns are with the Florida players, staff, students and their families during this time.
E. Washington 10
ALABAMA at ARKANSAS
See our extended preview!
GEORGIA at MISSOURI
Missouri should have beaten Auburn last week; Mizzou almost had to lose on purpose and yet, still did it. Head coach Eliah Drinkwitz probably put himself on the hotseat with the loss, and while Missouri likely won’t make a change after this current season, the shine is off the rose in this case for sure.
There is also rumors of dissension on the team, especially among some of the few more-highly-rated players. Georgia is coming off a week where the Bulldogs mostly slept through a win over an improving Kent State program; they’ll probably use this game to make a statement to both pollsters and their own team.
KENTUCKY at MISSISSIPPI
This game has significant implications to both division races and is probably the key matchup inside the conference this week. Kentucky needs to stay clean outside of its game against Georgia, because it can’t hope for the Bulldogs to pick up multiple losses. Given the situation at quarterback for Kentucky, this is going to be the Wildcats’ best chance to steal an SEC East title for a very long time.
Meanwhile, Ole Miss has its own designs on a division crown, and with Alabama showing some vulnerability against Texas in Week 2, the Rebels are hoping that an improving defense and a hot quarterback might be enough to tilt its contest against Alabama later in the year. To do that, however, the Rebels have to get past Kentucky.
One of our best takes from last week’s preview article was pointing out how Ole Miss would struggle with Tulsa because of the Golden Hurricane’s ability to put a competent offense on the field. If Kentucky is able to move the ball early in this game, it will be a bad sign for the home team.
Ole Miss 31
SOUTH CAROLINA STATE at SOUTH CAROLINA
At first glance, this is a game South Carolina should win going away, but the Gamecock defense has been an abomination thus far in 2022 and USC will be vulnerable every time it takes the field. They also need to get out of the blocks better, build leads and stop pressuring the defense in the second half.
South Carolina 48
S. Carolina St. 23
LOUISIANA STATE at AUBURN
Without multiple miracles at the end of last week’s game against Missouri, Auburn should be talking about its new coaching search right about now. Fortunately (unfortunately?), Auburn managed to find a way to beat Missouri, setting up a showdown against a still-using-training-wheels LSU team that is starting to find its balance. Auburn just doesn’t have the personnel to beat LSU heads-up, but the game is in the voodoo graveyard known as Jordan-Hare Stadium, and LSU can’t be counted upon to actually take care of business on a consistent basis this year while still in the middle of a coaching transition. Still, if Auburn wins this game, it will be considered one of the most significant intraconference upsets of the year.
TEXAS A&M at MISSISSIPPI STATE
Who knows what’s going on at Texas A&M. The defense looks legit, but the offense can’t get out of its own way, looking like something that might be more at home in Nashville or Columbia than College Station. Injuries are also starting to take their toll. But the real matchup to watch for the Aggies this week – as it is with just about any opponent Mississippi State plays – is how the Texas A&M secondary will handle MSU QB Will Rogers and the Bulldog offense.
Teams that can keep MSU’s passing game in front of them while also shutting down the running game tend to run away with games, much as Alabama did last year by a 49-9 score when the Crimson Tide played the Bulldogs. But can the Aggies score points?
Texas A&M 27
Mississippi St. 23
IDLE: Tennessee, Vanderbilt
Follow Jess Nicholas on Twitter at @TideFansJessN