We were due for a week like this, missing all three of our close picks to finish at .500 for the week. For Week 8, there are only five games to be played, as teams begin to hit their scheduled off-weeks.
Last week’s record: 3-3 (50.0%)
Season record: 58-11 (84.1%)
VANDERBILT at MISSOURI
Missouri has begun to play better as the season has gotten rolling, but there really isn’t much difference between these two teams. The Commodores probably have the edge at quarterback, but Missouri is slightly (but noticeably) better at most other spots. This is a game that, if it were to be played in Nashville, we might take a home Vanderbilt team. But we’ll put our faith in Eliah Drinkwitz and his insistence that the Tiger program is indeed getting better. If he’s wrong and Vanderbilt were to win here, it might be enough by itself to put Drinkwitz on a provisional hotseat for 2023. Such is the power of losing to Vanderbilt, ever.
TEXAS A&M at SOUTH CAROLINA
If the South Carolina that upset Kentucky comes to play in this game, rather than the South Carolina we expect, things could get interesting. The Aggies played their best game of the year in a loss to Alabama two weeks ago, but it was a loss nonetheless and most of the goals that Aggie fans were hoping to achieve this season went by the wayside at that time. Texas A&M still has a lot to play for – the division race isn’t out of the reach yet, although it’s not likely to come back into play – but a loss to South Carolina would put a hard end to it all. At issue is the South Carolina defense and whether the win over Kentucky was a function of Wildcat QB Will Levis being out, or was it improvement on the Gamecock side of the ball? We’ll find out soon enough.
Texas A&M 30
South Carolina 20
MISSISSIPPI at LOUISIANA STATE
This game has major implications in the SEC West race, because Ole Miss needs to set up a win-and-in situation against Alabama in a few weeks. The Rebels have never been to the SEC Championship Game, and this is their best shot by far. LSU looked like a better team against Florida last week, particularly on offense, and especially at the quarterback position. Ole Miss, meanwhile, gave up far too many points to Auburn and didn’t win that game by nearly as much as the Rebels should have. With the game in Baton Rouge, it adds another layer of pressure to the Rebels’ game. There is also the question of whether Lane Kiffin is treating this game – and this season – as an audition for a better job.
Ole Miss 40
TENNESSEE-MARTIN at TENNESSEE
Assuming the Vols managed to find a set of replacement goal posts, you’ll watch them kick a whole bunch of footballs through them this week. Those would be extra points, not field goals.
IDLE: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas, Auburn
Follow Jess Nicholas on Twitter at @TideFansJessN