There was one game that kept us from having a perfect Week 10 and, unfortunately, you know which game that was. At least we had the guts to call Liberty’s upset of Arkansas correctly. This week’s marquee game is certainly Alabama-Ole Miss, but there are a handful of other tough matchups to call – mostly because it’s a battle of mediocrity with no clearly better team.
Last week’s record: 6-1 (85.7%)
Season record: 70-15 (82.4%)
SOUTH CAROLINA at FLORIDA
Example A right here. South Carolina has been up and down, while Florida has a lot of potential but is still feeling its way under new coach Billy Napier. The Gators are coming off a nice win over Texas A&M that ended up not being particularly close, and South Carolina probably is about on par with the Aggies at the moment. With the game at Florida Field, the Gators should roll, right? Cue Lee Corso’s favorite saying – “not so fast” – because to us, it looks like the Gamecocks have more overall consistency. It’s just that the consistency in question isn’t of the high-level variety.
The game will come down to which USC defense wants to show up, and whether Gamecock QB Spencer Rattler can stop throwing interceptions for 60 minutes. If he can, and if USC shows up ready to stop the Gators’ rushing attack, we could be looking at an upset here.
South Carolina 23
GEORGIA at MISSISSIPPI STATE
The problem Mississippi State has here is that Georgia approaches this game defensively much the same way Alabama does, and Alabama never has any problem stopping Mike Leach’s passing schemes. Georgia is way too talented for Mississippi State to defeat unless Georgia experiences a run of extremely bad luck – interceptions, fumbles, blown calls, etc. Betting on those things to happen is like betting on a backmarker to win the Indy 500. It’s technically possible but it’s not going to happen. With Tennessee dispatched and Alabama out of the SEC Championship Game (for now, at least), the pressure is sort of off Georgia, and the Bulldogs can focus on one game at a time.
Mississippi St. 17
VANDERBILT at KENTUCKY
Kentucky may be reverting more to its usual form, but that form is still plenty good enough to put Vanderbilt away. Kentucky just has to avoid the kind of offensive dysfunction that popped up against Georgia two weeks ago. The Wildcat defense should be too strong for Vandy to go through, but Kentucky is always good for a couple of head-scratchers every year and this would certainly be one of those were it to occur. This may be the SEC’s most boring “rivalry.”
MISSOURI at TENNESSEE
This might be the best chance for some kind of stealth upset on the board. Missouri’s defense seems to have found its rhythm, and Tennessee is coming off a three-game stretch that saw the Volunteers record an emotional win over Alabama, obliterate a pretty good Kentucky team, and then find out they aren’t quite ready for prime time as Georgia mostly tamed the Vols. There is absolutely no one on the Tennessee team right now excited about playing this game, and Missouri would view this as the statement game of all statement games. Look for Tennessee to be sluggish at the start, but pull it out in the end. It wouldn’t be surprising to see it be closer than anyone expects, though.
LOUISIANA STATE at ARKANSAS
Somehow, LSU is just a 2- or 3-point favorite in this game; did anyone watch Arkansas lose to Liberty last week? LSU is now in the driver’s seat in the SEC West, a shock to all who follow SEC football, and even with the game in Arkansas, it’s highly unlikely that LSU suddenly falls back into old habits. Arkansas simply doesn’t have the defense to keep LSU from scoring, and LSU’s pass defense ought to render Arkansas a one-dimensional team.
TEXAS A&M at AUBURN
This is going to be the most fun game on the schedule just to see which team horks it up worse. Auburn has to win to maintain hopes for the postseason; Texas A&M does as well, just a couple of months after being the glamour pick to unseat Alabama in the SEC West. The Aggies have to get healthy at quarterback somehow, but if they do, it’s hard to imagine Auburn keeping up with them. Jordan-Hare Stadium is a tremendously difficult place to play, but Texas A&M seems to be sort of immune to it.
If Auburn had found a way to close out Mississippi State last week, a mob of Auburn fans supporting Carnell Williams for the full-time head coaching job would already be on their way to the AU administrative offices. If he wins here (and especially at Alabama in a couple of weeks) they will still. But A&M’s defense is good enough to thwart what has become a pretty bad Auburn offense.
Texas A&M 27