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HomeFootball2022 FootballSEC Preview and Predictions: Week 12

SEC Preview and Predictions: Week 12

In terms of overall record, Week 11 wasn’t kind to the Dept., but we were happy to be wrong about one of those. The Auburn- game could have gone either way, but the Vanderbilt upset of Kentucky came completely out of left field. This week, the schedule is mostly easy to foresee, with the possible exception of Ole Miss’ visit to Arkansas.

Last week’s record: 4-3 (57.1%)
Season record: 74-18 (80.4%)

The Commodores deserve a lot of credit for beating a Kentucky team that was ranked at the time, and at one time had been ranked in the top ten. It’s clear now that Kentucky is in the midst of its usual freefall under Mark Stoops, but Vanderbilt still had to take care of business, and did. Speaking of taking care of business, Florida looked like a much-improved team, handling South Carolina with little drama. This week, two teams full of optimism face off, and while the Commodores proved they aren’t complete dregs, it’s hard to see them pulling off a shocker two weeks in a row. How crazy is it, though, that the Commodores are still entertaining hopes of bowl eligibility, while is not?
Florida 35
Vanderbilt 17

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Kentucky’s loss to Vanderbilt falls into the “inexcusable” category, which unfortunately for Mark Stoops is fairly familiar territory. Kentucky QB Will Levis has regressed as the season has gone along, and Kentucky can’t figure out whether it wants to lean on RB Chris Rodriguez, or sacrifice some of its ground power for a more dynamic approach. Regardless of what the Wildcat staff chooses this week, it’s not going to matter. is rolling, and the Bulldogs aren’t going to let anything get in their way of a title defense. This one could get embarrassing for Kentucky following the events of last week.
Kentucky 17

Missouri had been putting up results that suggested improvement, right up to the point the Tigers ran into Tennessee’s offensive buzzsaw. Now it gets a New Mexico team that has won four of its last five games under Jerry Kill, a highly regarded coach. Missouri won’t be able to sleepwalk through this game, but New Mexico State’s offense barely functions, so the Aggies likely won’t be able to keep up if the Tigers can get a couple scores ahead.
Missouri 31
New Mexico St. 13

We looked at this game as a potential upset in the preseason, figuring South Carolina would have found a way to either fix its defense by now, or developed some consistency on offense with QB Spencer Rattler. Neither has really happened; the Gamecocks are mired in mediocrity and inconsistency on offense, while the defense has been disappointing, especially against the run. Tennessee basically can’t be stopped on offense, and will be able to create so much pressure and confusion for South Carolina that this game won’t be close for long – especially if Rattler’s tendency to get sloppy rears its head. Only the fact the game is being played in Columbia gives South Carolina any hope of keeping it remotely competitive.
Tennessee 48
South Carolina 20

A battle of two teams that came agonizingly close to pulling upsets last week. Ole Miss nearly knocked off Alabama; instead, it watched hold on against Arkansas and clinch the SEC West. Now that the Rebels are out of divisional contention, and with finding his name connected to the Auburn job every five minutes, can Ole Miss possibly find it in themselves to pull out a road win? Arkansas figures to be able to replicate its effort from last week more easily, as the Razorbacks were already out of the division race when they faced off against LSU; such emotional issues probably won’t effect them here. If Ole Miss were to lose, suddenly the Rebel season gets a lot more average.
Ole Miss 31
Arkansas 30

The Hilltoppers are 7-4, but their signature win came against … MTSU? It’s hard to find any analog for what they’ll be facing this week in Auburn, when they face off against a Tiger team that two weeks ago couldn’t splash a mud puddle. Now that Bryan Harsin has been canned, interim coach Carnell Williams has found the key to getting Auburn to play with passion again, at least on defense. The Tiger offense still mostly stinks on ice, bereft of any kind of passing attack. Were Harsin still in charge, this game would qualify as a potential upset special, but now Auburn has something to play for again. A win here and an upset of Alabama next week puts Auburn in a bowl game and significantly clouds the issue of who will be the Tigers’ next full-time coach. Auburn brass has created a problem for itself in that with every win, Williams becomes an even greater fan favorite. The idea that Auburn can simply return him to an assistant coach’s role gets less likely with each good performance.
Auburn 27
W. Kentucky 21

UAB needs one win over its last two games to get bowl-eligible, but the Blazers have been consistently mediocre in 2022. The Blazers are ranked 6th in rushing offense, but the lack of any kind of passing attack makes them easily beatable if can put the clamps on the running game. UAB has pulled an upset in this series before – ask Nick Saban if he remembers it – but LSU is headed to Atlanta after an improbable run and Brian Kelly isn’t likely to let the Tigers sleep on this game. If LSU doesn’t show up ready to defend the run, however, it could get a bit tight.
UAB 20

If this game is close in any way, Mike Leach should consider bowing out of the job in Starkville. ETSU is 3-7 on the year and riding a four-game losing streak, the last of which came against Western Carolina. has fizzled down the stretch, losers of three of its last four and looking at a beating next week at the hands of Ole Miss in Oxford. This will likely be the Bulldogs’ last chance to light up the scoreboard in 2022.
St. 52

Texas A&M’s six-game losing streak is eclipsed only by UMass’ seven-game losing streak. The Minutemen are 1-9 on the year, and even with Texas A&M’s struggles, it’s impossible to imagine the Aggies dropping this game. UMass’ lone win was over Stony Brook. The Minutemen have, however, been competitive in several of their losses, most notably against Liberty and last week, falling by just two points to Arkansas State. The pass defense is decent, but shouldn’t have to go to the air much. Jimbo Fisher will probably be back as Aggie coach next year regardless, thanks to an insipid buyout, but a loss here would be the equivalent of a bomb going off in College Station.
UMass 13

Follow Jess Nicholas on Twitter at @TideFansJessN

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