Week 7 In The SEC: South Carolina On Upset Alert; Gators Travel To Baton Rouge
Week 6 in the SEC wasn’t much to look forward to in terms of match-ups heading into the weekend but thanks to Butch Jones and Tennessee, the league made some headlines and gave us some fireworks. Week 6 also gave us a close game between Kentucky and South Carolina, including the controversy over Jadeveon Clowney, and an upset of a ranked team, #24 Ole Miss falling at Auburn. Here are some of the marquee match-ups in the SEC this weekend:
#25 Missouri at #7 Georgia – 12:00 pm ET – ESPN
Missouri hung with the Bulldogs for 3 quarters in last year’s match-up before Georgia scored 24 unanswered points to gain a 41-20 road win over the Tigers. This time Missouri takes an undefeated 5-0 record and a Top 25 ranking between the hedges at Sanford Stadium. Georgia has lost numerous people to season-ending injuries, including RB Keith Marshall, WR Justin Scott-Wesley, and WR Malcom Mitchell. The news doesn’t get any better as All-SEC RB Todd Gurley, who sat out last week vs. Tennessee, is doubtful for the game Saturday vs. Missouri. Georgia QB Aaron Murray, the conference’s passing leader, will need the replacements to step up because the “Dawgs may have to outscore a Missouri offense that is averaging 46.6 points, good for eighth in the nation. Led by QB James Franklin’s four touchdowns, Missouri had an impressive 51-28 win last week vs. Vanderbilt, in Nashville. Missouri has already matched it’s win total from last season and will look to gain win six on the road in Athens Saturday.
Prediction: Georgia 38, Missouri 24
#14 South Carolina at Arkansas – 12:21 pm ET – SECN
Jadeveon Clowney has been the most scrutinized athlete in the world this week after telling head coach Steve Spurrier he couldn’t play vs. Kentucky minutes before the game kicked off due to a rib injury. Although Clowney was cleared by South Carolina trainers, he said he felt too much pain during the Gamecocks walk-through and warm-up on Saturday. Clowney is expected to play vs. Arkansas as he has practiced the last few days but still no official word from Spurrier that the All-American will start Saturday. Brett Bielema started his 1st year at Arkansas with a bang, going 3-0 and energizing the fan base but the Razorbacks have lost 3 consecutive games to enter Saturday at .500. Led by true freshman RB Alex Collins, the Arkansas ground attack will come after a South Carolina defense that has had trouble stopping the run at times this season. Arkansas QB Brandon Allen had a not-so-good 17 of 41 performance last week at Florida but Bielema thinks, being at home, Allen will bounce back with a strong performance. Gamecocks never play well in Fayetteville and after their close games the last few weeks, many national pundits are putting them on upset alert.
Prediction: South Carolina 28, Arkansas 20
#17 Florida at #10 LSU – 3:30 pm ET – CBS
LSU’s offense appears incredible but the Bayou Bengals also haven’t faced a defense like Florida’s yet. LSU has gained 400 yards in each of its first six games and scored at least 35 points in each of its first six games for the first time ever in school history. Florida’s defense ranks in the Top 5 in the nation in two key defensive categories, yards per game (217.0, 2nd fewest) and opponent scoring average (12.2, 4th lowest). Both QBs, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger and Florida’s Tyler Murphy, will certainly be under the microscope Saturday afternoon. Mettenberger has been absolutely tremendous this season after a rough 1st year last season. Murphy stepped in for injured starter Jeff Driskel and all he’s done is made Florida’s offense more efficient and led the Gators to three consecutive SEC wins. This will be Muprhy’s first start in a hectic road environment so look for John Chavis to sic his LSU defense on the inexperienced Murphy.
Prediction: LSU 21, Florida 10
#9 Texas A&M at Ole Miss – 8:30 pm ET – ESPN
Johnny Manziel travels to Oxford where I’m sure comparisons between him and Marshall Henderson will arise. Manziel has led the Aggies offense to Top 5 rankings in both points per game and yards per game. Texas A&M is coming off a much-needed bye week where hopefully the Aggies were able to get healthy and get things straightened out on defense. The Rebels have lost two in a row, a 25-0 loss at #1 Alabama and a 30-22 let down at Auburn last Saturday. Those two consecutive losses for Ole Miss have caused them to tumble out of the Top 25. Hugh Freeze has created a buzz around Ole Miss football and this is a great opportunity for Freeze’s Rebels to solidify the optimism that is out there. This is the start of 6 straight home games for Ole Miss and they would obviously love to get off to a hot start.
Prediction: Texas A&M 40, Ole Miss 30
Other SEC games:
Western Carolina at Auburn – 2:00 pm ET
#1 Alabama at Kentucky – 7:00 pm ET – ESPN2
Bowling Green at Mississippi State – 7:30 pm ET