Week 5 SEC Weekend Primer

Off this week: Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Georgia, and Vanderbilt

This has obviously been a crazy season so far in college football, but the big story has been Florida shutting down its program until Monday. They weren’t supposed to play this weekend anyway, but things are looking rough down in The Swamp. Highlights for the games actually scheduled to happen this week include a newly unranked Auburn team, an Alabama team that looks like it could beat the Jets, a Kentucky team that crushed the hopes and dreams of any Tennessee fan last week, and South Carolina coming off the greatest win anyone has ever seen in the history of ever (I’m not biased). Let’s get into this preview.

Auburn (2-2) @ Ole Miss (1-3): Auburn -3

Coming into the season, this game had to be checked off as an automatic W for Auburn right? Coming off a loss to South Carolina, Auburn is only favored in the game by 3 points. On the Auburn side of the ball, the are lead by dual threat QB Bo Nix who is 78/142 for 869 yards, 5 TDs, 4 INTs through the air and an additional 141 yards and a TD on the ground. Tank Bigsby (awesome name) leads the rushers with 50 carries for 303 yards and a TD. Seth Williams and Anthony Schwartz are the leading receivers for the team accounting for 546 of Nix’s 869 yards. When the Tigers offense is clicking, it will be because Nix is able to get into a groove and get his receivers into space and make up yardage on the ground when needed. I wanted to talk about the defense, but an early name of the year contender has emerged. Big Kat Bryant is a defensive end for Auburn. Take a second to bask in how amazing that is.

New head coach Lane Kiffin isn’t off to the start he would’ve liked, but Ole Miss is…trying? Through 4 games, they lost to then #5 Florida, lost to #2 Alabama, and they beat Kentucky in OT. What is there a game I missed? Oh yea, Arkansas beat Ole Miss last weekend by 12. Oof.

Anyway, Matt Corral is 87/126 on the season for 1,280 yards, 11 TDs, and 7 INTs and he has gained another 170 yards on the ground. Running the ball, Jerrion Ealy has 68 carries for 355 yards and 5 TDs and Snoop Conner (great name) has 52 carries for 233 yards and 4 TDs. Elijah Moore and Kenny Yeboah are super fun to watch as they have combined for 930 yards and 6 TDs through 4 games. They will look to continue their playing on Sunday auditions against the Auburn secondary. 

This season so far, it hasn’t been that Ole Miss can’t score, it’s just that their defense isn’t doing a great job of stopping the other team from scoring. I think Auburn heads in to Oxford frustrated from letting the Gamecocks back into the game late last week and I think they take it out on Ole Miss. Give me Auburn in this one and I expect them to cover the spread.

#2 Alabama (4-0) @ Tennessee (2-2) : Alabama -21.0

I think the only gripe you can have as an Alabama fan is maybe that you started off slow by only putting up 38 points against Mizzou in week 1? Since then, Alabama has put up 52, 63, and 41 against Texas A&M, Ole Miss, and #3 Georgia. Just to clarify, Alabama is heading into Knoxville after beating the now #4 team in the country by 17. 

Tua who? Mac Jones is continuing his takeover from the now Dolphins rookie and is balling. Jones is 90/115 for 1,518 yards, 12 TDs and 2 INTs through the air. Najee Harris has 83 rushes for 499 yards and 11 TDS on the ground and backup Brian Robinson has 31 carries for 178 yards and a TD. Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith,and John Metchie have combined for 1,388 yards and 11 yards cementing that once again Alabama has probably the strongest trio of wide receivers in the country. Everyone also wonders if a college football team could beat an NFL team, and the answer is probably no, but you can’t say that this offense wouldn’t put up points. 

The University of Broken Dreams strikes again and Tennessee fans just aren’t able to have nice things. After starting the season ranked with wins against South Carolina and Mizzouri, they got bodied by 23 by Georgia and then got trounced by 27 last week by Kentucky. I know the message from head coach Jeremy Pruitt to his team is going to be something positive about how they can win, but realistically it needs to be “let’s not embarrass ourselves”. Last week against Kentucky, there was a stretch where four consecutive drives for the Vols went as follows: Fumble, Pick 6, Pick 6, Interception.

There was a lot of hype surrounding Jarrett Guarantano coming into this season, and he didn’t look too shabby in the first two games. That being said, it hasn’t been pretty since. He is 70/11 for 752 yards, 4 TDs, and 3 INTs through the air, and his job is by no means safe after last back-to-back pick six performance. Eric Gray and Ty Chandler are doing their best to right the offense on the ground by combining for 112 rushes for 536 yards and 4 TDs. Senior Josh Palmer is Tennessee’s best receiver with 238 yards and 3 TDs so keep an eye on what he can do, if anything, against Alabama. 

I don’t think there is much to say in a preview for this game other than hopefully the Vols gets some guys some game reps and don’t come away with any injuries. The way Bama is playing, this one is expected to get real ugly, real fast and so I’ll take Bama and I’ll even take them to cover. I will be putting a 5-er on Tennessee though, just in case. 

Kentucky (2-2) @ Mizzou (1-2): Kentucky -5.5

After giving up 29 points to Auburn in Week 1 and 42 to Ole Miss in Week 2, Kentucky’s defense has been playing pissed off only allowing 9 points. Hell, they had more points on defense in the last game against Tennessee than their Week 3 and 4 opponents had on offense, combined.

On the offensive side of the ball, Terry Wilson is 58/90 for 564 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT. This run first team has 2 running backs with more than 40 carries, but their leading rusher in attempts and second in yards is their Quarterback Terry Wilson. Wilson has 253 yards and 3 TDs while starting running back Chris Rodriguez has 257 yards and 4 TDs. Kentucky’s best receiver is Josh Ali who has 246 yards, but hasn’t gotten into the endzone yet this season.

Missouri’s (feels weird to use actual s’s in their name) season wasn’t super hopeful with the departure of Kelly Bryant and some other playmakers, and it didn’t help that they drew Bama in their first game. The did limit Bama more than anyone else, but they then lost to Tennessee the following week. They snuck into the win column in a surprise win against LSU two weekends ago so we will see if their impromptu rescheduled game from last weekend hurts any momentum they may have had coming off that win.

QB Connor Bazelak is 49/69 for 692 yards, 4 TDs, and an INT. Running Back Larry Rountree has 50 carries for 270 yards and a TD. When Tyler Badie isn’t lining up in the backfield, he slots in as Tennessee’s second WR and his numbers combined with WR1 Jalen Knox are 282 yards and 2 TDs.

It’s been two weeks and I still don’t know how this Missouri team beat LSU. Mizzou’s offense isn’t great and Kentucky’s defense has been playing out of it’s mind. I think the time off and the option offense of the Wildcats is going to give the Tigers a headache so I will take the Wildcats in this one, but I don’t think they cover.

South Carolina (2-2) @ LSU (1-2): LSU -6

How bout them Gamecocks? Coming off a 41-7 victory against Vandy, the Gamecocks did just enough to win against Auburn last weekend knocking off the previously #15 ranked Tigers. This week they head to Baton Rouge to take on a new Tiger that as previously mentioned, lost to a completely different…Tiger.

Colorado State transfer Collin Hill looks much improved and more comfortable in this offense than he did in week 1 and even at the end of the week 2 loss to Florida. Hill is 84/134 for 842 yards, 4 TDs, and 2 INTs through the air and adds an additional 4 TDs on the ground. The Gamecocks incoming freshman Marshawn Lloyd was lost for the year with a torn ACL in a pre-season practice, but Kevin Harris has taken up any potential slack with 81 attempts for 417 yards and 6 TDs. Shi Smith is playing like a man possessed with 34 receptions for 347 yards and 3 TDs so far and the Gamecocks found out on Wednesday that transfer Jalen Brooks was finally granted his NCAA eligibility appeal and is now eligible to play Saturday.

How much do you think the LSU Tigers miss Joe Burrow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Justin Jefferson after only 3 weeks? They ironically also beat Vanderbilt 41-7 in week 2, but the games on either side were ugly. They gave up 623 passing yards to Mississippi State in their week 1 loss, and in week 3 they had a shocking loss to Mizzou. With a week off in between games, it will be interesting to see if this team comes out with the fire needed to get back on track.

Myles Brennan is 79/131 for 1,112 yards, 11 TDs, and 3 INTs. John Emery Jr. and Tyrion Davis-Price have combined for 49 rushes for 247 yards and 2 TDs rushing. In the receiving game, Terrace Marshall Jr. and Arik Gilbert have 601 yards receiving and 9 TDs. This LSU offense has done a good job of spreading the ball around, but their defense needs to be better at closing out games.

As a biased South Carolina fan, the Gamecocks are coming off a big win and the Tigers are coming off of a loss and a week off. I think this game is going to come down to mental toughness, and unfortunately I do expect the Tigers to win. I am hoping that the Gamecocks keep it close enough to cover, and I am most interested to see how Jalen Brooks is used in the offense. Even though I am prepared for us to lose, Cocks by 90. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out and give me your opinion on this preview and follow along with all things sports at Shooting The Sports Ish!

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