OFF THIS WEEK: Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss, Mizzou
#8 Florida (3-1) @ #5 Georgia (4-1): Georgia -3.5
In last week’s preview, I predicted that we would learn more about Mizzou than we learned about Florida and I thought it would be a close contest. Florida then decided to beat Mizzou 41-17 on the back of Kyle Trask.
The Gators got out to a slow start though as the teams were 2 minutes away from halftime with a 7-6 Mizzou lead until Kyle Trask connected with Kadarius Toney on two separate TD passes with a Mizzou fumble in between.
Once they came out of the half this one was all Gators and it is this momentum swing that they are going to have to capture against the Bulldogs. If the Gators come out slow against the Dawgs this one is going to be over early.
Also, the Gators have been winning behind Trask’s improvement at QB, but they are going to have to get more done on the ground on Saturday. Trask was the team’s leading rusher a week ago, but they are going to need Pierce and Wright to get the ball in their hands more and get into space. If this game comes down to passing, the Bulldogs secondary should perform well against Trask.
The score of the Georgia/Kentucky game was 14-3 last weekend. You may be asking, “at the end of what quarter?”
Oh, that was the score at the end of the game and don’t worry I am confused as you are. 222 passing yards. “oh by which QB?” Both. That was the combined passing yards in last weeks game. The Bulldogs offense couldn’t get going as Bennett threw 2 interceptions and took the ball out of his offense’s hands. Zamir White was the star of this offense rushing 26 times for 136 yards and a TD. But this game was won by the defense. Kentucky only had the ball 8 times, kicked one field goal, had two turnovers, 4 punts, and the game ended with them on offense.
This Georgia defense is mean. They can be beat on the ground as RB Chris Rodriguez found out with his 108 yards, but that defense refuses to break and doesn’t give up passing TDs very easily.
This is a classic matchup between a good offense (Florida) and a good defense (Georgia). You give Georgia the edge at home, and, I think Florida comes out slow and Georgia is able to get a lead and keep it. Give me Georgia and I think they cover in this one.
Vanderbilt (0-4) @ Mississippi State (1-4): Mississippi State -19.0
From a great game to a horrible one a 1-4 team is projected to win by 19 points against an abysmal 0-4 team. Next.
So, obviously that can’t be where I end it, but I wish it were. Let’s scrounge up some positives from the ‘Dores 54-21 loss to Ole Miss last week.
Freshman QB Ken Seals had 319 yards passing and threw 2 TDs to only 1 INT. That’s…about…it. They lost two fumbles, threw an INT, converted only 8/14 3rd down opportunities. Their defense resembled the classic Swiss cheese reference and looks like it couldn’t stop a nosebleed at this point. I’m not expecting much here even though MS State is 1-4 and coming off of a 41-0 loss to Alabama last week.
Last week was the David and Goliath story where David got absolutely bludgeoned to death by Goliath.
They couldn’t run the ball, pass the ball, or stop the ball against Alabama and so they are going to be looking to take out some frustrations on Vandy. The key thing they need to work on in this game is converting first downs and extending drives. Based on the spread, they can treat this like they are playing the practice squad and win so work on some fundamentals, get back to the basics, make sure you don’t lose to Vandy, and come out of this one in the win column and with a more focused gameplan for next week’s game.
Is it considered a trap game if both teams are bad and the winning team would either be 1-4 or 2-4?
Either way, I think Vandy’s young QB gets more valuable game reps, but I think that this defense needs work. Give me Mississippi State to win, and I guess to cover even though that spread is large.
#7 Texas A&M (4-1) @ South Carolina (2-3): Texas A&M -10.0
Here we are. The impasse of every preview as a fan; when it’s a game that your team is in. But, let’s focus on those Aggies that came away last week with an 11 point win against Arkansas.
A win is a win right? Father Time Kellen Mond had 260 yards and 3 TDs, but it was the sophomores that helped the Aggies to victory; RB Isaiah Spiller and TE Jalen Wydermyer got the job done.
While not exploding off the charts in yards per carry, Spiller did have 21 carries for 82 yards and a TD. Wydermyer had 6 catches for 92 yards and 2 TDs. The offensive momentum came to a halt late game, but the defense did enough to get the win. In this game, Mond is going to have to thwart the young secondary of the Gamecocks, but he most likely won’t struggle. He only had 5 incompletions in this one so his accuracy and poise that you come to expect in a veteran QB will be instrumental for the Aggies if they hope to leave Columbia with a win.
The Gamecocks’ mentality has got to be to throw off other teams’ years at this point.
While that sounds heartless, what else are they playing for? The off week couldn’t have come at a better time for the Gamecocks after getting smacked by LSU 52-24 two weeks ago. The true freshman for the Tigers balled out, but the real thing that hurt the Gamecocks? Momentum. Every time they would string together a lengthy drive, LSU would either stop them from scoring, or immediately answer. At one point the Gamecocks gave up a kick return for a TD and then a pick-six either in direct succession or at the very least, not very far apart from each other. Kevin Harris continues to be the best player for Carolina as he put up 126 yards and 2 TDs last week and so he is going to need to get going against the Aggies.
Another important factor for the Gamecocks is going to be Shi Smith rebounding off of his 2 catch performance. He is easy to spotlight for a defense, but the greats are able to still make plays even when all of the focus is on them. Also, Colin Hill may have a short leash in this one. Easiest way to mess with an opponent is have them gameplan for one QB and throw any of the other 3 young QBs on the roster out there mid game.
Kellen Mond has been a thorn in the Gamecocks and Will Muschamp’s side for years and so he is expectant to have a good game on Saturday. The Gamecocks do have the benefit of being at home, but that effect is lost when Williams-Brice isn’t sold out like usual. Look for the Aggies to pick apart the defense, but if they Gamecocks can get some stops, this one could be close. Aggies probably win, but don’t cover the spread. Cocks by 90.
Tennessee (2-3) @ Arkansas (2-3): Tennessee -1.5
I really did a good job of spacing out these games that I don’t care about with games I do, it’s almost like it was on purpose.
What’s different between this game and Vandy/MSST?
Basically nothing. Tennessee and MSST were ranked top 20 at some point this season. Oh what a fall from grace. Tennessee is coming back from a week off of playing, but before that they were victim to Alabama. It’s hard to really pull any positives from that game, so let’s focus on this week an Arkansas.
The Razorbacks are playing opponents close so the Vols really have to come out guns blazing and they need to do their best to avoid a 3-and-out their first drive. They need to come out with a run heavy offense and try to overwhelm the Arkansas defense. Guarantano has talent as a QB, but the Vols HAVE to establish the run to allow him to be as effective as possible.
Lost by 27, won by 7, lost by 2, won by 12, lost by 11. If you take out that first game against, then #4, UGA, Arkansas has been competing until the end in these games. That has to be super motivating for a program playing an all SEC schedule when they hadn’t won an SEC game in years.
The Razorbacks are doing well at becoming a dual threat team. Against the Aggies, QB Felipe Franks threw for 239 yards and 3 TDs and also ran for 91 yards. This offense is finding its identity and I think they are getting more and more comfortable every week. Look for sophomore receiver Treylon Burks to be a problem for the Vols defense and look for them to change the pace with senior RB Rakeem Boyd (from Last Chance U) on the ground as he is coming off of a 100 yard, 1 TD game.
If their defense can get some stops, the Razorbacks will be in this one fighting tooth and nail.
Tennessee is a 1.5 point favorite in this one travelling to Arkansas. It depends on what Vols team shows up and how long it takes them to get going, but if Arkansas can get some stops early and settle into their gameplan where Franks can feel comfortable and shine, I see the Razorbacks coming away with the win. Give me Arkansas to outright win this one and send a sad Vols team back to Knoxville hanging their heads.
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