SEC Preview Week 12 – Will The Tide Surge In Tuscaloosa?

Week 12 SEC Preview

Ole Miss @ Texas A&M* (POSTPONED)

#6 Florida (5-1) @ Vanderbilt (0-6): Florida -31.5

In Florida’s game last week, Kyle Trask threw his name into the Heisman conversation with a little more “Umph” with a 356 yard, 6 TD performance. Trask’s season is aging like fine wine, and the Gators are a 31 (THIRTY.ONE.) point favorite in this one, and even though I had hope for Vandy recently, this game should be another one that Trask balls out early and maybe rewarded by hitting the locker room by the 4th quarter. 

Vanderbilt is starting to figure out this football thing! In a winless season, you have to force positive perspectives, and only losing by three last week is a positive for the Dores this season. Kenyon Henry-Brooks continues to be the best player on Vandy’s field, and they are treating him as such, making him the workhorse of this offense. Freshman QB Ken Seals continues to improve as he threw for 225 yards and 2 TDs last week. Unfortunately, the momentum and positive strides that the Commodores have made in recent weeks are almost assuredly going to go amiss. 

This game shouldn’t be close, and even though Trask should be able to take off a quarter or even a half, he will probably stay in the game to further add to his Heisman resume. Florida to win, and with multiple 34 points losses on their season already, I don’t think Vandy competes here, and I think Florida covers. 

LSU (2-3) @ Arkansas (3-4): LSU -2.5

We hadn’t seen Auburn in three weeks when they got blown out by Auburn on Halloween. Since then, the Tigers had a scheduled off a week, and then Auburn had their game against Bama postponed due to Covid. What went wrong for the Tigers, and what do they need to fix to succeed in this one? Well, they didn’t have trouble getting down the field against Auburn, but they had trouble breaking their defense for 6. When the other team is consistently scoring, answering with field goals isn’t help you come out on top. Even though the Tigers carried the ball 27 times, they only had 33 rushing yards, so they would need to be more effective in setting up the ground game in this one to alleviate pressure on their QB. 

Arkansas is coming off a loss to the Gators, but they still managed to score 5 TDs. Arkansas is proving that they aren’t just a team to overlook anymore, and I think that Felipe Franks has a shot at leading this team to a home win against LSU this weekend. Trelon Smith and Rakeem Boyd will have to be impactful on the ground and pick up solid yardage early in drives to help Franks spread the ball around as they move down the field. If receiver Mike Woods can get into space? Lookout. Last week he had two receptions and 2 Touchdowns and also totaled 129 yards receiving in the process. 

The line shows how close Vegas thinks this one is going to be, and I agree. Even with the extra time to prepare, I believe that Arkansas surprises LSU in this one and comes away with a big win for their program’s future. 

Kentucky (3-4) @ #1 Alabama (6-0): Alabama -30

Kentucky squeaked out a win against Vandy last weekend, and their season has become unpredictable with how they are going to play against that week’s opponents. This one, however, shouldn’t be hard to predict. Traveling to Alabama, the Wildcats will essentially have a glorified practice against the Crimson Tide in the sense that they are just not going to compete in this one. With inconsistent QB play, Bama will focus on stopping the run, and they’re pretty good at it. The Wildcats need to go into this one, not get embarrassed, not get hurt, and start focusing next week. 

The message to Kentucky is similar to Bama, but you don’t want to overlook any team as a top team in the country. Their last “trap” game came on Halloween when they played the Mississippi State team, which shocked some of its opponents so far this season. How did Bama respond? 41-0. I discussed Kyle Trask earlier, so I have to mention the season that Mac Jones is putting together. Jones is 2nd in the SEC in passing yards and has three receivers in the top-6 in the SEC lead for most receiving yards. He is slinging the ball well for the Tide and looks for the Tide to go up early, go up big, and then get some work in as they use the Wildcats as their next victim. 

Thirty points is a lot, but as I mentioned, they just beat a team by 41, so give me Bama, and I bet they cover. 

Tennessee (2-4) @ #23 Auburn (4-2): Auburn -10.5

Coming out of their off week on Halloween, the Volunteers traveled to Arkansas and came away with an 11 point loss. Last week, their game got postponed, and now they face an Auburn team coming off of a beatdown of LSU. RB Eric Gray is doing his best to keep the Vols in the game as he had 31 carries for 123 yards and a TD in their last game. Still, with a rotating door in the shape of a question mark under center, the other Vols position players can’t be counted on to help take the defensive pressure off of him so that he can work. If Tennessee’s QBs are unable to get their guys into space, it’s going to be a long game for them. 

Let Bo Nix and Tank Bigbsy do their thing. What did the Tigers learn from that pouncing of the LSU Tigers on Halloween? Nix had 300 yards and 3 TDs through the air and another 81 yards and a TD on the ground. Bigsby helped shoulder the load to the tune of 71 yards and 2 TDs. If the Tigers can get into their game plan and control this pacing, they shouldn’t have any issue coming from this one with a win. 

The Tigers could slide back into the tail end of the top-25 this week, and I don’t think that they will squander this opportunity (if rankings past the top-4 even matter this season). Auburn could come away with this one with a W and cover. 

Mississippi State (2-4) @ #13 Georgia (4-2): UGA -25

Mississippi State has existed this season to derail LSU from the jump solely. That was the best game of their season; losing to Arkansas the following week, scoring 2 points against Kentucky in their third game, losing to A&M and Alabama, and let’s face it, even beating Vandy by only 1 TD should count as a loss. I had to do a double-take at the box score for the game against Vandy because it appears as if QB Will Rogers had three rushes for -31 yards, and the team in total only had 11 rushes for around -17 yards. That will not work against Georgia’s defense even if they have been on a slide in recent weeks. Even though they need to establish the run, Rogers will have to spread out his receivers to keep the defense back-peddling, even though it will be a challenging task. 

I think the Bulldogs were hurt the most by their game getting postponed last weekend against Missouri. After losing to Florida two weeks ago, they needed to come back out and get back on track against an easier opponent. Luckily, that just transfers to the Bulldogs this week, and they should still be able to right the ship. The surprising thing in their game against Florida was that the tale of the tape, as it were, was their vaunted defense against Florida’s offense, and Florida’s offense was MUCH better that day. It may be a cliché that “defense wins championships,” your defense can’t win you a ship if your offense also looks horrible. The Georgia QBs combined for 112 yards, 2 TDs, and 3 INTs. Sure, their defense had an off day, but their offense didn’t do them any favors. Look for both sides of the ball to get back on track here. 

I think the Dawgs show why their defense was vaunted as elite, but I still think their offense will struggle while figuring out how it can work best. It will be where I set myself up for a cold take, but give me Georgia to win, but not cover the 25 point margin.

Missouri (2-3) @ South Carolina (2-5): Missouri -6.5

The battle takes place in South Carolina this year, and Missouri is entering with only having played five games. Their most recent game was on Halloween and was a loss to Florida, they then had an off week, and they had their game against Georgia postponed last week.  Another rollercoaster team in the SEC, Missouri, has lost to Tennessee but beat LSU and Kentucky. It looks like when the Tigers (Missouri) can win and be successful, Freshman QB Connor Bazelak is distributing the football with ease, not focusing on any one receiver, and making sure to spread the ball around the offense and the field. Missouri will have to figure out the best way to utilize Larry Rountree III. With the scheme with Bazelak, they can figure out how to distribute the balls against a Gamecocks defense with its best players opting-out this week; the Tigers should be able to gain some momentum heading to the end of this season. 

I was initially happy that I would get to end this article off talking about the Gamecocks, but what a week it has been. Last week, the Gamecocks lost to Ole Miss by 17, even with a record-setting rushing performance by Kevin Harris. Since that loss, Will Muschamp has been wished well on his future endeavors, and the Gamecocks have had their best two CBs and Safety (among others) opt-out of the season. As a fan, I don’t want to see Collin Hill touch the field again. He is an older transfer, and with a 2-5 record and our best players opting out, we need to get game reps for young guys to see what we have in store for the future. With that said, good lord Kevin Harris was a man possessed last week. 25 carries for 243 yards and 5 TDs! Shi Smith is going to the Senior Bowl this year following ten catches, 117 yards, and a TD, but this one will be the start of depth football for the Gamecocks. 

One of the most brutal losses I have been witness to in person was to Mizzou. Unfortunately, for the Gamecocks in attendance on Saturday, it is looking like history will repeat itself. I think the Gamecocks offense clicks and puts up points, but I don’t believe that the defense could stop a nosebleed with offensive players slotting in across from the defense to fill-in. Give me Missouri to win and, to also cover. Gamecocks not by 90.  

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

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