OFF THIS WEEK: Ole Miss, Mississippi State
#5 Texas A&M (6-1) @ Auburn (5-3); Texas A&M -6.5
If you want to talk about the ceiling and the floor for Aggie QB Kellen Mond, well last week we saw the floor. A&M got the win 20-7, but Mond went 11/34 for 105 yards and didn’t have a TD. This was a game fought in the trenches and there was a lot of bend-don’t-break defense. The star for the Aggies, as predicted, was Spiller who ran all over the Tigers for 141 yards and a TD. That being said, the Aggies do what they do best and they controlled the clock and the pace of the game. LSU’s rotating door at QB also helped, but if the Aggies travel to Auburn and are able to control the clock and dominate the ground game on the back of Spiller, they should leave with a W.
Bo Nix gonna Bo Nix. This dude has more peaks and valleys than a mountain range. And it isn’t fair to him to be on him this much because he was going up against a Bama team that hasn’t really had any close calls this year, but still. Nix was 23/38 through the air with 2 INTs and added 9 rushes for -1 yards on the ground. I don’t think he can decide if he wants to be a dual threat QB or not because when he pulls it off, he looks unbeatable, but if he fails at one, it brings his whole game down. We will see what he can do against the A&M defense and if he can get in a groove, because it has shown that it falls on his shoulders. As cool as Tank Bigsby’s name is, he can be slow out of the gate and if Auburn comes out slow, they could wind up behind real fast.
A&M is a 6.5 point favorite and I believe that Mond rebounds and Spiller goes off. Nix struggles and A&M comes away with a win AND covers.
Arkansas (3-5) @ Missouri (4-3); Mizzou -3
Why am I actually excited about this game? As I have mentioned I feel like a closet Arkansas fan and even though this is their last game of the season, I am excited to see what they can throw together. Personally, I don’t see how Mizzou is favored in this one. Sure, RB Rakeem Boyd has left the team and declared for the draft, but coming off a bye week the Razorbacks should be ready to put it all out there and I think Franks balls out. Plus, Arkansas beat Tennessee and Tennessee beat Mizzou so if middle school math taught us anything, Arkansas should get a W here.
Mizzou joins the ranks of teams that have scored exactly 41 points on Vandy this season along with LSU and South Carolina. If you’re a Tiger fan, you HAVE to be getting excited about the future of Connor Bazelak. Yes, I get it, it was Vandy. But this guy looks LEGIT and I think he has a bright future. Larry Rountree went ahead and assisted NFL draft scouts with their highlight reels for him as he ran for 160 yards and 3 TDs. Even though this will be game number 8 for the Tigers, it looks like Mizzou will be ending its season after this one, so go in there and get Bazelak more experience so that you can set your team up for success next year.
Again, I don’t get how Mizzou is favored in this one even if it by 3 points. Give me Arkansas in the “upset”.
#6 Florida (7-1) @ Tennessee (2-5); Florida -17.5
Is there a team in the NCAA that gets off to slower starts that Florida? I mean they have had around a TD lead at halftime against Vandy and Kentucky and then came out swinging in the second half. Whoever is responsible for giving the half time speeches for the Gators deserves a raise. Every week I say that Kyle Trask is going to be adding to his Heisman campaign and I think that is the case this week, but again they are slow starters. It shouldn’t put them in the L column this week or next, but it is something to look at. Also, Kyle Pitts is a freakin’ BEAST and he would’ve had a ridiculous season if he hadn’t missed time, but I doubt he is going to be too bothered by that when he is playing on Sundays next year.
Tennessee may have the worst end to their season than anybody else. They didn’t have a like crash and burn downfall or anything, but they are playing Florida this week and get to end the season next week against Texas A&M. Oof. Sophomore RB Eric Gray continues to be the best player on this team and he had a 173 yard, TD performance against Auburn two weeks ago. The Vols are coming off of a bye week and so Eric “Fresh Legs” Gray should legitimately get 30 carries and see what he can put together against the #6 team in the country.
Florida has shown that it starts slow, so let’s assume that happens. This would be a HUGE upset for the Vols, but I’m going with Florida, but I don’t think they win by 17.
Vanderbilt (0-8) @ #8 Georgia (6-2); Georgia -35.5
I got nothing for Vandy. I could try, but they just got blanked by Mizzou 41-0 and I don’t even think this team knows what its identity is. Again, this team has given up exactly 41 points, 3 separate times this season and for some reason I am just stunned by that because it seems so random. They couldn’t score against Mizzou and now they face the Bulldogs who are heralded for their defensive pressure and presence. It’s going to be a long day for the black and gold.
The Dawgs are closing their season against Vandy and this is going to be their last chance to get some frustration out before bowl season. The only thing that will keep Georgia out of the CFP is going to be that loss to Florida, but it isn’t a season squandered for this team. They’ve had to find themselves with a new QB with Fromm in Buffalo and a new RB with Dwift in Detroit and so they have at least grown throughout the season. I think they win here handily and I think they look forward to next season and I think they will have their offensive presence figured out more to catch up to their dominant defense.
South Carolina (2-7) @ Kentucky (3-6); Kentucky -11.5
11 point underdog to a 3-6 Kentucky. ARE YOU KIDDING ME. It has been embarrassing to be a Gamecock fan for a while, but good god this is brutal. I don’t even want to talk about last week’s game against UGA, but solid choice by the coaching staff to pick THAT game to start a true freshman QB. Look for Luke Doty to improve in this one and try to settle in to the offense. Kevin Harris has a pedestrian game so hopefully he can show why the Gamecocks should protect him at all costs even with Marshawn Lloyd coming back from injury next season. WR Shi Smith should honestly take the day off, and ride off into the sunset of getting ready for the NFL Draft. This is the last one for the Gamecocks this year, so they are just going to get through it, get experience for their youth, and get through it.
Say what you will about the Wildcats, they went into halftime down 14-10 to Florida. As previously mentioned though, they got BLANKED the rest of the game as Florida pulled ahead and didn’t look back. The Gamecocks defense isn’t going to be able to keep up with mobile QB Terry Wilson, so that is probably attributing to the point spread. In their last game against Florida, the Wildcats passed it 18 times, and ran the ball 43 times. If they throw this run heavy scheme at the Gamecocks and they can extend drives, the South Carolina defense will get gassed from a long season and will be exploitable. I think Wilson attempts to keep the defense honest with a spattering of passing plays, but they are going to option this one down the Gamecocks throat.
It hurts me to see the line be what it is. I have to say that I think Kentucky wins, but I am praying it is closer than 11 points. Take Kentucky to win, but they don’t cover the spread.
#1 Alabama (8-0) @ LSU (3-4); Bama -29.5
You know how I didn’t have anything to say for Vandy, I don’t think there is anything left to be said for Bama. I mean their closest margin of victory this season has been 15 points which was a victory against Ole Miss back on 10/10. SEC bias or not, I think that Bama has the best offense in the country and their defense is strong enough that they are really good at just making sure they give up fewer points than the offense scores. The Iron Bowl spread was ridiculous and like 24 points last weekend so Bama went out and won by 29 against then #22 Auburn. As long as Bama plays their game, and doesn’t look to far forward to the SEC championship game, they should win easy and I wouldn’t be surprised if they rest starters early to avoid a Tua situation from last year.
There’s a lot of bad blood here especially in recent seasons so this one theoretically should be close and competitive just because of that. Then again, see Iron Bowl last weekend and then that’s not necessarily the case. LSU struggled to run the ball last week against A&M totaling 25 carries for only 36 yards. That’s isn’t going to get it done against Bama. If the Tigers want to keep it close, they are going to have to establish the run. Also, hopefully their two QBs are healthy because this rotating door they threw out there last week didn’t work. The line bright spot for the Tigers was WR Terrance Marshall Jr who had 10 receptions for 134 yards and a TD. Luckily for him, he is probably going to draw the best of the best from the Tide so check in to see what he can put together.
Bama is going to win this one, and I think they get up at least 3 scores fairly quickly, but I think they don’t risk the health of their stars and I think you start seeing guys hit the bench in the 3rd quarter as they wrap up their season and head to the SEC title game with sights on the CFP. Bama wins, doesn’t cover the 29 points.
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