OFF THIS WEEK: Ole Miss, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Kentucky
#1 Alabama (9-0) @ Arkansas (3-6): Bama -32.0
Mac Jones should be a Heisman favorite at this point right? This Alabama team is bonkers and they don’t look like they are going to be slowing down this week facing an Arkansas team that is like the Little Engine That Could, Expect this is the sequel where that engine gets bowled over by a much bigger and much more imposing Train. Jones is coming off of a 385 yards, 4 TD performance and teammate Najee Harris ran the ball 21 times for 3 TDs. DeVonta Smith got in on the action bringing in 8 receptions for 231 yards and 3 TDs. As loud as the rest of the Bama offense is, go check out Smith’s last 4 games. 35 receptions, 749 yards, and 11 TDs. WHAT. I feel like we aren’t talking about this guy nearly enough and look for him to continue to go off this weekend.
My Gamecocks are done, but this seems like a poor time to dive head first into my Arkansas fandom. With no Felipe Franks against Mizzou last week, freshman QB KJ Jefferson went 18/33 for 274 yards and 3 TDs in the Razorbacks loss. With injuries and players stepping away to prepare for the NFL Draft, there were two main bright spots for Arkansas last week. Junior RB Trelon Smith and Sophomore WR Treylon Burks had great games. Smith ran the ball 26 times for 172 yards and 3 TDs while Burks had 10 receptions for 206 yards and a TD. I don’t think the Razorbacks have a chance here, so these guys should look to just get some work in and see if they can’t add to their highlight reels.
It’s Bama. They face the Gators in the SEC championship next week regardless, but I don’t think that Arkansas’ defense is going to be able to hang here. Bama wins and wins big enough to cover.
#9 Georgia (6-2) @ #25 Missouri (5-3): UGA -13.0
The Bulldogs had their game against Vandy postponed from last week so they will be playing a Week 16 game, although it won’t be in Atlanta for the SEC Championship. This week though, they will face a Tiger team that just shockingly appeared in the top-25. Sure, you can tell me that a 5-3 team deserves to be ranked, but Mizzou is not one of the best 25 teams in the country. Georgia is going to look to prove that one as their defense will play a huge role in slowing down the Tigers offense. In the Dawgs last game they beat the Gamecocks with ease and they figured out a harsh run game. 43 rushes for 351 yards and 4 TDs as a team on the ground. They should be able to get their QB some solid work here, but in case he struggles, the defense and run game should be able to handle Mizzou.
I’m not trying to hide the fact that I don’t think the Tigers deserve to be ranked, and I think they will be dealt a quick exit from the rankings with a loss to Georgia this weekend. But, let’s not focus on the negatives. The Tigers are coming off of a 50-48 win over Arkansas last week. Similar to UGA, the run game was working for the Tigers. 38 rushes for 273 yards and 5 TDs. It was a good thing too because even though QB Bazelak threw the ball for 380 yards, he wasn’t able to get the ball into the endzone. Larry Rountree III is going to have his work cut out for him on the ground against this Georgia D, and if he has any success it will only further his case to make a team to play on Sundays.
Georgia should work out some of its frustrations, but not look too far ahead. A game against Vandy next week will have this team foaming at the mouth, but they don’t want to take this young gunslinger Bazelak lightly. I think the Dawgs are able to limit the Tigers offense and come out with a win, and they will cover.
Tennessee (2-6) @ Vanderbilt (0-8): Tennessee -16.0
Ugh. Do I really have to preview this game? Most recently, Tennessee blew an early lead against Florida and was pretty much man handled the second half of their game last week. That now makes 5 games, all losses, that the Volunteers have failed to score at least 20 points. Theoretically this changes this week against the worst team in the SEC. Sophomore RB Eric Gray will be leaned upon heavily on the ground to eat clock and because I still think that he is their best player. He needs to touch the ball a minimum of 20 times this game and he should be productive enough for the Vols to ride his performance to a win.
Vandy sucks. There you go. At this point literally the only thing I want is to see Sarah Fuller kick a ball to the moon and that is the only reason you should watch this game if she is indeed going to be the kicker for the ‘Dores still. The sad thing is that this is probably their best chance to win a game this season (a little obvious since they face the Bulldogs next week in a make up game), but I really do think that if they can play like they did against Florida, they can beat the Vols.
Tennessee most likely leaves Nashville with a W, but I just don’t trust this team to cover.
LSU (3-5) @ #6 Florida (8-1): Florida -23.0
LSU has had a very harsh fall from grace this season and is wishing for Joe Burrow for Christmas, but I think they’re going to get a lump of coal. They were Bama’s most recent sacrificial lambs, and this week they get Florida. Now, the Gators have shown that they can come out of the gate slowly and that their defense isn’t that good. The Tigers are going to need to pounce early, pun very much intended, and they are going to need to have a better handle on the QB situation so they aren’t just rotating either Finley or Johnson in their willy nilly.
As mentioned above, Florida has been either barely up or down at the half against Vandy, Kentucky, and Tennessee which doesn’t bode well for their SEC championship matchup against Alabama next week. This week they need to focus on taking care of business, and using this game as a glorified practice to make sure they can be at their best going into next week. Kyle Pitts continues to play grown man football so look for him to continue to show why he is going to be a first round talent making an impact next season.
I think Florida, continues to come out slow, but I think Kyle Trask and Co. do enough to come away with a win. Florida wins, but they don’t cover.
Auburn (5-4) @ Mississippi State (2-6): Auburn -6.5
I don’t know if it’s just because it’s the end of the season or what, but I am just struggling to care about bottom tier matchups this week. As mentioned last week, Bo Nix is going to Bo Nix and he just couldn’t string enough good plays together to leave their game last week with a W. He did have a highlight reel Johnny Manziel-esque play on a rushing TD, but other than that, it was a pretty pedestrian outing going 15/23 for only 144 yards with no TDs. Again, as much as I love the name Tank Bigsby, the Tigers and Nix are going to have to spread the ball around through the air to set up this run game, because the run game can’t be what they rely on.
The Bulldogs lost the Egg Bowl and QB Will Rogers threw the ball 61 times. The team only ran the ball 14 times, and 4 of those, the leading rusher I may add, was by Rogers. I think Freshman Jaden Walley is going to be a problem for defenses for the next few seasons, and I think he has a solid chance to continue his hot streak from last week where he had 9 receptions for 176 yards. I don’t think that the Bulldogs need to focus on the run, and I really thing that their best chance in this one is going to be for Rogers to throw his arm off.
I think the Bulldogs are done, and I am going to continue this week’s trend of not picking an upset. Auburn wins, and I think they cover.
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!