In and around the SEC: Week 9

By Cole FrederickBy Cole Frederick

Alabama Week 8 recap

The Crimson Tide dominated Tennessee, 44-13, last Saturday to improve to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the SEC. A.J. McCarron arguably played his best game this season as he threw for a career-high 306 yards and four touchdowns. Amari Cooper set an Alabama freshman record with 162 yards receiving to go along with seven catches and two touchdowns. Freshman running back T.J. Yeldon earned 129 yards on the ground and added two touchdowns as the Alabama offense totaled over 500 yards on the night. Tennessee was never able to establish anything on offense, and the Alabama defense forced two Tyler Bray interceptions. Alabama will return home this weekend to take on the undefeated Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Auburn Week 8 recap

Auburn dropped to 1-6 overall and 0-5 in the SEC after the Tigers lost 17-13 to Vanderbilt last Saturday. This is Auburn’s worst start since 1952, and the Tigers have made no signs of progress. Running back Zac Stacy gashed the Auburn defense for 169 yards and a touchdown, and in the process became the all-time leading rusher in Commodore history. Tre Mason ran 16 times for 85 yards and a touchdown for the Tigers, but Auburn was unable to generate anything in the passing game. The Tigers welcome Texas A&M to Auburn this weekend for the Aggies’ first ever visit to Jordan-Hare Stadium.

SEC Power Poll
    1. Alabama (7-0, 4-0)
    2. Florida (7-0, 6-0)
    3. LSU (7-1, 3-1)
    4. Mississippi State (7-0, 3-0)
    5. Georgia (6-1, 4-1)
    6. South Carolina (6-2, 4-2)
    7. Texas A&M (5-2, 2-2)
    8. Ole Miss (4-3, 1-2)
    9. Arkansas (3-4, 2-2)
    10. Vanderbilt (3-4, 2-3)
    11. Tennessee (3-4, 0-4)
    12. Missouri (3-4, 0-4)
    13. Auburn (1-6, 0-5)
    14. Kentucky (1-7, 0-5)

Week 9 predictions
(Week 8: 5-1; season: 59-9)

Texas A&M at Auburn (+15) – While Auburn’s season has been historically bad, Texas A&M has played exceptionally well in its first season in the Southeastern Conference. Kevin Sumlin’s Aggies are 5-2, and their only two losses were to LSU and Florida by a combined eight points. With the exception of last week, quarterback Johnny Manziel has been sensational this season. Auburn is averaging only 15 points per game. If the Tigers have any chance to beat the Aggies, they will have to have much more production on offense. TEXAS A&M 31, Auburn 13

Tennessee at South Carolina (-14) – A 0-5 start in SEC play would not be ideal for Derek Dooley’s job security, but it seems that Dooley’s Vols’ are headed down that road. South Ca-rolina has dropped two straight games, but the Gamecocks return home this week and are catching a reeling Tennessee team at just the right time. SOUTH CAROLINA 34, Tennessee 24

Kentucky at Missouri (-13.5)
– One of these teams will pick up their first SEC win of the season on Saturday, while the loser will keep Auburn company in the conference cellar. MISSOURI 23, Kentucky 17

Ole Miss at Arkansas (-6) – Both schools are coming off of a bye week, and both teams certainly need a win on Saturday if they want to reach a bowl game. After starting 1-4, Arkansas has won two consecutive SEC games. Two weeks ago, Ole Miss picked up its first SEC victory in nearly two years. Both offenses are capable of scoring quickly, so look for this game to turn into a shootout. ARKANSAS 41, Ole Miss 34

Massachusetts at Vanderbilt (-32.5) – If the Commodores are going to make a bowl game this season, this is a must-win game. VANDERBILT 45, Massachusetts 13

Mississippi State at Alabama (-24)
– Alabama has yet to be tested this season, and although Mississippi State is undefeated, many experts do not expect the Bulldogs to challenge the Crimson Tide. Dan Mullen is winless against Alabama in his career at Mississippi State. Look for that trend to continue this weekend. ALABAMA 34, Mississippi State 16

Game of the Week

Florida at Georgia* (+6.5) - Unofficially, the winner of this game likely will represent the East Division in Atlanta for the SEC championship. Florida is second in the BCS standings, while Georgia is No. 10. A win on Saturday sets up either team with an opportunity to reach the BCS title game. Florida has been impressive defensively all season, and while Georgia’s defense has underperformed thus far, the Bulldogs have an abundance of playmakers capable of changing a game. The key matchup will be the quarterback play of Florida’s Jeff Driskel and Georgia’s Aaron Murray. Driskel has been more efficient thus far, and he already has led the Gators to two victories of top 10 teams this season. Look for Driskel and the Gators to pick up one more top ten win on Saturday. FLORIDA 27, Georgia 20
    *Played in Jacksonville, Fla.

Extra Points

    * Mississippi State leads the nation in turnover margin. The Bulldogs have only committed four turnovers, and they have forced 21.
    * Alabama has scored 30 or more points in all seven games thus far, which is the longest streak in Alabama history to start out a season.
    * Alabama’s A.J. McCarron leads the nation in passing efficiency with a passer rating of 183.6.
    * McCarron and Louisiana Tech quarterback Colby Cameron are the only two FBS quarterbacks who have yet to throw an interception this season.
    * Auburn is dead last in the SEC in the following categories – total offense, rushing offense, and scoring offense.
    * Auburn has yet to record an interception in SEC play.
    * This week will be the 91st meeting between Florida and Georgia. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 48-40-2.
    * Ole Miss has not won an SEC road game since Oct. 2, 2010, when the Rebels beat Kentucky, 42-35.

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