By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Auburn Week 8 Review
The Tigers rebounded from their loss at LSU with a resounding 52-20 road win at Arkansas last weekend. Running back Kamryn Pettway had his best game of the season as he rushed 11 times for 90 yards and three touchdowns. Kerryon Johnson added 63 yards and another score. Jarrett Stidham threw for 218 yards, and receiver Ryan Davis even threw a 62-yard touchdown pass. Auburn outgained the Razorbacks by nearly 300 yards and distanced itself from the Hogs in the third quarter to improve to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in conference play. The Tigers have an off week before traveling the College Station to take on Texas A&M on Nov. 4.
Alabama Week 8 Review
Alabama’s rivalry with Tennessee has been lopsided since Nick Saban took over in 2007, and the Crimson Tide cruised to an easy 45-7 win over the Volunteers for their 11th straight win in the series. Jalen Hurts was efficient throwing the ball as he completed 13 of his 21 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown. Damien Harris ran for 72 yards and a touchdown, while Calvin Ridley hauled in eight passes for 82 yards. Tennessee barely gained over 100 yards of offense and only scored on an interception returned for a touchdown. Alabama improved to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the SEC. UA has have a bye week before hosting LSU in a SEC West Division showdown on Nov. 4.
1. Alabama (8-0, 5-0)
2. Georgia (8-0, 5-0)
3. Auburn (6-2, 4-1)
4. Texas A&M (5-2, 3-1)
5. Mississippi State (5-2, 2-2)
6. LSU (6-2, 3-1)
7. Florida (3-3, 3-2)
8. Kentucky (5-2, 2-2)
9. South Carolina (5-2, 3-2)
10. Ole Miss (3-4, 1-3)
11. Vanderbilt (3-4, 0-4)
12. Arkansas (2-5, 0-4)
13. Tennessee (3-3, 0-4)
14. Missouri (2-5, 0-4)
Week 8 Previews and Predictions
Week 7 record: 5-0
Saturday, Oct. 21
Game of the Week:
Georgia vs. Florida (+14). The Gators have do-minated this series since 1990, boasting a 21-6 record over the Bulldogs in that time frame. Florida has won three straight against Geor-gia but enter Saturday’s game as two-touchdown underdogs. The two programs appear to be trending in opposite directions. Kirby Smart has Georgia looking like a national title contender, and while Florida has won back-to-back SEC East titles, the Gators have struggled to start this season. They’re only 3-3, and a loss on Saturday would practically eliminate them the East Division race. Jim McElwain’s offense has regressed again, and he will need to make major adjustments if the Gators are going to score on the Bulldogs, who have one of the best de-fenses in the country. Prediction: Georgia 23, Florida 13.
Tennessee at Kentucky (-5.5). Kentucky has beaten Tennessee only once since 1985, but so far this season the Wildcats have looked like the better team. Butch Jones is still hanging on to his job, but a loss to Kentucky might seal his fate if it hasn’t already been sealed. If Jones can navigate the Vols to win and can finish at 8-4, he might have a slight chance of returning to Knoxville in 2018. Kentucky needs a win if the Wildcats want any chance of contending for the SEC East title, and Mark Stoops’ team would become bowl eligible with a victory. Prediction: Kentucky 27, Tennessee 24.
Missouri at Connecticut (+11.5). The Tigers ended a five-game losing skid with a dominating 68-21 win over Idaho and they have shown signs of improvement over the last three games. But all that progress can be undone if Missouri loses to Connecticut, so Barry Odom’s team needs another strong performance on Saturday to win on the road for the first time this season. Prediction: Missouri 52, Connecticut 38.
Arkansas at Ole Miss (Pick). Both teams enter Saturday’s game after blowout losses at home, and there’s a chance neither team will have their starting quarterback. Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson is out for the year with a knee injury, while Arkansas signal caller Austin Allen has been hobbled for several weeks. The Razorbacks have regressed over the course of the season and remain winless in the SEC. Bret Bielema has an expensive buyout, but he might not be able to afford a losing season this year. A loss to an Ole Miss team without its starting quar-terback is the last thing Bielema needs. Prediction: Arkansas 30, Ole Miss 26.
Mississippi State at Texas A&M (Pick). Kevin Sumlin was on the hot seat after the Aggies crushing loss to UCLA, but he and his team rallied and are now sitting at 5-2. Texas A&M welcomes a Mississippi State team that’s also 5-2. The Bulldogs have bounced back with two straight wins after losing to Georgia and Auburn. Neither team has much of a chance to win the SEC West, but they can both become bowl eligible with a win on Saturday. Sumlin likely needs at least eight wins to feel comfortable about his job entering the offseason, and a win over the Bulldogs would certainly help his cause. Prediction: Texas A&M 33, Mississippi State 30.
Vanderbilt at South Ca-rolina (-7). Will Muschamp has built on last year’s success with the Gamecocks and has South Carolina one win away from becoming bowl eligible. Of all the SEC East teams outside of Georgia, the Gamecocks might have the best chance of sneaking into the SEC title game. It will require beating Georgia on Nov. 4 and hoping the Bulldogs lost another conference game along the way, but it’s not out of the question. The fact that Muschamp has his team in this position is impressive, but his team isn’t quite talented enough to overlook Vanderbilt this weekend. The Commodores haven’t looked great in their last few games, but they’re also coming off of a bye week. Derek Mason needs a few wins to return to a bowl game, and a road win at South Carolina would go a long way in helping the cause. Prediction: South Carolina 24, Vanderbilt 17.