In & around SEC football

November 22, 2017 chris
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By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent

Auburn Week 12 Review
The Tigers were sluggish in a 42-14 win over Louisiana-Monroe and led the Warhawks only 14-7 at the half. Kerryon Johnson led the Auburn offense with 137 yards rushing and a touchdown and Darius Slayton caught four passes for 89 yards and a touchdown. Jarrett Stidham threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns, while defensive back Nick Ruffin returned an interception for a touchdown that iced the game. Auburn improved to 9-2 overall and now can turn its attention to Alabama for the Iron Bowl this Saturday (Nov. 25) at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Alabama Week 12 Review
Alabama looked sharp in a tune-up game in breezing past Mercer, 56-0, last weekend. Jalen Hurts completed all seven of his passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns and Calvin Ridley caught three passes for 103 yards and a score. Backup quarterback Tua Tagovailoa also tossed three touchdown passes for the Crimson Tide, while the Alabama defense intercepted three passes. Alabama improved to 11-0 and travel to Auburn on Saturday to take on the Tigers.
SEC rankings
1. Alabama (11-0, 7-0)
2. Auburn (9-2, 6-1)
3. Georgia (10-1, 7-1)
4. Mississippi State (8-3, 4-3)
5. LSU (8-3, 5-2)
6. Texas A&M (7-4, 4-3)
7. South Carolina (8-3, 5-3)
8. Kentucky (7-4, 4-4)
9. Missouri (6-5, 3-4)
10. Ole Miss (5-6, 2-5)
11. Vanderbilt (4-7, 0-7)
12. Arkansas (4-7, 1-6)
13. Florida (4-6, 3-5)
14. Tennessee (4-7, 0-7)
Week 13 Previews and Predictions
Week 12 record: 8-1
Season record: 82-20
Saturday, Nov. 25
Game of the Week:
Alabama at Auburn (+4). Everything is at stake when Auburn and Alabama square off on Saturday afternoon in Jordan-Hare Stadium. The winner controls its own destiny and will play for the SEC championship the following week. If Auburn loses, the Tigers have no shot at making the playoffs or playing in a major bowl. But if Auburn does win, it will have a chance to win the national title. If Alabama loses, it has an outside chance of making the playoffs but will need help in the form of upsets elsewhere in college football. Both teams have great defenses and are capable of explosive plays on offense. Both offenses primarily attack on the ground. The passing game is dangerous for each offense but for different reasons. Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham is as accurate as any quarterback in the country when he has a clean pocket, and he throws an impressive deep ball. On the other side, Jalen Hurts isn’t quite as accurate but can break down a defense with his legs with 686 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground this year.  Alabama leads the all-time series 45-35-1 and has won the last three meetings. The last time Auburn won was in 2013 after the Kick Six, and that was the last time these two teams met with the SEC West Division title on the line. If the Auburn team that beat Georgia shows up on Saturday, they’ll be tough to beat at home. But the Tigers are inconsistent, and if Alabama can generate any kind of pass rush, the Tide will make life difficult for Stidham on Saturday. The teams are pretty much even but Alabama has the coaching advantage with Nick Saban, and it’s hard to bet against him with a championship on the line. Prediction: Alabama 31, Auburn 27.
Ole Miss at Mississippi State (-15). The Egg Bowl catches these two programs trending in opposite directions. The Bulldogs are trending up and could potentially reach 10 wins if they defeat the Rebels and win their bowl game. Meanwhile, the Rebels won’t play in a bowl game regardless of whether they beat Mississippi State due to NCAA sanctions, and the rebuild set to take place in Oxford could last several years. Dan Mullen is 5-3 against Ole Miss during his tenure in Starkville, and his team should be able to take care of the Rebels for the second straight season. Prediction: Mississippi State 41, Ole Miss 30.
Missouri at Arkansas (+11). Missouri has won five straight games after a woeful 1-5 start, and Barry Odom’s team will be playing in a bowl game this postseason. The Tigers have dominated in their last five games and are catching an Arkansas team with nothing to play for. The Razorbacks are 4-7 overall and won’t make a bowl game, and head coach Bret Bielema could be on his way out after the season. Prediction: Missouri 38, Arkansas 24.
Vanderbilt at Tennessee (-1). Neither the Commodores nor the Volunteers are where they anticipated before the season, and the loser of this game will be the only winless team in conference play this year. Tennessee already has relieved head coach Butch Jones of his duties, so they’re simply playing for pride at this point. Vanderbilt still has a chance of reaching a bowl game with five wins if there aren’t enough six-win teams, and the Commodores are looking for back-to-back wins over the Vols. Prediction: Vanderbilt 27, Tennessee 24.
Louisville at Kentucky (+10). Kentucky is making a second straight bowl appearance, and the Wildcats can improve on an already solid season with a win over in-state rival Louisville. The Wildcats knocked off the Cardinals last year despite competing against Heisman trophy winner Lamar Jackson, and they must keep Jackson under control again if they want to beat him for the second straight season. Prediction: Louisville 38, Kentucky 31.
Georgia at Georgia Tech (+11). The Bulldogs are representing the SEC East Division in Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game and have a chance to make the College Football Playoffs if they win out. Georgia will play the winner of Auburn and Alabama for the SEC title, and while a loss to Georgia Tech wouldn’t keep the Bulldogs from reaching Atlanta, it would end their chances of contending for a national title. The Yellow Jackets knocked off the Bulldogs, 28-27, last year in Athens, so Kirby Smart’s team will be looking for revenge on Saturday. Prediction: Georgia 27, Georgia Tech 20.
Clemson at South Carolina (+14). If the Tigers win out, they will make the playoffs and have an opportunity to defend their national championship. But if they look ahead to their matchup next week against undefeated Miami in the ACC Championship Game they could run the risk of being upset by an underrated South Carolina squad. Will Muschamp has the Gamecocks at 8-3 and finished second in the SEC East. It took South Carolina a few weeks to recover after losing star receiver Deebo Samuel for the season, but the Gamecocks have won five of their last six games. Prediction: Clemson 31, South Carolina 24.
Florida State at Florida (+5). In the last 25 years, the Gators and the Seminoles have combined for six national titles. This season, the two rivals have combined for eight wins. Florida has already fired coach Jim McElwain and currently is searching for his replacement. Florida State is 4-6 and needs wins over the next two weeks to extend its bowl streak, which is the longest in the country at 35 years. Neither team is where they thought they’d be entering the season, but each has a chance to at least salvage something when they meet on Saturday. Prediction: Florida State 26, Florida 20.
Texas A&M at LSU (-10). Ever since LSU was upset by Troy, Ed Orgeron has rallied his team and has them at a respectable 8-3. The Tigers’ only loss since the Troy game was to Alabama, and LSU upset Auburn in the process. Orgeron has a chance to lead his team to 10 wins in his debut season, which would be a great start for him and this program. There is still speculation that Kevin Sumlin will be fired after this season, but a win over LSU might be able to save his job. The Aggies have not beaten the Tigers since joining the SEC in 2012. Prediction: LSU 30, Texas A&M 20.