By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Auburn Week 8 Review
After back-to-back losses, the Tigers righted the ship in a 31-16 road win at Ole Miss. JaTarvious Whitlow rushed for a career-high 170 yards on 19 carries, and Jarrett Stidham threw for 215 yards and a touchdown in the win. The Tigers racked up 484 yards of total offense in their best offensive performance of the season. Auburn has no chance of winning the SEC West Division but still can have a strong finish to the season. The Tigers are 5-3 overall and 2-3 in conference play and have a bye week before hosting Texas A&M on Nov. 3. If the AU offense continues to improve, the Tigers could play spoiler down the stretch.
Alabama Week 8 Review
Another week, another dominant performance from the Crimson Tide. Alabama was up 21-0 within eight minutes of the opening quarter against Tennessee and cruised to a 58-21 victory at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville. Tua Tagovailoa threw for 309 yards and four touchdowns, while Jaylen Waddle caught four passes for 117 yards and a score. UA outgained Tennessee 545 to 258 and led 42-14 at the half. Alabama improved to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in conference play entering its bye week. The Tide travels to Baton Rouge on Nov. 3 for a showdown against LSU, a game that likely will decide the SEC West. Alabama has defeated LSU in seven straight meetings, including three straight wins by double digits.
SEC football rankings
1. Alabama (8-0, 5-0)
2. Florida (6-1, 4-1)
3. LSU (7-1, 4-1)
4. Georgia (6-1, 4-1)
5.Texas A&M (5-2, 3-1)
6. Kentucky (6-1, 4-1)
7. Miss.State (4-3, 1-3)
8. South Car. (3-3, 2-3)
9. Missouri (4-3, 0-3)
10. Auburn (5-3, 2-3)
11. Vanderbilt (3-5, 0-4)
12. Ole Miss (5-3, 1-3)
13. Tennessee (3-4, 1-3)
14. Arkansas (2-6, 0-4)
Week 9 Previews and Predictions
Week 8 record: 6-0; season: 57-15
Game of the Week: Florida vs. Georgia (-7). The SEC East is a three-team race involving Georgia, Florida and Kentucky, and the division will be decided over the next two weeks. The Bulldogs play Florida and Kentucky over the next two weekends, and all three teams have one loss in conference play. Dan Mullen surprisingly has Florida back in contention in his first season in Gainesville, and Saturday will be the ultimate test for his Gators. If Florida can pull off the upset in Jacksonville, they will emerge as the favorite to win the division. Prediction: Georgia 31, Florida 13.
Vanderbilt at Arkansas (+1). After six straight losses, Chad Morris finally earned his second win at Arkansas. The Hogs blanked Tulsa 23-0, and host a Vanderbilt team also searching for its first conference victory on Saturday. Vandy lost 14-7 at Kentucky last week and has been close to winning on numerous occasions. The Commodores are still capable of making a bowl game, but this is a must-win game for Derek Mason’s crew. Prediction: Vanderbilt 23, Arkansas 20.
Kentucky at Missouri (-7). Kentucky has a massive showdown with Georgia looming next week. First, however, the Wildcats have a tricky road game this weekend. The Tigers have a potent offense, so the Wildcat defense will be tested for the first time in several weeks. If Kentucky drops this game on the road, next week’s game will lose significance. In short, this is a must-win game for Kentucky’s chances to win the SEC East. Prediction: Missouri 30, Kentucky 27.
Texas A&M at Mississippi State (-3). The Bull-dogs followed up their impressive home win over Auburn with a disappointing performance in a 19-3 loss at LSU. Mississippi State struggled offensively all night, with quarterback Nick Fitzgerald throwing four interceptions. MSU welcomes in a Texas A&M team that just had a bye week, and the Aggies have looked like one of the best teams in the league all season. The Bulldogs still have a chance to finish the season on a strong note and need a home win over the Aggies on Saturday in Starkville. Prediction: Texas A&M 20, Mississippi State 17.
Tennessee at South Carolina. Before the season, South Carolina was expected to contend in the SEC East. The Gamecocks are only 3-3, however, and thus far have not lived up to expectations. South Carolina still has time to turn the season around, however, and it starts with this weekend’s home game against Tennessee. The Volunteers were demolished by Alabama but were impressive the week before in a win over Auburn. Tennessee is capable of keeping this one close into the second half and possibly pulling off another upset. Prediction: South Carolina 27, Tennessee 23.