By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Auburn Week 5 Review
Less than seven minutes into Auburn’s matchup with Mississippi State last Saturday, the Tigers led 21-0. The Bulldogs never came within 15 points for the remainder of the game. Auburn led 42-9 at the half before taking the foot off the gas and winning 56-23. It was the Tiger’s most complete performance to date, and the AU offense was razor-sharp. Bo Nix completed 16-of-21 passes for 335 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 56 yards and a score. Ja-Tarvious Whitlow rushed for three touchdowns, while Seth Williams caught eight passes for 161 yards and two scores as Auburn improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the SEC. The Tigers hit the road Saturday (Oct. 5) for a showdown with unbeaten Florida in Gainesville.
Alabama Week 5 Review
Ole Miss led 10-7 after the first quarter but the Crimson Tide erupted for 31 points in the second and breezed past the Rebels, 59-31, to move to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in league play. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw for 416 yards and six touchdowns and ran for another touchdown as he bolstered his early-season Heisman Trophy campaign. DeVonta Smith set the school record for yards and touchdowns in a single game. The junior receiver caught 11 passes for 274 yards and five touchdowns. Alabama has an open week before traveling to College Station on Oct. 12 to take on Texas A&M.
SEC football standings
1. Georgia (4-0, 1-0)
2. Alabama (5-0, 2-0)
3. LSU (4-0, 1-0)
4. Auburn (5-0, 2-0)
5. Florida (5-0, 2-0)
6. Texas A&M (3-2, 1-1)
7. Missouri (3-1, 1-0)
8. Mississippi State (3-2, 1-1)
9. South Carolina (2-3, 1-2)
10. Kentucky (2-3, 0-3)
11. Vanderbilt (1-3, 0-2)
12. Ole Miss (2-3, 1-1)
13. Arkansas (2-3, 0-2)
14. Tennessee (1-3, 0-1)
Week 6 Previews and Predictions
Week 5: 6-0 ; season: 41-10
Game of the Week: Auburn at Florida (+3). Although Auburn and Florida have not played since 2011, these two teams have one of the longest rivalries in the SEC. The Tigers lead the all-time series 43-38-1 thanks to three straight wins, including two over Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow in 2006-2007. This is the most high-profile matchup between the two in nearly two decades. Both squads are 5-0 and ranked in the Top 10, and this game is pivotal for both teams entering a very difficult portion of the schedule. Auburn, Florida and LSU all play each other in essentially a round-robin format over the next four Saturdays, and one of those teams likely will be eliminated from championship contention. Auburn’s offense came to life in the last two weeks, and freshman quarterback Bo Nix has improved over the course of the first month of the season. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask is making his third career start and has never seen a defensive line with as much talent as Auburn’s front. Both defenses are playing at an elite level, so this contest has the makings of a defensive showdown in The Swamp. Prediction: Auburn 20, Florida 16.
Utah State at LSU (-28). LSU is entering the toughest stretch of its season next week when the Tigers host Florida. This weekend’s game will be LSU’s the final non-conference game of the season. Utah State has a talented quarterback in Jordan Love, and will be able to move the ball on the Tigers. This will be a good test for the LSs defense, which has surprisingly struggled and allowed 38 points per game in the Tigers’ only two contests against Power 5 opponents. Prediction: LSU 52, Utah State 24.
Troy at Missouri (-25). Since Missouri’s shocking 37-31 loss to Wyoming to start the year, the Tigers rebounded with three straight wins. Missouri’s schedule has not exactly been challenging, and it won’t be until the Tigers visit Georgia on Nov. 3. Until then, Missouri has the opportunity to go on a winning streak and threaten the Bulldogs in the SEC East Division. Troy has the offense to make this game interesting for a half, but Missouri should pull away and win comfortably. Prediction: Missouri 55, Troy 27.
Georgia at Tennessee (+25). The next four weeks might seal Jeremy Pruitt’s fate in Knoxville. The Volunteers lost two horrendous games to Georgia State and BYU, and the Georgia State loss looks even worse considering that the Panthers already reside at the bottom of the Sun Belt Conference. Tennessee’s next four games are Georgia, Mississippi State, at Alabama and South Carolina. Two of those games are guaranteed losses, including Saturday against a Georgia team that might be the most complete team in college football. If the Vols go 0-4 for that stretch, Pruitt might not last the season. Tennessee had an open week to prepare for Georgia, and if the Vols look as discombobulated on Saturday as they did to open the year, it might be one step closer to Phil Fulmer roaming the sidelines again. Prediction: Georgia 41, Tennessee 13.
Vanderbilt at Ole Miss (-7). Neither the Commodores nor the Rebels are contenders in the SEC, and the most realistic positive outcome for the year is a bowl bid with perhaps an upset or two along the way. Both teams essentially are in the same situation now, and this matchup is very important for bowl eligibility. If Vanderbilt can leave Oxford with an upset win, the Commodores have a chance to build a winning streak in October. Prediction: Vanderbilt 26, Ole Miss 24.