By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Alabama Week 8 Review
Alabama earned its 13th straight win over Tennessee, but the 35-13 victory wasn’t the headline from Tusca-loosa. Tua Tagovailoa left the game with a sprained ankle in the second quarter and did not return. He will miss this Saturday’s game against Arkansas, and the Crimson Tide have a much-needed open week before LSU comes to town. Tagovailoa is expected to return for the LSU game but it’s unlikely he will be 100 percent healthy.
When Tagovailoa left the game in the second quarter, Alabama had yet not created any separation from the Vo-lunteers. Tennessee stuck around and had a chance to make it a one-score game in the fourth quarter, but quarterback Jarrett Guarantano fumbled on the goal line. The ball was recovered by Trevon Diggs and returned over 100 yards for a touchdown. Najee Harris ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns, while Mac Jones was 6 for 11 in passing for 72 yards as Tagovailoa’s re-placement. UA improved to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the SEC.
Auburn Week 8 Review
The Tigers jumped out to a 14-0 lead less than five mi-nutes into the game and never looked back en route to a 51-10 rout of Arkansas. Auburn forced four Razorback turnovers and compiled nearly 500 yards of offense in the win. Bo Nix threw for 176 yards and three touchdowns and ran for the opening score of the game. Seth Williams caught two of those scores, including a 48-yarder in the third quarter. Gus Malzahn employed a running back by committee approach in the backfield, with the carries divvied up between Kam Martin, Shaun Shivers, D.J. Williams, Harold Joiner, Anthony Schwartz and Malik Miller. The Tigers rushed for 298 yards and three touchdowns as they improved to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the SEC. Auburn travels to Baton Rouge this Saturday (Oct. 26) for a top-10 showdown against LSU.
SEC football standings
1. Alabama (7-0, 4-0)
2. LSU (7-0, 3-0)
3. Florida (7-1, 4-1)
4. Auburn (6-1, 3-1)
5. Georgia (6-1, 3-1)
6. Missouri (5-2, 2-1)
7. South Carolina (3-4, 2-3)
8. Texas A&M (4-3, 2-2)
9. Ole Miss (3-5, 2-2)
10. Kentucky (3-4, 1-4)
11. Tennessee (2-5, 1-3)
12. Mississippi State (3-4, 1-3)
13. Vanderbilt (2-5, 1-3)
14. Arkansas (2-5, 0-4)
Week 9 Previews and Predictions
Week 6: 6; season: 54-16
Game of the Week: Auburn at LSU (-11.5). The last time Auburn won in Baton Rouge, Bo Nix had not yet been born. Auburn beat LSU 41-7 in Baton Rouge in 1999, and the last nine meetings in Louisiana, included a mixture of blowouts and heartbreaking losses for the Auburn Tigers. LSU has won the last two meetings by a combined five points, although Auburn held double-digit leads in both games. Auburn has the best defense Joe Burrow has seen all season, but the home Tigers have an advantage in their passing game against Auburn’s secondary. Bo Nix submitted an uneven performance in a road start at Florida, and the atmosphere in Baton Rouge will be unlike anything the true freshman has ever seen. Prediction: LSU 31, Auburn 16.
Mississippi State at Texas A&M (-10). Texas A&M has not beaten both Mississippi schools in the same season since Johnny Manziel was on campus. The Aggies eked out a win over Ole Miss last week and now face a reeling Mississippi State team. Jimbo Fisher’s squad has an opportunity to build a winning streak before ending the season with two challenging games against Georgia and LSU. Joe Moorhead is in desperate need of a win with the Bulldogs. Mississippi State has lost three straight games – all by double digits – and the Bulldogs are in jeopardy of missing a bowl game if they don’t pull off an upset down the stretch. Prediction: Texas A&M 38, Mississippi State 17.
South Carolina at Tennessee (+4). The Gamecocks are facing perhaps the most challenging schedule in the country, and their win over Georgia two weeks ago saved the season. Last week’s loss at Florida was expected, but South Carolina need to rebound and earn a road win at Tennessee to keep its bowl eligibility hopes alive. Tennessee played well the past two weeks and is in a good spot to pull off an upset at home. Prediction: Tennessee 23, South Carolina 22.
Arkansas at Alabama (-32.5). Even without Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama is nearly a five-touchdown favorite in the game. Arkansas has struggled mightily this season, and the Razorbacks are fresh off of a 51-10 home loss to Auburn. UA quarterback Mac Jones is capable and has plenty of weapons around him, so the Tide offense should have no issue moving the ball against a porous Hog defense. Prediction: Alabama 48, Arkansas 10.
Missouri at Kentucky (+10.5). Entering last Saturday, Missouri was the only team in the SEC East without a conference loss. Vanderbilt then upset the Tigers in Nashville, and Barry Odom’s team lost its advantage in the division. Kentucky needs three wins to reach another bowl game, and its fate likely will come down to the regular season finale against Louisville. Prediction: Missouri 24, Kentucky 16.