By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Alabama Week 9 Review
The absence of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was not noticeable in Alabama’s 48-7 rout over Arkansas. It was clear the game would be a blowout very early in the first quarter. The Crimson Tide built a 17-0 lead after one quarter and led 41-0 at halftime. Mac Jones threw for 235 yards and three touchdowns in his first career start at quarterback, co-nnecting with Jerry Jeudy seven times for 103 yards and two scores. Najee Harris added 86 yards and two touchdowns on the ground as the Tide improved to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in SEC play. Alabama has an open week before LSU visits for a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown next weekend in Tuscaloosa.
Auburn Week 9 Review
Auburn held LSU to a season-low 23 points, but the offense could not make en-ough plays as the AU fell 23-20 to the home Tigers. It was the third straight loss in the series for Auburn, and all three losses have been by single digits. LSU’s Joe Burrow threw for 321 yards and Ja’Marr Chase caught eight passes for 123 yards. Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 136 yards and a touchdown. Auburn QB Bo Nix had an uneven performance in completing only 15 of 35 passes for 157 yards, one touchdown and an interception. D.J. Williams was the lone bright spot of the Auburn offense, as the true freshman rushed for 130 yards on just 13 carries, but the Tigers were outgained 508 to 287. Auburn dropped to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in conference play. The Tigers return home on Saturday (Nov. 2) to face Ole Miss at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
SEC football standings
1. Alabama (8-0, 5-0)
2. LSU (8-0, 4-0)
3. Florida (7-1, 4-1)
4. Auburn (6-2, 3-2)
5. Georgia (6-1, 3-1)
6. Texas A&M (5-3, 3-2)
7. Kentucky (4-4, 2-4)
8. Missouri (5-3, 2-2)
9. Tennessee (3-5, 2-3)
10. South Carolina (3-5, 2-4)
11. Ole Miss (3-5, 2-2)
12. Mississippi State (3-5, 1-4)
13. Vanderbilt (2-5, 1-3)
14. Arkansas (2-6, 0-5)
Week 10 Previews and Predictions
Week 6: 4-1; season: 58-17
Game of the Week: Georgia vs. Florida (+6.5). The SEC East Division will be decided on Saturday afternoon in Jacksonville. Georgia dominated this matchup the last two seasons and went on to win the East each year. Both teams enter this matchup with one conference loss, and while it’s theoretically possible Missouri could win out and win the division, such a scemario is highly unlikely. This is a high-profile matchup of two of the most talented teams in the country. If either of these teams win out, they will likely find themselves in the playoffs. Prediction: Georgia 24, Florida 20.
University of Texas-San Antonio at Texas A&M (-38). The Aggies have righted the ship with two straight wins over the Mississippi schools and should have a four-game winning streak entering the final two road games at Georgia and LSU. Kellen Mond has been more consistent as a passer, and the A&M offense submitted its best performance of the season in a 49-30 win over Mississippi State. UTSA won’t provide much of a challenge as the Aggies enter a much-needed open week. Prediction: Texas A&M 55, UTSA 12.
Mississippi State at Arkansas (-7.5). While Arkansas is experiencing the worst season of any team in the SEC, Mississippi State is having the most disappointing. The Bulldogs were expected to comfortably make a bowl game, but that scenario is now in jeopardy since MSU is on a four-game losing streak. If the Bulldogs lose to Arkansas, they would have to win out – including beating Alabama – to reach a bowl. Meanwhile, Arkansas has lost 16 straight SEC games and does not appear to be making any progress. Prediction: Mississippi State 27, Arkansas 24.
UAB at Tennessee (-12). After an abysmal start to the season, Tennessee has won two of its last three games, with the lone defeat being a competitive effort at Alabama. The Volunteers have played much better in recent weeks and a bowl bid is back on the table after their 20-point win over South Carolina. The schedule is manageable down the stretch, including home games against UAB and Vanderbilt and road games at Missouri and Kentucky. This Saturday’s tilt against UAB might not be a cakewalk, but the Vols should be able to take care of business at home. Prediction: Tennessee 31, UAB 13.
Ole Miss at Auburn (-18.5). Auburn’s offensive woes were on full display in a narrow loss at LSU, and the Tigers squandered yet another terrific performance from their defense. The Auburn offense produced only 33 points in road losses to Florida and LSU, and now the Tigers are essentially eliminated from contention in the West Division. Nevertheless, the Tigers still have an opportunity to finish the year on a strong note and they will be in Jordan-Hare Stadium for the rest of the regular season. However, AU cannot afford to overlook an Ole Miss team that had an extra week to prepare. Prediction: Auburn 38, Ole Miss 16.
Vanderbilt at South Carolina (-15). South Carolina’s path to a bowl game hit a bump in the road in last weekend’s loss to Tennessee, and the Gamecocks now need to win three of their next four games to make the postseason. Unfortunately, the schedule is increasingly difficult down the stretch. The Gamecocks host Vanderbilt in a winnable game this weekend and an undefeated Appalachian State squad next Saturday before traveling to Texas A&M the following week. South Carolina is then rewarded with a home regular season finale against the defending national champions, as Clemson comes to town on Nov. 30. Winning three of those four games seems highly unlikely, though this squad upset Georgia on the road earlier this season. Vanderbilt earned a massive win over Missouri in its last outing, but a bowl bid is likely out of reach unless the Commodores pull off several more upsets. Prediction: South Carolina 34, Vanderbilt 27.