In & around SEC football - Week 14 previews

November 27, 2019 chris
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By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent

Alabama Week 13 Review
Alabama obliterated Western Carolina, 66-3, last week. The Crimson Tide now has an upcoming matchup with Auburn that could determine their postseason fate. Mac Jones was nearly perfect against the Catamounts in his second career start. He threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Devonta Smith and another to Jaylen Waddle. The Tide needs a win over Auburn and some outside help to make the playoffs, but UA is not far removed from a sixth straight playoff berth. Alabama improved to 10-1 on the year, and the win marks the 12th straight season Nick Saban’s team has won at least 10 games.
Auburn Week 13 Review
The Tigers breezed past Samford, 52-0, in their final tune-up before the Iron Bowl this Saturday (Nov. 30). Auburn’s defense held the Bulldogs to only 114 yards of total offense and forced four turnovers in the process. Bo Nix threw for 150 yards and a touchdown, while backup Cord Sanberg tossed two more scores in the second half. Eleven different Tigers rushed the ball, and JaTarvious Whitlow, Shaun Shivers and D.J. Williams all scored on the ground. Eleven Auburn players caught a pass, including former Glencoe High standout Pace Ozmint. Auburn improved to 8-3 on the year with the Iron Bowl on deck to finish the regular season.
SEC football standings
1. LSU (11-0, 7-0)
2. Georgia (10-1, 6-1)
3. Alabama (10-1, 6-1)
4. Florida (9-2, 6-2)
5. Auburn (8-3, 4-3)
6. Texas A&M (7-4, 4-3)
7. Tennessee (6-5, 4-3)
8. Kentucky (6-5, 3-5)
9. Missouri (5-6, 2-5)
10. Ole Miss (4-7, 2-5)
11. South Carolina (4-7, 3-5)
12. Mississippi State (5-6, 2-5)
13. Vanderbilt (3-8, 1-6)
14. Arkansas (2-9, 0-7)
Week 14 Previews and Predictions
Week 13: 7-1; season: 80-22
Game of the Week: Alabama at Auburn (+3.5). Alabama needs some help to make the playoffs, but the Crimson Tide can help their cause tremendously on Saturday. A win over Auburn keeps UA in the hunt, while a resounding win might earn the Tide a playoff spot if Georgia loses to LSU in the SEC Championship Game. Option No. 3 is much worse for Alabama: a loss to their biggest rival and relegation to a “meaningless” bowl game instead of a chance to play for a national title. Auburn can play spoiler and has the talent to knock off the Tide. The AU defense will be the best Alabama has seen all year, and it has given the Tigers a chance all season. The game will likely come down to whether Bo Nix and the Auburn offense can make enough plays to give the defense some help. Auburn won the last time these two met at Jordan-Hare Stadium, and Gus Malzahn is looking for his third victory over Nick Saban in seven seasons. Prediction: Alabama 24, Auburn 20.
Thursday, Nov. 28
Ole Miss at Mississippi State (-2.5). Not much is at stake in this year’s Egg Bowl, but not much has to be for these two schools to deliver an intense game on Thanksgiving. Mississippi State is searching for a bowl bid, while Ole Miss is simply trying to spoil those aspirations. Joe Moorhead’s team has been underwhelming for most of the year, while Ole Miss is trying to end the season on a positive note with several players returning in 2020. Prediction: Ole Miss 33, Mississippi State 31.
Friday, Nov. 29
Missouri at Arkansas (+12). The Tigers have struggled down the stretch, and to make matters worse, the NCAA ruled that they won’t be allowed to participate in the postseason. Missouri only needs one win to become bowl eligible, but now it does not matter if they win or lose. It’s been a disappointing year overall for Barry Odom’s squad, and a loss to an abysmal Arkansas team might lead the school to go in another direction. Prediction: Missouri 38, Arkansas 24.
Saturday, Nov. 30
Clemson at South Carolina (+27.5). The only thing standing in the way of another perfect season for Clemson is its biggest rival. South Carolina has nothing to play for, but if Will Muschamp can pull off the upset, he might knock the Tigers out of the playoff picture. It’s been a disappointing season for the Gamecocks but they did upset Georgia on the road earlier this year. South Carolina is capable of keeping this close, but Dabo Swinney’s team has too much talent. Prediction: Clemson 48, South Carolina 24.
Georgia at Georgia Tech (+28.5). The Bulldogs navigated through a difficult two-week stretch and beat Auburn and Texas A&M and should have no trouble with Georgia Tech on Saturday. Georgia’s playoff hopes will come down to next Saturday’s SEC title game against LSU. If they beat the Tigers, they’ll make the four-team field. If they lose, they’ll open the door for Alabama or another one-loss conference champion. No pressure. Prediction: Georgia 41, Georgia Tech 9.
Louisville at Kentucky (-2.5). Kentucky qualified for a bowl game for the fourth straight season, and Mark Stoops has done a tremendous job battling through injuries and the loss of several key players from last season. Louisville’s Scott Satterfield has done a remarkable job in his first season with the Cardinals, and Saturday’s Governor’s Cup should be a very competitive matchup between two teams that have exceeded expectations. Prediction: Louisville 20, Kentucky 17.
Vanderbilt at Tennessee (-21). After a 1-4 start that included losses to Georgia State and BYU, some believed Jeremy Pruitt might not last the season. The second-year coach has engineered an impressive in-season turnaround, however, and the Volunteers are now bowl eligible. A 7-5 season is not where Tennessee wants to be annually, but it would be a step in the right direction for Pruitt’s program. Prediction: Tennessee 31, Vanderbilt 10.
Florida State at Florida (-17.5). With a win on Saturday, Dan Mullen’s team would reach 10 wins in back-to-back seasons to start his tenure in Gainesville. Florida wants to contend for titles, which is the next logical step for the program. For now, Mullen has done a great job and has the Gators on the brink of contention heading into next season. Prediction: Florida 34, Florida State 17.
Texas A&M at LSU (-16.5). LSU has nearly clinched a playoff spot. The Tigers are No. 2 in the playoffs rankings, and at 11-0, can likely afford one loss over the next two games and still make the four-team field. Only Texas A&M and Georgia stand in the way, and the Tigers are heavy favorites to remain unbeaten entering the SEC title game. Joe Burrow probably has the Heisman Trophy locked up, and LSU is looking to avenge last season’s 74-72 loss to the Aggies in seven overtimes. Prediction: LSU 45, Texas A&M 31.