In & around SEC football - Week 6 previews and predictions

October 29, 2020 chris
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By Cole Frederick/Staff Correspondent

Alabama Week 5 Recap
Nick Saban hasn’t lost to Tennessee since taking over at Alabama in 2007, and this year’s matchup was another blowout win for the Crimson Tide. UA jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead and never looked back en route to a 48-17 victory. Mac Jones threw for 387 yards and rushed for a touchdown while having only six incompletions on the day in another terrific performance. Najee Harris rushed for 96 yards and three touchdowns, while John Metchie III caught seven passes for 151 yards. The only bad news for the Tide was a season-ending injury to Jaylen Waddle on the opening kickoff of the game. The junior wide receiver was one of the most dynamic players in the country and will likely be a first-round pick in next year’s NFL draft. Alabama improved to 5-0 on the year and host Mississippi State this Saturday (Oct. 31 at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Auburn Week 5 Recap
For the second time this year, Auburn walked away with a victory after a controversial ruling from the officials. The Tigers benefitted from a missed call in a win over Arkansas in Week 3 and were on the receiving end of another advantageous non-call at Ole Miss. After a Rebel touchdown in the second half, Auburn running back Shaun Shivers barely touched a ball that went into the end zone on the kickoff. Ole Miss should’ve been rewarded with a touchdown, but replay ruled in Auburn’s favor. The Tigers eventually scored a game-winning touchdown on a 58-yard pass from Bo Nix to Seth Williams with 1:11 remaining in the game to hold on for the 35-28 win. Nix threw for 238 yards and a score, while Williams caught eight passes for 150 yards and the touchdown. Tank Bigsby was a force yet again, as the freshman running back carried the ball 24 times for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Bigsby also had a kickoff return for a touchdown that was called back on a questionable call, but the news headlines surrounded the missed call on Shivers as the Tigers improved to 3-2 on the year. Auburn hosts LSU on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
SEC rankings
1. Alabama (5-0)
2. Georgia (3-1)
3. Florida (2-1)
4. Texas A&M (3-1)
5. Arkansas (2-2)
6. Missouri (2-2)
7. Kentucky (2-3)
8. Tennessee (2-3)
9. Auburn (3-2)
10. LSU (2-2)
11. Ole Miss (1-4)
12. South Carolina (2-3)
13. Mississippi State (1-3)
14. Vanderbilt (0-3)
Week 6 Previews and Predictions
Week 5: 3-1; season: 20-10
Saurday, Oct. 31
Game of the Week:
Arkansas at Texas A&M (-12.5). Arkansas has been among the biggest pleasant surprises in the SEC this season. The Razorbacks are 2-2 – and should arguably be 3-1 – and are physical and well coached under first-year coach Sam Pittman. Texas A&M suffered a Week 2 loss to Alabama, but the Aggies are well positioned to finish the season as a one-loss team, which would give them an opportunity to contend for a playoff berth. A&M has six games to win to reach that point, however, and Arkansas is not a team worth overlooking. Prediction: Texas A&M 34, Arkansas 24.
Georgia at Kentucky (+15). After an impressive win over Tennessee, Kentucky stumbled offensively in a 20-10 loss to Missouri. The Wildcats are excellent defensively, but the offense has struggled through the first half of the season and might turn to former Auburn quarterback Joey Gatewood to provide a spark. Either way, facing this Georgia defense is the last thing UK want to see. The Bulldogs likely won’t need many points in this one to secure the win. Prediction: Georgia 23, Kentucky 6.
LSU at Auburn (+3). A Halloween meeting between LSU and Auburn almost guarantees something peculiar will happen Saturday afternoon on The Plains. Ed Orgeron’s Tigers have prevailed over Gus Malzahn’s Tigers in recent years in very close matchups, but both Tiger teams have struggled to open the 2020 season. Neither team is a contender this year, but it’s an important game for Malzahn in particular as the hot seat rumors are starting to circulate again. Auburn has been very good at home under Malzahn, and this is a game he needs entering the back half of the schedule. Prediction: Auburn 37, LSU 34.
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt (+16.5). Despite the Rebels’ impressive performance in a loss to Alabama, they are one play away from being 0-5. Granted, no one expected Lane Kiffin to turn the program around in his first year but scoring 48 points in a loss to Alabama is the signature moment halfway through Kiffin’s first season. Vanderbilt is the worst team in the SEC, and this is a game Ole Miss should win. Prediction: Ole Miss 33, Vanderbilt 20.
Mississippi State at Alabama (-31). Since Mississippi State’s upset over LSU in the season opener, the Bulldogs are 0-3 and have looked worse with every passing week. This is not the best time for Mike Leach’s team to play Ala-bama, and it could be a long Saturday night in Tuscaloosa for the Bulldogs. Alabama should be able to score at will, and while the Tide defense struggles at times against the pass, the Mississippi State offense has been abysmal in recent weeks. Prediction: Alabama 52, Mississippi State 13.
Missouri at Florida (-13). The Gators are back in action after a two-week absence due to COVID-19, and they host a Missouri team that has improved week by week under first-year coach Eli Drinkwitz. The Tigers upset Kentucky and LSU in back-to-back weeks, and the program is trending in the right direction. Florida still has its sights set on contending for a playoff spot but cannot afford another loss during the regular season. Prediction: Florida 45, Missouri 33.