In & around SEC football: Week 8 previews and predictions

November 13, 2020 chris
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By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent

Four Southeastern Conference games scheduled for this Saturday (Nov. 14) have been canceled due to COVID-19, as several college campuses have seen an uptick in positive cases. Auburn vs. Mississippi State, Alabama vs. LSU, Texas A&M vs. Tennessee and Georgia vs. Missouri were all postponed, and the league is scrambling to reschedule the matchups before the December 19 championship game. Several games have been rescheduled for December 12, but the league is facing a potential scheduling overload for that Saturday due to so many cancellations. For now, all 14 teams are scheduled to play on Saturday, Nov. 21, but as fans have learned this season, nothing is for certain in 2020.
SEC rankings
1. Alabama (6-0)
2. Florida (4-1)
3. Texas A&M (5-1)
4. Georgia (4-2)
5. Auburn (4-2)
6. Arkansas (3-3)
7. Missouri (2-3)
8. Kentucky (2-4)
9. Tennessee (2-4)
10. Ole Miss (2-4)
11. LSU (2-3)
12. South Carolina (2-4)
13. Mississippi State (2-4)
14. Vanderbilt (0-5)
Week 8 Previews and Predictions
Week 7: 3-1 ; season: 29-11
Saturday, Nov. 14
Game of the Week: Arkansas at Florida (-17.5). The season is only about halfway complete, but Arkansas’ Sam Pittman already has a strong case for SEC Coach of the Year. Prior to Pittman’s arrival, the Hogs had not won an SEC game since October of 2017. This year, Arkansas is 3-3 in the league and has been competitive in all six games. The Razorbacks likely won’t finish better than 5-5 since they still have Florida and Alabama on the schedule, but this season has already been a success for Pittman’s first year. Meanwhile, Florida breezed past Georgia and asserted itself as the team to beat in the SEC East. The Gators now are firmly in the playoff picture but will likely need to run the table – including a win over Alabama in the SEC title game – to earn a playoff bid. Prediction: Florida 38, Arkansas 24.
Vanderbilt at Kentucky (-17). After losing to Mississippi State, there’s a very realistic chance Vanderbilt has a winless season. The Commodores lost to the Bulldogs by a touchdown, and the schedule is considerably more difficult in the second half of the season. Kentucky has struggled offensively but the Wildcat defense should be able to control the Commodore offense on Saturday. Prediction: Kentucky 23, Vanderbilt 9.
South Carolina at Ole Miss (-11). The Rebels finally got back into the win column two weeks ago with a 54-21 trouncing of Vanderbilt, and now Lane Kiffin’s team has an opportunity to start a modest winning streak. Ole Miss has had a challenging schedule thus far while battling some depth deficiencies on the defensive side of the ball. Nevertheless, the Rebels have been dynamic offensively under Kiffin and have been competitive in every game. Meanwhile, South Carolina struggled in every phase of the game in a 48-3 loss to Texas A&M. The Gamecocks have been blown out in back-to-back games since upsetting Auburn on October 17. Will Muschamp needs a win this Saturday to keep him off the hot seat. Prediction: Ole Miss 41, South Carolina 34.