By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Auburn Week 9 Recap
After a three-week absence due to COVID-19, Auburn returned to the field and cruised past Tennessee, 30-17, last Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers and Volunteers were tied 10-10 at halftime but Auburn took a 20-10 lead late in the third quarter on a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown by safety Smoke Monday. D.J. Williams scored from nine yards out halfway through the fourth quarter to extend the AU lead to 27-10. Williams rushed for 66 yards and a score after replacing Tank Bigsby, who left the game in the first half with an injury. Shaun Shivers added 65 yards on the ground, while Bo Nix threw for 220 yards and a touchdown. Nix hit Anthony Schwartz for a 54-yard score in the first half. Schwartz had 84 yards receiving for the game. Auburn hits the road on Saturday (Nov. 28) to take on Alabama in the Iron Bowl.
Alabama Week 9 Recap
It took Alabama roughly one quarter to shake the rust off before dismantling Kentucky, 63-3, to remain perfect on the season. DeVonta Smith hauled in nine passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns, setting the SEC’s all-time touchdown record for a wide receiver in the process. Smith recorded his 33rd touchdown reception on Saturday, surpassing former UA receiver Amari Cooper and Florida receiver Chris Doering. Mac Jones tossed two touchdown passes and threw for 230 yards, while Najee Harris rushed for two touchdowns and 83 yards. Freshman Jase McClellan led the Crimson Tide with 99 yards rushing and a touchdown. Alabama hosts Auburn on Saturday as the Tide looks to remain unbeaten on the season.
1. Alabama (7-0)
2. Florida (6-1)
3. Texas A&M (5-1)
4. Georgia (5-2)
5. Auburn (5-2)
6. Missouri (3-3)
7. LSU (3-3)
8. Arkansas (3-5)
9. Ole Miss (3-4)
10. Kentucky (3-5)
11. Tennessee (2-5)
12. South Carolina (2-6)
13. Mississippi State (2-5)
14. Vanderbilt (0-7)
Week 10 Previews and Predictions
Week 9: 6-0; season: 38-11
Saturday, Nov. 28
Game of the Week: Auburn at Alabama (-24.5). In perhaps the most unpredictable year in decades, the 85th edition of the Iron Bowl will be played this Saturday afternoon with Alabama in a predictable position. Nick Saban’s team is No. 1 in the college football playoff rankings and is in position to yet again contend for the national title. Auburn has not won in Tuscaloosa since 2010, but the Tigers have beaten Alabama in two of the last three seasons, including a 48-45 shootout last year. This particular Auburn team has played well in its last three games but must play its best game of the year to have a chance to beat Alabama, and even that might not be enough. The Alabama offense has been unstoppable, and while the Auburn defense has improved in the last month, AU will struggle to contain the Crimson Tide offense. Bo Nix has not played well away from Jordan-Hare Stadium in his career, and he’ll need that to change in a big way on Sa-turday or this game could quickly turn into a blowout. Prediction: Alabama 44, Auburn 20.
Kentucky at Florida (-23.5). Florida is close to clinching the SEC East Division for the first time in Dan Mullen’s tenure. The Gators look like a national title contender. Florida is No. 6 in the first playoff rankings and will have a chance to reach the playoffs if the Gainesville squad wins out and beat Alabama in the conference title game. White standout tight end Kyle Pitts is returning to the field after missing the last two games, the Gators have been unstoppable off-ensively even without Pitts. Prediction: Florida 41, Kentucky 10.
Vanderbilt at Missouri (-14.5). Missouri’s been one of the pleasant surprises in the SEC this season. The Tigers have a chance to finish the year with a winning record in Eli Drinkwitz’s first season. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt is still searching for its first win of the season, and this is the Commodores’ best chance with Georgia on deck. While Derek Mason might need a win to avoid being fired, it’s possible that the Commodores give him another year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prediction: Missouri 23, Vanderbilt 15.
Mississippi State at Ole Miss (-9.5). Mike Leach nearly pulled off his second upset of the season against Georgia, but his Bulldogs fell just short in a 31-24 loss. Leach now faces Lane Kiffin in the first Egg Bowl for both coaches. Ole Miss has won two straight, and Kiffin’s offense has scored over 50 points in both of those games. Mississippi State has struggled offensively for most of the the season, but this version of the Egg Bowl could be a shootout. Prediction: Ole Miss 45, Mississippi State 33.
LSU at Texas A&M (-14). Texas A&M checked in at No. 5 in the first playoff rankings, but the Aggies need some help to make the playoff field. Jimbo Fisher’s team does not control its own destiny the same way Florida does. It’s almost impossible for Texas A&M to win the SEC West, so the Aggies need to run the table and hope other teams around them in the rankings lose one or more times. Even if Alabama loses once, the Crimson Tide likely will remain be ahead of A&M. So, the only thing Texas A&M can do is be as impressive as possible over its final three games. LSU looked better against Arkansas, but the Tigers should not be a threat to the Aggies. Prediction: Texas A&M 40, LSU 27.
Georgia at South Carolina (+21.5). J.T. Daniels was excellent in his first start as Georgia quarterback, but his performance led many Bulldog fans wondering about what could have been had he started the entire season. Georgia is likely out of playoff contention, and the Bulldogs will turn their attention to next year with Daniels at the helm. South Carolina is searching for its next head coach, and the Gamecocks are hoping to make a hire by the end of the regular season. Prediction: Georgia 48, South Carolina 13.