In & around SEC football - Week 11 previews and predictions

December 4, 2020 chris
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By Cole Frederick/Staff Correspondent

Iron Bowl Recap
Alabama jumped out to a 14-0 lead and never looked back en route to a 42-13 win over Auburn in last Saturday’s Iron Bowl. Mac Jones threw for 302 yards five touchdown passes, including two to DeVonta Smith. Smith caught seven passes for 171, while John Metchie III hauled in six passes for 55 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Najee Harris rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries as the Crimson Tide improved to 8-0 on the year. Auburn was never particularly close at any point and did not find the end zone until late in the fourth quarter. Alabama outgained Auburn 445-347, and the Tide defense forced two Bo Nix interceptions. The Tigers, who dropped to 5-3 overall, return home this week to host Texas A&M. Meanwhile, UA travels to Baton Rouge to take on LSU in a game that was rescheduled from early November.
SEC rankings
1. Alabama (8-0)
2. Florida (7-1)
3. Texas A&M (6-1)
4. Georgia (6-2)
5. Auburn (5-3)
6. Missouri (4-3)
7. LSU (3-4)
8. Arkansas (3-5)
9. Ole Miss (4-4)
10. Kentucky (3-6)
11. Tennessee (2-5)
12. South Carolina (2-7)
13. Mississippi State (2-6)
14. Vanderbilt (0-8)
Week 11 Previews and Predictions
Week 10: 6-0; season: 44-11
Saturday, Nov. 28
Game of the Week: Texas A&M at Auburn (+7). After a blowout Iron Bowl loss, AU head coach Gus Malzahn is back on the hot seat. His buyout is extensive, so it’s doubtful the Tigers make a change unless they lose the next two games. However, the pressure is on again following a poor performance against Alabama. When Malzahn has been on the hot seat in the past, he responded with a big win at home. No. 5 Texas A&M visits Jordan-Hare Stadium this Saturday, and Malzahn has a chance to potentially save his job with a win over the Aggies. Auburn has had the Aggies’ number in the past few seasons, but this is the best team A&M has put on the field since joining the SEC. Prediction: Auburn 31, Texas A&M 30.
Arkansas at Missouri (-3). Though their records might not necessarily reflect it, both the Tigers and the Razorbacks have had successful seasons. Arkansas has battled injuries and COVID-19 all season but has been competitive almost every week and won more conference games this year than during the past two seasons combined. Missouri has a winning record despite very low expectations in Eli Drinkwitz’s first season. The Tigers have an opportunity to improve to 5-3 with a win over the Razorbacks. The future looks bright for both programs, regardless of the outcome this Saturday. Prediction: Missouri 38, Arkansas 31.
Florida at Tennessee (+17.5). Florida clinches the SEC East with a win in either of its next two games, but the Gators have their sights set on bigger goals than just winning the division. Dan Mullen’s team has a chance to earn a playoff bid but needs to win out in the regular season and beat Alabama in the SEC title game. Tennessee has struggled and taken a step back this year, but a win over Florida will cool Jeremy Pruitt’s hot seat. Prediction: Florida 38, Tennessee 24.
Vanderbilt at Georgia (-35.5). J.T. Daniels improved to 2-0 as Georgia’s starting quarterback in a win over South Carolina, but he did not have to do much as the Bulldogs controlled the game from start to finish. This week should be another game where the Bulldogs are on cruise control in the second half. Vanderbilt fired head coach Derek Mason after last week’s 41-0 loss to Missouri. The Commodores are 0-8 on the year, and despite financial concerns from the pandemic, it was enough to move on from Mason. Prediction: Georgia 48, Vanderbilt 6.
South Carolina at Kentucky (-11.5). Neither the Gamecocks nor the Wildcats have had the season they anticipated, and South Carolina has already moved on from Will Muschamp. Nothing has improved for the Gamecocks since Muschamp’s dismissal, however, and it appears as if they have thrown in the towel on the season. Kentucky is still competing but has been decimated by injuries and COVID-19 cases. Regardless, this is a game the Wildcats should win to get back on the right track. Prediction: Kentucky 20, South Carolina 9.
Alabama at LSU (+29.5). COVID-19 concerns forced LSU to postpone this matchup with Alabama from November 14 to December 5, and it was only prolonging the inevitable for the Tigers. A season ago, LSU went into Bryant-Denny Stadium and knocked off the Crimson Tide, and quarterback Joe Burrow led his team to a national championship two months later. This year, the Tigers have stumbled to a 3-4 campaign and welcome an Alabama team playing better than anyone else in college football. Alabama clinches the SEC West with a win on Saturday and should cruise to another easy win over a conference rival. Prediction: Alabama 55, LSU 10.