In and around the SEC: Week 3

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Auburn Week 2 recap

Auburn dropped to 0-2 overall and 0-1 in the SEC after the Tigers’ loss to Western division rival Mississippi State last Saturday. Quarterback Kiehl Frazier committed five turnovers, including three interceptions and two fumbles, and the Auburn offense failed to score a touchdown against the Bulldogs. Defensively, the combination of missed tackles, fatigue and mental errors drastically plagued the Tigers. All 10 of Auburn’s points resulted from special teams, including a 100-yard kickoff return from Onterio McCalebb to open the second half.  Auburn hosts Louisiana-Monroe this week in the Tigers’ home opener. 

Alabama Week 2 recap

The Crimson Tide entertained 40-point underdog Western Kentucky last Saturday, and head coach Nick Saban blamed media members last week for his team’s lack of focus. With apologies to Coach Saban, the Crimson Tide easily dominated the inferior Hilltoppers to the tune of 35-0, with quarterback A.J. McCarron tossing four touchdown passes in the process. Although the Crimson Tide won the game, they suffered an enormous loss when running back/H-back/fullback Jalston Fowler left the game with an apparent knee injury. He is unlikely to return this season. Fowler’s versatility will be tough to replace, and the Crimson Tide will have to find his replacement quickly as they go on the road for their SEC opener against Arkansas on Saturday. 

Week 3 SEC Power Rankings 

1. Alabama (2-0, 0-0)

2. LSU (2-0, 0-0)

3. Georgia (2-0, 1-0)

4. South Carolina (2-0, 0-0)

5. Tennessee (2-0, 0-0)

6. Florida (2-0, 1-0)

7. Mississippi State (2-0, 1-0)

8. Arkansas (1-1, 0-0)

9. Texas A&M (0-1, 0-1) 

10. Missouri (1-1, 0-1)

11. Auburn (0-2, 0-1)

12. Vanderbilt (0-2, 0-1)

  13. Ole Miss (2-0, 0-0)

14. Kentucky (1-1, 0-0)

Week 3 Predictions (Week 2: 9-2, season: 20-2)

Louisiana-Monroe at Auburn (-16.5)  

Fresh off of a monumental upset of Arkansas, the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks stride into Auburn with overwhelming confidence and momentum. Auburn limps into this game with an 0-2 record and an abundance of issues on both sides of the ball. The Warhawks rely heavily on their passing game, as quarterback Kolton Browning threw the ball 67 times against the Hogs last week. Auburn’s secondary will be mightily tested, and the Tigers need to quickly resolve their offensive issues to avoid a catastrophic upset. AUBURN 31, Louisiana-Monroe 20

Alabama at Arkansas (+20.5) 

After being upset by Louisiana-Monroe, Arkansas welcomes the top-ranked Crimson Tide into town this week. The timing could not be worse for the Hogs. Star quarterback Tyler Wilson is questionable for the contest, as he is battling a head injury suffered midway through last week’s game. Although this game initially was believed to be a marquee matchup, Alabama now certainly seems to have an edge against the Hogs. Things could turn ugly very quickly in Fayetteville. ALABAMA 38, Arkansas 17

Texas at Ole Miss (+9.5) 

The Rebels are off to a 2-0 start under new head coach Hugh Freeze, and this week Ole Miss welcomes the Texas Longhorns to Oxford. The Grove will be energized as the Longhorns enter the matchup ranked 14th in the nation, and both teams are looking to pick up a marquee out-of-conference victory. Look for the veteran Longhorn defense to stymie Rebel quarterback Bo Wallace and for Texas to gallop out of Oxford with a big non-conference win. TEXAS 34, Ole Miss 20 

Game of the Week – Florida at Tennessee (-3) 

This game has lost some of its luster over the last few years, but finally both teams enter this years contest undefeated and ranked. Neither Derek Dooley nor Will Muschamp have beaten a ranked opponent in their respective tenures at Tennessee and Florida, and a win on Saturday would be an enormous spark for both programs. The Volunteers have dropped the last seven meetings between the two schools, but look for the drought to end this year. TENNESSEE 31, Florida 23

Other SEC games

VANDERBILT 45, Presbyterian 10

TEXAS A&M (-12.5) 52, Southern Methodist 27

MISSOURI (-6.5) 41, Arizona State 34

SOUTH CAROLINA (-33.5) 48, UAB 6

LSU (-42.5) 49, Idaho 3

GEORGIA (-42) 51, Florida Atlantic 6

MISSISSIPPI STATE (-16) 45, Troy 10

KENTUCKY 38, Western Kentucky 24

Extra Points

* Auburn has started the season 0-2 for the first time since 2003, during which head coach Tommy Tuberville was nearly fired and replaced with Bobby Petrino. The Tigers finished that season 8-5. 

* South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier will be looking for his 200th career win Saturday as his Gamecocks take on UAB. 

* Arkansas fell out of the top 25 after losing at home to Louisiana-Monroe. The Razorbacks were ranked eighth, which is the largest drop in the polls since No. 5 Michigan lost to Appalachian State to open the 2007 season. 

* After defeating Auburn on Saturday, Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen picked up his first SEC Western Division win over an opponent other than Ole Miss. 

* Both Ole Miss and Mississippi State are 2-0 to start the year for the first time since 1999. The Re-bels finished that season 8-4, that season while the Bulldogs finished 10-2. 

* Nick Saban is 5-0 in SEC openers with Alabama, although the NCAA vacated the 2007 opening victory versus Vanderbilt due to infractions committed by the university. 

* Saturday will be the 42nd meeting between Florida and Tennessee. The Gators lead the series 22-19. 

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