In & around SEC football


Auburn Week 3 Review

Auburn dropped its se-cond consecutive conference game last Saturday, losing 17-9 at home to Mississippi State. Gus Malzahn opted to start freshman Sean White over Jeremy Johnson at quarterback, but the Tigers still struggled tremendously on offense. White threw a pick in the red zone on Auburn’s opening drive, and the Tigers only scored nine points despite four trips inside the red zone. Defensively, Auburn made improvements since last week’s embarrassing performance against LSU, but overall the Tigers still didn’t do enough to secure the victory. Auburn dropped to 2-2 overall and 0-2 in league play and hosts San Jose State this Saturday (Oct. 3).

Alabama Week 3 Review 

The Crimson Tide rebounded from its loss to Ole Miss with a 34-0 win over Louisiana-Monroe. Alabama submitted an impressive performance on defense in holding the Warhawks to only 92 yards. The Tide improved to 3-1 overall on the year. 

SEC Rankings

1. Ole Miss (4-0, 2-0)

2. LSU (3-0, 2-0)

3. Georgia (4-0, 2-0)

4. TexasA&M (4-0, 1-0)

5. Alabama (3-1, 0-1)

6. Florida (4-0, 2-0)

7. Mississippi State (3-1, 1-1)

8. Tennessee (2-2, 0-1)

9. Kentucky (3-1, 2-1)

10. Missouri (3-1, 0-1)

11. Arkansas (1-3, 0-1)

12. Auburn (2-2, 0-2)

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

14. Vanderbilt (1-3, 0-2)

Week 4 Previews and Predictions 

Week 3 record: 8-1; season record: 34-9 

Game of the Week

Alabama at Georgia (-2.5). For the first time in six years, Alabama is an underdog. It’s unfamiliar territory for the Crimson Tide, but this game is about as evenly matched as it gets. Both teams have strong running games and inconsistent play at the quarterback position. Defensively, the Tide and the Bulldogs are each dynamic up front. This game likely will be decided by turnovers, special teams, and yes, coaching. Nick Saban has had the advantage over Mark Richt in recent meetings, including an especially memorable game in the SEC Championship in 2012. This should be another excellent game. If Jake Coker can make a few plays late for Alabama, they can pick up an important road win. Prediction: Alabama 27, Georgia 24.

South Carolina at Missouri (-3.5). It’s been an ugly start to the season for Steve Spurrier’s team, and it’s hard to believe this game helped decide the SEC East the last two seasons. Missouri looked slu-ggish in last week’s loss to Kentucky, and both teams have struggled offensively. Prediction: Missouri 23, South Carolina 17.

San Jose State at Auburn (-20.5). If Auburn’s offensive woes continue further into the season, the Tigers might not win a conference game. If Auburn learned anything from its scare against Jacksonville State, the Tigers won’t take the Spartans lightly. Former AU offensive coordinator Al Borges makes his return to the Plains as San Jose State’s offensive coordinator. Prediction: Auburn 31, San Jose State 20. 

Vanderbilt at Middle Tennessee (-1). The Commodores arguably played its best game of the young season last week in a 27-16 loss at Ole Miss but still had difficulty scoring. This is one of the few winnable games remaining on the schedule for Vandy, and the ‘Dores won’t be favored again the rest of the season. Prediction: Middle Tennessee 30, Vanderbilt 23. 

Eastern Michigan at LSU (-45). LSU’s win over Syracuse was not particularly impressive, but it was a road win nonetheless. Leonard Fournette, however, was better than ever, and he’s the Heisman frontrunner through the first month of the season. Prediction: LSU 48, Eastern Michigan 3.

Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky (-30). Mark Stoops has already secured two conference wins, and bowl eligibility is almost a lock at this point for the Wildcats. If Kentucky had beaten Florida, the Wildcats could’ve been a serious contender in the East. Prediction: Kentucky 45, Eastern Kentucky 6. 

Ole Miss at Florida (+7.5). Ole Miss nearly fell victim to a trap game last week against Vanderbilt but woke up late in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Florida stormed back from a 27-14 deficit to shock Tennessee last weekend in Gainesville, and the Gators are still undefeated through one month. The Rebels’ defensive line will be the difference in this game, wreaking havoc on Florida’s youthful offensive line. Prediction: Ole Miss 26, Florida 20. 

Arkansas at Tennessee (-6.5). Both teams had high expectations entering this season, as this was supposed to be the year the Razorbacks and the Volunteers broke through and contended for division crowns. Instead, the two teams have combined for five losses through only four weeks. Both teams lost in heartbreaking fashion a week ago, and each will strive for their first conference win of the season on Saturday. Prediction: Tennessee 31, Arkansas 27.

Mississippi State at Texas A&M (-7). Despite having one of the nicest stadiums in the SEC, for some reason Texas A&M has struggled at home under Kevin Sumlin. The Aggies have been excellent in away and neutral site games but have had difficulty beating ranked teams in College Station. Mississippi State will present Texas A&M’s revamped defense with some challenges in the passing game, but the Bulldogs might not be able to score enough to keep up with the Aggies’ high-powered offense. Prediction: Texas A&M 38, Mississippi State 30. 

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