Alabama Week 5 Review
It’s strange to see a Nick Saban team in a must-win situation so early in the season. After Alabama’s home loss to Ole Miss, it was clear that the Crimson Tide had to beat Georgia on the road to have any chance at competing for a championship. Last Saturday in Athens, the Crimson Tide rebounded in convincing fashion en route to an impressive 38-10 thrashing of the Bulldogs. Defensively, Alabama played its best game of the season. Georgia’s offense struggled to sustain drives and could only muster a field goal in the first half. The Tide offense also played well, with quarterback Jake Coker having his best outing of the season. Alabama, which improved to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play, hosts Arkansas this Saturday (Oct. 10).
Auburn Week 5 Review
Auburn’s win over San Jose State did little to ease the doubt that this team can win more than six games. The Tigers looked slightly improved on offense due in large part to Peyton Barber’s five touchdowns, but the passing game is nonexistent and the defense still can’t rush the passer. Also, Gus Malzahn dismissed receiver Duke Williams earlier this week after Williams was involved in an altercation following the San Jose State game. It’s been a rough year thus far for Malzahn’s team, and Auburn’s bye week couldn’t come at a more opportune time. The Tigers travel to Lexington next Thursday (Oct. 15) to take on Kentucky.
1. LSU (4-0, 2-0)
2. Texas A&M (5-0, 2-0)
3. Alabama (4-1, 1-1)
4. Florida (5-0, 3-0)
5. Georgia (4-1, 2-1)
6. Ole Miss (4-1, 2-1)
7. Mississippi State (3-2, 1-2)
8. Kentucky (4-1, 2-1)
9. Missouri (4-1, 1-1)
10. Arkansas (2-3, 1-1)
11. Tennessee (2-3, 0-2)
12. Auburn (3-2, 0-2)
13. South Carolina (2-3, 0-3)
14. Vanderbilt (2-3, 0-2)
Week 6 Previews and Predictions
Week 5 record: 6-3; season record: 40-12
Game of the Week
Florida at Missouri (+5.5). Much like the Geor-gia/Tennessee matchup, this game has major SEC East Division implications. The Gators have been the biggest surprise of the season in the conference. Jim McElwain is off to a terrific start in his debut season in Gainesville, and Florida looks ready to contend in the East again. Missouri isn’t as good as it has been the last two seasons, but Gary Pinkel’s team will remain competitive in the East. Prediction: Florida 23, Missouri 20.
New Mexico State at Ole Miss (-43.5). After the Rebels’ win at Alabama, it looked as if they were rea-dy to contend for the SEC title. The season is far from over, but after last week’s embarrassing loss to Florida, Ole Miss might be staring at another eight or nine win season. The schedule only gets tougher after this week, and the Rebels need to figure something out if they want to stay in contention in the West Division. Prediction: Ole Miss 52, New Mexico State 6.
Georgia at Tennessee (+3). This week is shaping up to be the most important of the season for the SEC East. If Tennessee loses again, the Vols would certainly be out of contention for the East Division title. A Georgia loss wouldn’t be quite as devastating, but two conference losses this early is hard to bounce back from. This is also a crucial game for both head coaches. After last week’s debacle against Alabama, Mark Richt might be feeling a little bit of pressure. It would be a colossal disappointment if Georgia doesn’t win the East for the third straight year. As for Butch Jones, he hasn’t yet won a big game as Tennessee head coach, and the talent is there in Knoxville. The Vols have been close in numerous games over the last few years but haven’t been able to pick up a signature win. If they don’t do it this week, they’re staring at a 2-5 start to the season. Prediction: Tennessee 27, Georgia 24.
South Carolina at LSU (-19.5). This game was originally supposed to be played in Columbia but was moved to Baton Rouge after South Carolina was hit by major flooding over the past week. LSU clearly is the better team and should have no problem with the Gamecocks in Death Valley. Prediction: LSU 38, South Carolina 13.
Troy at Mississippi State (-30.5). The Bulldogs aren’t going to contend for the West Division like they did a season ago but they’re still good enough to play spoiler in the conference. Don’t be surprised if MSU pulls off an upset or two the rest of this season. Prediction: Mississippi State 48, Troy 17.
Arkansas at Alabama (-16.5). This might seem like another easy win for the Tide, but Arkansas is better than its 2-3 record might indicate. The Hogs won’t beat Bama in Tuscaloosa but do possess the talent to keep this one close. Prediction: Alabama 30, Arkansas 17.