In & around SEC football


Alabama Week 6 Review

For nearly three quarters, Alabama trailed Arkansas in an ugly 7-3 defensive battle. Late in the third quarter, however, freshman wide receiver Calvin Ridley broke the game wide open for the Crimson Tide when he hauled in an 81-yard touchdown pass from Jake Coker. Alabama went on to win 27-14 and improved to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in conference play. Alabama’s defense was tremendous throughout the game, and Arkansas had no success running the football. Coker threw a pair of interceptions in the first half but settled in and was very consistent in the second half. Alabama travels to College Station this Saturday (Oct. 17) to take on Texas A&M. 

SEC Rankings

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

2. Texas A&M (5-0, 2-0)

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

4. Alabama (5-1, 2-1)

5. Ole Miss (5-1, 2-1)

6. Tennessee (3-3, 1-2)

7. Georgia (4-2, 2-2)

8. Mississippi State (4-2, 1-2)

9. Arkansas (2-4, 1-2)

10. Kentucky (4-1, 2-1)

11. Missouri (4-2, 1-2)

12. Auburn (3-2, 0-2)

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

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

Week 7 Previews and Predictions 

Week 6: 6-0; season: 46-12

Game of the Week

Alabama at Texas A&M (+4.5). For the second time in three weeks, Alabama is featured in a must-win road game against a top 10 team. The Crimson Tide passed the last test effortlessly in routing Georgia, 38-10, and this Saturday (Oct. 17) they’re playing a Texas A&M squad that they embarrassed 59-0 last year. The Aggies are much better this season due to an improved defense under first-year coordinator John Chavis, and the A&M offense is still dynamic. Alabama will be able to run the ball between the tackles effectively but might have difficulty in the passing game due to the Aggies’ explosive defensive line. Alabama has had trouble in recent years in defending spread offenses, however, and the Tide will be challenged by playmakers such as Christian Kirk and Speedy Noil. Alabama must control the tempo of the game similarly to what Arkansas did to Texas A&M a few weeks ago. Bama also must win the turnover battle, so Jake Coker must be much more careful with the ball. The winner of this game will be in great shape to win the SEC West. Prediction: Alabama 37, Texas A&M 31.

Thursday, Oct. 15

Auburn at Kentucky (+2). Through five games, Auburn has been one of the biggest disappointments in college football. The Tigers are 3-2 but have not played well in any game this season. Thursday night’s game at Kentucky is crucial for Auburn’s program. If the Tigers lose, they might be staring at six-win season. Not many were expecting this showing from Gus Malzahn’s team back in August. Prediction: Kentucky 23, Auburn 20. 

Saturday, Oct. 17

Louisiana Tech at Mississippi State (-13.5). Mississippi State easily handled Troy a week ago and should knock off Louisiana Tech this Saturday in Starkville. LA Tech can score enough to keep this one interesting but the Bulldogs will pull away in the second half. Prediction: Mississippi State 38, Louisiana Tech 20. 

Florida at LSU (-7). This will probably be the last game of the season involving two undefeated SEC teams, but the contest lost some of its luster due to the suspension of Florida quarterback Will Grier, who was suspended for the rest of the season after testing positive for a banned substance. His absence certainly will have a negative impact on the Gator offense. Backup Treon Harris has experience but Grier had improved substantially over the last few weeks. Winning in Baton Rouge was already a difficult task; winning in Baton Rouge with a backup quarterback is nearly impossible. Prediction: LSU 27, Florida 10. 

Missouri at Georgia (-16). After back-to-back losses, the Bulldogs cannot afford another defeat if they wish to remain in the SEC East Division race. Florida holds a two-game lead in the East but Georgia is still alive if it can win out. If the Bulldogs drop a couple of more games this year, Mark Richt might be in some trouble. Prediction: Georgia 27, Missouri 13. 

Vanderbilt at South Carolina (-3.5). Steve Spurrier has always been unconventional and done things his own way. So when the Head Ball Coach decided to retire earlier this week – effective immediately – it was a little unexpected but not exactly surprising. This has probably been the worst team of Spurrier’s impressive career, and he ultimately decided the program would be better off with someone else in charge. Spurrier is one of the all-time greats in the history of college football, and he was responsible for turning Florida into a national power. Shawn Elliot will be the Gamecocks’ interim coach for the rest of the season. Prediction: South Carolina 20, Vanderbilt 13. 

Ole Miss at Memphis (+10.5). With a massive game against Texas A&M looming next week, this feels like it could be a trap game for Ole Miss. Memphis is undefeated and possesses one of the best offenses in the country. If the Rebels aren’t on their game, Memphis is certainly capable of pulling off the upset. Prediction: Ole Miss 41, Memphis 33.

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