By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Auburn Week 9 recap
For the first time this season, the Auburn offense finally looked complete. Payton Thorne threw for 230 yards and three touchdowns, while Jarquez Hunter ran for 144 yards on the ground as the Tigers knocked off Mississippi State, 27-13, for their first conference win of the season. Thorne became the first Auburn quarterback to throw for three touchdowns in a half since Bo Nix back in 2020. Auburn improved to 4-4 overall and 1-4 in the SEC. The Tigers travel to Nashville on Saturday (Nov. 4) to take on Van-derbilt.
Week 10 SEC rankings
1. Georgia (8-0, 5-0)
2. Alabama (7-1, 5-0)
3. Ole Miss (7-1, 4-1)
4. LSU (6-2, 3-1)
5. Missouri (7-1, 3-1)
6. Tennessee (6-2, 3-2)
7. Texas A&M (5-3, 3-2)
8. Kentucky (5-3, 2-3)
9. Florida (5-3, 3-2)
10. Auburn (4-4, 1-4)
11. South Carolina (2-6, 1-5)
12. Mississippi State (4-4, 1-4)
13. Arkansas (2-6, 0-5)
14. Vanderbilt (2-7, 0-5)
Week 10 previews and predictions
Last week: 4-1; season: 59-13
Game of the Week: LSU at Alabama (-3). Only three teams have won the SEC West Division since 2007. Auburn has played for three SEC titles since then, and it’s been either Alabama or LSU the other 13 times. The Crimson Tide will clinch the SEC West with a win this Saturday, while an LSU victory would set up a potential three-way tie b-etween LSU, UA and Ole Miss. Alabama’s offense has improved drastically since its early-season struggles, but the unit remains prone to mistakes and unsustained drives. LSU’s defense is its biggest weakness, so Alaba-ma should be able to move the ball consistently. The key for Alabama’s offense is finishing drives with touchdowns in the red zone instead of field goals. Alabama will be able to generate explosive plays but must make the most of its red zone opportunities. On the other side of the ball, LSU arguably has the best offense in the country. Quarterback Jaylen Daniels is playing like a Heisman contender, and no one has been able to slow the Tigers down since their season-opener against Florida State. Alabama’s strength is its the secondary, so it will be good vs. good when the Tigers have the ball. Prediction: Alabama 38, LSU 31.
Texas A&M at Ole Miss (-3). Lane Kiffin’s team will need some help from LSU to win the SEC West, but the Rebels are still firmly in the mix for the College Football Playoffs. Ole Miss checked in at No. 10 in the initial playoff rankings and have opportunities to make a strong case if the Rebels can win out, including a win over Georgia. Texas A&M has struggled with consistency yet again under Jimbo Fisher, but the Aggies have the talent to pull off the upset in Oxford. Prediction: Texas A&M 27, Ole Miss 24.
UConn at Tennessee (-35.5). After the disappointing second half meltdown against Alabama, Tennessee responded with an impressive win on the road against Kentucky. The Volunteers are likely out of the mix in the SEC East, but they can play spoiler down the stretch and secure another 10-win season. Prediction: Tennessee 52, UConn 3.
Arkansas at Florida (-6). Florida has had moments this season where they Gators have looked improved from a season ago, but last Saturday in Jacksonville was not among those moments. Florida was overmatched on both sides of the ball by Georgia, but the Gators return home with a chance at bowl eligibility against a struggling Arkansas team. The Razorbacks are winless in SEC play and fired offensive coordinator Dan Enos last week, so it will be fascinating to see if they make any strides on that side of the ball in Gainesville. Prediction: Florida 27, Arkansas 24.
Jacksonville State at South Carolina (-15.5). South Carolina is on a four-game losing streak, and while the Gamecocks are dipping out of conference play for a week, they’re taking on a Jax State team that is among the best in the Group of 5. Rich Rodriguez’s team has made a seamless transition from FCS to FBS, and JSU can pull off the upset this Saturday if Shane Beamer’s team is not ready to play. Prediction: South Carolina 31, Jacksonville State 20.
Missouri at Georgia (-15.5). Saturday’s showdown in Athens will likely determine who wins the SEC East. Missouri has been the biggest surprise in the conference this year, and head coach Eli Drinkwitz has his squad in a spot to contend in November. However, while Georgia has occasionally slept walk this season, the Bulldogs have shown up and dominated in the biggest games. Even without standout tight end Brock Bowers, the Bulldog offense looked unstoppable against Florida, and quarterback Carson Beck has improved drastically over the course of the season. Expect another Georgia domination in Athens. Prediction: Georgia 38, Missouri 16.
Auburn at Vanderbilt (+12.5). The Auburn offense submitted its best performance of the season against Mississippi State, and the Tigers have an opportunity to start a winning streak over the last month of the season. Payton Thorne seemingly took over as the primary option at quarterback for the Tigers, who were balanced on offense for the first time this season. Auburn and Vanderbilt are tied 21-21-1 all time, and the Tigers have actually lost their last two trips to Nashville. Prediction: Auburn 34, Vanderbilt 17.
Kentucky at Mississippi State (+3.5). After a 5-0 start to the season, Kentucky stumbled in recent weeks with three straight losses. The Wildcats played three quality opponents during that stretch, but this is a game where they need to turn things around against a Mississippi State team that is similarly struggling. The Bulldogs have been without Will Rogers at quarterback over the last couple of games, but it’s been the defensive side of the ball that was most disappointing against Auburn. This is a pivotal game for both teams in terms of reaching the postseason. Prediction: Kentucky 24, Mississippi State 20.