In & around SEC football: Week 11 previews

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By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent 

Alabama Week 10 Recap
Another dominant second half propelled Alabama to a vital 42-28 win over LSU last week, inching the Crimson Tide closer to securing the SEC West title and another meeting with Georgia for the SEC championship. LSU scored late in the first half to tie the game at 21-21 entering halftime, and quarterback Jaylen Daniels led LSU on another touchdown drive to start the second half. It was all Alabama from there in out, however. UA quarterback Jalen Milroe rushed for 155 yards and four touchdowns as the Tide pulled away. The game turned when Daniels was intercepted early in the third quarter. Daniels later left the game with a head injury, but Alabama had already started to pull away. Alabama outgained LSU by a 507 to 478 margin. The Tide improved to 8-1 on the year (6-0 in SEC play) and travel to Lexington this Saturday (Nov. 11) to take on Kentucky.
Auburn Week 10 Recap
Hugh Freeze’s squad earned its second straight SEC victory last week with a 31-15 win at Vanderbilt. Jarquez Hunter broke two long touchdown runs in the first half, while the Auburn defense allowed only eight points and 266 yards. Quarterback Payton Thorne threw a pick-six in the first half but was much better in the second half as he tossed a pair of touchdown passes and ended up with 194 yards. Hunter added 183 yards on the ground as Auburn finished with 424 yards of total offense. The Tigers improved to 5-4 overall (2-4 in conference action) and have a chance to earn bowl eligibility with a road win over Arkansas this Saturday.
Week 10 SEC rankings
1. Georgia (9-0, 6-0)
2. Alabama (8-1, 6-0)
3. Ole Miss (8-1, 5-1)
4. LSU (6-3, 3-2)
5. Missouri (7-2, 3-2)
6. Tennessee (7-2, 3-2)
7. Texas A&M (5-4, 3-3)
8. Kentucky (6-3, 2-4)
9. Auburn (5-4, 2-4)
10. Arkansas (3-6, 1-5)
11. Florida (5-4, 3-3)
12. South Carolina (3-6, 1-5)
13. Mississippi State (4-5, 1-5)
14. Vanderbilt (2-8, 0-6)
Week 11 Previews and Predictions
Last week: 6-2; season: 65-15
Game of the Week: Ole Miss at Georgia (-11.5). Ole Miss is behind the 8-ball in terms of winning the SEC West, but there is still a path for the Rebels to sneak their way into the College Football Playoffs. If Lane Kiffin’s squad wins out and finishes 11-1, it would be in the mix for a playoff berth even without winning the division. Ole Miss would need some help in other conferences, but it is a testament to the job Kiffin has done that his team is in this position in November. Georgia struggled at times with Missouri last week, but the Bulldogs just keep winning, even without their best player in Brock Bowers. Prediction: Georgia 34, Ole Miss 20.
Alabama at Kentucky (+10.5). To win the SEC West, Alabama simply needs to beat either Kentucky or Auburn. An Ole Miss loss would also secure the division for the Crimson Tide, but Nick Saban has his sights set on much loftier goals than simply winning the SEC West. The College Football Playoffs are in sight for the Tide, but they must take care of business every week, starting on Saturday with a tricky road spot at Kentucky. Alabama is much more talented than the Wildcats, but UA has been prone to lackluster halves against inferior opponents this season. Prediction: Alabama 31, Kentucky 13.
Vanderbilt at South Carolina (-14). Shane Beamer’s squad kept its chances of bowl eligibility alive last week with an ugly win over Jacksonville State. The Alabama Gamecocks were neck and neck with the South Carolina Game-cocks for most of the game despite an electric performance from Spencer Rattler, who’ll likely need to maintain that level of play for the rest of the season for South Carolina to go bowling. Vanderbilt is still sear-ching for its first conference victory, and this is probably its best chance to win a game the rest of the season. Prediction: South Carolina 38, Vanderbilt 27.
Tennessee at Missouri (+1.5). There’s still an outside chance for Tennessee to win the SEC East if they win out, but the Volunteers need help in addition to winning a pair of difficult games over the next two weeks. Missouri was very competitive with Georgia, and the Tigers now have the challenge of getting back up to take on a dangerous and explosive Tennessee team. Points won’t be hard to find this Saturday afternoon in Columbia. Prediction: Missouri 41, Tennessee 38.
Auburn at Arkansas (+3). Arkansas saved its season with an upset win over Florida, and head coach Sam Pittman might have saved his job in the process. The Hogs have been close to pulling off a few upsets this season but stumbled to 2-6 before the bye week. Pittman fired offensive coordinator Dan Enos during that bye, and the move paid dividends against the Gators as the Razorbacks scored 39 points. Auburn is on a two-game winning streak, and a road win on Saturday would more than likely give Hugh Freeze a winning season since New Mexico State is on deck before the Iron Bowl. If Payton Thorne can avoid turnovers, Auburn can steal another road win. Prediction: Auburn 27, Arkansas 23.
Florida at LSU (-13.5). A season full of promise and national championship aspirations is practically over before Veterans Day for LSU, as the Tigers are 6-3 and out of the SEC West race. It will be fascinating to see how LSU finishes out the season given there is not much to play for except the future. Florida is 5-4, and its postseason chances took a serious hit last week after losing to Arkansas at home. The Gators must beat LSU, Missouri or Florida State to extend its season past November. Prediction: LSU 34, Florida 31.
Mississippi State at Texas A&M (-18.5). Jimbo Fisher is 10-11 over his last 21 games. The Aggies finished 9-1 in 2020 and brought in the top recruiting class a year later. A&M has been average at best since then, and the Aggies are looking at another 7-or 8-win season with one of the highest-paid coaches in college football at the helm. Texas A&M has the money to move on from Fisher if things continue to go south, but no changes are expected to be made this offseason. Mississippi State needs two more wins to reach a bowl game, and this might be the best chance in conference play remaining for Zach Arnett’s squad. Prediction: Texas A&M 27, Mississippi State 17.

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