In & around SEC football: Week 12 Previews and Predictions

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By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent 

Auburn Week 11 Recap
Just before halftime last Saturday (Nov. 13), Auburn led Mississippi State, 28-3, in perhaps the most impressive half of college football in Bryan Harsin’s first season on The Plains. Unfortunately, the Tigers followed that up with one of the worst collapses in program history on the way to a 43-34 loss. Auburn fell apart on both sides of the ball and did not have an answer for Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense. Will Rogers threw for 415 yards and six touchdowns – including five in the second half – while outdueling Bo Nix, who tossed two touchdown passes and 377 yards before breaking his ankle in the fourth quarter. This loss was certainly the low point of the Tigers’ season. Auburn, which dropped to 6-4 overall and 3-3 in the SEC, hits the road this Saturday (Nov. 20) at South Carolina.
Alabama Week 11 Recap
Alabama cruised to a 59-3 win against an overmatched New Mexico State squad last week. It was a nice tune-up game as the Crimson Tide prepares for back-to-back SEC West games and possibly a matchup with Georgia in the SEC title game. Bryce Young threw for 270 yards and five touchdowns, while Brian Robinson rushed for 99 yards on only nine carries while scoring two touchdowns. Jameson Williams hauled in six passes for 158 yards and three touchdowns as Alabama improved to 9-1 on the year. UA welcomes Arkansas to Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday.
Week 12 SEC Rankings
1. Georgia (10-0, 8-0)
2. Alabama (9-1, 5-1)
3. Ole Miss (8-2, 4-2)
4. Texas A&M (7-3, 4-3)
5. Arkansas (7-3, 3-3)
6. Mississippi State (6-4, 4-3)
7. Auburn (6-4, 3-3)
8. Tennessee (5-5, 3-4)
9. Kentucky (7-3, 5-3)
10. LSU (4-6, 2-5)
11. Florida (5-5, 2-5)
12. Missouri (5-5, 2-4)
13. South Carolina (5-5, 2-5)
14. Vanderbilt (2-8, 0-6)
Week 12 Previews and Predictions
Last week: 6-2; season: 78-15
Saturday, November 20
Game of the Week: Arkansas at Alabama (-21). If Alabama beats Arkansas on Saturday, the Crimson Tide will clinch the SEC West for the second straight season. Arkansas has had a very successful season in Sam Pittman’s second season, and a win at Alabama would be a signature victory for the Razorbacks. Alabama has not looked particularly dominant in recent weeks, but it’s possible they finish the regular season with a pair of resounding wins over SEC West opponents. Prediction: Alabama 41, Arkansas 17.
Charleston Southern at Georgia. The Bulldogs are going to finish the regular season 12-0, and the only question remaining is whether they will still make the playoffs if they lost to Alabama in the SEC title game. The answer is likely “yes” unless it’s a blowout, because Georgia has been that dominant all season. If the Bulldogs beat Alabama in Atlanta, they might knock out their biggest threat before the playoffs even begin. Prediction: Georgia 51, Charleston Southern 3.
Prairie View at Texas A&M. Losing at Ole Miss ended Texas A&M’s chances of winning the SEC West. The Aggies had an outside chance to reach the playoffs before that disappointing loss to the Rebels. A&M gets to regroup on Saturday before traveling to LSU for the season finale. Prediction: Texas A&M 52, Prairie View 6.
Tennessee State at Mississippi State. Last week’s comeback win at Auburn was the best victory of the Mike Leach era in Starkville. This is still a young Bulldog team that will likely be ranked entering the 2022 season. A win over Ole Miss would likely earn Leach a contract extension. Prediction: Mississippi State 55, Tennessee State 17.
New Mexico State at Kentucky (-36). Despite its three-game losing streak, Kentucky still has a decent chance to finish the regular season at 9-3 and earn a 10th victory in a bowl game. Mark Stoops has the second-best team in the SEC East, which is saying something considering where this pro-gram was before Stoops was hired. Prediction: Kentucky 48, New Mexico State 12.
Florida at Missouri (+8.5). Even with a 70-52 win over Samford, Dan Mullen’s seat is warming in Gainesville. The Gators allowed 530 yards and 42 points in the first half to the FCS Bulldogs, and it was anything but an easy win for Florida. Mullen’s group finishes the year at Missouri and against Florida State, and it’s possible that the Gators miss a bowl game altogether. The last two Florida coaches to post losing seasons were fired, and Mullen could be next unless UF puts forth good performances over the next two weeks. Prediction: Florida 38, Missouri 34.
Auburn at South Carolina (+7.5). Quarterback Bo Nix will miss the remainder of the season with an ankle injury, so backup T.J. Finley will take his place in the final two regular season games. Finley has started in the SEC before when he was at LSU a season ago, and he came in against Georgia State earlier this season to provide a spark and lead the Tigers to a comeback victory. Kicker Anders Carlson is also out for the year, so this won’t be an easy road game for Auburn in Columbia, where they were upset a season ago. Prediction: Auburn 24, South Carolina 20.
Vanderbilt at Ole Miss (-36.5). Last Saturday’s win over Texas A&M was the best of the Lane Kiffin era, and the Rebels have a good chance to finish the regular season with 10 wins and perhaps a New Year’s Six bowl berth. Kiffin has the Rebels playing like a top-10 team, and they should dominate Vanderbilt on Saturday evening in Oxford. Prediction: Ole Miss 45, Vanderbilt 16.
South Alabama at Tennessee (-28). Despite last week’s 41-17 loss to Georgia, this season has been a step in the right direction for the Tennessee program. The Volunteers finish the year with South Alabama and Vanderbilt, so there is a great opportunity to finish 7-5 for Josh Heupel’s squad. Prediction: Tennessee 52, South Alabama 23.
UL-Monroe at LSU (-29). Ed Orgeron has two games remaining in his LSU tenure, and the Tigers should cruise to a win on Saturday against Terry Bowden’s UL-Monroe squad. Orgeron will have one last chance at an upset next week when LSU takes on Texas A&M. Prediction: LSU 38, UL Monroe 13.

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