In & around SEC football: Week 13 previews

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By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent 

Alabama Week 12 Recap
The Crimson Tide cruised past UT-Chattanooga, 66-10 last week in UA’s final tune-up game of the season. Alabama outgained the Mocs by a 574 to 233 margin, including 197 yards and three touchdowns through the air from quarterback Jalen Milroe. The Tide rushed for 315 yards and scored at least 14 points in every quarter. Alabama improved to 10-1 on the season and visits Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 25 for the 88th Iron Bowl.
Auburn Week 12 Recap
All the progress Auburn made over the past month was completely undone with an abysmal 31-10 home loss to New Mexico State last week. The Tigers were dominated in every phase of the game, which was one of the worst losses in the history of Auburn football. Quarterback Payton Thorne threw for 148 yards and a touchdown and was the Tigers’ leading rusher with 38 yards. The Auburn offensive was dominated by the New Mexico State defensive front, as the Aggies averaged nearly six yards per rush. NMS outgained Auburn 414-213 as the Tigers dropped to 6-5 overall. Auburn hosts Alabama for the Iron Bowl on Saturday.

Week 13 SEC rankings
1. Georgia (11-0, 8-0)
2. Alabama (10-1, 7-0)
3. Ole Miss (9-2, 5-2)
4. LSU (8-3, 4-2)
5. Missouri (9-2, 5-2)
6. Tennessee (7-4, 3-4)
7. Texas A&M (7-4, 4-3)
8. Auburn (6-5, 3-4)
9. Kentucky (6-5, 2-6)
10. Arkansas (4-7, 1-6)
11. Florida (5-6, 3-5)
12. South Carolina (5-6, 3-5)
13. Mississippi State (5-6, 1-6)
14. Vanderbilt (2-9, 0-7)
Week 13 Previews and Predictions
Last week: 9-1; season: 81-16)
Game of the Week: Alabama at Auburn (+14.5). Until last Saturday’s debacle against New Mexico State, Auburn was trending in the direction in terms of being capable of putting a scare into Alabama. While the Tigers certainly will play better this weekend, the Aggies exposed Auburn’s many flaws. Alabama is playing its best football of the season and looked sharp on the road against Kentucky last week as the Crimson Tide looks to work its way into the College Football Playoffs. Alabama leads the all-time series over Auburn at 49-37-1 and has won three straight over the Tigers. Hugh Freeze beat Nick Saban in back-to-back years when the former was at Ole Miss, but he’ll need to perform a minor miracle to win his first Iron Bowl. Prediction: Alabama 31, Auburn 13.
Ole Miss at Mississippi State (+10.5). Lane Kiffin is a win away from leading the Rebels to their second 10-win season in three years. Ole Miss is a double-digit road favorites over a Mississippi State team that just fired its coach. The Bulldogs need a win to reach the postseason, but this is a game Ole Miss should control. The Rebels lead the series 64-47-6. Prediction: Ole Miss 33, Mississippi State 20.
Missouri at Arkansas (+7.5). Missouri is in the midst of its best season in almost a decade, as the Tigers have an opportunity to notch their first 10-win season since 2014. Arkansas has stumbled to a 4-7 campaign, but the school announced head coach Sam Pittman will return in 2024. Prediction: Missouri 34, Arkansas 33.
Kentucky at Louisville (-7). This year’s Governor’s Cup has major playoff implications for Louisville. Jeff Brohm has made his alma mater nationally relevant in Year 1, and the Cardinals are a dark horse to reach the playoffs if they can win out and catch a few breaks. Kentucky has won four straight games in this series and leads the all-time series 19-15. The Wildcats have stumbled down the stretch and are 6-5 overall, but a win over Louisville and eliminating the Cardinals from playoff contention would make this a positive season for Mark Stoops. Prediction: Kentucky 26, Louisville 24.
Texas A&M at LSU (-10.5). Saturday will be Jaylen Daniels’ final chance to wow Heisman voters. He is arguably the frontrunner for the award heading into the final week of the regular season. Most of Daniels’ competition will be playing for conference title games, so they’ll have another chance to impress voters. Another Herculean performance this week from Daniels, however, might be enough to seal the deal. Prediction: LSU 41, Texas A&M 31.
Vanderbilt at Tennessee (-27). This has not been the encore season the Volunteers hoped for after last year’s 11-2 campaign, as Te-nnessee has been outclassed against the best teams on its schedule this year. If an 8-4 season is the floor during Josh Heupel’s tenure, then UT will be in great shape moving forward. A loss to Vanderbilt, however, would undo a lot of good will Heupel has built up in the last 12 months in Knoxville. Prediction: Tennessee 37, Vanderbilt 20.
Florida State at Florida (+6.5). The 2023 Sunshine Showdown will be the Backup Quarterback Showdown between the Gators and the Seminoles. Florida’s Graham Mertz and Florida State’s Jordan Travis were both injured a week ago, and Travis’ injury was especially brutal for both him and the Seminoles’ title hopes. Florida State is still undefeated, however, and two more wins should secure the Seminoles a bid in the playoffs. FSU backup QB Tate Rodemaker has some experience. He’ll be going up against Florida backup Max Brown as the Gators look to earn a bowl bid and spoil their intrastate rival’s perfect season. Florida leads the all-time series 37-27-2. Prediction: Florida State 23, Florida 20.
Georgia at Georgia Tech (+24). Georgia is two wins away from making another CFP, and the Bulldogs look like the favorites to win their third straight national title. Georgia Tech has improved under Brent Key and will be going bowling for the first time since 2016. However, the Yellow Jackets are no match for the Bulldogs, who lead the all-time series 70-41-5. Prediction: Georgia 38, Georgia Tech 17.
Clemson at South Carolina (+7). A season ago, Shane Beamer’s Gamecocks upset Clemson, and in the process knocked the Tigers out of the playoff picture. Clemson is long removed from playoff contention, but the Tigers certainly want revenge as the Gamecocks need a win to reach the postseason. Clemson leads the series 72-43-4. Prediction: Clemson 27, South Carolina 23.

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