By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Alabama Week 4 Recap
The first conference game of the season for Alabama ended with a 55-3 rout over an overmatched Vanderbilt team. Alabama outgained the Commodores 628-129, with Bryce Young accounting for 385 of those yards through the air. Young tossed four touchdown passes and Ja’Corey Brooks had six receptions for 117 yards and two touchdowns. The Crimson Tide improved to 4-0 on the year and 1-0 in conference play. UA travels to Fayetteville this Saturday (Oct. 1) for a top-25 matchup against Arkansas.
Auburn Week 4 Recap
Auburn defeated Missouri 17-14 in overtime, but nothing about the game or performance felt like a win for the Tigers. Missouri missed a chip-shot field goal as time expired in regulation and then fumbled away the ball in the end zone in overtime to hand the game to Auburn. Bryan Harsin’s team either punted or turned the ball over on down on 11 straight possessions after taking a 14-0 lead and gained only 217 yards on the afternoon. Somehow, the Tigers improved to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the SEC. Auburn hosts LSU on Saturday.
Week 5 SEC Rankings
1. Georgia (4-0, 1-0)
2. Alabama (4-0, 1-0)
3. Tennessee (4-0, 1-0)
4. Kentucky (4-0, 1-0)
5. Ole Miss (4-0)
6. Texas A&M (3-1, 1-0)
7. Arkansas (3-1, 0-1)
8. LSU (3-1, 1-0)
9. Mississippi State (3-1, 0-1)
10. Florida (2-2, 0-2)
11. South Carolina (2-2, 0-2)
12. Vanderbilt (3-2, 0-1)
13. Auburn (3-1, 1-0)
14. Missouri (2-2, 0-1)
Week 5 Previews and Predictions
Week 4: 9-1; season: 29-5
Game of the Week: Kentucky at Ole Miss (-6.5). Mark Stoops and Lane Kiffin have transferred these programs into two of the best in the conference over the past few years, so this is a highly anticipated showdown between two undefeated teams. Neither team has faced a difficult schedule thus far, though the Wildcats’ road win at Florida was an impressive performance. If Ole Miss wins, the Rebels have a good chance at being 7-0 going into the road game at LSU on Oct. 22. Prediction: Ole Miss 26, Kentucky 23.
South Carolina State at South Carolina. After a pair of blowout losses, the Gamecocks got back in the win column last week against Charlotte. South Ca-rolina should earn their third win of the season on Saturday in convincing fashion before a daunting stretch of back-to-back conference games. Prediction: South Carolina 51, South Carolina State 10.
LSU at Auburn (+9). Bryan Harsin took last year’s Auburn team into Baton Rouge and led the Tigers to victory at LSU for the time since 1999. At the time, it signified that perhaps Harsin was the right man for the job and that the Tigers were turning a corner. That victory was arguably the highlight of the Harsin era, however, and since then it’s gone downhill on The Plains. LSU opened as a six-point favorite, and not many people have faith that Auburn can win this game, even if it’s at home. Prediction: LSU 31, Auburn 10.
Alabama at Arkansas (+17.5). A season ago, Arkansas gave Alabama all it could handle in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Although Alabama won 42-35, it was an impressive performance from the Razorbacks and gave them some confidence heading into this year’s matchup. Arkansas is coming off a loss to Texas A&M, and the offense struggled in the second half. The Hogs have issues in the secondary, so it could be another big day for Bryce Young and Co. Prediction: Alabama 45, Arkansas 20.
Texas A&M at Mississippi State (-3.5). Jimbo Fisher’s team responded well after its shocking upset loss to Appalachian State, defeating Miami and Arkansas in back-to-back weeks. The Aggies looked closer to the team that many predicted to be a playoff contender against the Hogs last week. However, the schedule doesn’t get any easier as A&M travels to Starkville this week to play a very talented Mississippi State team. This is a classic look-ahead spot for the Aggies with Alabama on deck. If Texas A&M comes out flat, Mississippi State will take advantage in front of what should be a raucous crowd. Prediction: Mississippi State 24, Texas A&M 23.
Georgia at Missouri (+28). Missouri did everything in its power to lose to Auburn, and now the Tigers must turn around and play the best team in the country. To make matters worse, Georgia looked sloppy in its win over Kent State, and it’s unlikely that the Bulldogs will play that poorly two weeks in a row. This one could get out of hand rather quickly. Prediction: Georgia 48, Missouri 8.
Eastern Washington at Florida. The Gators moved this game to Sunday at 11 a.m. due to Hurricane Ian. They need a game like this after navigating one of the toughest schedules in the country to start the year. Prediction: Florida 38, Eas-tern Washington 17.