In & around SEC football – Week 4

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Alabama Week 3 Review

Alabama effortlessly defeated Southern Mississippi, 52-12, last Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium to improve to 3-0 on the season. Blake Sims threw for 168 yards and two touchdowns, while receiver Amari Cooper caught eight passes for 135 yards and a touchdown. Derrick Henry led the Crimson Tide in rushing, carrying the ball 11 times for 73 yards. Sims rushed five times for 46 yards and a score. Alabama opens up SEC play this weekend when the Florida Gators visit Tuscaloosa. 

SEC Rankings

1. Texas A&M (3-0, 1-0)

2. Auburn (2-0, 1-0)

3. LSU (3-0, 0-0)

4. Alabama (3-0, 0-0)

5. South Carolina (2-1, 1-1)

6. Georgia (1-1, 0-1)

7. Missouri (3-0, 0-0)

8. Ole Miss (3-0, 1-0)

9. Mississippi State (3-0, 0-0)

10. Florida (2-0, 1-0)

11. Arkansas (2-1, 0-1)

12. Kentucky (2-1, 0-1)

13. Tennessee (2-1, 0-0)

14. Vanderbilt (1-2, 0-1)

Week 4 Previews and Predictions 

Week 3: 11-0; Season: 32-1 

Thursday, September 18 

Auburn at Kansas State (+9.5). The Tigers face their biggest test of the season against Bill Snyder’s Kansas State Wildcats. The last time these teams played, Auburn knocked off Kansas State 23-13 in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn is 3-0 all-time against the Wildcats. Prediction: Auburn 41, Kansas State 27. 

Saturday, September 20

Troy at Georgia (-39.5). Despite the loss to South Carolina, Georgia still has a decent chance of winning the SEC East. The Bulldogs lost to the Gamecocks in 2011 and 2012 but still ended up winning the division. An upcoming road trip to Missouri is the next big test for Georgia, although Tennessee could give the Bulldogs some trouble next weekend. Prediction: Georgia 52, Troy 6. 

Texas A&M at SMU (+31.5). The Aggies’ season opening victory over South Carolina looks even more impressive now. Texas A&M hasn’t played a quality opponent since, but the schedule is about to become much more difficult after the Aggies dominate SMU this weekend. Texas A&M’s next four opponents? Arkansas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Alabama. Prediction: Texas A&M 63, SMU 17. 

Indiana at Missouri (-14.5). While Missouri has been beating up on inferior non-conference opponents, its biggest competitors in the SEC East already have lost one game each. The Tigers should win again against the Hoosiers, but a daunting conference schedule begins next week when they travel to the other Columbia to take on South Carolina. Prediction: Missouri 48, Indiana 27.

Northern Illinois at Arkansas (-14). Bret Bielema finally has the Hogs playing his kind of football. The Razorbacks gashed Texas Tech for 438 rushing yards en route to a 49-28 road win. Prediction: Arkansas 42, Northern Illinois 34.

Mississippi State at LSU (-10). The Bulldogs’ first real test of the season is a road trip to one of the toughest places to play in college football. Mississippi State has a chance to prove that it can compete this season in the SEC West, but the Bulldogs must stop LSU’s running game in order to have a chance at winning. The Tigers defense has recorded two consecutive shutouts, but this is the best offense MSU seen so far this season. Prediction: LSU 30, Mississippi State 23. 

South Carolina at Vanderbilt (+21.5). South Ca-rolina is right back in the driver’s seat in the SEC East. The Gamecocks’ win over Georgia was one of the most impressive wins by any team this season. However, South Carolina cannot afford to lose another conference game if it wants to make the trip to Atlanta. Fortunately for the Gamecocks, Vanderbilt is the worst team in the league by far. Prediction: South Carolina 38, Vanderbilt 10. 

Game of the Week

Florida at Alabama (-15.5). After three warm-up games, this weekend finally provides a glimpse at how good Alabama can be this season. The Gators struggled with Kentucky last week but are still very good defensively. Vernon Hargreaves might be the best corner in college foot-ball. Will Muschamp’s defense must force Blake Sims to throw to someone other than Amari Cooper. Florida’s offense was questionable against the Wildcats, and the Gators will have to play much be-tter against the Crimson Tide. Alabama should be able to run the ball successfully, which could be the difference in the game. Prediction: Alabama 31, Florida 17. 

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