By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Alabama Week 4 Recap
Alabama’s offensive woes were not completely cured just by inserting Jalen Milroe back into the starting lineup at quarterback, but the Crimson Tide certainly looked much better than they did the previous week as they defeated Ole Miss, 24-10. Milroe threw for 225 yards along with a touchdown and an interception, while Jase McClellan added 105 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Alabama (3-1, 1-0) only outgained Ole Miss 356-301, but the UA defense was stifling on third down. Nick Saban’s team hits the road this Saturday (Sept. 30) for another con-ference matchup against Mi-ssissippi State.
Auburn Week 4 Recap
It was another anemic per-formance from Auburn’s offense in a 27-10 road loss to Texas A&M. The Tigers threw for 56 yards on 23 attempts, including only 44 yards from starter Payton Thorne. Brian Battie and Jarquez Hunter combined for over 100 yards on the ground, but it was not nearly enough for Auburn to have a chance to win. The Tiger defense scored AU’s lone touchdown of the game, and the unit played relatively well given how often it was on the field. Auburn returns home to take on two-time defending national champion Georgia on Saturday.
Week 5 SEC rankings
1. Georgia (4-0, 1-0)
2. LSU (3-1, 2-0)
3. Alabama (3-1, 1-0)
4. Texas A&M (3-1, 1-0)
5. Kentucky (4-0, 1-0)
6. Florida (3-1, 1-0)
7. Missouri (4-0)
8. Tennessee (3-1, 0-1)
9. Ole Miss (3-1, 0-1)
11. Auburn (3-1, 0-1)
12. South Carolina (2-2, 1-1)
13. Arkansas (2-2, 0-1)
14. Mississippi State (2-2, 0-2)
15. Vanderbilt (2-3, 0-1)
Week 5 Previews and Predictions
Last week: 9-0; season: 36-7
Game of the Week: LSU at Ole Miss (+2). If the Rebels lose at home to LSU, they could be virtually eliminated from West Division contention before the month of September ends. It was a disappointing effort from Lane Kiffin’s team last week in Tuscaloosa, and the Rebels have not looked sharp in any contest this season. LSU struggled in a home win over Arkansas, but the Tigers did enough to squeak out a win and remain in playoff contention. Oxford will not be a hospitable environment for the visiting Tigers, but Brian Kelly’s team looked great in its last trip to Mississippi, and the same should be expected on Saturday. Prediction: LSU 41, Ole Miss 31.
Florida at Kentucky (-2.5). Kentucky is 4-0, but they’ve played one of the softest schedules in the country to this point. Florida will be the toughest test yet for the Wildcats, but the Gators did struggle in a home win over Charlotte. A letdown was expected after Florida’s big win over Tennessee, however, and Saturday’s winner in Lexington will emerge as the primary threat to Georgia in the East Division. Prediction: Kentucky 27, Florida 23.
Texas A&M vs. Arkansas (+6.5). After a shocking home loss to BYU, Arkansas responded by nearly upsetting LSU on the road. The Hogs fell just short in Baton Rouge and now have another rivalry game as they meet Texas A&M in Arlington. A&M will likely have backup quarterback Max Johnson under center following the injury to Conner Weigman against Auburn, but Johnson has started several games for both Texas A&M and LSU, and he is more than capable of leading the Aggie offense. Prediction: Texas A&M 31, Arkansas 24.
Georgia at Auburn (+14.5). Auburn’s offense is one of the worst overall units in the SEC, and now the unit tasked with facing the most talented defense in the country. If the Tiger offense can’t push the ball downfield and generate explosive plays in the passing game, it will be another long afternoon for the offense. AU’s defense has been the strength of the team thus far, and the Tigers should have success against a Georgia offense playing in its first road game of the season. Prediction: Georgia 20, Auburn 6.
Missouri at Vanderbilt (+13.5). Perhaps the biggest surprise in the SEC thus far is Missouri’s 4-0 start. The Tigers’ upset over Kansas State was one of the best wins of any SEC team through four weeks, and Mizzou avoided an upset a week ago with a win over Memphis. The Tigers have the chance to improve to 5-0 if they can knock off Vanderbilt on the road. The potential is there, because the Commodore defense has been abysmal over the past few weeks. Prediction: Missouri 34, Vanderbilt 27.
South Carolina at Tennessee (-12.5). A season ago, South Carolina upset Tennessee and ended the Volunteers’ chances at making the College Football Playoff. To make matters worse, Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker was hurt during the game. This is a classic revenge spot for UT, but the biggest question is whether or not the Vols possess the offensive firepower to pull away from the Gamecocks. Spencer Rattler has been very good for South Carolina, and Shane Beamer does his best work as an underdog. Prediction: Tennessee 37, South Carolina 34.
Alabama at Mississippi State (+14.5). Alabama’s offense looked improved with Jalen Milroe back under center, and while there are still growing pains on that side of the ball, the defense is more than talented enough to give the Crimson Tide a chance every week. The key for the Alabama offense is to avoid turnovers and win the field position battle, much like Saban’s UA teams used to do early in his tenure. Mississippi State will struggle to move the ball and score unless the Bulldogs are given short fields. Prediction: Alabama 24, Mississippi State 3.