By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Alabama Week 5 Recap
Ole Miss was expected to provide a challenge for the Crimson Tide last week, but Alabama built a 28-0 halftime lead and never looked back en route to a 42-21 victory. Most of the Rebels’ points came after the game was no longer in doubt, and it was the best the Alabama defense has looked all season. Entering the matchup, Ole Miss had one of the most prolific offenses in the country, but a few failed fourth down attempts gave the Tide the ball in favorable field position. Brian Robinson carried the ball 36 times for 171 yards and four touchdowns, and Alabama outgained Ole Miss by over 250 yards. UA improved to 5-0 on the year and 2-0 in conference play. The Tide travel to College Station this Saturday (Oct. 9) to take on Texas A&M.
Auburn Week 5 Recap
The Tigers went to Baton Rouge and emerged victorious at Tiger Stadium for the first time since 1999. Jarquez Hunter scored from one yard out with 3:11 left in the fourth quarter to give Auburn its first lead of the game, and Bydarrius Knighten intercepted LSU quarterback Max Johnson on the following possession to seal the win for the visiting Tigers (4-1, 1-0). Bo Nix played the best road game of his career, including a spectacular touchdown pass to Tyler Fromm in the second quarter to cut LSU’s lead to 13-7. Nix threw for 255 yards and a touchdown and led Auburn in rushing with 74 yards and another score. It was an impressive performance for Bryan Harsin’s squad, which returns home on Saturday to take on No. 2 Georgia in the conference home opener at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Week 6 SEC Rankings
1. Alabama (5-0, 2-0)
2. Georgia (5-0, 3-0)
3. Kentucky (5-0, 3-0)
4. Auburn (4-1, 1-0)
5. Ole Miss (3-1, 0-1)
6. Arkansas (4-1, 1-1)
7. Florida (3-2, 1-2)
8. LSU (3-2, 1-1)
9. Tennessee (3-2, 1-1)
10. Mississippi State (3-2, 1-1)
11. Texas A&M (3-2, 0-2)
12. Missouri (2-3, 0-2)
13. South Carolina (3-2, 0-2)
14. Vanderbilt (2-3, 0-1)
Week 6 Previews and Predictions
Last week: 4-4; season: 46-9
Saturday, Oct. 9
Game of the Week: Georgia at Auburn (+15.5). In 2017, Auburn dominated Georgia, 40-17, in one of the most impressive performances of the Gus Malzahn era. Since that win, Auburn has lost four straight to the Bulldogs, and the Tigers’ point totals in those four games have been 7, 10, 14 and 6. It’s been total domination by the Bulldogs, who lead the all-time series 61-56. Georgia enters this matchup with the best defense in college football, and it will likely be a struggle for Auburn to score yet again. Bo Nix is coming off of the best road game of his career, and Jordan-Hare will be rocking Saturday afternoon, but the Tigers will need to play at their absolute best to even have a chance against the Bull-dogs. Prediction: Georgia 20, Auburn 10.
Arkansas at Ole Miss (-6). The Razorbacks and Rebels, both of whom suffered their first losses of the season against the two best teams in the country, now face off in a consolation game of sorts on Saturday in Oxford. This matchup features a major contrast in styles, as the Rebels like to play up-tempo while the Razorbacks are a physical and grind-it-out offense. Sam Pittman and Lane Kiffin have these programs trending in the right direction. Prediction: Ole Miss 31, Arkansas 27.
Vanderbilt at Florida (-38.5). After Florida’s near upset of Alabama, the Gators looked like one of the best teams in the country. However, Dan Mullen’s team submitted a truly abysmal performance in a 20-13 road loss at Kentucky. The Wildcat defense had a lot to do with the Florida offense not playing well, but it was a very sloppy performance from Florida and uncharacteristic of how Mullen’s teams typically play. The Gators now return home to get back on track against the hapless Vanderbilt Commodores. Prediction: Florida 44, Vanderbilt 3.
South Carolina at Tennessee (-10.5). Tennessee beating Missouri wasn’t ne-cessarily a surprise, but no one expected the Volunteers to trounce the Tigers, 62-24, in Columbia. Josh Heupel’s offense was unstoppable, as UT recorded nearly 700 yards of offense in the blowout. It’s still very early in Heupel’s tenure, but he has the Tennessee offense playing at a high level. Prediction: Tennessee 41, South Carolina 20.
North Texas at Missouri (-19). Before the season, the Tigers had relatively high expectations and were supposed to be a contender for the second spot in the East Division. Thus far, Missouri has looked like one of the worst teams in the SEC and might have the worst defense in the league. Eliah Drinkwitz needs a win this week before the Tigers enter the toughest part of their schedule. Prediction: Missouri 51, North Texas 26.
LSU at Kentucky (-3.5). Mark Stoops has done one of the best program-building jobs in the country, as his Wildcats are 5-0 and ranked 16th in the country. Kentucky was patient with Stoops as he built his program, and that patience is paying dividends as the Wildcats have one of the best programs in the conference. Kentucky hosts a reeling LSU team this week, and while the Tigers have not played well this year, this might be the final stand for Ed Orgeron’s squad before they bail on the season. Prediction: Kentucky 27, LSU 24.
Alabama at Texas A&M (+17.5). Before the season, Texas A&M appeared to be the top contender in the SEC West to challenge Alabama. Instead, the Aggies might finish last in the SEC West. Such is life in the toughest division in football. Jimbo Fisher was given a massive extension before the season that made him one of the highest-paid coaches in college football. In return, his Aggies have lost to Arkansas and Mississippi State in consecutive weeks. Ala-bama visits College Station this week, and this one could be over by halftime. Prediction: Alabama 41, Texas A&M 10.