In & around SEC football: Week 7 previews

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By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent 

Alabama Week 6 Recap
Alabama kept its playoff hopes alive and took a strong lead in the SEC West Division with a 26-20 win over Texas A&M last week in College Station. The Aggies led 17-10 at halftime, but the Crimson Tide defense dominated the second half in holding A&M to three points and forcing a pivotal safety. Quarterback Jalen Milroe threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns, including a pair to Jermaine Burton, who submitted his best performance to date in catching nine passes for 197 yards. Isaiah Bond had seven receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown. Alabama improved to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the SEC. The Tide host Arkansas this Saturday (Oct. 14).
Week 6 SEC rankings
1. Georgia (6-0, 3-0)
2. Alabama (5-1, 3-0)
3. Ole Miss (5-1, 2-1)
4. LSU (4-2, 2-1)
5. Texas A&M (4-2, 2-1)
6. Kentucky (5-1, 2-1)
7. Missouri (5-1, 1-1)
8. Tennessee (4-1, 1-1)
9. Auburn (3-2, 0-2)
10. South Carolina (2-3, 1-2)
11. Florida (4-2, 2-1)
12. Arkansas (2-4, 0-3)
13. Mississippi State (3-3, 0-3)
14. Vanderbilt (2-5, 0-3)
Week 7 Previewsand Predictions
Last week: 6-0; season: 48-8
Game of the Week: Texas A&M at Tennessee (-3.5). Saturday afternoon’s contest in Knoxville will serve as an early-season elimination game for the SEC title. Both teams have a conference loss already, and a second one in mid-October would almost certainly end their chances of winning a division title. There is more chance for chaos in the SEC West this season, but Texas A&M cannot afford to fall two games behind Alabama after losing the head-to-head matchup. A loss for Tennessee would give the Volunteers two conference losses, and they still have Georgia on the schedule down the road. Prediction: Tennessee 30, Texas A&M 27.
Georgia at Vanderbilt (-31.5). After several weeks of mediocre performances by the program’s lofty standards, Georgia emerged with a dominant 51-13 win over Kentucky in a battle of unbeatens in the conference. The Bulldogs looked like a team on a quest for a third straight national championship. It’s tough to imagine anyone beating this team in the regular season, especially if the Bulldogs play that well every week. Vanderbilt is struggling in Clark Lea’s third year, and the Commodores are staring at an 0-8 season in SEC play. Prediction: Georgia 41, Vanderbilt 6.
Arkansas at Alabama (-19). Alabama is starting to find its groove offensively, and while there are still some issues on that side of the ball, Nick Saban’s squad is currently the team to beat in the SEC West. The Crimson Tide’s defense and special teams are elite, and the passing game is starting to click with Jalen Milroe under center. Alabama still has some issues in the running game, but the Tide should not have much difficulty this week against the struggling Razorbacks. Prediction: Alabama 34, Arkansas 10.
Florida at South Carolina (-2). While neither team will contend for the East Division crown this year, this is still an important game for both squads. Florida’s schedule gets more challenging after this week and reaching a bowl game is far from a certainty if they lose this one. South Carolina is in a similar position after a difficult start to the year, so this would be a big win for Shane Beamer entering the second half of the season. Prediction: South Carolina 31, Florida 27.
Missouri at Kentucky (-2.5). Both teams suffered their first losses of the season a week ago, and the Tigers and Wildcats have a chance to rebound in this massive showdown in Lexington. Kentucky’s loss to Georgia probably eliminated the Wildcats from East Division contention since they’d likely need Georgia to lose twice, but Missouri could emerge as the Bulldogs’ primary threat with a win on Saturday. Prediction: Kentucky 27, Missouri 23.
Auburn at LSU (-11). Brian Kelly’s team salvaged its season last week with a comeback road win against Missouri. The Tigers cannot afford another slip up the rest of the year if they wish to win the SEC West and have an outside chance of a playoff berth. Auburn comes into Baton Rouge fresh off a bye week, and Hugh Freeze will need Payton Thorne to have a big game if his Tigers are going to keep up with LSU’s potent offense. Prediction: LSU 31, Auburn 23.

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