In & around SEC football: Week 8 Previews

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By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent 

Alabama Week 7 Recap
After a dominating first half against Arkansas, Alabama relinquished a double-digit lead and held on for a 24-21 victory. Jalen Milroe threw for 238 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions and Jase McClellan added 83 yards on the ground as the Crimson Tide built a 21-6 halftime advantage. The offense stalled for most of the second half, however, and Arkansas stormed back and cut the lead to three points in the fourth quarter. But the Alabama defense slammed the door shut on the Hogs’ potential upset bid. The Tide (6-1, 4-0) welcomes Tennessee to Bryant-Denny Stadium this Saturday (Oct. 21).
Auburn Week 7 Recap
A week off did not solve any of Auburn’s offensive woes as the Tigers were dominated by LSU, 48-18, in Baton Rouge. Payton Thorne and Robby Ashford combined for 154 yards through the air against one of the worst secondaries in the SEC. Auburn rushed for 139 yards, but that total paled in comparison to the 563 yards the LSU offense compiled behind a superb performance from quarterback Jayden Daniels. Auburn (3-3, 0-3) returns home this Saturday to take on Ole Miss.
Week 8 SEC rankings
1. Georgia (7-0, 4-0)
2. Alabama (6-1, 4-0)
3. Ole Miss (5-1, 2-1)
4. LSU (5-2, 3-1)5.
5. Missouri (6-1, 2-1)
6. Tennessee (5-1, 2-1)
7. Texas A&M (4-3, 2-2)
8. Kentucky (5-2, 2-2)
9. Florida (5-2, 3-1)
10. Auburn (3-3, 0-3)
11. South Carolina (2-4, 1-3)
12. Arkansas (2-5, 0-4)
13. Mississippi State (3-3, 0-3)
14. Vanderbilt (2-6, 0-4)
Week 8 Previews and Predictions
Last week: 4-2; season: 52-10
Game of the Week: Tennessee at Alabama (-9.5). A season ago, Tennessee ended a 15-game losing streak to the Crimson Tide with a 52-49 victory in Knoxville behind a spectacular performance from quarterback Hendon Hooker. Hooker is now in the NFL, and it would be surprising if these teams combined for even half as many points as last year. Both the Tide and the Volunteers are relying on the strength of their defenses, so this edition of the rivalry will probably be a defensive battle. Whichever quarterback can avoid the big mistakes between Joe Milton and Jalen Milroe will likely decide the outcome. Prediction: Alabama 24, Tennessee 16.
Mississippi State at Arkansas (-6). Both the Bulldogs and Razorbacks are winless in SEC play, and both are in jeopardy of missing the postseason if they lose this game. Zach Arnett is in his first season in Starkville, so his job status is safer than Sam Pittman’s if the Bulldogs lose, but neither team is having the type of year that fans expected in the preseason. Prediction: Arkansas 27, Mississippi State 23.
South Carolina at Missouri (-7.5). Eli Drinkwitz already has secured a postseason berth for his Missouri Tigers, and the program now has a chance to contend for the SEC East title. Brady Cook has been a pleasant surprise at quarterback for Mizzou, while Luther Burden is the best receiver in the conference. This is a dangerous spot against a struggling South Carolina team that has been excellent as an underdog under Shane Beamer, however, and the Gamecocks have the offensive firepower to hang with the Tigers. Prediction: Missouri 41, South Carolina 34.
Ole Miss at Auburn (+6.5). The Tigers have star-ted 0-3 in SEC play for the first time since their miserable 2012 campaign, and the schedule does not get any easier as Lane Kiffin’s Rebels visit Jordan-Hare on Saturday. Ole Miss is a top-15 team in the country and just beat an LSU team that embarrassed Auburn by 30 points. This is Hugh Freeze’s first time facing his former program, and the Rebels are fresh off a bye. Auburn is a different team on The Plains – especially at night – and if the Tigers can have success running the football, they could pull off a massive upset at home. Prediction: Auburn 31, Ole Miss 28.
Army at LSU (-30). Apparently, a surefire cure for an ailing defense is to take on Auburn’s offense. LSU had given up at least 31 points to every FBS opponent except for Mississippi State this season, but the Tigers held Auburn in check as they earned a second straight conference win. Brian Kelly’s team is still very much in the mix in the SEC West and should dominate Army before a week off and the Alabama showdown looming in the horizon. Prediction: LSU 48, Army 10.

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