In & around SEC football: Week 8 Previews and Predictions

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By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent

Auburn Week 7 recap
For the second time in three weeks, Auburn went on the road and earned a significant conference victory over Arkansas at 38-23. Bryan Harsin picked up the first win over a ranked team in his tenure on The Plains, and the Tigers im-proved to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the SEC. The win keeps Auburn on pace with the other contenders in the SEC West as they enter an off week. Bo Nix played perhaps his best game in his three years as he completed 21-of-26 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns, including a 71-yard strike to Demetris Robertson and a 39-yard touchdown pass to Ja’Varrius Johnson. Nix also rushed for 42 yards and a touchdown. The Tigers host Ole Miss on October 30 in a pivotal SEC West show-down.
Alabama Week 7 recap
The Tide bounced back from the Texas A&M loss with an impressive 49-9 blowout win on the road over Mississippi State. Alabama built a 21-6 halftime advantage before cruising in the second half. Bryce Young threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns and John Metchie caught seven passes for 117 yards and a touchdown. The Alabama defense held the Bulldogs to 299 yards for the game. UA returns home to host Tennessee this Saturday (Oct. 23).
Week 8 SEC Rankings
1. Georgia (7-0, 5-0)
2. Alabama (6-1, 3-1)
3. Auburn (5-2, 2-1)
4. Kentucky (6-1, 4-1)
5. Ole Miss (5-1, 2-1)
6. Arkansas (4-3, 1-3)
7. Texas A&M (5-2, 2-2)
8. LSU (4-3, 2-2)
9. Florida (4-3, 2-3)
10. Tennessee (4-3, 2-2)
11. Mississippi State (3-3, 1-2)
12. Missouri (3-4, 0-3)
13. South Carolina (4-3, 1-3)
14. Vanderbilt (2-5, 0-3)
Week 8 Previews and Predictions
Last week: 6-1; season: 58-11
Saturday, Oct. 16
Game of the Week: LSU at Ole Miss (-9). It was an eventful week for these two programs, to say the least. Both teams won conference games last Saturday (Oct. 16), but there was controversy sur-rounding both victories. Less than a day after LSU upset Florida as double-digit home underdogs, a settlement was reached to part ways with Ed Orgeron after this season. The pro-gram has trended in the wrong direction, both on and off the field, since the Tigers won the 2019 na-tional title, so the school administration decided to announce the change now so Orgeron cannot save his job on the field during the next month. Meanwhile, Ole Miss went on the road and beat Tennessee, but the game was overshadowed by Volunteer fans throwing trash and other items on the field in the direction of the officials and Ole Miss players. Someone threw a golf ball at Lane Kiffin. The game had a 20-minute delay before the final minute could be played. LSU and Ole Miss are rivals, and this series usually is not shy on drama. The Rebels need a win to keep pace with the top of the SEC West, while LSU is looking for a win to avoid dropping three of its last four games. Prediction: Ole Miss 41, LSU 34.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Arkansas (-44). After a brutal three-week stretch, Arkansas finally gets a breather as the in-state Golden Lions visit. The Razorbacks have an open week next Saturday, so they have an opportunity to get healthy for the home stretch. Despite the three straight losses, Arkansas is still a good team that has an opportunity for an eight-win regular season. Prediction: Arkansas 45, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 3.
Mississippi State at Vanderbilt (+20.5). Clark Lea nearly picked up his first SEC win last week be-fore Zeb Noland entered late and led South Carolina on a touchdown drive to eke out a victory over the Commodores. Vandy is still a long way from competing with most teams in the SEC, however, and this could be another long day for the ‘Dores as Mississippi State visits Nashville fresh off a 40-point loss to Alabama. Prediction: Mississippi State 34, Vanderbilt 12.
Tennessee at Alabama (-25). Tennessee has not beaten Alabama since the Bush administration, a fact that Alabama fans are not shy about reminding the Vo-lunteers on an annual basis. It’s been 14 straight wins for the Tide, and there have been a mixture of blowouts and narrow defeats for the Vols (but mainly the for-mer). While Tennessee is seemingly trending in the right direction under new coach Josh Heupel, the tal-ent gap remains extreme, and this game is projected to be another Alabama rout. Prediction: Alabama 45, Tennessee 17.
South Carolina at Texas A&M (-20.5). The Aggies have turned a corner in recent weeks and are starting to look like the team many believed could make the playoffs before the season began. Zach Calzada looks more comfortable un-der center, and the offense is clicking. Texas A&M should be 6-2 when Auburn visits College Station in two weeks. Prediction: Texas A&M 31, South Carolina 10.

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