SEC Football: Picks for Every Week 6 Game
September is in the books, and now it's time to get down to business in the SEC.
With two Top-10 matchups on the docket, Week 6 will bring the division races into a bit more focus.
Georgia will cross the state line and visit the South Carolina Gamecocks in a game that will essentially put the loser 1.5 games back in the SEC East race, while Florida will host LSU in a game that could solidify the Gators as a legitimate national title contender.
Who are your winners and losers in Week 6? My picks for every SEC game are in this slideshow.
2012 Record: 44-7 (18-24 ATS)
All Lines Courtesy: VegasInsider.com
Arkansas at Auburn (-9.5)
Saturday, Oct. 6 at noon ET
If Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier can't get cranked up against this Arkansas defense, it's probably time to consider other alternatives on the Plains.
The Hogs rank 121st out of 124 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams in pass defense, giving up 349.4 passing yards per game.
That's how bad things are in Fayetteville.
Auburn played well defensively against LSU two weeks ago, and have been working off that performance for two weeks in preparation for the Hogs. The strength of Auburn's defense—its pass rush—plays into Arkansas' primary offensive weakness, its pass blocking.
Corey Lemonier, Dee Ford and the rest of the Auburn defensive line will have a monster day pressuring quarterback Tyler Wilson, and will put its offense in positions to succeed.
Frazier and company will succeed enough to squeak out a tough, close win for the Tigers.
Score Prediction: Auburn 27 - Arkansas 21
Mississippi State (-10) at Kentucky
Saturday, Oct. 6 at 12:21 p.m. ET
Mississippi State will be looking to keep its unblemished record going on Saturday afternoon in the Bluegrass state, as the team visits the reeling Kentucky Wildcats.
The Bulldogs have flown under the radar this year due in large part to a relatively weak early-season schedule. They're dangerous, though. Mississippi State is second in the nation in turnover margin, gaining 3.25 turnovers per game.
When you're getting more than three extra possessions per game, you're going to be successful.
Kentucky announced this week that quarterback Maxwell Smith is out indefinitely with a torn ankle ligament, while running back CoShik Williams is out for the season with a torn labrum (via the Courier-Journal).
Freshmen Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles will split time at quarterback this week, which is a scary prospect for UK fans against a ball-hawking Bulldog defense.
This one will get ugly.
Score Prediction: Mississippi State 28 - Kentucky 13
LSU (-2.5) at Florida
Saturday, Oct. 6 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Will Florida announce itself as a major player in the national title race, or will LSU re-assert itself as one of the power teams in the SEC?
We will know at about 7 p.m. ET, when the final gun sounds in the Swamp.
I wasn't prepared to jump off the LSU bandwagon after its 12-10 win against Auburn two weeks ago. However, after struggling against Towson, it's starting to look like this LSU team just doesn't have the fire to win at a high level, particularly due to its inability to protect quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
Mettenberger will have to establish himself as a legitimate downfield threat at some point, but on the road against No. 10 Florida isn't that time.
LSU will play ground-and-pound football, but so will Florida.
I'll give the edge to Florida here simply because the Gators have solved more of their pressing issues from the offseason than the Tigers have, particularly with running back Mike Gillislee and quarterback Jeff Driskel.
This one will come down to the final drive, but Florida will tough out a win on the foot of a Caleb Sturgis game-winning field goal.
Score Prediction: Florida 17 - LSU 16
Texas A&M (-12) at Ole Miss
Saturday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. ET
While all of the focus will be on Georgia at South Carolina during the round of night games, if you want offensive firepower, Texas A&M at Ole Miss is your game.
Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel leads all SEC players in total offense with an average of 365 yards per game. While Georgia's running backs get the majority of the hype, Manziel's performance during the first month of the season has placed him directly in the mix for SEC Freshman of the Year honors.
Ole Miss played musical quarterbacks last week vs. Alabama, which is probably more of a wake-up call for junior college transfer Bo Wallace than anything else.
The X-factor in this game is the Texas A&M pass rush, which currently ranks second in the SEC with 17 sacks. Damontre Moore leads all SEC players with six sacks, and if he can get to Wallace, Barry Brunetti or whomever else head coach Hugh Freeze trots out at quarterback, it's going to be a long night for the Rebel Bears.
Score Prediction: Texas A&M 45 - Ole Miss 35
Vanderbilt at Missouri (-7)
Saturday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. ET
Missouri got back in the win column last week with a tough win on the road at UCF.
Now, can the Tigers capitalize on that momentum?
The Vanderbilt Commodores head to Columbia in the second SEC home game in Missouri history. It may not be as visible as the opener vs. Georgia, but it's arguably more important.
Missouri's confidence has to be shot after seeing its offense throttled against SEC powers Georgia and South Carolina, but the 1-3 Commodores aren't exactly loaded with talent like the Bulldogs and Gamecocks.
It seems that Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin has settled on quarterback Jordan Rodgers, but that isn't necessarily set in stone. The uncertainty at the quarterback position will allow Missouri to key on running back Zac Stacy.
This one will be sloppy.
Score Prediction: Missouri 31 - Vanderbilt 24
Georgia at South Carolina (-1)
Saturday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. ET
The biggest game of the weekend takes place in Columbia, S.C., when the South Carolina Gamecocks will play host to the Georgia Bulldogs complete with ESPN's College GameDay in attendance.
No. 5 Georgia and No. 6 South Carolina are both squarely in the mix for the national title, and one will leave Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday night down one game in the division and without the tiebreaker over its primary competitor.
Georgia's offense has been lethal this year, averaging 536 yards per game, and is tops in the SEC. The news that leading wide receiver Michael Bennett is out for the season after tearing his ACL this week hurts, but if there's any place where Georgia can withstand injuries, it's at wide receiver.
Tavarres King and Marlon Brown have been solid this season, and sophomore Malcolm Mitchell returning to the offense will minimize the impact of Bennett's injury.
South Carolina needs to use a lot of misdirection with quarterback Connor Shaw and running back Marcus Lattimore to keep Georgia's speedy defense honest. Shaw has been great of late, and he's going to have to keep making smart decisions with the football this week.
The key to this game will be Georgia's ability to get into 3rd-and-short situations with running backs Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. If they can, they will limit the chances that Gamecock defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor have to pin their ears back and go after the quarterback.
This one will take a bit of the same direction as last year's game between the hedges, and will be more of a shootout than some expect.
Score Prediction: Georgia 38 - South Carolina 35
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