The SEC is clearly not as strong as in recent years, but the top teams are very strong. This week's slate of games features a number of teams fighting for any kind of position, especially in the SEC East games.
Last Week: 5-2; Overall: 33-10
This week's games:
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M
Mississippi State @ Houston
Vanderbilt vs.Eastern Michigan
Auburn @ Kentucky
Florida vs. LSU
Georgia vs. Tennessee
South Carolina vs. Alabama
Texas A&M is much improved but still have a long way to go to make it to the next level. For Arkansas, having a week off to lick their wounds following a loss to Alabama is a good thing, as they can start the comeback tour against a team who looks very much like they do—tons of offense, not so much on the defense.
The thing is, Arkansas actually does have a defense, a better one than last year anyway, and that along with Ryan Mallett are plenty of reason for the Hogs to win and win big Saturday.
Last year, Houston, led by QB Case Keenum, beat MSU 31-24. This year, two things are changed: MSU can play defense now, and Keenum is out for the year with a torn knee ligament.
Houston's 3-1, but not against real quality competition. It'll probably be close because that's where the Bulldogs are right now, but in the end they'll get the win as Chris Relf continues to mature as a player and leader.
Mississippi State 24, Houston 21
This game was a lot more interesting when it looked like Kentucky could tackle people. They can't.
Auburn is 5-0 again, just like last year before they hit the skids, but the difference this time is improved play in the defensive front, and QB Cam Newton has given Auburn a real ace-in-the-hole player on offense. Kentucky went to Jordan-Hare Stadium and scored a big win last year.
Auburn's defense will have to contain Derek Locke if they hope to return the favor and continue their chase towards the unthinkable—an undefeated vs. undefeated showdown with defending national champion and No. 1 ranked Alabama to end the season. First things first, though.
I can't explain Les Miles. Not at all. It's like trying to explain the film Southland Tales in three sentences or less.
And much like that film, the pieces are in place for Miles to succeed at LSU, yet he and those pieces seem bent on going about it in the strangest of ways.
Florida was exposed by Alabama last week, confirming early suspicions that the offense was not going to cut it this year after early stumbles. (We all now know Kentucky can't tackle, so that game is an aberration.)
Both teams sport tough defenses, so points will be at a premium, especially since both offenses go in reverse as much as they go forward. In the end, I'll give an edge to the Gators as the home team.
Georgia is a mess and coming off four straight losses. Tennessee is young and coming off an emotional loss to LSU.
This won't be a pretty game, but Mark Richt will want to right the ship—I still don't think the powers in place there will make a move—and this is a game to do it. UT can only do so much on offense, and their defense will wear out late in the game. It'll be a close one, but Georgia still has more talent.
South Carolina needed a week off to reload after losing on the road at Auburn. Alabama's allegedly suspect defense looks very strong at this point with how they attack opposing backfields.
And that'll be the recipe this week, as the Crimson Tide will try and convince Steve Spurrier to swap QBs.
On offense, the defending national champion and No. 1 ranked Alabama team will do what they've done all season: run the ball, set up play action, and take chances when necessary.
It might be interesting early, but Alabama is head and shoulders above teams like South Carolina, which will be very evident by the end of this one.