SEC College Football Preview: Predicting Outcomes for Every SEC Game in Week 11
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Last week the SEC accomplished a feat they had never done before: They gave college football fans two games in the same week featuring four Top 10 teams. This week the excitement is not as great on a national level, but there is plenty of intrigue as mid-level teams continue to fight for bowl eligibility.
The matchup of the weekend pits cross-divisional teams No. 24 Auburn at No. 14 Georgia. Florida (5-4) travels to No. 15 South Carolina in hopes of becoming bowl eligible and 4-5 Vanderbilt hosts 4-5 Kentucky in a must-win game for both teams.
LSU, Alabama and Arkansas all play non-ranked teams with Bama traveling to Mississippi State. No surprise that each team’s fanbase is praying for a shocking loss for the opponent's program.
Ole Miss welcomes Louisiana Tech in the first of three farewell games for soon-to-be-departing head coach Houston Nutt.
Auburn versus Georgia
Can Georgia win the SEC East on Saturday?
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The Auburn versus Georgia game will pit the strength of each team against the other—running the ball. Auburn holds an edge here with sophomore running back Michael Dyer.
Dyer is second in the SEC in total rushing yards with 989 and third in rushing touchdowns, collecting nine scores.
Bulldog true freshman running back Isaiah Crowell is sixth in the SEC in total rushing yards with 689, despite missing Georgia’s last game due to a suspension.
The pivotal point between the two teams will come down to quarterback play. The edge swings back in Georgia’s favor here.
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is second in the SEC in total passing yards having thrown for 2,060. His 23 passing touchdowns leads the SEC. Murray’s eight interceptions is second in the conference to departed Gamecock quarterback Stephen Garcia.
Tiger quarterback Clint Moseley will make his third career start against a Bulldog defense ranked seventh in the FBS. Moseley threw for 160 yards, his season high, against Ole Miss two weeks ago. He finished the game 12-15 with four passing touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Auburn is coming off a bye, thus they should be rested and ready. But Georgia should get some quality contributors back on the field this weekend too when wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell and running back Carlton Thomas return from an injury and suspension, respectively.
Between the two teams Auburn is more battle-tested, having played six teams currently ranked or ranked at one time during the season to Georgia’s four.
Auburn has the 75th rated defense in the country to Georgia’s seventh ranked defense.
Georgia has the momentum riding a seven-game winning streak with a solid opportunity to wrap up the SEC East division title.
Georgia 28, Auburn 21
Florida versus South Carolina
South Carolina has to win to keep pace with Georgia in the SEC East.
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Revenge game, new rivalry game, whatever you want to call it these two teams will get after each other come Saturday. Both teams have season goals and bragging rights riding on the outcome.
If South Carolina wins they stay alive in the race for the SEC East divisional title. Should they lose, Georgia wins the SEC East and the Gamecocks will have to fight for a better bowl bid and/or play spoiler to in-state rival Clemson during the last weekend of the season.
A win by 5-4 Florida makes the Gators bowl eligible and takes some of the heat off of first year coach Will Muschamp and his infamous offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.
Gamecock quarterback Connor Shaw is expected to play this week after taking a vicious hit from Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette in last week’s game. Shaw was suffering from concussion-like symptoms after the game.
Florida is also expecting their starting quarterback John Brantley to play after injuring himself against Vanderbilt last week as well.
Florida’s defense is stingy against the run which is what the Gamecocks need to do well in order to beat the Gators. Against the Hogs the Gamecocks were held to 79 total rushing yards.
The Gamecocks entered the Arkansas game only allowing 135.88 passing yards per game. Quarterback Tyler Wilson piled up 299 passing yards with two scores against the vaunted Gamecock defense. What can Brantley do against the same defense, especially if safety DeVonte Holloman is not cleared to play for USC?
The Gators are hoping senior running back Chris Rainey will return to the lineup after injuring his ankle against Georgia.
The wheels seem to be coming off for Steve Spurrier and his Gamecock team. Can he keep his team together for three more regular season games?
Florida becomes bowl eligible on Saturday.
Florida 24, South Carolina 21
Kentucky versus Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt is learning how to win.
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Looking over the SEC schedules before the season, the Wildcats vs. the Commodores game is not one of the games most fans circled. Yet, that game holds heavy importance for both teams.
Kentucky (4-5) is riding a five-game bowl appearance streak with three games left to play. Vanderbilt (4-5) is looking to go bowling for only the fifth time in the team’s history and the first time since 2008.
Head coach Joker Phillips is in his second year with the Wildcats. James Franklin is a first-year head coach for the Commodores. Both coaches are trying to build a solid SEC program and need a win this weekend to keep their bowl hopes alive.
Phillips will call upon true freshman Maxwell Smith (Granada Hills, California), for the third game in a row to lead his team. Smith has played well in the place of injured quarterback Morgan Newton. Newton is healthy enough to play this week but will serve as the team’s second string quarterback.
The missing element from Kentucky’s offense this year has been a passing attack. Smith threw for 283 yards on 19 completions with two touchdowns against Ole Miss last week, igniting hope for Wildcat fans that they can finish the season strong.
With the passing game elevated, the running game has responded as well. CoShik Williams had a game-high 111 rushing yards on 25 carries finding the end zone twice against the Rebels.
Vanderbilt has continued their maturation process this season. The Commodores were a couple of plays away from possibly beating Georgia, Arkansas and Florida over their past four games. Franklin’s young team has not learned how to win yet. The SEC East better watch out for this team next season.
Jordan Rodgers continues to impress after taking over for senior quarterback Larry Smith. Rodgers has started the last three games and finished last week’s game against Florida with 297 yards passing, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Commodore running back Zac Stacey was held to 23 rushing yards after back-to-back 100-yard performances ageist Army and Arkansas.
The game will come down to which defense can make the other team’s offense make mistakes. This heavily favors Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt has the 30th ranked defense in the nation, despite a lack of support from the offense for most of the season.
Vanderbilt keeps their bowl hopes alive.
Vanderbilt 28, Kentucky 17
Alabama versus Mississippi State
Can Bama avoid a let down?
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After last week’s “game of the century” most college football fans want to see how Bama will respond. Will they have a let-down game or will they come out and prove a point by punishing MSU? Either way, LSU and Arkansas will be interested in the final outcome as their final outcomes could be made easier with a Bama loss.
On paper this game is a mismatch heavily favoring Alabama.
Mississippi State allows 349 yards of total offense per game. Alabama is the top-ranked defense holding teams to 187 total yards.
Alabama has the best rush defense in the country averaging 56.33 yards per game, Mississippi State 161.22.
Alabama averages 214 rushing yards per game, MSU 187 yards.
Mississippi State (5-4) hosts Bama this week, travels to Arkansas next week and hosts Ole Miss on the final weekend of the season. This is a tough road to walk down for head coach Dan Mullen, as he tries to get his team to the all important six-win plateau.
Alabama 38, MSU 7
Louisiana Tech versus Ole Miss
Does Houston Nutt have any wins left in him at Ole Miss?
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The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs are one of the more intriguing teams in college football. They easily could have won the four games they lost: Southern Miss 19-17, Houston 34-35 and Mississippi State 26-20. They could be undefeated going into the stretch run of their Western Athletic Conference schedule.
As it is, the Bulldogs need this win against Ole Miss to become bowl eligible.
The game is not without some controversy as embattled Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt resigned on Monday, which will be effective come November 26. After losing 12-straight SEC games, how will his team respond this week? Will they rally around Nutt or have they already given up on the season?
The Bulldogs are on a four-game winning streak. Look for them to shock a SEC team on the road.
Louisiana Tech 34, Ole Miss 28
Western Kentucky versus LSU
LSU sleepwalks through this weekend's game.
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It’s the top ranked team in the nation with one of the best defenses in the nation going up against a 5-4 Sun Belt Conference team that lost 14-3 to Kentucky during the first week of the season.
LSU sleepwalks through this one.
LSU 48, WKU 6
Tennessee versus Arkansas
Dennis Johnson is a do-all player for the Razorbacks.
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Tennessee looks to do the near impossible this weekend by knocking off No. 8 Arkansas on the road.
Arkansas responded well to their home surroundings last weekend after playing four of five games on the road. The Hogs easily defeated then No. 10 South Carolina 44-28.
The Vols are coming off a feel good win over Middle Tennessee State, 24-0.
Tennessee’s defense is SEC caliber, but the offense is not.
There is an outside chance that Tyler Bray may return for this game. At 4-5 Dooley may sit his starter in hopes of winning their final two games to become bowl eligible. Why risk an injury to Bray with postseason hopes hinging on his play during the final two games?
Arkansas’ passing attack has remained solid all year long behind the play of quarterback Tyler Wilson. Wilson leads the SEC in passing yards and his top target, Jarius Wright, leads the SEC in receiving yards with 812 and receiving touchdowns with nine.
The one shining offensive production for the Vols has been wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers. Rogers has assumed the No. 1 wide receiver role after Justin Hunter tore his ACL earlier in the season. Rogers is second in the SEC in receiving yards with 780 and tied for second in receiving touchdowns with seven.
Hogs win their sixth game in a row in front of a happy Reynolds Razorback Stadium crowd.
Arkansas 45, Tennessee 17