The SEC season is nearing the halfway point as it enters week six this weekend. Some teams have fallen behind schedule due to COVID-19 complications. Despite the obstacles it appears as of now all teams will manage to get their games in.
The East has come down to a battle between Georgia and Florida while the West has Alabama standing alone at the top.
The Crimson Tide should have little worries of missing out on Atlanta after handling Texas A&M and Georgia with ease already this season. Alabama’s hardest game left looks to be on the road at LSU or possibly Auburn at home, both games should be easily winnable for them.
The hardest game for Florida and Georgia is against each other. The November 7 matchup should determine the SEC East’s winner, which would mean the sixth year in a row the East sent either the Gators or Bulldogs to Atlanta.
- No.2 Alabama (5-0)
- No.5 Georgia (3-1) -1
- No.8 Texas A&M (3-1) -1
- No.10 Florida (2-1)
The all SEC schedule has taken it’s toll on the conference. Just four teams find themselves ranked in the AP poll, though all in the top 10. Auburn and Tennessee find themselves on the outside looking in for the second week in a row.
Five teams are receiving votes; Auburn (48), Arkansas (15), Kentucky (12), Tennessee (11) and South Carolina (8). Auburn faces a test against LSU this week and with a win might find themselves on the fringe of the top 25 again.
Week 5 Recap
The SEC had just four games last week after COVID-19 cancelled two games. The opening game featured Auburn at Ole Miss which was a thriller down to the end. It was a back and forth affair with the Rebels taking a late lead 28-27 with 5:43 left in the game.
The ensuing kickoff featured a kickoff that appeared to be touched by Auburn return man Shaun Shivers before rolling into the endzone. The officials declined to review the play and Auburn would go on to get the game-winning touchdown with a little over a minute left.
Two other games featured blowouts. Tennessee was able to get as close as 21-10 to Alabama late in the second half but it was all Crimson Tide after that. Alabama dominated the Vols 48-17. LSU likewise did the same to South Carolina, running the Gamecocks out of Death Valley by a score of 52-24.
Missouri took care of Kentucky at home with a strong defensive display. They gave the Kentucky offense headaches all day and held them to just 145 total yards. It’s the second time Kentucky has been held under 160 yards this season.
Week 4 Predictions
12pm SECN: No.5 Georgia (3-1) @ Kentucky (2-3), UGA -14.5
The first game on Halloween has Georgia heading to Lexington to take on Kentucky. The Wildcats have an offense that ranks 13th in the SEC in total yards, whereas Georgia’s defense comes in at second in yards allowed.
Kentucky has the conference’s worst passing offense and it’s been the ground game that’s found the, any success so far this year. The bad news for them is Georgia’s rush defense which is the best in the SEC allowing just 65.5 yards per game. Kentucky’s defense might be able to stop the Georgia offense for a little while, but Georgia inevitably is going to win this one.
Prediction: Georgia wins and covers
3:30pm CBS: LSU (2-2) @ Auburn (3-2), LSU -3
LSU is coming off a feel-good game against South Carolina where the offense looked as good as it has all season. Freshman T.J. Finley had a good day through the air but it was the rushing offense that really took off. LSU had 276 yards on the ground led by sophomore Tyrion Davis-Price who had 135 yards and touchdown.
If y'all want to just keep gifting Auburn wins, just say it. pic.twitter.com/LJ01avk5ZI
— Breck Jones (@BreckJones_) October 24, 2020
Auburn on the other hand had another controversial win, arguably their third of the year. Late in the game a controversial muffed kickoff went Auburn’s way as the officials refused to review the play. Upon review, the replay showed the returner Shaun Shivers touched the ball which was clearly recovered by Ole Miss in the endzone. The Tigers however benefitted from the non-review and scored the game winning touchdown.
Both teams are having a down year and have suffered some embarrassing losses early in the season. LSU finally looked like their old selves for the first time last week. Auburn on the other hand has yet to prove they can win a game without some ample help from the officials. Look for LSU to continue their success as their offense has found it’s groove.
Prediction: LSU wins and covers
4pm SECN: Ole Miss (1-4) @ Vanderbilt (0-3), Ole Miss -17
It’s not even halfway through the season but both these teams might be looking forward to 2021 already. Vanderbilt in particular has had three games that haven’t even been close. The wheels are starting to fall off of the Lane Train at Ole Miss as the Rebels dropped a close one to Auburn last week.
Vanderbilt has had some COVID-19 issues in recent weeks. They haven’t played a game since October 10 but have had recent issues regardless. “I’ve got enough players to play right now,” head coach Derek Mason said Monday night. “We’re still working our way (to full strength). But if we had to play today, this football team could play.”
Assuming they play, both teams are in desperate need for wins. The Vanderbilt offense has been the worst in the SEC and will take on what has been the worst defense in the conference in Ole Miss. The Rebels will have to rely on an offense that’s looked very sloppy over the last two weeks to give their defense enough cushion to secure a win.
Prediction: Ole Miss wins, Vanderbilt covers
7pm ESPN: Mississippi State (1-3) @ No.2 Alabama (5-0), Alabama -32
After scoring 44 points in their first game the Mississippi State offense has scored just 30 points in the following three games. Before scoring in the third quarter against Texas A&M last week, Mike Leach’s offense had failed to score a touchdown in seven consecutive quarters.
Additionally the Mississippi State football program seems to be growing thin as of late. The Bulldogs have seen a mass exodus of players, including the SEC’s leading returning rusher from 2019 Kylin Hill. Things in Starkville seem to be on the brink of a disaster as they face one of the nation’s top teams.
Mississippi State has seen eight players leave the program in the last week if you include Kylin Hill.
Mike Leach said it might only be the beginning.
"If you’re stunned or nervous, you better brace yourself. We might lose more." https://t.co/zLvKaCKFVC
— Tyler Horka (@tbhorka) October 28, 2020
Alabama has cruised through the season having only had one game come down to the final minutes. They once again dominated Tennessee last weekend in a game that was never close. They’ve maintained the best offense in the SEC and lead the conference in passing yards per game. This one shouldn’t be close.
Prediction: Alabama wins and covers
7:30pm SECNAlt: Missouri (2-2) @ No.10 Florida (2-1), Florida -11.5
This game should be more interesting than some might expect. The opening line is at 11.5 but expect it to be loser than that. Florida is playing for the first time in three weeks, and while the offense has looked good this season, the defense has been concerning.
In a smaller sample size than most due to COVID, Florida’s defense allows the second most in the conference. They’ve also been susceptible to the pass. Missouri has moved the ball effectively through the air especially since transitioning to the freshman Connor Bazelak. Missouri might stand a chance if their defense can come up big on a few drives against a potent Florida offense.
Prediction: Florida wins, Missouri covers
7:30pm SECN: Arkansas (2-2) @ No.8 Texas A&M (3-1), Texas A&M -11.5
Arkansas and Texas A&M opened up at 11.5 in favor of the Aggies, which seems like a wide stretch. The last three games have been decided by one possession or less, which includes two seasons in which Arkansas failed to win an SEC game.
This year Arkansas is much better. They have been the surprise of the season except for perhaps Missouri. Sam Pittman has both sides of the ball looking very good, and Barry Odom has had excellent defensive game plans each week.
Texas A&M started really slow this season, struggling heavily on the offensive side of the ball. The Florida game looks to be a turning point as they’ve opened up the ground game more with Isaiah Spiller who’s averaging over 100 yards per game. Expect A&M to win but don’t be surprised if it’s close or even if Arkansas makes an upset bid.
Prediction: Texas A&M wins, Arkansas covers
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