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SEC Football Week 9 Preview

SEC Football Week 9 Preview

It was a shortened week last week for the SEC as the conference nears the end of the season. COVID-19 limited the conference to just three games in what should have been a full schedule. The pandemic has presented some obstacles as the SEC tries to squeeze in the final weeks of the season.

Still, three games were played and we’re one step closer to finishing the shortened season. The SEC Championship game still safely has Alabama and Florida secured. Another originally fully scheduled weekend has again been disrupted by the pandemic. Ole Miss and Texas A&M had to postpone their game, leaving six games on the schedule.

Standings

SEC Football Week 9 Preview
SEC Standings

No significant changes happened in the SEC standings after last week. Ole Miss’s put them into fifth place in an SEC West that is fighting for a fourth place finish. Kentucky got their third win of the season that puts them into third in the SEC East.

Florida’s win keeps them in contention for the SEC Championship game with Alabama. Barring a big shuffle in the final weeks, we should be seeing a Gator and Crimson Tide final come December.

Rankings

  • No.1 Alabama (6-0)
  • No.5 Texas A&M (5-1)
  • No.6 Florida (5-1)
  • No.13 Georgia (4-2) -1
  • No.23 Auburn (4-2) +1

Only one of the SEC’s ranked teams were in action last weekend. Florida’s dominant win over Arkansas wasn’t enough to move them up in the polls. With the other four teams inactive there was little movement.

Week 8 Recap

It was a limited day for the conference as Vanderbilt and Kentucky started the shortened day in Lexington. Kentucky never trailed and had a 31-14 lead in the second half before Vanderbilt was able to make it a 38-35 loss. It was the most point the Commodores have had since September of last year against LSU.

Matt Corral broke the Ole Miss passing record against South Carolina with 513 yards in an explosive game. It was part of a 708 yard offense for Ole Miss in a game that featured 1,256 total yards. South Carolina’s Kevin Harris’s five touchdowns on the ground still came short in a 59-42 Ole Miss win.

Likewise, Kyle Trask furthered his Heisman campaign with six touchdowns against Arkansas. Even without one of the nation’s top tight ends Kyle Pitts, Florida and Trask were able to put up 63 against Arkansas and cruise to their fifth win.

Week 9 Predictions

12pm SECN: LSU (2-3) @ Arkansas (3-3), LSU -2.5

This game opened with Arkansas as the 2.5 point favorites but has since flipped. Injuries and COVID-19 are leaving unknowns on the depth chart for both schools. Arkansas is coming off a rough game against Florida. The Hogs could not find a way to stop the Gators and allowed a staggering 593 yards.

SEC Football Week 9 Preview
TJ Finley was 13/24 for 143 yards and two interceptions in LSU’s loss to Auburn. (Photo courtesy of saturdaydownsouth.com.)

LSU is coming off a double bye after claiming an inability to play last week due to COVID-19 issues. Regardless of the break, Ed Orgeron’s offense is having major quarterback problems. The latest news on Myles Brennan is that he is questionable to return this season. LSU even had their punter taking second team quarterback reps.

In all likelihood we’ll be seeing the freshman TJ Finley. Finley had a pretty good game against South Carolina but had an abysmal encore against Auburn. Arkansas hasn’t been able to beat LSU since 2015 but that could very well change Saturday.

Prediction: Arkansas covers and wins

12pm ESPN: No.6 Florida (5-1) @ Vanderbilt (0-6), Florida -31.5

Coming in with the largest spread this week is the Gators and Commodores. There’s no reason to think Vanderbilt can win this one so the main draw will be who will cover the spread.

Vanderbilt came charging back late last week to demolish the spread against Kentucky. This week’s spread is nearly twice that. Still, Florida’s averaging just shy of 48 points per game and dropped a lofty 63 last week. The real factor for if Florida covers the spread is just when Dan Mullen will take his foot off the gas.

Prediction: Florida covers

4pm SECN: Kentucky (3-4) @ No.1 Alabama (6-0), Alabama -30

Another game that has no chance of an upset. Alabama has the second largest spread this week and this one should live up to. Kentucky allowed an embarrassing 35 points last week to what has been the second lowest scoring team in the SEC.

Alabama’s coming off their own bye after LSU postponed their game last week. The Tide’s defense has struggled at times but Kentucky has become one dimensional with the run game where Alabama’s defense excels.

Prediction: Alabama covers

7pm ESPN: Tennessee (2-4) @ No.23 Auburn (4-2), Auburn -11

The Vols and Tigers had a lot more intrigue before Tennessee’s four game losing streak. Tennessee still can’t figure out what they want to do at quarterback and the season is quickly getting away from them. Three different quarterbacks combined against Arkansas for a horrendous 11/21 107 yards and two interceptions.

Meanwhile it appears Bo Nix is finding his stride midway through the season. The sophomore is completing over 75% of his passes in the last two games along with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Add in that all of Tennessee’s losses have come by 11 points or more and it feels safe to take Auburn.

Prediction: Auburn covers

7:30pm SECN: Mississippi State (2-4) @ No.13 Georgia (4-2), UGA -25

SEC Football Week 9 Preview
JT Daniels had 2,672 yards with 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions with USC last season. (Photo by cbssports.com.)

The third of the three blowouts has he battle of the bulldogs. Georgia’s conference best scoring defense takes on Mississippi State’s SEC worst scoring offense. Mississippi State scored the most points since their opener last game in a 24-17 win against Vanderbilt. One of the worst seasons since the early 2000’s appears likely to continue this week.

Georgia couldn’t handle Florida in their last game as they struggled with an injury ridden defense. The offense managed to put up a little fight but that came mainly from the ground game as the two quarterbacks struggled tremendously. It looks like JT Daniels will get his first start of the season this weekend which might be enough to jump start the offense and cover the spread.

Prediction: Georgia covers

7:30pm SECN Alt: Missouri (2-3) @ South Carolina (2-5), Mizzou -6.5

It feels like it’s been an eternity since Missouri has played a game. The Tigers haven’t seen the field since a Halloween day loss to Florida. Missouri will try and see if they can get back in the winning column behind the improved offense of Connor Bazelak.

South Carolina has been a train wreck over the last week since the loss to Ole Miss. They fired five year head coach Will Muschamp and promoted offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to interim head coach. Additionally the team’s top cornerbacks opted of the remainder of the season. Jaycee Jordan and Israel Mukuamu announced their decision to focus on the upcoming NFL Draft this past week.

With the chaos going on in Columbia at the moment it’s safe to take Missouri with the win and cover. It’s another good sign for first year head coach Eliah Drinkwitz. With two more winnable games left on the schedule the Tigers have a legitimate shot at a .500 or better record this season.

Prediction: Missouri covers

 

 

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