It’s unlikely that the fans in Death Valley are going to care that this is not a vintage week for SEC – or indeed college football fans. 

In the SEC, College Gameday’s going to be a visitor to Baton Rouge for the first time since THAT LSU vs Alabama game in 2012 (we were also there), where LSU will take on No.3-ranked Ole Miss. South Carolina takes on Auburn to try for its first de-feathering of War Eagle since 1933 (yeah, you read that right!), and Alabama goes to Tennessee, which will only be interesting if you’re either an Alabama fan or you loathe Lane Kiffin (OK, so this might be ratings-beater!). No.1 Mississippi State travels to Kentucky, Missouri plays Vanderbilt, and UAB travels to an Arkansas team that’s trying to prove that it’s actually decent.

So here we go….

No.3 OLE MISS (7-0, 4-0) AT NO.24 LSU (6-2, 2-2)

This game’s going to be interesting for a few reasons: Firstly, Ole Miss is the No.3-ranked team in the country. Death Valley is suddenly home of  an underdog (a rarity for LSU), and the bourbon-fuelled masses are going to screaming for blood. And it’s at night. Secondly, it’s a case of LSU’s young offensive talent (apart from QB, which sucks) against the very talented Ole Miss defense, which has been ripping offensive lines apart lately. We love you, Robert Nkemdiche. Thirdly, there’s the Ole Miss offense, which has hardly been great over the season (30th in total, with the biggest points total coming about Lousiana-Lafayette and miserable Vandy), although Bo Wallace hasn’t made a lot of bad mistakes. You know – in direct contrast to Anthony Jennings, LSU’s quarterback. This game is also going to mark the second time LSU RB star Leonard Fournette has faced a big-time defense. The first time against Mississippi State, he had 99 total yards.

PREDICTION: Ole Miss went into the tinnitus-causing Kyle Field and silenced Texas A&M, and so won’t be scared to go into LSU…especially against the Tigers’ young defense. Ole Miss is a 3-1/2 point favourite, and we think they’ll win by 10 in a pretty good game. 

SOUTH CAROLINA (4-3, 2-3) AT NO.5 AUBURN (5-1, 2-1)

The last time South Carolina played Auburn, they lost to the Tigers 16-13 in a game that featured 8 turnovers (4 each, 6 of them interceptions), and one Stephen Garcia. Anyway, Steve Spurrier’s 0-5 in his time at Columbia (10-8 overall), and will be begging his side to bring their ‘A’ game, which they haven’t done almost all season long. If Carolina had brought their ‘A’ game throughout the whole of the year, this might be a Top 10 clash that would have had all of us drooling. However, it’s not. When they can’t play offense, they can’t play defense. They’ve lost to Kentucky, a now-bad-looking Texas A&M team, and Missouri. Sure, Kentucky was by a touchdown and they shouldn’t have lost to Missouri, but they lost all the same. Auburn, on the other hand, is very much in the hunt to be in the Play-Off Four after only losing one game at MSU this season. The Tigers are talented they can kill you on the ground and through the air, and they can score as quickly as Oregon or Baylor. The Gamecocks will learn unless they play some mistake-less, clock-consuming football if they have a prayer in Jordan-Hare. Auburn’s favored by 17-1/2, by the way.

PREDICTION: Spurrier throws his visor a lot. Auburn by 21.

NO. 1 MISSISSIPPI STATE (6-0, 3-0) AT KENTUCKY (5-2, 2-2)

Mississippi State’s back off a bye week, and they are refreshed and excited to be No.1 in the AP Poll. They travel to play a Kentucky team who were butt-surfed in Death Valley last Saturday night, giving up 41 points and 423 yards. It could have been 60 if LSU actually had a good quarterback. That’s how lop-sided the loss was. But really, Kentucky’s beaten expectations by winning two SEC games this season, including upsetting South Carolina. If Commonwealth Stadium’s can repeat its unexpectedly off-the-hook atmosphere for the visit of Mississippi State for the 3.30 CBS game (which it’s hosting for the first time since 2007 (thanks, SB Nation!), this game could be disconcerting for the Cowbellers. The problem for us is that we see Patrick Towles, the QB for Kentucky, making more mistakes than Dak Prescott, and Kentucky doesn’t have the talent level yet.

PREDICTION: Mississippi State’s a 13-1/2 point favorite. We say Mississippi State wins, and by 14. But it’s a really good game ’til mid-way through the fourth quarter, thanks to an unruly atmosphere.

NO.4 ALABAMA (6-1, 3-1) AT TENNESSEE (3-4, 0-3)

We’re actually only really interested in this game for the reception Lane Kiffin is going to receive from Neyland Stadium. As we tweeted, we hope that it’s as nasty and abusive as possible from Volunteers fans. It’s a night game too, which’ll mean the crowd will have had enough moonshine Lane Kiffin Hate Juice to slow down an elephant. Speaking of elephants, we don’t expect the Crimson Tide to be particularly slowed after their first quarter battle against Texas A&M (it finished a close 59-0). Sure, they haven’t travelled well this season (they lost at Ole Miss, struggled against Arkansas and struggled against West Virginia), but this Tennessee team’s really not good, particularly with that primary school-grade O-Line.

PREDICTION: Alabama – a 17-point favorite – coasts, winning by 21 in a game that’s over by half-time.

VANDERBILT (2-5, 0-4) AT MISSOURI (5-2, 2-1)

Featuring a washed-up Heisman hopeful, two goddawful offenses, one goddawful defence and……a dude named Marcus, this could be the ugliest game that’s been seen in college football all year….let alone the SEC.

PREDICTION: Missouri’s a 21-point favorite. Only one point: Their offense can’t score points. Missouri by 14 in a game where the punters kick the ball a lot, and the fans try to feign interest. 

UAB (4-3, 1-2) VS ARKANSAS (3-4, 2-2)

Expect Bret Bielema to give the ball to Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins a lot and run the ball all over UAB side that gives up 161 yards on the ground a game. That’s actually not a terrible idea against a UAB side that ranks 23rd in the nation in scoring, including putting up 34 on Mississippi State earlier in the year.

PREDICTION: Arkansas’s a 23-1/2 point favourite. We think this game’s going to be pretty interesting, with the Hogs winning by 17 in a closer-than-you-might-have-thought game.

 

 

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