Let’s face the facts: It wasn’t a great week for the SEC. It really wasn’t. Ole Miss was hammered at Arkansas, Missouri continued their run for the SEC West with at Neyland, and Mississippi State continued to prove the crappiness of the 2014 Vanderbilt team by a victory by a half-century. Oh, and elsewhere, we can be proud we gave those FCS teams a damn good kicking, can’t we?

Anyway, this week’s Rivalry Week. Or Hate Week. The eyes are focussed on rivals. Auburn and Alabama. Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Florida and Florida State. Georgia and Georgia Tech. Clemson and South Carolina. Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Kentucky and Louisville. Arkansas and Missouri. And now that there’s no Texas (RIP), Texas A&M and LSU.

So here’s the preview. We love you, Hate Week.

THURSDAY

LSU vs Texas A&M

There are two FBS Thanksgiving games going on. TCU vs Texas is one (we’re picking TCU by 3), and this one is the other. There is no big bowl interest in this game. There is no real excitement in this game. And there’s no Johnny Football. We would LOVE to tell you that we’re psyched to watch this one, but it could be one of the ugliest LSU vs A&M match-ups you see in quite a while. Both teams have struggles at quarterback. Both teams can’t seem to tackle properly. The only thing fun about this game will be the atmosphere at Kyle Field, which will be rocking….as usual. (Sorry for being such a Debbie Downer, but I really miss Texas vs Texas A&M).

PREDICTION: LSU’s a 3-point favorite. We’ll take LSU by 7 in a close – but – ugly- game.

FRIDAY

Arkansas at Missouri

This game – unlike the one we spoke about on Thursday – is really, really important. Missouri wins, they go to Atlanta to play in the SEC Championship game against [Some Big Team From The SEC West]. Missouri loses, Georgia goes to Atlanta to play in the SEC Championship game against [Some Big Team From The SEC West]. Arkansas gets to play spoiler, but also play hot going into their bowl game, recruiting season and 2015. And there isn’t a team right now that’s hotter than Arkansas. Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams – helped by a gargantuan offensive line – are running teams ragged, but the Hogs have a problem: Their QB, Brandon Allen, is uncertain due to injury. And because it’s Thanksgiving, we really won’t know his status ’til gametime. Missouri, on the other hand, looked great on defense, OK on offense, and goddawful on special teams. They had better watch out.

PREDICTION: Arkansas is a 2 1/2 point favorite. We’re going with MISSOURI with the home ‘upset’ and a spot in the ATL. 

SATURDAY

Auburn at Alabama

Auburn has been awful over the last 3 games. And awful means awful. After losing disastrously at home to Texas A&M which including a Mark Sanchez-like butt fumble, War Eagle Tiger was de-feathered and de-striped by Georgia, before struggling mightily with Samford for a while. Alabama – on the other hand – couldn’t be playing better. The only good things for Auburn is that super WR D’haquille Williams and Ricardo Louis should be back, and he should be a great asset for Nick Marshall to have.  As for bad things, DE (and sack leader) DaVonte Lambert is done for the year after needing knee surgery. As for Alabama, it looks as though Amari Cooper’s going to be fine after getting hurt against Western Carolina. And remember this: Blake Sims has been really, really good at home.

PREDICTION: Alabama’s a 9-1/2 point favorite. We think the Tide rolls by 14. 

Mississippi State at Ole Miss

There wasn’t anything nice to talk about when you discuss Ole Miss’ trip to Arkansas last week, so we won’t. And on the other side, Mississippi State destroyed Vanderbilt. If Mississippi State wins, they are in the hunt for a play-off spot. And if Ole Miss wins, they ruin Mississippi State’s season….and take something positive out of what has been that went from glorious hope to saddening failure.

PREDICTION: Mississippi State’s a 2-1/2 point favorite. Just for the fun of it, we’re saying: OLE MISS BY DAMN!!! By 3. 

Florida at Florida State 

Will Muschamp’s last game as Florida coach. Florida State needs to win to have any hope of remaining in the College Football Play-Off. It’s all to play for. The line at Vegas (Florida State by 7-1/2) is falling – especially after the ‘Noles’ horrible outing against Boston College, where they barely won. FSU’s not great at defending the run – which is one of Florida’s strengths, while Florida’s offense apart from that is, well, laughable.

PREDICTION: FSU wins by 7.

Georgia Tech at Georgia

“Clean, Ole Fashioned Hate” is a weird one, since Georgia’s biggest game might just be on Friday, when Missouri hosts Arkansas to see if they actually HAVE another game to play next week. This could see Georgia buoyed by news from Columbia, or upset by news from Columbia (Hey, with the name Columbia, they are usually pretty upset…especially in recent years), which could affect the Georgia Tech game. Or they could be so happy at getting into the SEC Championship Game (and become worried about injury) that they half-play Georgia Tech. We don’t know about this one. We really don’t. We do know this: The Georgia fans will be really loud. And some guy will yell about “Nerds”.

PREDICTION: Georgia by 10 in a mistake-filled game.

South Carolina at Clemson

“This Clemson team will go up against the [most awful] South Carolina team Steve Spurrier’s had in years, and still find a way to lose”, said the guys on the Shutdown Fullcast podcast. In the last five years, Clemson has beaten South Carolina exactly ZERO times. This year, Clemson’s got the ‘D’ to stop South Carolina’s not-great offense, but if QB DeShaun Watson’s not playing, they are going to struggle – even against a woeful Carolina ‘D’. You know why? Because Spurrier’s got Dabo’s number….that’s why.

PREDICTION: Watson comes back, performs some heroics, and Death Valley hits the field. Clemson wins by 7. 

Kentucky at Louisville

Kentucky was OK during the start of the season, but was so young that as soon as they hit the nasty part of the season, they fell to pieces. Louisville, on the other hand, rebounded after the loss to FSU, winning two straight road games at Boston College and Notre Dame. And now, they’ve got super wideout Devante Parker playing, too. This could get ugly for the ‘Cats. Louisville’s a 13-point favorite.

PREDICTION: Louisville wins by 21. 

Tennessee at Vanderbilt

We’re leaving the last until, ahem, worse. Tennessee should have beaten or have come close to have beaten Missouri (or at least found a way to stop Missouri’s bad offense on third down), while Vanderbilt is the SEC’s laughing stock. UT is going to fill Vanderbilt’s stadium, and the Vols are a 17-point favorite

PREDICTION: Vols win by 21 in an ugly game.

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