It’s been a weird start to the season. The biggest in-conference game of the year will feature No.17 Mississippi State as they travel into Athens to face No.11 Georgia, but it won’t be the CBS 3.30 game. For Gary Danielson haters like me, that means I’ll be able to enjoy a good game with a great atmosphere and not have to hear him. Where’s Gary going to be? He’ll be in Nashville (a place we love, by the way), to watch No.1 Alabama travel to unbeaten Vanderbilt. There’s a lot of potential fun between Texas A&M at Arkansas at JerryWorld starting off the day, and a potential upset with No.20 Florida rolling into Kentucky. And if No.15 Auburn can’t win at Missouri, then Gus Malzahn’s seat will go from warm to boiling.

So, here are your Week 4 Previews, in order of what’s going to be the most interesting game to watch…..

  1. No. 17 Mississippi State at No.11 Georgia (-4.5): This SHOULD be really exciting. Georgia’s got a fantastic defense which will try and close down Nick Fitzgerald and RB Aenis Williams, who both ripped apart LSU last week on the floor, while MSU’s defense will probably stack the line to try and stop Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, forcing Jake Fromm (or Jacob Eason, who was back in training this week) to throw against their secondary. Last week it worked pretty well, because LSU’s Danny Etling was terrible, and there’s an argument that Fromm’s not much better than Etling (mainly because of his game experience). Going back to Fitzgerald and Williams, they are averaging 300 yards per game. Can Georgia stop them? They’ll be confident after only giving up 71 yards per game in their last three games, but Williams and Fitzgerald will be a whole other step-up in competition. PREDICTION: Georgia wins. By 7 in a classic.
  2. No.20 Florida (-2.5) at Kentucky: Although they beat Tennessee on a Hail Mary/long throw from Feleipe Franks last week, Florida probably should have lost in The Swamp on Saturday. Had it not been for Tennessee’s committal of footballing suicide, the Gators would ahve done. While over in Bourbon country, Kentucky is 3-0 after beating South Carolina. Having seen them twice this season, we’re not convinced in the least by Florida’s offense, but we’re not convinced that Kentucky’s offense will be able to get off the ground against UF’s defense, either. Kentucky fans didn’t give themselves good PR this week, and it may well piss off Florida enough to win and cover. PREDICTION: Florida by 10. 
  3. Texas A&M (-2.5) vs Arkansas at JerryWorld: What makes this one really interesting is what this could mean for the programs. Whoever loses, either Kevin Sumlin and Bret Bielema will be a bit more worried about their jobs. Vegas seems to think this is going to be one of this weekend’s more exciting games by giving it an over/under of 55.5, which is putting an awful lot of faith in Texas A&M’s offense (they have absolutely no consistency), as well as telling us flat-out that Arkansas will rebound from really not showing up at home to TCU, with Austin Allen rebounding from a poor performance against TCU (9-23, 138 yards, 1 TD (that’s a 39.1% passing percentage). We expect Arkansas to block up the lanes to try and stop running back duo Travyon Williams and Keith Ford – and watch the Aggies try and do the same against Devwah Whaley and Chase Hayden. This will be close, though. PREDICTION: A&M by 3. 
  4. No.1 Alabama (-18.5) at Vanderbilt: After Vandy upset Kansas State in Nashville last week, there were plenty of chants of ‘We Want Bama’. Well, Derek Mason, now you’ve got ’em. Nick Saban’s telling everyone that the Crimson Tide shouldn’t be taking the Commodores lightly, and nor should they. Both teams have very good defenses. Having said that, we can’t see past the fact that Derek Mason & Co aren’t going to find it easy trying to stop Alabama’s ground attack – which includes a very capable QB in Jaylen Hurts, as well as a reborn-again Calvin Ridley, who’s averaging 14.3 yards per reception. PREDICTION: Alabama by 21.
  5. No.15 Auburn (-18) at Missouri: Auburn and Missouri fans would be up there as the most annoyed fanbases in the SEC for the 2017 season, and for good reason. On the Auburn side, the much-promised offensive whirlwind of Jarrett Stidham hasn’t figured things out yet, and the offense has killed itself with turnovers and penalties. They only managed to score 24 against mighty Mercer, and everyone’s asking questions. On the Missouri side, things are so bad that the DC has already been booted, the team got ran out of the building by Purdue, and there was a player’s only meeting where the team no doubt yelled a lot about pride. The effects of the meeting will be interesting to see at Faurot on Saturday night. PREDICTION: Auburn by 18. 
  6. Syracuse at No.25 LSU (-21.5): The biggest news of the week happened on Wednesday when LSU RB and Heisman hopeful Derrius Guice was ruled out of the Tiger Stadium match-up after getting gang-tackled and injured in the Tigers 37-7 surprise loss to Mississippi State. To add to the news of Guice’s injury the horror performance in Starkville on Saturday has suddenly started the ‘Coach O can’t coach’ train a-running, and suddenly LSU NEEDS to win against Syracuse…and needs to win well. Their opponent from upper New York State is 2-1 and hasn’t faced an ACC opponent, with the loss against Middle Tennessee and convincing wins over FCS teams. So far this season, it’s been stingy against the rush (allowing just 84.3 yards/game), and you can expect them to stack the box against Darrel Williams, Nick Brossette and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, forcing Danny Etling to throw. This will be a slow burner for LSU fans. Be prepared to grumble in the first half, Tigers fans. PREDICTION: LSU by 24
  7. Louisiana Tech at South Carolina (-8): Now that Deebo Samuel’s done for the year, the South Carolina offense is suddenly looking for answers about who’s going to be their go-to guy. While some players are using the words “Next man up” to try and instil some team confidence, the fact is this: The loss of Samuel has made Carolina a lot worse, and takes them from SEC East contender into also-ran. Again (Read: The loss of Marcus Lattimore a few seasons ago). Luckily for Carolina, they play Louisiana Tech’s defense, which averages a total of 405 yards/game given up, so they can have players like Shi Smith and Bryan Edwards get some important catching experience before the Cocks face Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. Louisiana Tech’s hardly great offensely (99th in passing, 120th in rushing and 105th in total yards per game), and at the moment it’s still more famous for 3rd and 93 than it is for anything else they’ve done this season. PREDICTION: We can’t believe Vegas thinks this one will be close. South Carolina by 21.
  8. U Mass vs Tennessee (-27.5): If there’s a cure for sadness and outright hatred for Butch Jones in Knoxville, it should be the visit of the UMass Minutemen, who have started the season 0-4 and suddenly found no offense in the last couple of weeks after coming close at Hawaii and Coastal Carolina. Tennessee’s offense might not have done anything against Florida (although you know that the tailgate around Neyland will be full of the words: “We should have won that damned game”), but it’s sure to do a lot against UMass. This one will be over before half-time. PREDICTION: Tennessee by 35.

 

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