SEC Rivalry Week: Game previews and predictions

One down, eight to go! There are a ton of exciting and intriguing games going on in the SEC this weekend. We give you a birds-eye view of every matchup and predict the winner. Let’s start with today’s lone game – Arkansas versus Missouri.

Arkansas (7-4) vs. Missouri (3-8)

Preview: This game will be all about offense. Both teams average over thirty points a game. Arkansas’ Mr. Do-It-All a.k.a. running back Rawleigh Williams is sensational, and he leads a talented Hogs’ scoring attack.

Missouri will miss breakout running back Damarea Crockett due to suspension, which will hurt, but Ish Witter can be a capable back and quarterback Drew Locke and the rest of the Tigers’ offense seems to be coming into its own. Both teams are going to put up some points, but Arkansas will pull away in the fourth quarter.

Prediction: Arkansas 45-Missouri 31

Kentucky (6-5) vs. No. 11 Louisville (9-2)

Preview: Star quarterback Lamar Jackson and Louisville are reeling after getting dominated by Houston last week. However, I think Bobby Petrino gets his team settled down this week. Kentucky has been trending upward the later it got in the season; they’re finally going to a bowl under Mark Stoops!

Louisville has just a lot more talent than Kentucky and the nation’s No. 1 offense should get it back together this week. I think Kentucky will challenge early, and the Cards might come out a bit slow after having their playoff dreams completely crushed last week. Lamar Jackson’s team will settle down though and pull away. By the way, Lamar Jackson will be ticked off this week. Not a good omen.

Prediction: Louisville 52-Kentucky 20

Georgia Tech (7-4) vs. Georgia (7-4)

Preview: Georgia has dominated this rivalry as of late, winning 13 out of the last 15 games in the rivalry known as “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.” However, Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have won the last meeting in Athens.

Georgia will seek to change that Saturday. UGA first-year head coach Kirby Smart and his defense might have some trouble with Tech’s dangerous triple-option offense led by quarterback Justin Thomas, who has proven to be adept at throwing the ball as well as running it.

This will be quarterback Jacob Eason’s final game of his freshman regular season and first in this rivalry. Georgia’s defense will do enough, Georgia’s running game will be effective, and Eason and Smart will get that first win in the rivalry this Saturday. It will be an entertaining affair though.

Prediction: Georgia 27-Georgia Tech 24

Mississippi State (4-7) vs. Ole Miss (5-6)

Preview: Mississippi State will travel to Oxford for the Egg Bowl on Saturday to cap off a disappointing year. Ole Miss has struggled themselves and will seek to become bowl eligible win a win.

The focus of this game will be on the two talented promising quarterbacks in MSU’s Nick Fitzgerald and Ole Miss rookie Shea Patterson. Both are dual threats, and both are dangerous. However, Ole Miss is the more talented side, and I think Hugh Freeze’s team comes out on top.

Prediction: Ole Miss 35-MSU 21

No. 13 Auburn (8-3) vs. No. 1 Alabama (11-0)

Preview: One of the greatest rivalries in all of college football will resume on Saturday afternoon. Auburn will travel to Tuscaloosa to take on undefeated and CFB Playoff shoe-in Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Gus Malzahn has gone a long way to redeem himself this year, and his Auburn team has improved as the season has gone by.

Unfortunately for Auburn, Alabama is unbelievable this year, and this is probably the best team Nick Saban has ever had in Tuscaloosa. That doesn’t bode well for Auburn this weekend. Sensational freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts and Alabama will roll over the Tigers despite Auburn’s talented defense.

Prediction: Alabama 38-Auburn 17

South Carolina (6-5) vs. No. 4 Clemson (10-1)

Preview: Clemson is ultra-talented but have not played to their potential much this year. They should be motivated for this rivalry game, but this South Carolina team led by coach Will Muschamp has momentum.

You want bowl game projections? We got bowl game projections!

I think the Gamecocks and their stingy defense along with freshman quarterback Jake Bentley will keep the Palmetto State’s rivalry close. The Tigers’ star quarterback Deshaun Watson will make enough plays for Clemson to get the victory in the end.

Prediction: Clemson 35-South Carolina 27

No. 17 Tennessee (8-3) vs. Vanderbilt (5-6)

Preview: Tennessee somehow found a way to not win the East this year. (Guess a “championship of life” will have to do.) Anyway, the Volunteers still have plenty to play for including a possible berth in the Sugar Bowl.

However, Vanderbilt will play spoiler and upset Tennessee in Nashville. Yes, it is an unpopular pick, but I believe it is going to happen. Josh Dobbs and the Volunteers will be limited enough by the stingy Vandy defense, and Commodores’ running back Ralph Webb will have a huge day against a susceptible UT run defense on the ground.

Prediction: Vanderbilt 27-Tennessee 24

No. 15 Florida (8-2) vs. No. 14 Florida State (8-3)

Preview: It’s a night game. It’s in Tallahassee. But I’ve got Florida coming out with the victory. The Florida defense is nasty and will once again carry the team on their shoulders and defeat the in-state rival Florida State Seminoles for the first time since 2012.

This will be a low-scoring affair, and that’s just the way the Gators like it. A strong running game and a stifling defense will be the difference for Florida.

Prediction: Florida 20-FSU 17

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