By E. Marcel Pourtout, Editor
Music to listen to: Suspicious Minds by Elvis Presley
Game of the Week:
Auburn (5-0, 2-0 SEC) at Mississippi State (5-0, 2-0 SEC)
If you’re reading this post, you already know about Mississippi State’s win over Texas A&M. We’ve been touting Dak Prescott’s skills for two years at the Inquirer, so his “breakout” performance on the national stage wasn’t surprising for us.
The reason why Mississippi State has the potential to be a special team besides Prescott is the rushing attack. The Bulldogs gained 280 yards on the ground against the Aggies last week. This minimizes mistakes on the offensive end and allows Prescott to have an efficient 20-for-26 effort in the air for 268 yards and two touchdowns.
However, the Bulldogs also allowed 526 yards of total offense last week.
That’s why Auburn may be the quietest second-ranked team in the country that I can remember and our pick to win against Mississippi State.
LSU may have one of its weaker teams over the past five or six years but Auburn still put up 566 yards of offense last week in a 41-7 victory. 298 of those yards came on the ground and the two things that translate best on the road are defense and a rushing attack.
Nick Marshall, who had four touchdowns and 326 yards of total offense against LSU, has made improvements throwing the ball and may do enough to get past the Bulldogs.
Other games of interest:
Ole Miss (5-0, 2-0 SEC) at Texas A&M (5-1, 2-1 SEC): We’ve been waiting to see that type of performance from Rebels’ senior quarterback Bo Wallace for nearly two years. Against Alabama, he threw three touchdown passes but most importantly, no interceptions. Ole Miss had only one turnover in the entire contest which is critical against a team like Alabama.
The Aggies have holes in their defense which can be exploited. However, the Rebels don’t have the offensive firepower to take advantage of it. Furthermore, Texas A&M are good for at least 35 points scored at home and if Ole Miss has to play catchup, that’s going to be too much to handle.
Georgia (4-1, 2-1 SEC) at Missouri (4-1, 2-1 SEC): Similar to the NBA & NHL Eastern Conference, the SEC East has found itself as the inferior division/conference in its league.
I would honestly take both Mississippi schools, both Alabama schools, LSU and Texas A&M before an SEC East squad. With some convincing, Arkansas could be in that same category as well.
The biggest reason is coaching talent. If you looked at the rosters of Florida and Georgia strictly from a physical skill set perspective, those are top-10 teams nationally. However, the coaching staffs haven’t been able to maximize the potential.
The fact that Missouri and Kentucky are going to be at the top of the standings of the SEC East by the end of this week shows that clearly.
Can Georgia face a decent offense and give up less than 30 points? I have my doubts with the Bulldogs’ defense. The problem in Athens hasn’t been offense especially with the best player in the country Todd Gurley running the ball. Georgia will get some points but give up more.
LSU (4-2, 0-2 SEC) at Florida (3-1, 2-1 SEC): When you’re taking pride in beating a below-average Tennessee team 10-9 by getting excited in the post-game interview, that’s a bad sign of how far Florida has regressed. Jeff Driskel has always been a below-average quarterback despite the win-loss record.
The fact that Treon Harris is suspended and can’t start at quarterback for the Gators makes this an incredibly difficult game for them to win.
Alabama (4-1, 1-1 SEC) at Arkansas (3-2, 0-2 SEC): Alabama loses on the road to a top-10 team and some are already saying that the program is declining. This was expected. Its impossible in this era to have a team consistently contending for a national title every single season including the Crimson Tide.
Alabama is still in line for a solid season and depending on how things shake out, an SEC title which would put it in the playoffs.
Louisiana-Monroe (3-2) at Kentucky (4-1): Will Kentucky play in the SEC title game? Probably not with the schedule that includes trips to LSU and Missouri while hosting Mississippi State but the rebuilding process is in full swing for the Wildcats.
The South Carolina win was an emotional one for Kentucky and the letdown potential against UL-Monroe is high.
The Wildcats will rely on Jojo Kemp (I love typing that name) to grind out a tough win over the Warhawks.
Tennessee-Chattanooga (3-2) at Tennessee (2-3): The Vols have lost two very winnable games this season at Georgia and last week in a home tilt against Florida. Win either or both of those games and I would feel more optimistic about the direction the program is heading with Butch Jones. I applauded the hire two seasons ago and think Jones has the potential to build a winner in Knoxville but progression must be made.
Charleston Southern (5-0) at Vanderbilt (1-5): The Commodores should win this contest but a defeat wouldn’t surprise me.
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?