Each week in the SEC offers trends and predictions from a variety of voices. Some are worth keeping, and others are destined for the dumpster.
Since we always look out for you at SEC Country, we’ve served up a few takes to help you cut through the noise. Here are things about each program you should feel comfortable about, as well as thoughts to avoid.
Bank on it: The right decision was made not to play LSU on Saturday at The Swamp.
Beware of thinking this: There’s no way this game could have happened.
Analysis: We’re all for safety. There’s no way the gates at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium should open this weekend, given the concerns about Hurricane Matthew. But it was stunning to learn Thursday afternoon that the matchup between the Gators and Tigers was postponed indefinitely. No other arrangements could be made? No other site could be worked out? Really? The whole situation seems bizarre.
Bank on it: Kirby Smart is praying his team avoids defending a Hail Mary against South Carolina this week.
Beware of thinking this: The Bulldogs won’t be ticked off about how Tennessee escaped Athens.
Analysis: Georgia fans yelled, “Aw hell, Mary!” last Saturday after that ridiculous loss to the Vols. Expect a smoother experience against the Gamecocks, even if the Bulldogs must fight through a monsoon in Columbia to earn the victory. Georgia will win by double digits. Smart’s blood pressure will triumph by the same figure.
Bank on it: Someone will ask, “Why does anyone have to win the Kentucky-Vanderbilt game?”
Beware of thinking this: The Wildcats’ woes will end against a hapless opponent.
Analysis: Can both teams lose? This is the SEC’s version of the McPick 2 with a few cuts of filet mignon elsewhere on the schedule this week. The loser of this pillow fight should finish at the bottom of the SEC East. Crawl into your nearest cave, Kentucky fans. Another painful loss is coming. (At least basketball is close!)
Bank on it: The Tigers will search in bushes and between couch cushions for their defense during the bye.
Beware of thinking this: Missouri shouldn’t have some frustration about where it stands.
Analysis: What’s up with the Tigers’ defense? The unit was supposed to be a strength this season. Instead, it coughed up a late lead against Georgia before being shredded by an LSU offense operating without Leonard Fournette last Saturday. This always looked like a year of growing pains for Mizzou, but the Tigers should have a winning record now instead of sitting at 2-3. Inconsistency will be the theme of Barry Odom’s first season.
Bank on it: The game against the Bulldogs shouldn’t be held at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Beware of thinking this: Something other than survival will be on players’ minds.
Analysis: What an unfair situation for the Gamecocks. A hurricane – Mother Nature’s variety, not Mark Richt’s – barrels their way, and the whole program is left in limbo as the state of South Carolina braces for impact. The game against Georgia should not happen Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium, which could become Waterworld. Larger concerns should take priority.
Bank on it: The Volunteers’ magic carpet ride ends in College Station, Texas.
Beware of thinking this: Tennessee is good enough to take advantage of a team that won’t take its foot off the Vols’ jugular.
Analysis: Tennessee’s tightrope act has to stop sometime, right? We’re sure it will end this week. Texas A&M is too good and too physical not to knock the Vols back a few feet at Kyle Field. Tennessee has shown a remarkable ability to regain a heartbeat after it was left for dead numerous times this season. The Aggies won’t allow a resurrection job to happen.
Bank on it: The Commodores will throw a ticker-tape parade for avoiding the SEC East cellar with a victory Saturday, and perhaps they’ll let their band play during the celebration.
Beware of thinking this: There’s a more meaningful goal remaining for Vanderbilt than avoiding last place in the division.
Analysis: You’re tricky, Commodores. Predicting that Vanderbilt would clinch a bowl berth didn’t seem crazy before the season. Now it’s hard to find more than two victories throughout the rest of its schedule. One of them should arrive Saturday after beating awful Kentucky, but this is likely the Commodores’ last SEC win. We’ll give Vandy the Tennessee State game on Oct. 22. Rejoice, Vanderbilt fans! You should avoid a basement view within the SEC’s worst division!
Bank on it: The Crimson Tide will scratch, claw and crawl their way to a victory in Fayetteville, Ark.
Beware of thinking this: Alabama will allow a new challenger to rise in the SEC West.
Analysis: Slugfest alert! This game will be so satisfying. The Razorbacks should give Alabama all it can handle. The Razorbacks should give their fans reason to hope. The Razorbacks should give the nation a moment to wonder what the SEC will look like without an unbeaten Crimson Tide squad pacing the conference. But all of it will become a tease. Alabama’s defense is too good, and the Tide’s offense will do enough to pull away late.
Bank on it: The Razorbacks will smash it out with the Crimson Tide for three-plus quarters, but Alabama will pull its escape act again.
Beware of thinking this: The Hogs will play for anything more than third place in the SEC West after Saturday.
Analysis: Ugh, almost. How many times can Arkansas come up short against Alabama? This game will become the latest chapter in a twisted tale for Razorbacks fans, who must accept that they’ll finish behind the Crimson Tide, Texas A&M and perhaps Ole Miss in the SEC West this season. Austin Allen will make a few plays, and the Hogs’ running game will produce a highlight or two. But the Crimson Tide have cracked the code on how to beat Arkansas in the fourth quarter. Expect more of the same Saturday.
Bank on it: People will ask, “Is Auburn’s offense back?” after another victory for the Tigers.
Beware of thinking this: Auburn’s offense is back.
Analysis: Hey, good to see you again, Auburn offense. Yes, the steamroll act happened against Louisiana-Monroe, but the Tigers racked up 58 points against a garbage opponent last Saturday. Mississippi State stands in Auburn’s way next. Somehow, some way, the Tigers will grind out another victory. But who the heck knows what’s going on with the Bulldogs these days? Enjoy the victory, Auburn fans. But keep your enthusiasm in check.
Bank on it: The Tigers avoided a loss with their game against Florida being postponed.
Beware of thinking this: Fournette can offer more than Derrius Guice the rest of the season.
Analysis: We love Ed Orgeron. He’s our favorite Ed. He’s more entertaining than Mr. Ed the Talking Horse. But Florida would have roughed up LSU, especially after the Gators stumbled through the past two weeks. Florida would have played mad. Now with extra time to consider where the Tigers stand, it’s worth wondering if Guice can give LSU more than a banged-up Fournette the rest of the way. Who would have thought that in August?
Bank on it: The Bulldogs’ defense, solid to this point, will be stretched against Auburn’s revived offensive attack.
Beware of thinking this: Mississippi State is good enough to pull out a victory against a mediocre opponent like the Tigers.
Analysis: The Bulldogs’ defense should stonewall Auburn’s offense … for a little while. Eventually, the Tigers will break through in what should be a low-scoring affair. Mississippi State doesn’t have the offensive muscle to win. The Bulldogs’ bizarre season continues.
Bank on it: The Rebels will lick their chops during the bye and grin about how beat up Arkansas will be by Oct. 15.
Beware of thinking this: Ole Miss can’t run the table the rest of the way.
Analysis: Rest up, Rebels. Perhaps coach Hugh Freeze will host a watch party during the Alabama-Arkansas game. On one hand, the contest will be torture knowing how close Ole Miss came to beating the Crimson Tide. On the other, it will be delicious to see how physically exhausting the night will be for the Razorbacks. The Rebels should enjoy playing an Arkansas team that will have bruises and Band-Aids by Oct. 15. Ole Miss might not lose the rest of the year.
Bank on it: The Aggies will show people why the second-best team in the SEC West is better than the SEC East’s top contender.
Beware of thinking this: Texas A&M won’t make life miserable for Josh Dobbs, especially if Jalen Hurd is contained.
Analysis: Why doubt the Aggies any longer? They’ve proven to be legit contenders in the SEC West, and beating Tennessee will become the latest coup for them. Texas A&M’s defensive front should hassle Dobbs, who needs Hurd to haul some of the offensive load for the Vols to have a chance to escape College Station with a victory. But the Aggies will be too much on both sides of the ball. When do they play Alabama?