Each week in the SEC offers trends and predictions from a variety of voices. Some are worth keeping. 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 Gators won’t contain LSU’s road graders.
Beware of thinking this: Florida’s SEC title chances are dashed with a defeat at Tiger Stadium.
Analysis: Later, Gators. Yes, Derrius Guice’s “scared” comments about Alabama’s defense after LSU spanked Arkansas last Saturday were ridiculous. But the Tigers’ ground game is a beast to behold when it’s clicking and crushing whatever stands in its path. LSU will do enough to beat Florida. Still, take heart, Swamp people. Vanderbilt is capable of turning Tennessee’s SEC East title hopes upside down to close the regular season.
Bank on it: The Bulldogs’ black jerseys will look better than Louisiana-Lafayette.
Beware of thinking this: Kirby Smart didn’t need that victory against Auburn in the worst way.
Analysis: Way to manufacture interest, Georgia! The game against the Ragin’ Cajuns will be a snore, but at least the Bulldogs will wear those awesome alternate jerseys to make it more tolerable. The contest will be part of Smart’s victory lap after that crucial win last week.
Bank on it: Austin Peay should go by “Austin L.”
Beware of thinking this: Reaching 6 wins is no big deal for Mark Stoops.
Analysis: Now this is smart scheduling! Austin Peay is 0-10, so if the Wildcats lose this one, someone might as well place a basketball court smack in the center of Commonwealth Stadium. Reaching the 6-win mark for the first time in his Kentucky tenure will be a huge achievement for Stoops, especially after a terrible start to the season.
Bank on it: It’s a good thing the Tigers beat Vanderbilt last week.
Beware of thinking this: Drew Lock won’t put up yards against the Volunteers.
Analysis: Throw Missouri some meat. It wasn’t crazy to envision Vanderbilt beating the Tigers at Faurot Field, but Missouri took care of business — thanks in part to a generous assist from the officials. The Tigers’ tale against Tennessee should have a different ending. Lock will rack up nice numbers, but it won’t be enough to leave Rocky Top with a victory.
Bank on it: Jake Bentley will enjoy seeing a marshmallow defense like Western Carolina’s unit after facing Florida’s monster group last week.
Beware of thinking this: South Carolina-Clemson won’t be interesting.
Analysis: Consider Bentley baptized. There’s no shame in being frustrated by Florida, but he’ll bounce back in a big way at home against a pushover. Don’t look now, but South Carolina looks capable of making Clemson cringe a bit come Nov. 26.
Bank on it: In Joshua Dobbs, the Vols should trust.
Beware of thinking this: Smiles will be in short supply throughout Knoxville after the LSU-Florida result.
Analysis: Let’s pause to appreciate Dobbs. He went full Superman last Saturday in a victory against Kentucky, throwing for 3 touchdowns and running for 2 in a key win. He’ll guide Tennessee to another victory against miserable Missouri, but the real reason to celebrate will come after LSU makes Florida blow a tire on the road to Atlanta.
Bank on it: The Commodores will be the next victim of Shea Patterson’s magic show.
Beware of thinking this: Vanderbilt’s late-season fall can be ignored.
Analysis: Patterson was outstanding in leading Ole Miss to a comeback victory against Texas A&M at crazy-loud Kyle Field last weekend. You think Vanderbilt Stadium will faze him? Going from playing at Texas A&M to traveling to Vanderbilt is like moving from a rock concert to a white tablecloth dinner at a country club. A third consecutive loss should disappoint Commodores fans after Vanderbilt held a 4-4 record a month ago.
Bank on it: Nick Saban will use his hot glare to melt any Crimson Tide player who lets up against Chattanooga.
Beware of thinking this: There’s a true threat to Alabama somewhere, anywhere, in the country.
Analysis: It’s cupcake week in Tuscaloosa, which means Saban will be in a prickly mood. This game doesn’t matter. As you watch Alabama annihilate another opponent, keep in mind that it will take a bunch of prayer and a heavy dose of luck for anyone to beat the Crimson Tide this season.
Bank on it: The Razorbacks will overcome themselves to beat Mississippi State.
Beware of thinking this: There’s another SEC team out there at the moment that’s harder to read than Arkansas.
Analysis: OK, Hogs. We get it. You’re incapable of winning consecutive SEC games. The good news for Arkansas is that LSU rolled the Razorbacks last week, which means the Hogs must be due for a victory against the Bulldogs on Saturday.
Bank on it: The Tigers should be smarting after that hurl job between the hedges last weekend.
Beware of thinking this: The looming Iron Bowl doesn’t matter.
Analysis: Awful, Auburn. Gus Malzahn’s guys ruined all the fun of a possibly incredible Iron Bowl by losing to Georgia last weekend. Yes, the Tigers will tear into Alabama A&M on Saturday. But the bum feelings should remain. Still, don’t tell the people on the Plains that Nov. 26 has lost all its luster.
Bank on it: Beating Florida will represent Ed Orgeron’s greatest victory as the Tigers’ interim coach.
Beware of thinking this: LSU would have topped Florida in October.
Analysis: Take that, Jimbo Fisher! Who knows what to believe about LSU’s open head-coaching job anymore? But Orgeron can continue to impress with a win that might foil Florida’s SEC East title plans. It’s interesting to wonder if the Tigers could have won this game back in October before Hurricane Matthew made a mess of things. A healthier Leonard Fournette should provide the answer Saturday.
Bank on it: The Bulldogs will come up short in frustrating fashion … again.
Beware of thinking this: Mississippi State wasn’t capable of a much better season in the SEC.
Analysis: As bad as the Bulldogs have been this season, it’s easy to imagine their schedule breaking much differently. Wipe the whipping by Alabama last week from your mind. There were many tight affairs that didn’t fall Mississippi State’s way. Expect another frustrating finish against Arkansas.
Bank on it: Shea Patterson should have Rebels fans salivating about the future.
Beware of thinking this: Facing early adversity was a bad thing for the young quarterback.
Analysis: Thank goodness for the kid. Without Patterson, watching Ole Miss close the regular season without Chad Kelly would be as boring as a liquor-free tailgate at The Grove. Leading the Rebels back from a huge deficit late at Texas A&M was a fine feather for the young quarterback. He’ll make it two victories in as many weeks Saturday.
Bank on it: It seems like forever ago the Aggies entered that big game against Alabama unbeaten.
Beware of thinking this: A victory against Texas-San Antonio will be a meaningful consolation prize after letting Ole Miss escape last weekend.
Analysis: Remember when Texas A&M was undefeated and considered the top threat to the Crimson Tide? Yeah, it’s all a blur now. Three losses in the past four games have altered the narrative about the Aggies, who should wish they could turn back the clock to change a few results.