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 are in a better place without Will Muschamp.
Beware of thinking this: There aren’t major questions about Florida moving forward.
Analysis: Don’t expect the Gators to roll out the orange-and-blue carpet for Muschamp. His tenure in Gainesville was a disappointment, and Florida fans likely would rather yell, “Go Dawgs!” than see Muschamp leave The Swamp with a smile Saturday. Still, injury problems have become a huge issue for Florida, which should scratch out a victory during this test.
Bank on it: The Bulldogs will give Auburn trouble.
Beware of thinking this: Georgia will stop Gus Malzahn’s magical mystery tour.
Analysis: Give the Bulldogs credit. They pulled out an impressive road victory against Kentucky last Saturday. After things looked bleak following a face plant against Florida on Oct. 29, avoiding a loss in Lexington should serve as a major boost before tangling with the Tigers at Sanford Stadium. Still, Auburn will hunker down and survive between the hedges.
Bank on it: That loss to Georgia caused blues throughout the Bluegrass State.
Beware of thinking this: Tennessee will offer a reprieve.
Analysis: This is why you can’t have nice things, Wildcats. They were presented a wonderful chance last Saturday to show they’re worthy of climbing atop the SEC East. Instead, Georgia served as their banana peel. The Vols are a puzzle at the moment, but here’s guessing “Rocky Top” will ring into the air through Saturday night.
Bank on it: The Tigers have friends in Las Vegas for some reason.
Beware of thinking this: Betting on Missouri against Vanderbilt is a smart move.
Analysis: Who in the desert has a mad crush on Missouri? Kentucky was an underdog to the Tigers – we all know how that turned out – and now Vanderbilt can pull the Rodney Dangerfield “No Respect” card before arriving at Faurot Field as 3.5-point dogs. Missouri has shown next to nothing the past five games. On this day, the “V” in Vanderbilt will stand for victory.
Bank on it: Jake Bentley has impressed, but he’ll be swarmed at The Swamp.
Beware of thinking this: Florida will blow out the Gamecocks.
Analysis: Time for the big leagues, Bentley. The true freshman was efficient in victories against Massachusetts, Tennessee and Missouri, throwing 6 touchdowns with no interceptions in the span. But if those are puppy dogs, Florida’s defense is a pit bull. Expect Bentley to help South Carolina hold its own, but he’ll struggle at times.
Bank on it: We’ll learn quickly if the Volunteers have snapped out of their South Carolina swoon.
Beware of thinking this: Tennessee won’t be ready to handle a better-than-expected Kentucky squad.
Analysis: We learned nothing from the Vols vanquishing Tennessee Tech last Saturday. Have they recovered from that surreal South Carolina loss on Oct. 29? We’ll find out. Kentucky can cause damage, so the Wildcats should have Tennessee’s full attention. The Vols will win as long as they don’t beat themselves.
Bank on it: The Commodores will become the latest opponent to step over the cold carcass that is Missouri at the moment.
Beware of thinking this: Derek Mason should be cheery about what went down on The Plains last week.
Analysis: Chalk up another victory for the Commodores. Missouri’s heartbeat is long gone, and Vanderbilt has shown it can hang with anyone in its way the past six games. Yes, that close call against Auburn last Saturday has to sting. But the Commodores should take a step forward here.
Bank on it: Texas A&M did Nick Saban a big favor last Saturday.
Beware of thinking this: Alabama will sleepwalk through its matchup against Mississippi State.
Analysis: Saban should send chocolate and roses to Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin. Texas A&M’s loss to the Bulldogs last Saturday will prevent Alabama from looking past Mississippi State, which looked awful before antagonizing the Aggies. Can you say, “Blowout?”
Bank on it: The Razorbacks won’t match their impressive defensive showing from last Saturday.
Beware of thinking this: The past few weeks shouldn’t be frustrating for Arkansas fans.
Analysis: That was more like it, Hogs. The way the Razorbacks rocked the Gators makes you wonder how far Arkansas could have gone this fall with more protection for quarterback Austin Allen. But don’t anticipate LSU being as accommodating. Arkansas will continue its streak of inconsistency.
Bank on it: The Tigers will pass their last major test before the Iron Bowl.
Beware of thinking this: Anything other than the success or failure of Auburn’s running game will decide the result against Georgia.
Analysis: Prepare to let out a long exhale, Tigers fans. The victory won’t come easily, but Auburn will survive the Bulldogs to set up a monster Iron Bowl on Nov. 26. (Let’s fast-forward through that Alabama A&M game on Nov. 19.) The Tigers’ running game will grind Georgia’s defense enough to squeak this one out.
Bank on it: The Tigers must overcome the “Bama Effect” quickly.
Beware of thinking this: LSU doesn’t have the moxie to shake a tough loss to the Crimson Tide.
Analysis: You know what they say about never allowing an opponent to beat you twice. The Tigers must dust off their backside in a hurry after a shutout loss to Alabama last Saturday. They have shown mental strength under interim coach Ed Orgeron before. They’ll recover and earn a tough road victory against Arkansas.
Bank on it: The Bulldogs won’t stay with Alabama beyond halftime.
Beware of thinking this: The Crimson Tide will allow Mississippi State’s offense to breathe.
Analysis: Back to normal, Bulldogs. Give Mississippi State credit for burning Texas A&M last Saturday, but Alabama’s defense won’t allow the Bulldogs to roll up 574 yards of total offense. This won’t be close. Sorry, Stingray.
Bank on it: What happened to Chad Kelly is a shame.
Beware of thinking this: The Rebels have anything left in the tank for Texas A&M.
Analysis: Ole Miss should count down the minutes until 2017. A season of underachievement revealed another disappointing turn Sunday, when it was announced Kelly will miss the rest of the season after he sustained a torn ACL and torn lateral meniscus in the Rebels’ victory over Georgia Southern last Saturday. Give Ole Miss fans space to mourn in peace.
Bank on it: The Aggies will find a way to beat Ole Miss without Trevor Knight.
Beware of thinking this: The College Football Playoff selection committee will stop its affection for Texas A&M soon.
Analysis: Give the Aggies the Backup Bowl. Knight will be missed after he sustained a season-ending shoulder injury in a loss to Mississippi State last Saturday. But Texas A&M is limping while Ole Miss is dragging its torso on the turf after Kelly’s injury. The Aggies will prevail in a close one, which will allow the CFP selection committee to give them another wet smooch next week.