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: They might as well rename the Florida-Georgia game, “The World’s Largest Outdoor Gator Gala” come Saturday night.
Beware of thinking this: The Gators don’t have their eyes on the ultimate prize.
Analysis: The drinks in Jacksonville should be better than the action at EverBank Field. The Gators are trending up, and the Dawgs are down in the dumps following an embarrassing loss to Vanderbilt on Oct. 15. A possible SEC East title dangles in the distance for Florida, so the Gators will be decisive.
Bank on it: Suddenly, the Bulldogs’ remaining schedule looks as daunting as Florida’s defense.
Beware of thinking this: Jacob Eason won’t have a black-and-blue introduction to Georgia’s rivalry with the Gators.
Analysis: Welcome to the Florida-Georgia game, whippersnapper. The Gators’ defense isn’t exactly South Carolina’s or Vanderbilt’s, right? The bad news: The young player should be in for a rude awakening against Florida’s ferocious unit. The worst news: With the way the Bulldogs have played of late, things don’t take a turn down Easy Street after Saturday, with matchups against Kentucky, Auburn and Georgia Tech looming down the home stretch.
Bank on it: Someone had too many shots of tequila before making the Wildcats underdogs against Missouri.
Beware of thinking this: Mark Stoops will have a reason to step off his cloud this week.
Analysis: Which wise guy made Kentucky a 5.5-point underdog against the Tigers? Betting on Kentucky in this one will send money your way faster than setting up a lemonade stand on a 5K route in the desert. The Tigers are coming off a loss to Middle Tennessee — Middle Tennessee! — and the Wildcats have won four of their past five games to make Stoops feel like he’s on top of the world. Kentucky wins easy here.
Bank on it: Someone in the SEC office should make a rule that a loss to Middle Tennessee automatically boots a program to the Big 12.
Beware of thinking this: The Tigers’ collapse on defense isn’t anything short of stunning.
Analysis: Hey, Big 12, we have a solution for your expansion woes right here! How about the SEC trades you Missouri for a school of your choosing and cash considerations? The Tigers embarrassed the SEC by losing to the mighty Blue Raiders last Saturday and allowing 595 yards in the process. Tuck that nose in the corner, Missouri.
Bank on it: Will Muschamp’s undefeated run against Tennessee will end with a resounding thud.
Beware of thinking this: The next month will be a walk down E-Z Lane for the Gamecocks.
Analysis: Yes, Muschamp is undefeated as a head coach in four games against the Volunteers. No, he won’t end Saturday that way. Yeah, yeah, the Gamecocks squeaked by Massachusetts as Jake Bentley wowed starved spectators last Saturday. But Tennessee’s defense lives in another stratosphere. After Saturday, life won’t be easy for South Carolina with Missouri, Florida and Clemson included among the Gamecocks’ final four games.
Bank on it: The Volunteers will enjoy the sweet taste of victory once more.
Beware of thinking this: Tennessee fans will ache for the high-intensity ride of recent weeks.
Analysis: Ahh, doesn’t this feel better, Vols faithful? Kick up those feet. Take the heart rate down a few notches. A matchup against sorry South Carolina should be a welcome sight after splitting games against Florida, Georgia, Texas A&M and Alabama during the demolition derby of the past month. Coming off a bye week, the Volunteers should be well-rested. Don’t expect trouble here, Tennessee fans.
Bank on it: The Commodores can keep pinching themselves this weekend.
Beware of thinking this: There isn’t a rude awakening on the way.
Analysis: Keep that Vandy bandwagon packed and rolling! The Commodores have won two straight games, and they will enjoy their bye with a 4-4 record. To think, they would be bowl eligible if they had found a way to flip two of the three losses they suffered in close defeats to South Carolina, Florida and Kentucky. Enjoy the good times now, Vanderbilt people. A rough slate that includes Auburn, Missouri, Ole Miss and Tennessee awaits starting next week.
Bank on it: The Crimson Tide will find a way to score on defense during their bye.
Beware of thinking this: Alabama hasn’t zapped all the drama from the rest of the season.
Analysis: The Crimson Tide aren’t playing this week, but we’re sure they’ll find a way to earn a defensive touchdown somehow. What more is there left to say about Alabama? Barring a crazy collapse, the Crimson Tide all but clinched the SEC West title by beating Texas A&M last Saturday. Keep that snooze button close, Alabama people.
Bank on it: One Saturday off for the Razorbacks won’t be enough to recover after the alley beatdown they received at Auburn.
Beware of thinking this: Austin Allen isn’t searching Craigslist for a new offensive line.
Analysis: A team can’t be run through a blender much more than Arkansas was against the Tigers last Saturday. The Razorbacks were flat-out pureed. The bye couldn’t have arrived at a better time for a squad that’s sinking after losing two of its past three games. Please, can someone send Allen help before a shovel is needed to scrape him from the turf?
Bank on it: The Tigers are the SEC’s hot thing.
Beware of thinking this: There’s any reason to hop off the Auburn hype train.
Analysis: Don’t stop believing, Tigers fans. Auburn has won four consecutive games. There’s little reason to expect that Ole Miss will serve as a speed bump this week. The recovery is remarkable. Can the Tigers continue to roll and make the Iron Bowl interesting? We’ll learn soon enough.
Bank on it: The Tigers better tame their mouths.
Beware of thinking this: LSU players shouldn’t be careful what they wish for.
Analysis: It’s a good thing the Tigers don’t play Alabama this week. What was LSU defensive back Dwayne Thomas thinking when he said he sees the Tigers “dominating” Alabama? We hope he was joking, but no one will chuckle in Tuscaloosa. You’ll receive your chance to tangle with the Tide, LSU. But that won’t be a laughing matter.
Bank on it: It will be an upset if Mississippi State beats Samford.
Beware of thinking this: Mississippi State will beat Samford.
Analysis: You should have as much faith in Mississippi State as an umbrella with a bowling ball-sized hole. Dan Mullen’s team is in terrible shape and has lost its past three games to slide to 2-5. Samford is no joke at 6-1. Mississippi State showed it’s capable of a terrible loss by falling to South Alabama to begin the season.
Bank on it: The Rebels’ outlook appears a whole lot different than it did to begin October.
Beware of thinking this: Ole Miss will end the season with a sprint, not a limp.
Analysis: Ridiculous, Rebels. Ole Miss’ season has turned south in a hurry after two consecutive defeats, including a loss to LSU last Saturday that featured fighting among teammates on the sideline. Now the Rebels have the unenviable task of facing sizzling-hot Auburn. Ole Miss will be burned again.
Bank on it: There’s plenty for the Aggies to show the rest of the season.
Beware of thinking this: There shouldn’t be disappointment with how Texas A&M collapsed late against Alabama.
Analysis: Join the club, Aggies. The list of foes flattened by the Crimson Tide is long and notable. Still, it had to be disappointing for Texas A&M to take a 14-13 lead in the third quarter, only to see Alabama roll off 20 consecutive points. The Aggies better dust themselves off in a hurry. They have a chance to show they’re the SEC’s second-best team. New Mexico State will serve as a nice pick-me-up Saturday.