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: Florida will torture Tennessee for yet another year. Did you expect anything different?
Beware of thinking this: Luke Del Rio’s injury will play a significant factor in the outcome in Knoxville.
Analysis: Sometimes you have to dance on the wild side. It’s not popular to think the Gators will extend their streak to 12 consecutive victories over the Volunteers, especially after Del Rio went down with an MCL sprain against North Texas last Saturday. But there’s something about Tennessee’s shaky start and Florida’s bravado before the big trip to Rocky Top that makes another win for the orange and blue possible. Both teams should pack gauze before this slugfest, but the Gators will grin again by the end.
Bank on it: Jacob Eason’s legend will continue to grow against Ole Miss.
Beware of thinking this: The Bulldogs’ ground game will pick up steam.
Analysis: Congratulations, Eason. You bailed out Georgia in the closing minutes at Missouri last Saturday. Your reward? A ticked-off Ole Miss bunch that blew a big lead against Alabama. Eason should produce impressive stats in Oxford, Miss., but don’t expect the Bulldogs’ ground attack to gain life against the Rebels’ defensive front. Nick Chubb has 143 combined rushing yards the past two weeks after totaling 222 in the season opener against North Carolina. That’s cause for concern.
Bank on it: Stephen Johnson will come back to Earth against South Carolina.
Beware of thinking this: The Wildcats’ terrible defense will have a hallelujah moment.
Analysis: A win is a win, but alarm bells with the “W” shouldn’t make any Kentucky fan feel warm and fuzzy inside. Kentucky beat New Mexico State by a ridiculous score of 62-42 last Saturday, but allowing 500 yards against a creampuff like those Aggies should make Wildcats faithful cringe. It’s hard to see Johnson slipping on a Superman cape for a second consecutive week after he threw for 310 yards with three touchdowns in relief of an injured Drew Barker.
Bank on it: Facing Delaware State will be as close to a “bye” as the Tigers will get without having a date with the La-Z-Boy on Saturday.
Beware of thinking this: The five turnovers against Georgia can be forgotten.
Analysis: Can we pretend Missouri doesn’t play at all? Sheesh, Delaware State is a garbage opponent and absolute filler between the Tigers’ hack job against the Bulldogs last Saturday and an intriguing matchup against LSU on Oct. 1. The only thing worth watching here will be to see if Missouri can hang on to the dang ball after its turnover trouble against Georgia.
Bank on it: The Gamecocks will thumb their collective nose in doubters’ faces once more.
Beware of thinking this: Kentucky is good enough to prevent South Carolina from winning two consecutive games for the first time this year.
Analysis: Who had the Gamecocks starting 3-1? It should happen after South Carolina paddles a defenseless Wildcats squad. The Gamecocks have issues, but some pundits thought a 0-6 start for them wasn’t a pipe dream. Style points don’t matter in a rebuild job, so if Will Muschamp can continue to steer South Carolina toward a bowl no matter how the victories come, then Gamecocks fans should be pumped.
Bank on it: Sales of Jack Daniel’s will skyrocket in Knoxville on Saturday night.
Beware of thinking this: Tennessee’s banged-up defense will save the day against Florida.
Analysis: Another year will bring more misery for the Vols. Liquor stores and other fine establishments near Neyland Stadium should make a killing after fans cope with another loss to Florida by turning to Dr. Drink. Tennessee’s defense, which struggles against the run, will be vulnerable if linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin feels lingering effects from a shoulder injury sustained last Saturday against Ohio.
Bank on it: The Commodores’ offense will remain a tire fire against Western Kentucky.
Beware of thinking this: Public opinion will shift in Derek Mason’s favor soon.
Analysis: You have to feel sorry for Vandy fans. They have the privilege of watching Ralph Webb run, but the rest of the Commodores’ offense is a smoldering disaster. The natives are restless after Georgia Tech spanked Vanderbilt last Saturday. Mason better get used to the heat. A victory over Western Kentucky is needed ASAP.
Bank on it: Nick Saban will find a way to complain about a comfortable victory over Kent State.
Beware of thinking this: The Crimson Tide will avoid a lull in their next two games.
Analysis: SEC brass should ship roses to Saban’s doorstep each morning. Without Alabama, the conference would lack a marquee team to boast about in the national conversation. A Crimson Tide loss to Ole Miss last Saturday would have been a huge PR hit for the league, but Alabama survived that scrap to remain unbeaten. Kent State and Kentucky should be pushovers the next two weeks, so Saban will run his players through the wringer to keep them interested.
Bank on it: The Razorbacks’ run defense will stuff Texas A&M.
Beware of thinking this: Arkansas will fade in the SEC West.
Analysis: This will be a breakout moment for the Hogs. This is a big-time stage in Arlington, Texas, against a big-time opponent within the division. Arkansas, led by a solid defense, has received the verbal equivalent of bling and bouquets from national analysts since topping TCU. The smoochfest will reach another level after the Razorbacks beat the Aggies. Arkansas looks like Alabama’s biggest threat in the division.
Bank on it: The Tigers will end Saturday searching for more answers on offense.
Beware of thinking this: Auburn’s offensive line will hold up well against LSU’s defensive front.
Analysis: The Gus Bus needed new tires yesterday. The Tigers rank 10th in the SEC in scoring offense with an average of 26.7 points per game. Auburn produced 236 yards rushing and 399 total yards in a loss to Texas A&M last Saturday, but those numbers translated to only 16 points in a loss. LSU’s defensive front will be too tough for a line that has allowed 32 tackles for loss, the most among FBS teams this season.
Bank on it: The Tigers have an answer at quarterback in Danny Etling.
Beware of thinking this: LSU’s offense will be fine if Leonard Fournette is shut down.
Analysis: Believe it or not, Etling looks like the guy who could guide the Tigers back among the nation’s elite. He did what was required in a victory over Mississippi State last Saturday, throwing for 215 yards with one touchdown. Still, we all know Fournette is the engine that makes LSU’s offense chug along. The running back will produce enough to do the job against Auburn.
Bank on it: The Bulldogs will rout overmatched UMass in Bill Belichick’s playpen.
Beware of thinking this: Mississippi State will take the Minutemen as lightly as Florida did in Week 1.
Analysis: The most memorable thing about this game will be the setting. The Bulldogs will enjoy a snoozer at Gillette Stadium against a UMass bunch that hung with the Gators for a while to open the season. Maybe Tom Brady will be in attendance. He has time to kill, doesn’t he?
Bank on it: The Rebels won’t let another victory slip through their grasp.
Beware of thinking this: Ole Miss will make the same mistakes Missouri did last week.
Analysis: Between the Nicholls scare and the heart-stopper in Missouri, Georgia has played with fire of late. Expect the Bulldogs to be burned this week against an Ole Miss team that’s better than its 1-2 record. Eason will produce big yards but face pressure, Chubb will be contained and the Rebels won’t cough up the ball five times.
Bank on it: The Aggies will have regrets about a close loss to Arkansas.
Beware of thinking this: Texas A&M can be written off after this game.
Analysis: The Aggies-Razorbacks showdown should be the SEC at its best. This one will be fun and physical with frank lessons learned. Although Arkansas will grind out a win, don’t expect Texas A&M to remain on the mat for long. The Aggies’ ground game is a beast, and Trevor Knight has proven to be capable behind center. Texas A&M will remain a bear even after gaining a few bruises.