More teams are starting to hit their bye week, but the quality of SEC matchups continues to rise.
A pair of top 10 teams will travel to the Lone Star state as Tennessee and Texas A&M face off at Kyle Field for the first time in the Butch Jones era. Nick Saban’s No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide also travel to face a scrappy Arkansas team hungry to prove itself after losing to Texas A&M.
Additionally, Saban proteges Kirby Smart and Will Muschamp will face off for the first time as head coaches as a hurricane draws close to the Atlantic coast.
Here is what every SEC coach has to say about their Week 6 matchup:
Nick Saban, Alabama
Matchup: at Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark.
“I think our team is making progress, but we need to continue to do that and continue to work, because every week in the SEC is a real challenge and a real test. That certainly won’t be any different on the road against Arkansas.”
Bret Bielema, Arkansas
Matchup: vs. Alabama in Fayetteville, Ark.
“Ole Miss has had success against Alabama. They have won and we haven’t. I think offensively we will do what we do. You have to take advantage of opportunities when they come. Alabama doesn’t beat themselves.”
Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Matchup: at Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss.
On Sean White: “His completion percentage gets better each game. He’s been better throwing the football and I think you’ve seen him get more comfortable. Our players around him are getting more and more confident with him too. We’re starting to settle in to who we are on offense.”
Kirby Smart, Georgia
Matchup: at South Carolina in Columbia, S.C.
On whether it’s fun to coach against Will Muschamp: “I really don’t think it does (add fun). It’s not about that. He was at Texas when (Alabama) played them for a national championship. He was at Florida. He was at Auburn. It’s never really been about that for me. He and I are good friends. We talk time-to-time. It’s never an extra motivation, because that’s not really what it’s about. It’s about our players and their players. It’s business-like for us, it’s not really about (our relationship).”
Mark Stoops, Kentucky
Matchup: vs. Vanderbilt in Lexington, Ky.
On whether last year’s 21-17 loss to Vanderbilt bothers him: “Absolutely. It bothers me. It’ll probably bother me for the rest of my life, yes. But this is a totally new year.”
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
Matchup: vs. Auburn in Starkville, Miss.
On the game two years ago: “Winning. It was a great game and an unbelievable atmosphere. It was the best atmosphere here that I have seen since I have been the head coach. A lot of people have said to me it was the biggest game in the history of the school. It was a special day for everyone here on campus and getting a big win like that. It was a great memory that everyone involved that day will have.”
Will Muschamp, South Carolina
Matchup: vs. Georgia in Columbia, S.C.
On if coaching against his alma mater is weird: “Not really. I mean probably the first time I (was a graduate assistant) against them when I was at Auburn in 1995 and 1996. It is what it is. In 1995 we beat them over there and ’96 was the overtime game with about four overtimes at Auburn.”
Butch Jones, Tennessee
Matchup: at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas
“When you go on the road, you are responsible for creating your own momentum. You can’t let the crowd, the clutter and the distractions creep in. I’ve never been there, but I have talked to a number of coaches. We’ve done our due diligence. They have a passionate fan base and I am excited.”
Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
Matchup: vs. Tennessee in College Station, Texas
On whether this feels different than previous success: “Funny you bring that up. It’s something that’s happened last couple years. People keep harping on it. If we win Saturday, it’ll be brought up next week. Everyone is waiting for something to happen. If we lose this week, it’s not indicative of anything. The season isn’t over. We’re playing good football.”
Derek Mason, Vanderbilt
Matchup: at Kentucky in Lexington, Ky.
“It’s gonna be a good ballgame. We’re gonna continue to press our guys to clean up the execution, because if we clean up the execution we feel like our chances are pretty good. I’m sure Kentucky feels (the same way).”