SEC Football: Predictions for Week 5


SEC Football goes in a different direction this week than it has in weeks past, as several members of the conference take a week off to play non-conference opponents, leaving several intriguing cross-division matchups and, of course, no. 21. Mississippi State at no. 14 Texas A&M.

In this article we’ll take a look at this week’s SEC games and predict the winners and how the outcomes will impact Texas A&M’s season.

The game that everyone has had circled since the 2015 schedule was announced is of course Alabama at Georgia. Even though the shine of this game has been slightly worn off by Alabama’s six point loss to Ole Miss, both of these teams are major players for the SEC championship. Other big East-West games include Ole Miss @ Florida and Arkansas @ Tennessee. South Carolina takes a trip to Missouri, and the Aggies host Mississippi State.

After wrongly picking Alabama, LSU, and Arkansas in Week 3, I redeemed myself last week by going 9-0. So, without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at this week’s SEC games:

1. (13) Alabama at (8) Georgia

Alabama comes into this game as an underdog for the first time since 2009, when they beat Florida 32-13 en route to a National Title. The Tide are ranked laughably too low in the polls at number 13, their only loss by six points to Ole Miss, in a game where the Rebels needed 5 turnovers and the luckiest touchdown since the Prayer at Jordan-Hare

Sep 5, 2015; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Leonard Floyd (84) tackles Louisiana Monroe Warhawks quarterback Garrett Smith (13) during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Georgia defeated Louisiana Monroe 51-14 in a game shortened by thunder storms. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

to beat the Tide and still almost gave away the game. Georgia is still mostly an unknown outside of running backs Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and Keith Marshall. Quarterback Greyson Lambert is a transfer from Virginia who has been very efficient against mediocre defenses, but has never faced a team near as talented as the one that awaits him this week.

Alabama is better than their ranking suggests (I would still argue that they’re a top 5 team) and the offense is still underrated. Any team that can hang 37 on Ole Miss despite 5 turnovers is pretty darn good. This is still Lane Kiffin we’re talking about. Georgia’s defense is talented, but there’s no indicator for how they will perform against Derrick Henry, and Greyson Lambert will need to be Chad Kelly good to pull out a win even at home.

It is worth noting that Alabama is now playing with their backs against the wall. One more loss would all but end the Tide’s chance of defending their West title. Two weeks ago I wrote that Kelly wouldn’t be good enough to beat the Tide, and if you can believe it, I’m writing almost the same thing today. Georgia is good, but they won’t get a big enough performance from Greyson Lambert to get past the Tide.

Alabama – 24 Georgia – 16

A Tide victory should keep them on track to enter the October 17th matchup at Kyle Field with title hopes still intact, setting up what could be a big one in Aggieland if the Aggies can beat Mississippi State.

2. (3) Ole Miss at (25) Florida

The second East-West matchup features the mathematical favorite to win the West against a quickly rebuilding perennial East power. Florida is 4-0, thanks to a comeback

Sep 26, 2015; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Will Grier (7) runs out of the pocket against the Tennessee Volunteers during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the Tennessee Volunteers 28-27. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

win against Tennessee last week, while Ole Miss looked uninterested in an eleven point win over Vanderbilt. Chad Kelly was riding high after upsetting Bama, but two interceptions against albeit an improved Commodore defense is not the direction Hugh Freeze wants his quarterback to go. Ole Miss put up over 70 points in it’s first two contests, but the Swamp is not the easiest place to go and win. Florida is playing solid defense as usual and beginning to find an offensive identity with Will Grier and Kealvin Davis. Look for a low-scoring affair like Ole Miss’ win last week but don’t expect the Gators to hang around longer than three quarters.

Ole Miss – 37 Florida – 20

Since the Rebels’ next two games are against New Mexico State and Memphis, an Ole Miss win over Florida in the Swamp would likely put the Rebels at 7-0 when Texas A&M travels to Oxford.

3. Arkansas at Tennessee

This game should be one of the best games of the weekend, that unfortunately is all but meaningless. The Razorbacks and Volunteers were very trendy dark-horse picks to win the West and East divisions, respectively, until they combined for a 3-5 start to the season, including three non-conference losses and surrendering a comeback in their

Sep 26, 2015; Gainesville, FL, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Joshua Dobbs (11) throws the ball against the Florida Gators during the first half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

SEC openers. The Razorbacks showed fight with a near-upset of A&M, and Tennessee showed the opposite in getting beaten by a rebuilding Florida team. This game should be back and forth and just as close as last week was for both of these teams.

Arkansas – 31 Tennessee 30

This game will have little effect on Texas A&M, since it has already played Arkansas and won’t play Tennessee. However, a Razorback win would boost Texas A&M’s resume.

4. (21) Mississippi State at (14) Texas A&M

As I mentioned in my last article, Mississippi State is a team that many have wrongfully so written off already this season. The Bulldogs return good experience from last year’s team that spent much of the season as the no. 1 team in the nation, including Dak Prescott, who is perhaps the best player in the SEC not named Leonard Fournette. The Bulldogs nearly came back to beat the aforementioned Fournette’s team on a missed field goal as time expired, and has a road victory against Auburn under their belt. The 3-1 Bulldogs are a team to be reckoned with, and while they shouldn’t be counted on to win the West, the Bulldogs have the potential to still be a player through the end of October.

Texas A&M has been relatively quiet since beating Arizona State 38-17 in the opener, and beating Arkansas in overtime last week. Kyle Allen is quietly playing football as good as any quarterback, with eleven touchdowns to just two picks, including

Sep 26, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies nickel Donovan Wilson (6) intercepts the ball in the second quarter against Arkansas Razorbacks receiver Jojo Robinson (17) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

completing 75% of his passes last week for over 350 yards. Defensively, Mississippi State will be a challenge for the Aggies to consistently pass on and could pose a problem containing Tra Carson, but will be forced to defend for more than 48 plays. On offense, Mississippi State is basically just the Dak Attack, and if Chavis is able to limit Prescott and make other players make plays, the Aggies will win this game handily. Prescott is too good to shut down, so expect a few big plays and third down converting runs, but also some sacks from Myles Garrett and an interception or two.

Texas A&M – 35 Mississippi State – 24

If the Aggies win today, it should vault them into the top 10, or at least on the verge. A loss might prove devastating to their young season, unless they can regroup during the bye week and come into back to back matchups with Alabama and Ole Miss refreshed and rejuvenated.

5. Other Games

San Jose State @ Auburn:

The Tigers get a much-need break from SEC play and get a visit from San Jose State, whom Auburn beat 59-13 last year, and has not recovered from the graduation of David Fales. The Spartans will come into Jordan-Hare hungry for the upset that Jacksonville State nearly pulled, but new quarterback Sean White seems capable of at least a few touchdowns against this struggling Mountain West Team, which should be enough to survive the upset.

Auburn – 27 San Jose State – 16

Eastern Michigan @ (7) LSU:

LSU also gets a second week off before playing South Carolina and Florida, and the Louisiana Tigers shouldn’t be anywhere near as worried as their counterparts in Alabama. Eastern Michigan has been historically one of the worst teams in the FBS over the last few seasons, so this looks like another game for Leonard Fournette to pad his stats and for Brandon Harris to get some confidence in his throwing ability.

LSU – 52 Eastern Michigan – 3

Missouri – 29 South Carolina – 26

Vanderbilt – 21 Middle Tennessee State – 20

Kentucky – 42 Eastern Kentucky – 21

Current Season Record: 38-5