SEC Week 9 Preview

Mississippi State at Texas A&M

The SEC game of the week features two teams looking to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.  The SEC desperately needs another quality team to push into the top 25, and the winner of this game will likely accomplish that.  A&M is seeking revenge for last year’s embarrassing loss at the hands of the Bulldogs, and MSU is trying to prove it can win on the road against a solid opponent.  A&M has been much better defending against the run this season, and will look to shut down QB Nick Fitzgerald’s rushing attempts to force him to beat the Aggies through the air.  I think we’ll see another close game from the Aggies, perhaps needing another come-from-behind drive late in the 4th quarter.  Improved play of the Aggie front seven will be the difference in this game.

Pick: Aggies win by 7.

Georgia vs Florida

The World’s Largest Cocktail Party gets back in full swing this year with two teams headed in different directions.  Florida has lost two in a row to LSU and A&M, meanwhile Georgia is riding high, undefeated on the year.  Florida has proven they will always be solid on defense no matter how many players are hurt or suspended.  They did a great job of slowing down the LSU and A&M rushing attacks.  So going up against Georgia’s high-powered running game should make things interesting.  Georgia has lost the last 2 seasons to the Gators and they’re looking for another feather to put in their cap after only having one quality win (over Notre Dame).  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say the Gators trip up the Bulldogs thanks to having a bye week to get healthy and draw up a winning game plan.

Pick: Gators win by 3.

Vanderbilt at South Carolina

South Carolina is my pick to surprise some people in the SEC.  In fact, I think they’ll be in contention for the SEC East down the stretch.  They’re another team that is coming off a bye week, which should help them prepare for not only Vanderbilt, but a stretch run where they could finish a respectable 3-2 over their last 5 with the two losses coming to top 10 teams.  Vandy has faced some stiff competition, and they’re still looking for their first conference win, but until they find some semblance of a running game, they’re in deep trouble in this league.

Pick: South Carolina wins by 14.

Tennessee at Kentucky

This game features two teams that are in danger of their wheels flying off and skidding to a halt.  UT has fallen on hard times that will likely claim coach Butch Jones’s job.  A game against a Kentucky team that looked very shaky against Mississippi State last week might be just what the doctor ordered.  John Kelly will get the run game churning again, and Jarrett Guarantano gets some confidence throwing the ball.  I’ll “guarantino” a victory as UT finally gets off the schneid with their first SEC win over Kentucky.

Pick: Tennessee wins by 10.

Arkansas at Ole Miss

Speaking of teams in trouble, this game is a fight to get out of the SEC West basement.  Most seasons, people point to Arkansas as an example of quality depth in the SEC West, saying the worst team in the SEC West could beat some of the best teams in any other conference.  Not so this year.  The Razorbacks are really bad, and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.  Ole Miss got some terrible news that QB Shea Patterson is out for the year with a knee injury.  Arkansas players have been dropping like flies as well.  It’s hard to pick a winner here, but since there are no ties in college football, I’ll go with the Rebels at home.

Pick: Ole Miss wins by 7.

Missouri at Connecticut

The non-conference snoozer of the week pits Mizzou against UCONN.  I actually had to look-up what conference UCONN is in.  Tigers QB Drew Lock is putting up some impressive stats this season despite his team really struggling.  I think Mizzou will roll on the road at UCONN for the simple reason that I can’t name a single player on their team and don’t know who their coach is off the top of my head.

Pick: Mizzou wins by 21.