SEC Football Predictions | Week 5
Week 4 Record (4-5) | Overall Record (23-21)
Welcome to the Week 5 edition of SEC Football Predictions. We are in an historic tailspin as predictors for the fine folks here at FBSchedules. There were months when people were emailing me who enjoyed watching college football for the fun of the wager. Now, I have school presidents and athletic directors threatening to harm my family and pets if I predict a win for their program. At any rate, I choose to walk on the silver lining of this black cloud. When my picks are wrong, it means that the games are entertaining and fun. Honestly, I’m having a blast at 23-21. I really don’t know how Dan Wolken at USA TODAY could possibly enjoy this season as much as I am. He’s something like 58-0 on the year predicting games. Yuck. How much fun could that be? Don’t ask me, because I have no idea.
Tennessee has proven you can be a second half team and have success so that’s what the plan is for Week 5 through the remainder of the season. Full throttle and all wins.
I haven’t received any calls from the FBSchedules front office, so I feel safe in preparing another set of SEC Football Predictions for Week 5. Besides, who would get fired in the middle of the year when the season is just now taking shape…. Oh… wait. Do what? Les Miles did? Wow. Okay. Well, I’ll have a box with my stuff in it just in case.
I think this is the week it all turns around. Let’s get to the Week 5 edition of SEC Football Predictions and observe the greatest turnaround in the history of the written prediction.
All Times Eastern | Utilizing AP Rankings until the College Football Playoff Selection Committee Rankings are released in October.
SEC Football Predictions | Week 4 | Sept. 24, 2016
Alcorn State (1-2) at #20 Arkansas (3-1, 1-1 SEC)
Noon ET | SEC Network | Little Rock
Quick word of wisdom: The Hogs are coming off a tough loss to Texas A&M in a game many (including me) believed would be Arkansas’ announcement to the college football world that they are ready to challenge Alabama in the West. Instead, Arkansas needed a yard for a touchdown on fourth down that would have tied the game, but A&M’s defense held court. Trevor Knight hit Josh Reynolds two plays later for a 92-yard touchdown with 1:33 left in the third and just like that the Aggies were up by 14.
That drive where A&M stopped Arkansas on fourth down was a 19-play drive that covered 89 yards and 9:55 of game clock. Those are season-defining drives. The catch is they can define your season negatively when you come up with zero points resulting in a 14-point swing in less than a minute.
The Razorbacks get a great opportunity this week to exercise some demons against the alma mater of Steve McNair before welcoming No. 1 Alabama to Fayetteville in a game that can erase the stank that lingers from the A&M debacle. Arkansas lost by 21 to A&M, but they win at least five games if those two teams played ten times.
Long story short, Arkansas may have dropped off everyone’s radar for now, but they get a rare chance to make up for it in one week. Stay healthy Saturday and get ready for Alabama… as if that hasn’t been what you’ve been doing since your flight departed from Dallas.
PREDICTION: Arkansas 44, Alcorn State 10
#23 Florida (3-1, 1-1 SEC) at Vanderbilt (2-2, 0-1 SEC)
Noon ET | SEC Network
Big game word of wisdom: Vanderbilt ranks near the bottom of nearly every statistical category in the SEC for both offense and defense. Florida was ranked No.1 in nearly every defensive category until about five minutes into the third quarter of Saturday’s loss to Tennessee.
Florida should be able to lick their wounds in Nashville this Saturday, but the Gators need to remember one important intangible that traps many an SEC team. The most underrated trap in the SEC is the 11:00 a.m. local time kickoff at Vanderbilt Stadium. Some teams don’t wake up until midway through the third quarter (when many Vandy fans begin arriving to the game) and find themselves trailing or clinging to a one-possession lead as a double-digit favorite. The Gators should be okay on Saturday, but they need to be ‘ware the Early Kickoff Angel of Death Trap.
PREDICTION: Florida 31, Vanderbilt 3
ULM (1-2) at Auburn (2-2, 1-1 SEC)
3:30pm ET | SEC Network
A few words of wisdom: Auburn lost to LSU last week until the play was overturned and they ended up winning. Then Les Miles was fired and Ed Orgeron became a head coach in the SEC again.
PREDICTION: Auburn 24, ULM 7
#11 Tennessee (4-0, 1-0) at #25 Georgia (3-1, 1-1 SEC)
3:30 PM ET | CBS
Quick word of wisdom: Will former Tennessee State Representative Jeremy Durham be in attendance for this game? He’s been kicked out of the Tennessee Assembly, the Tennessee-Florida game at Neyland Stadium, and has an opportunity to add a road SEC stadium to his resume this weekend. Sorry, just a little inside joke for us Tennesseans out there.
This game has interesting written all over it. In August we were all pointing to the trip to College Station as the trap game for Tennessee, but Hurricane Trapgame has changed its itinerary and trajectory and will be making landfall a week early in Athens, Georgia. If last Saturday’s Georgia-Ole Miss game in Oxford is any indicator, this hurricane will be more like a stiff breeze in Athens. Georgia was beaten from one end of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium to the other.
The Bulldogs are ranked 10th in scoring offense (25.2 ppg) and tied with Ole Miss for 12th in scoring defense (30.0 ppg). The Vols are a touchdown better on offense and eight points better on defense. The line for this game is 3.5 in favor of Tennessee. Other than a letdown from Tennessee and a big rebound from Georgia, this line doesn’t make much sense. I see Tennessee pulling away late in the game to win by double-digits.
PREDICTION: Tennessee 34, Georgia 21
#9 Texas A&M (4-0, 2-0 SEC) at South Carolina (2-2, 1-2 SEC)
4:00pm ET | SEC Network
Quick word of wisdom: I can think of just under one reason why South Carolina can make this a game. Texas A&M will score points and John Chavis is finding ways to feature his playmakers on defense. The Aggies are trying to make believers out of people (like me) who think A&M is nothing more than a September Shooting Star that looks great for a fleeting moment only to vanish into the October and November night.
Something is different about this team compared to the 2015 team. With a solid defense to go along with a quarterback who seems to get better and more comfortable in the system each week, A&M could be looking at a top-five matchup with Alabama on October 22 in Tuscaloosa.
PREDICTION: Texas A&M 41, South Carolina 6
Kentucky (2-2, 1-1 SEC) at #1 Alabama (4-0, 1-0)
7:00 PM ET | ESPN
Quick word of wisdom: Alabama will use Saturday to officially introduce the nation to the ready-for-primetime players that will take the Tide through the October and November stretch of the season. These players will include true freshman running back Joshua Jacobs and freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts. Jacobs is more than likely not allowed to wear No. 22 for the simple reason that the NCAA would believe he was Mark Ingram and deem him ineligible from playing as a professional athlete.
Kentucky is coming off a win at home against South Carolina and hopes to put up a good fight against the No. 1 team in the country so they can finish the season playing like they were expected to play the first three weeks of the season.
As much as this game fits the description as well as any, Alabama cannot fall into the trap of treating the Wildcats as the final game before a five-week stretch of four games that include road trips to Arkansas, Tennessee, and LSU as well as a home game against Texas A&M sprinkled in there. The last thing Alabama needs is to take Kentucky lightly and extend that four-game stretch into five nasty games.
Alabama may be flat early, but should put together a few efficient scoring drives to salt the game away by late in the third quarter.
PREDICTION: Alabama 34, Kentucky 7
Memphis (3-0) at #16 Ole Miss (2-2, 1-1 SEC)
7:00 PM ET | ESPN2
Quick word of wisdom: It looks like Ole Miss went ahead and got those two losses out of the way early so they can just look dominating the remainder of the season. That 45-14 beating of Georgia last Saturday in Oxford would have earned them a four year prison sentence and hefty fine in 25 states and U.S territory Puerto Rico.
The Rebels now get an opportunity to get retribution for last year’s embarrassing beat-down at the hands of Memphis. Although Memphis is undefeated and scored 77 against Bowling Green last week, I think Ole Miss is comfortable with who they are and should make haste with many teams remaining on the schedule.
PREDICTION: Ole Miss 49, Memphis 20
Missouri (2-2, 0-1 SEC) at LSU (2-2, 1-1 SEC)
7:30p.m. ET | SEC Network
Quick word of wisdom: Ed Orgeron, always the interim bridesmaid and never the head coach bride, is once again a “kinda” head coach. He stepped in for Lane Kiffin at USC and went 6-2 in 2013. Orgeron will rent the office of the head coach in Baton Rouge for the remainder of the 2016 season following the swift and shocking firing of Les Miles the day after
beating Auburn on a touchdown play with no time remaining in the game losing to Auburn in what may be the wildest ending of any game this season.
I’m torn on this game because I think LSU can win with a pretty good effort, but asking for pretty good after what this team has endured over the last five days seems lofty. Missouri has played better in 2016. Barry Odom’s bunch is a few less turnovers away from being a headache for the SEC East again.
LSU is a bad offensive series away from detonating right in front of our own eyes. Based on Orgeron’s press conference on Monday, it sounds like it may take one offensive possession for the worst to occur. Orgeron promises to run a spread offense. The one way to send LSU fans into a higher level of hysterics is to run some form of a spread offense and take carries away from Leonard Fournette. Fournette, however, may secretly cheer a new offense that relies much less on him and decreases the tow on his body. Many players are required to prove themselves worthy of the NFL, but Fournette was ready at halftime of the opening game of 2015.
Marcus Lattimore is the most recent and publicized example of what can happen when a running back is forced to stay in college one more season. Rarely is any player ready for the NFL as a player drafted by an NFL team. Even rarer is the player that is ready to step on the NFL field as a college sophomore. Don’t be surprised if the Fournette train is slowed down for October and November. If that happens, LSU’s train will be completely derailed for 2016.
PREDICTION: Missouri 28, LSU 17
Teams With Open Date: Mississippi State
Eric Taylor is a contributor to FBSchedules.com. Follow him on Twitter @EricFromSpfld or contact him via email at Eric–at– TaylorCreativeGroup–dot– net. Eric is also President and Founder of Taylor Creative Group. For more college football coverage from Eric, visit PuntOnThirdDown-dot-com for the POTD Blog and POTD Podcast. Be sure to Like the Facebook page Facebook.com/EricTaylorWritesStuff for the latest on the 2016 SEC Football Predictions and all POTD Blogs and Podcasts.