SEC Football Predictions | Week 6
Week 5 Record (8-1) | Overall Record (31-22)
Welcome to the Week 6 edition of SEC Football Predictions. I’m not one to brag, but how awesome and great was I in Week 5? I predicted a 34-7 Alabama win over Kentucky and missed by one point (34-6 actual final score). I should also mention the 49-29 prediction for Ole Miss over Memphis. The final score of that one was 48-28.
Missouri? Do what now? Oh. I’m not sure what you’re talking about. Didn’t catch that game. I was busy doing stuff.
Y’all see that Tennessee game where they sacked Jacob Eason in the end zone and forced the fumble to take the lead and win. WHAT?!?! Georgia scored with :10 left to win??!?! NO WAY! Then Jauan Jennings caught a Hail Mary pass for the win.
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 6. 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 6 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 6 | October 8, 2016
LSU (1-2) at #18 Florida (4-1, 2-1 SEC)
Noon ET | ESPN
Note: The SEC has announced that the Florida at LSU game has been postponed. The conference will attempt to reschedule the game.
Quick word of wisdom: Everyone from ESPN to CBS questioned Ed Orgeron’s promise to open up the offense and spread it out a little bit on Saturday. At first glance that seemed to be a legit question, but passing the ball 55 times per game is not a prerequisite to running a spread offense. Danny Etling did throw the ball 30 times in LSU’s 42-7 dismantling of Missouri, which is above the average of the previous four games.
The spread can poison a defense in more than one way. That’s the advantage of it. Teams can score early and often, but in what the offense gives up in time of possession, they more than make up for in total number of plays. So, while the offense appears to be striking quickly, a slow burn is occurring under the surface that reaches the defense in the latter stages of the game. That burn leads to fatigue and the inability to stop the run.
A great roster of talent with a renewed spirit of energy and life doesn’t hurt either. Everyone has been waiting for LSU to play this all season. It can all turn around in 60 minutes of football and Missouri played the role of the burned very well Saturday inside Tiger Stadium.
The Tigers of Ed Orgeron ran a total of 82 offensive plays on Saturday night. I’m not sure LSU ran 82 total plays on offense since November of the 2015 season. They were offensive, but let’s keep the puns to a minimum, shall we?
Spreading offensive players all over the field opens up the middle of the field by spreading out the defense. When you take away the congestion at the point of attack, where most teams have been stacking the box with 11 players to stop Leonard Fournette, you provide multiple running lanes to great athletes. LSU piled up 418 rushing yards against Missouri and Fournette was only responsible for a whopping 12 of those yards. Derrius Guice rushed for 163 yards and 3 touchdown on 17 carries while Darrel Williams added 130 yards and 3 touchdowns on 21 carries.
No one is accusing LSU of becoming the 2010 or 2013 Auburn Tigers by any means, but it’s not a good reflection on Les Miles’ offensive philosophy if they can show this marked improvement over the next seven games with this small of a tweak on the offensive side of the ball.
Then there’s Florida, who expects to get Luke Del Rio back under center. And not a moment too soon for Florida fans and/or fans of yards. Florida stacked up a grand total of 236 yards in the Gators’ 13-6 shootout victory over the offense-starved Vanderbilt Commodores. Vanderbilt outgained Florida by amassing 265 total yards of offense. Yes, LSU outgained both of them combined last Saturday.
With Florida’s hopes of reintroducing the forward pass to the people of Gainesville by way of Luke Del Rio’s right arm and LSU feeling giddy over throwing the ball 30 times last week, this game will still come down to defense and the running game.
With all of that being written above, relying on common sense and precedent from previous games has proven to be a tiring exercise in futility for those at the SEC Football Predictions home office. I’ll say LSU wins in a low scoring game of hard-hitting defense and a grind-it-out running plays fully understanding that the score will most likely end up somewhere just shy of 56-53 because SEC and LSU.
PREDICTION: LSU 21, Florida 19
Auburn (3-2, 1-1 SEC) at Mississippi State (2-2, 1-1 SEC)
Noon ET | ESPN
Quick word of wisdom: First and foremost, this is Auburn’s first road game. October 8th and the Tigers have yet to leave Jordan-Hare Stadium. A Gus Bus ride to Davis Wade Stadium doesn’t exactly evoke feelings of fear, but any road game has to feel completely foreign for Auburn at this point of the season.
Rumors have been spreading inside the Auburn athletic department all week that the Tigers will wear alternate uniforms Saturday. Further research uncovered that they will wear the white-on-white-on-white for the game, which is the standard road uniform.
Mississippi State had the first open date of the SEC Football season and I’m not sure we know anymore about this Bulldog team than we know about Auburn’s ability to play on the road. The Bulldogs opened the season with a loss to South Alabama, defeated a very raw and green South Carolina team in its first year under Will Muschamp, made a mad dash of a comeback against LSU that fell just short on September 17th before defeating UMass on the road at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
This game will fill in a few of the blanks on both teams Saturday, but will do little to decide anything in the overall race in the SEC or SEC West. As always, this one should come down to a play or two late in the game.
PREDICTION: Auburn 31, Mississippi State 28 | 2 OT
#9 Tennessee (5-0, 2-0 SEC) at #8 Texas A&M (5-0, 3-0 SEC)
3:30pm ET | CBS
Big game of wisdom: No one knows, yet, which one of these two teams is truly legit. Texas A&M have started 5-0 the last three years, but have not begun a season 6-0 since 1994. This Aggies team continues to gel as a team each week and Trevor Knight just keeps on winning.
All Tennessee has done is erase three-score deficits over their two biggest rivals in the SEC East in back-to-back weeks. The Florida win looks simple in comparison to last week’s hail mary to defeat Georgia in a game that ended on two consecutive bombs for touchdowns in the final :13 seconds.
Both A&M and Tennessee have Alabama coming up next on the schedule at the conclusion of this game. Neither will be looking ahead to that game, but both understand what a win in this one game means for the second half of the season. That is why this game could go in any number of directions and surprise no one. Texas A&M could blow out the Vols or Tennessee could win by 20.
Each team is up for grabs so whatever happens will surprise no one, but the result will be the hottest topic of the SEC at the conclusion of Saturday’s games.
PREDICTION: Tennessee 37, Texas A&M 31
Vanderbilt (2-3, 0-2) at Kentucky (2-3, 1-2 SEC)
4:00 PM ET | SEC Network
Quick word of wisdom: One thing you need to know about this game is that Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shurmur will be wearing an eye patch. That is really all I need to know. Kyle Shurmur may put himself into the Heisman conversation before the end of the day. One eye. One game. One shining moment.
But Kentucky will win. The Wildcats will have twice as many eyeballs under center and that will be the difference.
PREDICTION: Kentucky 21, Vanderbilt 17
#1 Alabama (5-0, 2-0 SEC) at #16 Arkansas (4-1, 0-1 SEC)
7:00pm ET | ESPN
Quick word of wisdom: No team has been referenced in the SEC Football Predictions each week more than Arkansas. We have talked about Arkansas becoming that team that could sneak up on the SEC West and shock their way to Atlanta. Although Texas A&M bested the Razorbacks two weeks ago, this remains a very dangerous game for Nick Saban’s Alabama team.
Freshmen abound on the offensive side of the ball for Alabama. Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts will make his second start in a true road game Saturday night at Razorback Stadium. Hurts has proven himself ready for the task after going into Oxford and leaving with a victory after trailing 24-3 in the first half. That poise is what should be the difference in this game for Alabama.
The teams that have beaten Alabama over the last five years have dynamic quarterbacks who can make extraordinary plays at any given moment. Austin Allen is not a dynamic quarterback by definition, but he is a tough quarterback that can put his team in position to win. He does not back down and he is not afraid of any circumstance on the field. Bret Bielema has proven that he trusts Allen under center as Arkansas has relied on the pass more than the run and the team has been successful for the most part.
I still think Alabama has too much on defense and the offense is only getting better with yet another freshman in the backfield taking over. Freshman running back Joshua Jacobs is proving to be the best back wearing crimson and this game against the Razorbacks will be a great opportunity to prove himself as the guy for Alabama.
PREDICTION: Alabama 31, Arkansas 21
Georgia (3-2, 1-2 SEC) at South Carolina (2-3, 1-2)
2:30pm ET | SEC Network (Sunday)
Quick word of wisdom: How does a team recover following what appeared to be a huge win with :10 seconds left on a bomb from Jacob Eason only to lose on the next and final play on a Hail Mary from Tennessee’s Joshua Dobbs? One way is to come out and take out all frustrations on a rival.
The Gamecocks have not been a great team in 2016, but the Bulldogs will leave Columbia with a loss if they are still licking their wounds from last week’s heartbreaking loss. If Georgia can play at any level close to how they played Saturday, they should destroy South Carolina.
I don’t know how UGA can just blow off all that occurred last week by casually strutting into Williams-Brice Stadium and leaving with a blowout win. This game will be close and Georgia will require overtime to get the win.
PREDICTION: Georgia 30, South Carolina 27 OT
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.