Welcome to Week 8 of 2021 SEC Football Predictions! This week features three ranked teams in action, but no ranked vs. ranked matchups. Let’s predict!
All Times Eastern | Utilizing the AP Poll until the College Football Playoff Selection Committee releases their rankings.
October 23, 2021
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-5) at Arkansas (4-3, 1-3 SEC )
Noon ET | Little Rock, AR | SEC Network
Arkansas earned a break after games against Texas A&M, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Auburn. This week’s game against the Golden Lions of Arkansas-Pine Bluff is that break.
Prediction | Arkansas 44, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 3
LSU (4-3, 2-2 SEC) at #12 Ole Miss (5-1, 2-1 SEC)
3:30pm ET | Oxford, MS | CBS
This game has all the makings of a wild, multi-overtime game. Coach O is on his way out of Baton Rouge at season’s end and Lane Kiffin is Lane Kiffin. These two dudes have a history together at Tennessee and USC and neither coach leaves fans wanting in entertaining value.
The new overtime rules haven’t been a story in 2021. Yet.
A team must now go for two beginning in the second overtime and the dueling “penalty shot” two-point conversions begin if teams remain tied after two overtimes. I bring this up because I think we are about to see a shift in coaches taking the chance of playing an overtime game that has a good chance of coming down to converting a two-point try (or multiple tries). Honestly, I’m not sure why more teams haven’t always done what Sam Pittman attempted against Ole Miss when he went for the win rather than allowing the Rebels to score at will on his defense in overtime.
Imagine you were a head coach and at any given moment of the game the officials placed the ball on the three yard line and said, “If you can score from three yards out, you win the game.” I would think every coach would give their left ear to be given the task of coming up with one play to get three yards and be given the win. Why does that idea change when it comes to the end of a game and the prospect of overtime exists? Why chance what could happen in overtime when you are three yards from absolute victory?
The mistake everyone is making is comparing the success rate of the two-point conversion to the success rate of the extra point when deciding whether to go for two or settling for the extra point to send to the game to overtime. The success rate of the two-point conversion is about 50 percent. Your chances of winning in overtime are varied and convoluted to calculate. At best, no matter your win-loss record in overtime, your chances can’t be much higher than fifty percent. Especially if you are the “underdog.”
Did we just spend two paragraphs discussing the inherent risk of overtime versus the very clear and absolute stakes of a two-point conversion? Yes. And it’s a discussion more of us need to have with our children. Am I right?
Prediction | LSU 41, Ole Miss 40 (4OT)
Mississippi State (3-3, 1-2 SEC) at Vanderbilt (2-5, 0-3 SEC)
4:00pm ET | Nashville, TN | SEC Network
Mississippi State could be in for a long day if they don’t take Vanderbilt seriously. They could also throw the ball 87 times and score a ton of points. I think the result will fall somewhere in the middle of all that.
Prediction | Mississippi State 27, Vanderbilt 17
Tennessee (4-3, 2-2) at #4 Alabama (6-1, 3-1 SEC)
7:00pm ET | Tuscaloosa, AL | ESPN
Tennessee will give Alabama’s defense fits if Herndon Hooker is available to play quarterback. The fits won’t last the entire game, but ‘Tide fans may be clinching before halftime. The game will go as most expect beginning sometime in the third quarter.
Prediction | Alabama 45, Tennessee 17
South Carolina (4-3, 1-3 SEC) at #17 Texas A&M (5-2, 2-2 SEC)
7:30pm ET | College Station, TX | SEC Network
Shane Beamer is fun. I can’t wait to see what he builds in Columbia if given enough time to build it. Unfortunately, Texas A&M is a tough out this week, so Beamer will need to continue winning popularity points and patience with that great personality. The Gamecocks time is coming, though.
Prediction | Texas A&M 43, South Carolina 13