Weekly ‘Weakly SEC Football Predictions’ | 2014, Week 5

By Eric Taylor -

Last Week’s Record (6-2), Overall (25-6)

I heard Braden Gall of Athlon Sports mention something last week on his weekly segment on Midday 180 on 104.5 The Zone out of Nashville that may come to fruition. 2007 was one of those seasons where teams like South Florida and Boston College were hovering over the top spots in the AP Poll. Gall alluded to the possibility of seeing more South Florida’s and Boston College’s making a push into the Top 5 in 2014 for the first time since that ridiculous 2007 season.

Although the usual suspects of Seminoles, Ducks, Crimson Tides, Sooners, and War Eagle Tigers currently sit atop the college football rankings, the current AP Poll is shaping up to resemble the 2007 season that was loaded with short-term Cinderella stories. How short-term these Cinderella stories will be has yet to be seen, but with names like Mississippi State and East Carolina blasting into the Top 25 this week at No. 14 and No. 23, respectively, don’t be surprised to see a few new and non-traditional names showing up in the top 10 before season’s end. Ole Miss has already poked its head in at No. 10, so we are setting up for a fun sprint to the College Football Playoff final four.

Oh, how can I forget? Notre Dame is ranked No. 8 because Notre Dame. Tell me all you want that the Irish do not get the same favor they did decades ago, but Notre Dame is ranked No. 8 in the entire world of college football, you guys. A couple more wins and they will receive an automatic bid to the College Football Playoff.

Before we get to the final four, we must first review Week 4 and predict Week 5, so let’s do that now.

Week 4′s Weakly Comparison
Weakest Two
1. Indiana 31, Missouri 27 (Predicted Missouri 44, Indiana 17)
2. Mississippi State 34, LSU 29 (Predicted LSU 28, Mississippi State 23 )

Best Two
1. Georgia 66, Troy 0 (Predicted Georgia 77-0)
2. Texas A&M 58, SMU 6 (Predicted Texas A&M 55, SMU 13)
Very unimpressive guesses of very mismatched games.

Week 5 Predictions

Every SEC team will have at least one conference game under their belt at the end of Week 5. Some are playing their first conference game this week (Tennessee and Missouri) while one team will be halfway through their conference schedule following Saturday’s action (South Carolina).

With next Saturday (October 4) being billed as something along the lines of “Separation Saturday,” this week will be a “Prelude to the Biggest Weekend of the SEC Schedule.” However, a couple of upsets here and there in Week 5 and Week 6 quickly becomes the weekend of “Matchups That Nearly Meant Something.”

Please direct your attention to the 50 yard line for a special presentation of Week 5’s predictions.

All Times Eastern | Utilizing AP Poll until College Football Playoff Selection Committee poll is released on October 28.

Saturday, September 27
Tennessee (2-1, 0-0) at #12 Georgia (2-1, 0-1 SEC)
12:00pm | ESPN

College football has endured a few changes to its landscape the past three-to-five years, but none have been as big in the South as Tennessee not opening SEC play against Florida on the third Saturday in September.

This Saturday’s SEC opener for the Vols will be in Athens, Georgia to face a Bulldogs team that will still feel slighted for the loss suffered two weeks prior at South Carolina. Georgia also remembers the previous two seasons’ near upsets by the Volunteers.

Georgia escaped Knoxville with an overtime victory in 2013, but they also took home to Athens an injury list so substantial that the season ended with a dull dud of disappointment.

Tennessee spent last week licking its wounds following a road trip to Norman, Oklahoma. Although the Sooners won handily, it was not the same Tennessee teams of Derek Dooley past where the bleeding just wouldn’t stop. The Vols have some youth that will only get better throughout the season. Will Athens be the place it all begins to come together?

I don’t think it’s quite time for the Vols to win a big one like this on the road, but by November, every pundit in college football will be excited to see what Butch Jones does with this team in 2015. Tennessee is respectable, but just doesn’t have the horses to outrun this litter of Bulldogs.
FINAL SCORE: Georgia 35, Tennessee 17

Vanderbilt (1-3, 0-2) at Kentucky (2-1, 0-1 SEC)
12:00pm | SEC Network

Kentucky has improved immensely in year two under Wildcats head coach Mike Stoops. They had a week off to forget (or sulk) about the 3-overtime loss to Florida in Gainesville. Vanderbilt appears to be improving a little each week so the ‘Cats can’t look at this game as a guaranteed bounce-back game.

Kentucky will be looking to break a 3-game losing streak to the Commodores in this noon kickoff game in Lexington. The losses suffered at the hands of the ‘Dores since 2011 have been severe beat downs. To quantify that for you, allow me to do a little math. Over the past three losses, Vandy has outscored Kentucky 100-14.

That’s ONE HUNDRED for Vanderbilt and FOURTEEN for Kentucky. FOURTEEN!

Luckily for the current Wildcats, they only have to score more than Vanderbilt in this one game and that, honestly, should not be a problem.
FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 35, Vanderbilt 10

#6 Texas A&M (4-0, 1-0 SEC) vs. Arkansas (3-1, 0-1)
3:30pm | CBS | AT&T Stadium | Arlington

The scoreboard on that mountainous big screen inside the Jerry Dome will be busy in the Dallas area on Saturday afternoon. Texas A&M can throw and Arkansas can run.

Kevin Sumlin vs. Bret Bielema may be the closest we’ll ever come to knowing what it would have looked like seeing Tom Landry vs. Jimmy Johnson. No, Johnson never ran a system similar to Sumlin, but the dichotomy between Saturday’s head coaches is as applicable.

Sumlin feels that there is no such thing as a drive that’s too short. Bielema believes there is no drive that’s too long so long as you’re chewing up clock and time of possession.

It should be fun to see which team dictates pace. This may look like a basketball game at times with A&M trying to run up and down the court while Arkansas sets up its mid-court offense and score with as little time left on the shot clock as possible.

This may be the week that the West gets even more jumbled that it already was. A&M will no longer be among the undefeated after the clock hits 00:00.
FINAL SCORE: Arkansas 44, Texas A&M 35

Louisiana Tech (2-2) at #5 Auburn (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
4:00pm | SEC Network

Anytime I see LA Tech I immediately have flashbacks to 1997 and 1999 when the Bulldogs of Ruston, Louisiana defeated Alabama. That 1999 team that lost to Tech won the SEC Championship.

What do these random moments from 15 years ago have to do with Auburn’s matchup with Louisiana Tech?

Nothing whatsoever.

It was that or actually talk about how the Bulldogs have a shot to win this game if they execute in the first and second half and stuff.

WAKE UP! See? I told you the first paragraph was much more enjoyable.

Sorry, Auburn. You win, but you fail to get the shutout.
FINAL SCORE: Auburn 42, Louisiana Tech 7

Missouri (3-1, 0-0 SEC) at #13 South Carolina (3-1, 2-1 SEC)
7:00pm ET | ESPN

Remember that time we all said, “Okay. We’ve slept on Missouri enough. Stop it and stop it now. They are legit and last season’s run to Atlanta was no fluke”? Well, it might not have been a fluke last year, but our willingness to crown the Tigers a real threat in the SEC fell very flat Saturday at home versus the Hoosiers of Indiana.

The good news for Mizzou is they remain undefeated in SEC play. The bad news is, INDIANA! ALL THE HOOSIERS!

The Gamecocks will be playing their fourth SEC game while the other is playing their first. I just mentioned Mizzou is undefeated in SEC play, but they are also winless, so there’s that. South Carolina is 2-1, and will have already played half their SEC schedule once this game comes to a close. Missouri did the same last year in their run to the East Championship.

Based on how the SEC East has gone thus far, I’m taking Missouri on the road, one week following a loss to Indiana at home. IN. DEE. ANNA.
FINAL SCORE: Missouri 36, South Carolina 28

New Mexico State (2-2) at #17 LSU (3-1, 0-1 SEC)
7:30pm ET | SEC Network

Remember last week when we predicted Georgia over Troy by a score of 77-0 and Georgia came a little short, only winning by a score of 66-0?

Allow me to introduce New Mexico State to the portion of the schedule where a team with much much more talent and athleticism executes each and every play as though they have more talent and athleticism. The team on this portion of the schedule names the score because you are the team with the unfortunate task of playing the role of therapeutic punching bag and sparring partner for a team that lost their SEC opener to Mississippi State at home last week.

Other than that, though, New Mexico State can enjoy the nice Bayou evening in Baton Rouge.

#RIPNewMexicoState will be trending before the premier of SNL Saturday Night.
FINAL SCORE: LSU 52, New Mexico State 3

Memphis (2-1) at #10 Ole Miss (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
7:30pm ET | FSN

If there has ever been a trap game, this is the one. Memphis appears to be legit in 2014 with a 7-point loss to UCLA being the only blemish in 2014 going into Oxford to face No. 10 Ole Miss.

Not only is Memphis winning, but they are doing it in front of witnesses. An announced crowd of 46,378 watched as the Tigers trounced Middle Tennessee 36-17 Saturday night at the Liberty Bowl.

I spoke with Daily News Journal beat writer for Middle Tennessee State, Will Borthick (@willborthick), who got an up-close and personal look at the Tigers inside the Liberty Bowl on Saturday. I asked Will if Memphis could pose a serious threat to the Rebels outside of Ole Miss just playing their worst game of the year.

Absolutely. Tigers defense will be best Ole Miss has faced by far. Trap game, plus Memphis HATES Hotty Toddy.

The Memphis DL is big, nasty and tough to beat. Linebacker Tank Jakes is legit too. If Bo Wallace doesn’t protect the football, and we all know that is a weakness of his, the Tigers will capitalize. I’m not convinced Memphis will be able to move the ball a ton against Ole Miss’s defense, but if the Rebels are looking ahead to Alabama, they will get beat.

I detect a very minimal amount of “if” in that analysis of Memphis. The key is will Ole Miss be able to fool themselves long enough to believe they aren’t all hotty toddy hiddy giddy over Alabama coming to Oxford in seven days?

History has a way of poking its head in the door of college football’s office. Memphis beat Alabama in 1987 and Tennessee in 1996. The Tigers have a wide receiver that transferred from Alabama, Memphis native Keiwone Malone. He was 18 when he was a freshman at Alabama. If you double the number of years between the victories over Alabama and Tennessee, you get 18.

Because none of that really makes sense and it conveniently flows with what I’m trying to do here, we will just pretend that 18 has substantial meaning and thus and so. Memphis single-handedly takes the luster out of next week’s 3:30pm CBS kickoff from Vaught-Hemingway Stadium by handily winning the battle of field position by downing 80 percent of all punts inside the 20 yard line coupled with great defense that will force enough turnovers to create enough points to pull off the upset of the day.
FINAL SCORE: Ole Memphis 18, Ole Miss 9

Open Date: Florida, #3 Alabama, #14 Mississippi State

Eric Taylor is a contributor to FBSchedules.com. Follow him on Twitter @EricFromSpfld or contact him via email at Eric.Taylor –at– stadiumjourney –dot– com.

Comments (25)

Memphis beats Ole Miss 18-9? Come on, man. Memphis is a good AAC team, but they’re not East Carolina. Yes, the had a close game with UCLA, but UCLA has had a close game with everyone. They’re way overrated. I’m personally not sure why they’re still ranked as high as they are. Bo Wallace’s accuracy is currently at 75%, and as “good” as the Memphis defense is, they’re not gonna slow that down when he’s got the receivers that he does. And the Memphis offense is going to be a joke compared to the Ole Miss defense. Shut ’em up. Shut ’em down. Hotty Toddy. Ole Miss 35, Memphis 14.

UCLA trouncing #15 Arizona State 62-27 last week wasn’t too close a game now was it?

The Tigers are going to burst that little bubble down there (31-27)

What we know about the mighty SEC West through 4 weeks. All non division games:
SEC-E 3-0
Big12 3-0
B1G 1-0
C-USA 5-0
Sun Belt 3-0
MWC 2-0
AAC 1-0
MAC 1-0
Southland 3-0

They have beaten everybody outside their division, that’s good. They love playing home and neutral games, (presumably because they are easier to win) with only 3 true road games and only 2 OOC. They are clearly better than G5 and Southland teams with nearly 3/4 of their games played against that competition (this is despite 3 cross division games).

Lets examine their best wins
Auburn over K-State 20-14, that is impressive. However the win was not very convincing, and that same K-State team needed help to squeak past Iowa State the previous week.

Alabama over WVU 33-23, solid win. However Oklahoma went to Morgantown and was more impressive in the 2nd half than Bama was in Atlanta.

Ole Miss over BSU 35-13, awesome. However the rebels were down right mediocre until the Broncos ran out of gas.

LSU over Wisconsin 28-24, proved they could come from way down to beat a very good team.

TAMU over South Carolina 52-28, dominant win looking better every week.

There are maybe 2 or 3 other good wins, however is this list of wins and dominance over bad compitition mostly at home enough to prove that this division is the end all be all of the college football world. Perhaps, but I am not convinced.

Just speaking about the SEC West division I think it is very strong this year, may be the strongest I ever seen it. In a couple of weeks though the weak will emerge or teams in the west will beat each other up & go 4-4 in the division. Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Texas A&M are normally on top. We will see how Miss St, OLE MISS, Arkansas goes through the season but they all look really good. I don’t think the “neural games” are easier for the SEC to win, point being LSU coming from behind & beating Wisconsin. Chick fila, Dallas Classic, Houston kick-off’s try to get the best from the any conference to play each other, right now the SEC is proven to be the best conference, not taking anything away from other conference that I have respect for. It just so happens that the SEC dominates the game in a lot of ways. You mentioned Broncos ran out of gas against OLE Miss, that what the SEC does to many of their opponents. I can understand your not convinced but it is only week 4 & most P5 conferences have played home or neutral site games & won easily.

East Carolina isn’t in the SEC. That means South Carolina won’t be half-way through their SEC schedule after the Missouri game.

I disagree with at least four of them:

Georgia 45, Tennessee 21
Vanderbilt 28, Kentucky 17
Texas A&M 56, Arkansas 35
Auburn 59, La Tech 14
SC 38, Mizzou 24
LSU 63, New Mexico St. 0
Ole Miss 45, Memphis 17

your last 3 are the only ones that may hold weight. GA vs TN we’ve already seen from SC that GA has no secondary at all. and although TN may lose this one they always play TN close.
Vanderbilt is horrible and was lucky against a bad USC team they lose big. Arkansas can take away a speedy offense at A&M with a running game that eats up yards and time and will be close with Arkansas winning. I take that back your last 4 are ok. You must be a GA fan.

If he wants to take that bet, let me know and I will go in on too. That’s easy money.

Ole Miss 44 Memphis 9 (3 FGs) is probably what the score will look like.

Yea…. Ole miss lose to Memphis? Out of his damn mind. Also, Texas A&M losing? I guess it has more of a chance compared to ole miss losing but still doubt it very much so. Tommy

One of the few out there giving Ark a chance against A&M. People are going to be very surprised at what Arkansas is truly going to bring to the table this Saturday.

I agree completely. Arkansas keeps people off the field, and pound teams. This one will be close for sure.

You’re on to something here, and I probably would have pulled this stat for Clear Your Schedule, had I run it.

Arkansas’ time of possession (average): 32:06
A&M (average): 26:00

That absolutely has to hold for Arkansas to win this game. They can, but that will be one of the things that tells the tale.

By the way, color me as one of the skeptics about whether B1G-style football would work in the SEC when Bielema got the job. When you have big linemen that can lean on guys and runners that are that quick to get to the second level, you can do things against even the most stout of defenses, though.

What does a Heisman worthy QB, 7 deep in 100 ypg wide outs, an above average backfield, and a monster defense get you? It gets you 12-0…..and we’re talking about that Baylor team.

I have to say that the Ole Miss/Memphis prediction is really stupid. No one would take that bet. Either this guy has know clue what he’s talking about, or he is really hoping Ole Miss will lose.

Ole Miss 44 Memphis 9 (3 FGs) Ole Miss’ defense is way to good for Mempis

I just saw Ole Miss helmets for Saturday. Not sure Memphis should even make the trip. I’ll stick by my pick, but the events surrounding the weekend makes me hope I’m wrong.

I think & hope Ole MIss wins but would not under estimate Memphis by any means. Memphis lost to UCLA only by 7 & these two teams do not like each other at all, at all! I can see may be 2-3 fights breaking out on the field. I do agree about the “Trap Game” though. Having Bama coming to town next week, may be over looking Memphis a little, plus possibility that Game Day may be there (on the 3rd) & Memphis having nothing to loose. I see Ole Miss winning 34-27 but Memphis keeping it close. Hopefully Ole Miss can win BIG & make the Ole Miss vs Bama games one for the ages.