Weekly ‘Weakly SEC Football Predictions’ | 2014, Week 8

By Eric Taylor -

Week 7 Results (6-1) | Overall Record (40-12)

One Mississippi. Two Mississippi.

Let’s just go ahead and admit it. I’m looking at you Bama fan, Auburn fan and Florida State fan when I say this — Mississippi State is the best team in the nation. Not just the best in the West or best in the SEC, but better than everyone that fields a football team. Better than Oregon. Better than Florida State. Better than Notre Dame (there’s your duh statement of the week).

Apparently, the AP voters and coaches agree with me as they moved the Bulldogs ahead of Florida State in the AP and Coaches Poll for their first ever No. 1 ranking.

The only team that has rights to object is Good Ole Bo Miss. That’s Ole Miss for some of you who seem to fall over your computer when a tongue-in-cheek statement is not spelled out. The Rebels are good. They went into a hostile environment at Kyle Field at night and dominated Texas A&M.

Alabama — who lost to Ole Miss on the road in a close game and still controls their own destiny — piled up 227 yards of offense in a 14-13 dismantling of the Razorbacks in Fayetteville. Yeah! All those yards in one game! Get on the Lane Train.

I know. I know. You’re never as bad as you think you are (unless you’re Vanderbilt) and the same goes for being as good as you think you are (unless you’re Mississippi State or Ole Miss), but Alabama appears to be gasping for air as life on top of the mountain has proven to be too much since about Thanksgiving weekend of 2013.

At least special teams play is worse. Funny, though, how it was A’Shawn Robinson’s block of an extra point that was the difference in the game. I tried to tell myself Bama fans this is how the game would go and not to be surprised.

Auburn may only lose one more conference game (to Ole Miss, of course), LSU may only win one more conference game (or zero) and Arkansas can never get over the hump.

To say what I should have said 21 paragraphs ago to end this too-long introduction — everyone not in the state of Mississippi is playing for third place in the West.

Oh, and one more thing. Missouri did a lot to prove that Georgia will win the East. Todd Gurley was suspended for this game (and maybe more) yet Georgia pitched their first road shutout over a ranked team in school history.

Week 7′s Weakly Comparison
Weakest Two
1. I’m awesome. I only missed one and it was by one point when I once again predicted Vanderbilt to lose to an FCS team. This time it’s Charleston In Charge State. Therefore, I do declare that I did not have a weak week.
2. Okay, fine. I picked UGA to beat Missouri in a classic, high-scoring game, so if a man brags about a Vandy win as “pretty much” getting it right, a man should admit when a correct prediction of who would win the game was pretty weak considering this man was zero percent correct predicting anything else about the game.

Awesome Two
1. Ole Miss 35, Texas A&M 20 (Predicted Ole Miss 34, A&M 24)
2. Tennessee 45, UT-Chattanooga 10 (Predicted UT 52, UTC 10)
2a. LSU 30, Florida 27 (Predicted LSU 18, Florida 14)

Week 8 Predictions

This week’s lot of games tastes almost watered down compared to what Weeks 6 and 7 have served. Undefeated and top 5 teams facing off the previous two weeks will give way to normal, but not great anticipation. Enough about what has already happened. My job is to predict, not reminisce over the previous seven weeks.

Keep reading. I predict who wins football games.

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

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fuman (2-4) at South Carolina (3-3, 2-3 SEC)
Noon ET | SEC Network

It’s like the Iron Bowl, but it’s not, y’all: Because this is an in-state game, I tried to make it a little watch-worthy by calling it the Iron Bowl of South Carolina, but Clemson-South Carolina would be the Iron Bowl of South Carolina. If this game were on Maury, Maury would open the envelope and say, “Furman and South Carolina…. When it comes to being the rivalry of South Carolina… You. Are….. NOT the Iron Bowl of South Carolina… Furman is running around acting all crazy and celebrating while Clemson is sitting there sad, realizing that he is the father. In summary,  Alison Krauss and Keith Whitley were singing about my preview of this game when they crooned, “When you say nothing at aaaaaaaaaaaaaaall.”

I don’t really know what else to write: Can we just say we know what’s going to happen here and move on to more pressing games? Yeah? Great. Thanks.
FINAL SCORE: South Carolina 31, Furman 13 

#21 Texas A&M (5-2, 2-2 SEC) at #7 Alabama (5-1, 2-1 SEC)
3:30 ET | CBS

How good/bad are they: Yes, teams like Texas A&M and Auburn have lost a game. A&M has lost two. Both coming at the hands of these dadgum Mississippi schools. Auburn has one loss — and it’s to one of the Mississippi schools. Alabama has a loss and it, too, is to one of those Mississippi schools. The easy pick here would be to take Alabama because Texas A&M just hasn’t looked good in two weeks and should have lost to Arkansas. But wait. That’s the exact same writeup (minus one game versus a Mississippi school) we could pen for Alabama. Bama lost to Ole Miss and should have lost to Arkansas. The Tide seems to have progressively regressed as the season moves forward. So, this game between “the other teams in the West” will go a long way in telling us who is really third best in the West.

Offensive Offense: The Lane Train has derailed. This doesn’t mean it can’t be corrected. Hopefully, for Lane and Alabama fans, playing at home will help the team get back on track. If not, the season is over and the bleeding may not stop for Nick Saban and the Tide.

Out of thin air: This Alabama team is not very cohesive. I mentioned in the intro, but it’s worth repeating. The fun in winning is what Mississippi State and Ole Miss are experiencing. They are climbing that mountain as a team and overcoming new obstacles each and every day. Alabama has surpassed that stage and has been on top of the mountain trying to maintain life on top. It’s much more fun climbing the mountain than it is trying to avoid falling off the top. Saban has done what many cannot by keeping the Tide on top this long, but it does seem the air is getting too thin. Saturday night will tell us whether or not they feel they can live on that thin air at least one more season. The Aggies feel they belong on that mountain with Alabama and a win in Tuscaloosa on Saturday afternoon will help them keep pace as they continue to build Texas’ premier program in College Station. But Alabama has a little more oxygen in the tank for this one.
FINAL SCORE: Alabama 35, Texas A&M 21

#10 Georgia (5-1, 3-1 SEC) at Arkansas (3-3, 0-3 SEC)
4:00 PM ET |  SEC Network

When: When is the question Arkansas fans are asking about their first SEC win in nearly two years. The Razorbacks have not been a doormat for the 2014 conference schedule. They’ve led in the 4th quarter of games versus Alabama and Texas A&M and were tied with Auburn at halftime in the opening game. The law of statistics and chance tells us the Hogs are due a win. But when for this win? I’m not sure they have enough left this week versus a Georgia team that may be good enough to beat anyone in the West right now (on a neutral field).

Dominant Dogs: Everyone was excited to see Georgia and Missouri light up the scoreboard prior to Saturday’s early kickoff, but Missouri brought goose eggs rather than bulbs to light up said board. Georgia’s defense was dominant, allowing only 147 total yards of offense to the Tigers. Nick Chubb carried the Chubb Rock 38 times for 143 yards and a touchdown in Todd Gurley’s absence. Chubb’s 174 total yards on the day led all players. These Dogs appear to have gotten the stupid loss out of the way in Columbia, South Carolina. Arkansas will have to wait another week to get that first SEC win.
FINAL SCORE: Georgia 37, Arkansas 20

Tennessee (3-3, 0-2 SEC) at #3 Ole Miss (6-0, 3-0 SEC)
7:00pm ET | ESPN

Tennessee Orange is the new Arkansas red: I mentioned earlier this season that Tennessee reminds me of this year’s Arkansas team because they appeared to be right on the cusp of victory versus teams that in the past two years have left them in the dust and that’s exactly what has happened this year. The Vols and Hogs have nearly identical records and could easily be within one game of first place in their respective divisions. Instead, each team is facing one of the best teams in the opposing division with hopes of getting off the schneid.

The offense is good, but that defense tho’: The Ole Miss offense has scored 214 points thus far this season. The defense has allowed 71 points in six games. To put that into perspective, No. 4 Baylor allowed 58 points in their win over TCU on Saturday. The defense allowed 58 points. In one game. A game they won. Ole Miss is awesome. 

Remember those times I said Ole Miss wasn’t awesome?: Seems like yesterday, but it was actually over two or three weeks ago. Before the Alabama game, I said Ole Miss couldn’t handle this success. You know, that whole thin air at the top of the mountain thing I keep working down to a nub? Anywho, they are awesome and Tennessee will not be able to handle this much awesome in Oxford.
FINAL SCORE: Ole Miss 34, Tennessee 9

Missouri (4-2, 1-1 SEC) at Florida (3-2, 2-2 SEC)
7:00pm ET | ESPN2

Elimination Game: If elimination from the Eastern Division Championship for either of these teams has yet to be determined, the losing team will definitely be removed from the conversation on Saturday night. The winner is guaranteed nothing, but they still have a shot to be gobbled up and spit out champion by the madness that is the SEC East.
FINAL SCORE: Missouri 22, Florida 20

Kentucky (5-1, 2-1 SEC) at LSU (5-2, 1-2 SEC)
7:30pm ET | FSN/ESPN3

This will be an upset… if LSU wins: This will be a night game in Death Valley, but Kentucky is a good team on the rise and LSU is stank for now. The only way LSU wins is Kentucky does what they did in Gainesville and plays the helmets of LSU and doesn’t just line up and beat them. 

The dadgum West: Although the Wildcats may very well be 3-1 in the conference after Saturday night’s game in Baton Rouge, Kentucky will have to welcome No. 1 Mississippi State to Lexington for what could be a — wait for it — preview of the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. Kentucky drew the tough West schedule for 2014, but a win in back-to-back weeks against LSU and Mississippi State would not only put the Wildcats in the top 25, it would catapult them easily into the top 10. Then that Georgia game in a few weeks will decide the SEC East championship. First things first. Kentucky needs to just win one game at a time and all that stuff. 

Home ‘Cats: These Wildcats have played one road game and guess where they got that one loss? You guessed it. The road game. Looking ahead, Kentucky’s remaining road games following this week are at Tennessee and at Missouri which are not the worst two places to play if you had to choose. The remaining conference home games are Mississippi State and Georgia. Kentucky plays a tough West schedule, but they will play four conference home games.
FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 21, LSU 12

Open Date: Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Auburn

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 (6)

Hey, Commish. Calapari is doing things with that football team. He’s making sure it’s about more than just football there at Not Rupp Stadium. Ha. It’s scary how upside down this season is getting.

Still not buying UK as a real SEC East contender. UGA (even without Gurley) should cruise to the East title (even though it still has to play Auburn). But, in all seriousness, last year’s Vandy team would win this year’s East (and it did go 4-2 against the East last year). I am still not quite as high as you are on the Magnolia State. I think that Mississippi State will go into Tuscaloosa #1 and undefeated, but proceed to lose to both ‘Bama and Ole Miss (both on the road, sandwiched by a strangely somewhat close win over Vanderbilt in Starkville). Ole Miss probably falls to Auburn, but nowhere else. Alabama probably still only has one loss going into the Iron Bowl (I think that they would lose to MSU on a neutral field, but not in Bryant-Denny). Going into the Iron and Egg Bowls, I think that the SEC West could look like:

Ole Miss 10-1 (6-1)
Mississippi St. 10-1 (6-1)
Alabama 10-1 (6-1)
Auburn 10-1 (6-1)

I say that Ole Miss and Alabama win the rivalries. Ole Miss goes to the SEC Title game, where it beats Georgia handily. Georgia wins the East at 6-2. Kentucky only wins against Louisville to get to a bowl, but does not win another SEC game. Tennessee and Florida turn into complete train wrecks. UT (4-8 (1-7)) even loses in Nashville. South Carolina beats both of them to also wind up 4-4 (with a loss to Auburn). Florida does not make it to a bowl, finishing 5-6 (3-5). They’ll be regretting cancelling that Idaho game. Missouri winds up in the neighborhood of 8-4 (5-3). Vandy finishes 4-8 (1-7). Arkansas breaks through against their rivals to the North, but still finishes one game short of bowl eligibility. LSU winds up turning things around enough to go 7-5 (3-5) (8-4 overall), but it is still a disappointing year in Baton Rouge. For the second straight year, TAMU winds up just 4-4 in conference, but is still a very solid football team.

The only game that the West loses to the East is UGA-Arkansas. Ole Miss and Alabama make the playoff (as the #1 and #4 seeds). #2 Oklahoma and #3 Notre Dame (who beats an overrated FSU team this weekend) also make it. OU kills Notre Dame, who is again a fraud, 45-10. Ole Miss again beats Alabama, 34-30. Ole Miss wins fairly comfortable against Oklahoma, 31-17, in the first ever CFP Championship Game.

Matt, I hope you are right and wrong all at the same time. That would be the best season ever minus the 2nd loss to Ole Miss.

Only thing that doesn’t work, is that conference members won’t meet in the first round of the CFP. It would be Ole Miss v. Notre Dame and Oklahoma v. Alabama in your projection. (Ole Miss would get the lower seeded non-conference opponent.) Still plays out somewhat similarly. Notre Dame is exposed by Bo. But, ‘Bama pulls out revenge against OU? Maybe?

I bet the guy that wrote the article above feels pretty small right not after what happened to Mississippi State!!!!
I think that’s hilarious you had doubts about Alabama….

Roll Tide.