The SEC features some pivotal matchups this week with Georgia @ LSU, A&M@ South Carolina, and a couple of solid matchups in Ole Miss @ Arkansas and Florida @Vandy.
Alabama has another test for their seemingly depleted secondary corps. Missouri and quarterback Drew Lock come to Tuscaloosa for a 6 PM contest. Lock is without his top receiver, Emanuel Hall, and another one of his top receivers, Nate Brown, is questionable. That’s a plus for a defense that just lost starting cornerback Trevon Diggs for the year to a broken foot. There have been some other injuries in the secondary, so freshman Patrick Surtain Jr. will have to step in for Diggs. Surtain is a 5 star freshman, so he has talent. But it could possibly be an issue going forward if Alabama were to face the likes of Georgia and Jake Fromm or Clemson and Trevor Lawrence or Oklahoma and Kyle Murray or Ohio State and Dwayne Haskins. But Lock could pose some problems as well. The Tide offense is still dynamite, so they’re going to do their part and light up the scoreboard. But when the Tide faces a better defense like LSU and Auburn, the offense will be more challenged. Still with Tua and company there doesn’t look like there is any slowing down for this scoring machine.
Auburn hosts Tennessee at Jordan-Hare for an 11 AM kickoff. The Tigers need offense. The offensive line is struggling, Jarrett Stidham looks clueless at times and there is no serious running game. The defense can just do so much. The offense needs to help. Auburn needs to step it up against a Tennessee team that is down, but looks to be playing a little bit better and can challenge the Tigers.
Here’s a look at this week’s slate. All times Central
Last week: 9-5
Overall: 111-33 (77%)
Missouri (3-2, 0-2 SEC) @ No.1 Alabama (6-0, 3-0)
6 PM CT
Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Todd McShay
Bama by 28
With Missouri’s top receiver out and another one questionable, this may be another rout for the Crimson Tide. The Tide’s offense is superb, and keeps getting better. Irv Smith has become a weapon at tight end to go along with Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith, Henry Ruggs III and Jaylen Waddle on the perimeter. Damien Harris looks to be cookin again. This offense seems impossible to stop. If Alabama wants to win it all, the defense will have to pick it up. Isaiah Buggs, Quinnen Williams, and Raekwon Davis along with Anfernee Jennings, Christian Miller, Mack Wilson and Dylan Moses form a highly formidable front 7. The back end is where the Tide needs to shore it up. Deionte Thompson will have to be even more of a leader. I like the Tide to get it back together on defense and for the offense to explode once again. Kicker Joseph Bulovas needs improvement as well. The Alabama kicker is usually the only Achilles Heel on their team every year.
Alabama 45, Missouri 14
Tennessee (2-3, 0-2) @ No.21 Auburn (4-2, 1-2)
Dave Neal, D.J. Shockley, Dawn Davenport
Auburn by 15 1/2
The Tigers offense has been abysmal. At some point, they’re going to have to help their defense which is doing all they can. I just have a feeling the Vols are getting better and better and will be charged up for this game. Jeremy Pruitt will get the Vols back to upper tier status in the SEC in the next couple of years. Believe in Pruitt. I see the Vols playing well in this game. I’ll take the Tigers, but not too bullish on them right now. I like a close, highly competitive game.
Auburn 24, Tennessee 21
No. 2 Georgia (6-0, 4-0) @ No. 13 LSU (5-1, 2-1)
Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge
Brad, Gary, Jamie
Dawgs by 7 1/2
Jake Fromm has really heated up and is playing at an exceptional level right now. LSU got their bubble bursted a little last Saturday at Florida. I like the Dawgs on the road here as they keep progressing towards a potential showdown with the Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship if things keep up the way they’re going.
Georgia 31, LSU 20
No. 22 Texas A&M (4-2, 2-1) @South Carolina (3-2, 2-2)
Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, S.C.
Taylor Zarzour, Stinch, Kris Budden
A&M by 2 1/2
This is one I’ve thought a lot about all week because I’m not sure what to make of South Carolina. They get blasted by Georgia at home, then they demolish Vandy on the road, looking good doing it, then lose to Kentucky by 13 on the road, then survive Missouri at home last Saturday and did well with their backup quarterback, redshirt senior Michael Scarnecchia. Jake Bentley is back to start for the Gamecocks. A&M survived Kentucky at home last week, 20-14, in overtime. I’ve gone back and forth with this game, but I’m going to take the road team. Still see the West as better than the East.
Texas A&M 28, South Carolina 24
No. 14 Florida (5-1, 3-1) @ Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-2)
Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville
Dave Pasch, Gregory McElroy, Lugues
Florida by 7
Vandy could make this competitive, but I see the Gators pulling away late. Dan Mullen has a team that has a shot of contending with Georgia this season if quarterback Feliepe Franks can excel in the coming weeks. That Cocktail gig is in 2 weeks. Gators off next week.
Florida 38, Vandy 24
Ole Miss (4-2, 0-2) @ Arkansas 1-5, 0-3)
War Memorial Stadium, Little Rock
Tom Hart, JRodg, Cole
Rebels by 7
The Razorbacks played well on offense last week against the Crimson Tide. Quarterback Ty Story was 25-of-39 for 230 yards, 2 TDs and 1 int. They couldn’t stop the Crimson Tide and the Ole Miss offense can be electric at times. I like Ole Miss QB Jordan Ta’amu and receivers A.J. Brown, DeKaylin Metcalf and DeMarkus Lodge to get the Rebels over the top in Little Rock.
Ole Miss 45, Arkansas 35
No. 17 Wisconsin (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten) @ Michigan (6-1, 3-0)
Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor
Chris, Kirk, Maria
Michigan by 9 1/2
Wisconsin is always competitive with everybody it seems like. They’re always solid and running back Jonathan Taylor is outstanding. But I like the Wolverines in the Big House, but expecting a close, hard fought contest.
Michigan 28, Wisconsin 24
No.7 Washington (6-1, 3-0 Pac-12) @ No.17 Oregon (4-1, 1-1)
Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Oregon
ABC or ESPN2
Sean McDonough, Todd, Holly
Washington by 3 1/2
I like the Huskies to get by the Ducks and move on in their quest for a Pac-12 title though they will be challenged at Oregon and along the way. Colorado and Utah are coming on in the south division and will give the Huskies everything they want. The Huskies play host to the Buffaloes next week.
Washington 34, Oregon 30
No.6 West Virginia (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) @ Iowa State (2-3, 1-2)
Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, Iowa
Fox Sports 1
Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman, Holly Sonders
WVU by 6 1/2
I keep doubting the Mountaineers and they’ve been proving me wrong so far. But I still doubt them. Matt Campbell at Iowa State is an excellent coach and the Cyclones are known to pull off the upset as last year’s victories @ OU and over a top 10 TCU team at home attest to. The Cyclones defeated OK State on the road last week, 49-42, and I see them outscoring West VA. this week and pulling off the major upset and creating some more chaos.
Iowa State 45, West Virginia 42
No. 19 Colorado (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) @USC (3-2, 2-1)
Memorial Coliseum, LA
Fox Sports 1
Joe Davis, Brady Quinn
SC by 7
I’m bullish on the Buffaloes. Mike McIntyre’s dad, George, was a solid coach at Vanderbilt in the 80’s and Mike fields a team that is as close as you can get to an SEC team in the Pac-12. I’m going with CU in the upset. They’ve won at Nebraska and pulled off conference victories over UCLA and Zona State.
Colorado 35, USC 34
No. 3 Ohio State 56, Minnesota 24
Fox Sports 1
Gus, Joel, Jenny Taft
I like the Buckeyes offense to keep on cookin. Their defense needs to be shored up a little bit, but overall, a very solid team with high postseason aspirations.
No.5 Notre Dame 45, Pittsburgh 21
Tirico, Flutie, Kathryn Tappen
I wasn’t a real buyer in the Fighting Irish until last week when they blasted VA. Tech, 45-23, in Blacksburg. Ian Book is a spectacular quarterback and make the Irish highly relevant for a playoff spot. Don’t see them as good as Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, Ohio State or Oklahoma, but they’re close and could develop into a really elite team. They’re almost there.
No. 10 Central Florida 45, Memphis 40
Dave Lamont, Ray Bentley, Alex Corddry
I like UCF to be tested but for stellar QB McKenzie Milton to get the Golden Knights over the hump and to keep their New Year’s Six and outside shot at the playoff in reach.
No.9 Texas 45, Baylor 30
Adam Amin, Rod Gilmore, Quint Kessenich
I’m not completely sold on the Horns yet after they surrendered 21 unanswered points to OU in the last 9 minutes of the 4th quarter last week though they were victorious, 48-45. They’re good, I’m just not convinced they’re elite.
No.8 Penn State 38, Michigan State 20
Big Ten Network
James Franklin is still recovering from his bumbling 4th and 5 call against Ohio State 2 weeks ago that cost his team the game. But the Nittany Lions regroup against the struggling Spartans at Happy Valley.
No. 16 Miami 34, Virginia 27
Jason Benetti, Kelly Stouffer, Olivia Dekker
The Canes have found a resurgence with quarterback N’Kosi Perry, who has thrown for 11 TDs against 3 ints, and has the Canes at 5-1 now. They go on the road and defeat the Whoos.
TCU 48, Texas Tech 40
Dave Flemming, Herbie, Joseph Galloway, Laura Rutledge
This should be an electric shootout in Fort Worth. Looking forward to this.
No. 23 South Florida 45, Tulsa 30
Clay Matvick, Dan Orlocsky, Paul Carcaterra
I like what Charlie Strong is doing in Tampa. They host UCF at the end of the season, Friday, Nov. 23rd, and that could determine which team is the Group of 5 representative in the New Year’s 6 Bowl.
Utah 35, Arizona 21
Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard, Allison Williams
I’m becoming a buyer in this Utes team after they went to Palo Alto last Saturday and blasted Stanford, 40-21. Kyle Whittingham always fields very solid teams, and this group is no exception.
Duke 38, Georgia Tech 35
Like the 2 1/2 point underdog Blue Devils to pull off the slight upset.
Iowa 38, Indiana 35
Beth Mowins, Anthony Becht, Rocky Boiman
Like the Hawkeyes to survive a road trip to Bloomington.
UAB 42, Rice 24
The Blazers are 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the Cusa after a huge victory at LA Tech last Saturday.
Troy 34, Liberty 27
The Trojans move to 6-1 with the victory on the road. I really like what Neil Brown has done at Troy the last couple of years. He’s legit and so are they.
UCLA 42, Cal 41
Like the Bruins to get their first victory of the season in an upset at Berkeley.
Virginia Tech 31, North Carolina 24
Roy Philpott, Tom Ramsey
The Hokies snap back on the road after being embarrassed at home against the Fighting Irish last Saturday Night.