Greetings fellow football fans. As I write this article, I find myself trying to dodge all the politics on TV by taking a steady diet of MACtion (which is an awesome college football idea - football on Wednesday!) and Stranger Things, my all-time desert island show (with Anthony Bourdain No Reservations) but I digress.
Let’s talk about some football, shall we?
We learned the following tidbits last week in the SEC:
Georgia’s defense is pretty good, while Kentucky’s offense was as vanilla as a cone at Dairy Queen.
LSU’s defense is a mess, and Auburn’s offense went as crazy as their season has been.
Ole Miss took their frustrations out on poor Vanderbilt, while the Commodores still sludge their way through a terrible year.
Alabama dismantled the Air Raid, while Mississippi State searches for answers.
Texas A&M is starting to look like a top 10 team, while Arkansas continues to build its foundation.
Florida and Missouri were entertaining, to say the least; Florida’s offense stays hot, and a full-scale brawl in the Swamp.
Week Six in the SEC wasn’t too bad to the Backwoods Swami, as I went 5-1 last week, winning Georgia, Ole Miss, Alabama, Texas A&M, and Florida and losing LSU. Overall, the Swami is 23-13, so ten games over .500 is pretty solid in this crazy season, I’d say.
Week Seven in the SEC is a short week again, so without further adieu, let’s look at the matchups.
8 Florida at 5 Georgia
Finally, we see the two best clubs in the SEC East go at it for the division championship at the World’s Largest Cocktail Party in Jacksonville. Florida’s strength lies in its nuclear offense, while Georgia’s lies in its road grader front seven on defense. So that is a push. The key to the game is whether Florida’s defense can shut down Georgia’s offense. Last week, the Gators looked much improved defensively against Missouri, while the Georgia offense struggled against Kentucky. So it should be a toss-up, right? Not so fast, my friend. I think Georgia’s defense is better than Florida’s offense in this one. So in a lower-scoring game, I’m going Bulldogs in this one.
PREDICTION: Georgia 24, Florida 20
Vanderbilt at Mississippi State
Why should the casual SEC fan be interested in this one? Well, I’m not really sure. Both squads are struggling: the Air Raid of MSU isn’t producing points, while the Dores aren’t producing any defense at all. Granted, the MSU offense isn’t doing what Ole Miss is doing by any stretch, but the Dores are struggling heavily against the pass, so I look for the Dawgs to get a little healthier in Starkville.
PREDICTION: Miss State 34, Vandy 14
Texas A&M at South Carolina
The Aggies at 4-1 have found their way back in the top 10 this week at No. 7 and have solidified themselves as the second-best team in the SEC West behind Alabama. Gig Em is rolling on offense after hanging 42 on a pretty good Arkansas defense. Up this week for them are the Gamecocks coming off an off week and two weeks to prepare for A&M. USC has been up and down all season, so what we can expect from them could be anything from impressive to awful. Either way, I don’t see USC having the firepower to keep up with the Aggies in this one.
PREDICTION: Gig Em 35, Gamecocks 24
Tennessee at Arkansas
Even though their records are identical at 2-3, there is a lot of difference in the teams. The Hogs are battling every Saturday and only a handful of plays and a terrible no-call at Auburn from being 3-2 or even 4-1. They are competing, flying around and to the ball, and are really fun to watch. Coach Sam Pittman has to be SEC Coach of the Year in my eyes. UT however is struggling on offense, giving up big plays on defense, and generally just look rough. The quarterback situation is a mess, so it will be interesting who is QB1 Saturday night in Fayetteville. The Vols have to run the ball well and control the clock to win this one. But I feel like once again something will happen with their quarterbacks to give the Hogs a window to win. I’m going Arkansas in a tight one.
PREDICTION: Arkansas 23, Vols 17
IDLE: Kentucky, Auburn, LSU, Missouri, Alabama, and Ole Miss.
Shane Shackleford is a regional sports columnist from Speedwell, Tenn. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and local media outlets The Corbin Times-Tribune, London Sentinel-Echo, A Sea of Blue, KySportsStyle.com Magazine, HarlanCountySports.com, and Wildcat Sports Talk.