This has been an impactful week for some of the SEC teams competing without question. Consider the following:
There will be a new head ball coach in Columbia as South Carolina parted ways with embattled coach Will Muschamp.
The Kentucky Wildcats paid an awesome tribute to late assistant coach John Schlarman in several ways.
Although 0-6, Vanderbilt is improving, but will it be enough for coach Derek Mason to hold on to his job?
Ole Miss continues to be the most fun 3-4 team to watch in America.
Florida is playing its way into the College Football Playoff conversation behind sizzling Kyle Trask and an offense as good as any the Gators have ever put on the field.
Last week, the Backwoods Swami went 3-0 on his predictions, boosting his record to 29-14 on the season (67%), winning Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Florida. It’s not a great record, but it’s improving.
So without further adieu, let’s discuss this week’s SEC schedule.
Kentucky at 1 Alabama
Well, BBN, it’s time for the Wildcats to face the monster that is in Tuscaloosa. Bama comes in undefeated and will most assuredly play for the SEC championship and be in the CFP. On the outside, this looks like a traditional Crimson Tide squad full of talent and coaching, but if you look a little closer this team has some minor flaws. The defense, a Nick Saban staple, has been susceptible to the big play through the air and on the ground. Granted, though, is the fact that their offense is very balanced and very good, putting up enough points to cover any defensive flaws.
The Cats come in off an emotional victory over Vanderbilt and put up 38 points in the process, which is a good sign. Quarterback Terry Wilson looked confident and bouncy running the ball, and Christopher Rodriguez Jr. had a big day rushing for 149 yards. The offensive line shined as well, paving the way for the Cats to earn their third victory of the season. The defense, though, simply didn’t show up Saturday. Vanderbilt had 407 yards of total offense with over 200 through the air. Not a good sign going into this week’s matchup.
I think the Cats will compete Saturday against Bama. Alabama is used to getting everyone’s best shot. But I don’t think the Cats can pull off the upset. The Tide has too much of everything.
PREDICTION: Roll Tide 45, Cats 14
6 Florida at Vanderbilt
As much as the Tide is rolling toward the SEC title game, the Florida Gators are, too. Florida is riding a nuclear-hot Kyle Trask and an offense that is putting up obscene numbers. But if there is one thing that could derail UF it is their defense. While the offense is scoring at will, the defense is allowing points as well. Will this be a factor Saturday? Probably not. The Commodores are too young in the skill positions and don’t have the depth to play for a full 60 minutes with Florida. I sure hope Vandy coach Derek Mason can survive at the helm. I really like him. But I just don’t know. Look for the Gators to win pretty easily.
PREDICTION: Gators 52, Anchor Downs 13
LSU at Arkansas
I’m sorry. Every time I think of LSU football, I don’t think of Joe Burrow, the national championship, or the 14 players that were drafted last year in the NFL. I just see coach Ed Orgeron in a hot water situation. Yeah. Anyways, LSU is struggling mightily and word out of Baton Rouge is starting quarterback Myles Brennan is probably out for the rest of the season. Coupled with a horrible defense and disaster ensues. Add to that a possible sexual abuse scandal within the program on the horizon and an implosion is at the door. Although Arkansas lost big to Florida Saturday and gave up 63 points, they did score 35 points. I don’t think their defense is that bad though. I think the Hogs have an excellent chance to win at home. I’m taking them.
PREDICTION: Hogs 35, Geaux Tigers 27
Tennessee at 24 Auburn
In the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde game of the week, we have the Vols and Tigers. On paper, it looks like Auburn should be a solid favorite over the struggling Vols. ESPN even has them as a 10.5 point favorite. But I don’t trust the Gus Bus. Auburn has been all over the map this season. For Tennessee, until they get the quarterback situation right and take some pressure off of their defense, then the struggles will continue on Rocky Top. Somebody has to win this game, so I will take War Eagle at home in a close one.
PREDICTION: Tigers 31, Vols 24
Mississippi State at 13 Georgia
Well, this week’s bashing of Mike Leach’s Air Raid takes place in Athens. The Georgia Bulldogs have the defense to make things miserable for the MSU Bulldogs. Even with all the issues UGA is having at quarterback, they have more than enough in the run game and its vaunted defense to win this one easily. Plus, if you pick the Bulldogs to win, you really can’t lose right?
PREDICTION: UGA 41, Miss. State 10
Missouri at South Carolina
Well, South Carolina became the first Power Five school to make a move at head coach, dismissing Will Muschamp this week. You have to think interim coach Mike Bobo is just a place-holder for a bigger coaching name to come in. It’s a tough situation at USC for sure. The Gamecocks have talent, especially in running back Kevin Harris. But it's very difficult to predict how the team will play in these remaining three games, one of which is Kentucky. Missouri is the much stabler program right now, so let’s go with them in this one.
PREDICTION: Missouri 30, Carolina 27
Ole Miss at 5 Texas A&M: Postponed
Shane Shackleford is a regional sports columnist from Speedwell, Tenn. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter as well as local media outlets The Corbin Times-Tribune, London Sentinel-Echo, A Sea of Blue, KySportsStyle.com Magazine, HarlanCountySports.com, and Wildcat Sports Talk.