The SEC’s week 10 schedule gives us an important SEC East rivalry game between Florida and Georgia, and possibly another interesting under-the-radar game between Tennessee and Missouri.
But here’s what’s at stake this weekend in the SEC West:
Related: SEC Week 10 predictions
Bye week before big game: Alabama and LSU get a week off to plan and prepare for each other. The bye week comes at a great time for both teams. LSU hasn’t had a week off since the start of the season and is the only team to go this long without having a week off. The last two weeks have been tough for LSU. They lost in dramatic fashion to Ole Miss, a game they should have won, and they didn’t wake up until halftime last week against Furman. Alabama has their second bye week of the year, and it gives Nick Saban and his defense an extra week to prepare for the Tigers’ explosive offense. LSU plans to wreck Alabama’s chances for a three-peat.
Don’t quit: That’s what Bret Bielema is telling his team. Don’t quit on me. The Hogs have been outscored 104-7 in the last two games, and as a player, that takes a toll on you mentally, especially with November’s tough slate. The Hogs may not win another game and finish 3-9, but Bielema’s troops can’t quit. If Arkansas loses again Saturday, do you think Bielema will be forced to make a QB change? Brandon Allen is the best QB on the team, but will the fan base force Bielema’s hand to change up the offense? Let’s see how tough the Hogs plays Auburn Saturday.
An important stretch: Auburn begins its important stretch of the season against Arkansas. Still controlling their own destiny, the Tigers start a stretch that includes a road game at Tennessee, then home games against Georgia and Alabama. The Iron Bowl becomes less interesting if the Tigers lose before November 30th. Arkansas isn’t a team that will stop you on defense, especially against a running game that’s averaging over 315 yards per game. Let’s see how the bend-but-don’t-break defense performs against the Hogs’ running game.
Find a way: South Carolina has kept teams in games throughout this season. They did it with leads against Vanderbilt, UCF, Kentucky and Tennessee, a team that burned them. That’s great news for Mississippi State, because the Gamecocks have let teams hang around well into the second half. Excluding the Egg Bowl, this will be MSU’s best opportunity for an upset over a worthy opponent. State starts a brutal stretch Saturday with road games at Carolina and at Texas A&M, then a home bout with Alabama in consecutive weeks. If the Bulldogs can find a way to win Saturday, they will go bowling.
Recuperation: Ole Miss is a banged-up team. Bo Wallace is banged up, and the defense has been missing several important pieces, but that didn’t seem to stop them against LSU. The Rebels are gearing up for a stretch run that could see them finish 9-3 and undefeated in their last six games.
Defensive improvement: I saw flashes from Texas A&M’s defense that I haven’t seen all season last week against Vanderbilt. The front seven was wreaking havoc on the Dores, and the defensive line was more active. That bodes well for an improved team down the stretch run, and UTEP is the perfect way to keep building confidence, development and continuity for a bout with Mississippi State and road games against LSU and Missouri. A BCS bowl berth is still a strong possibility, and much like last year, it’s all about how the Aggies finish.
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