1 bold prediction for each Week 13 SEC game
Sure, we’ve been wrong about plenty of things in 2016. But like the Playoff standings, finishing strong counts for something extra, so we’re going bold one more time in this regular season.
Rivalry Week starts tonight. Nobody knows what’s going to happen, but we’ll take our best guess. Here’s a bold prediction for each SEC game in Week 13.
A&M will finish strong: Hey, we bought in on A&M before most people, so when they soared up the polls, we looked pretty smart. The past few weeks, we didn’t look as smart. But Myles Garrett is looking more like himself, and he’ll make life miserable for the Fournette-less LSU Tigers. Speaking of Leonard Fournette, if you had forecasted that he would end up around 12th in the SEC in rushing yards, you could have gotten some good odds. Speaking off odds, LSU is favored by around a touchdown, but A&M will knock them off.
SEC leading rusher Raleigh Williams III can pick his total: Rawleigh Williams III leads the SEC in rushing and if you think the Missouri defense is going to do anything to change that, we’d like to sell you some swamp land. The Tigers have allowed almost 240 rushing yards per game this season. Arkansas isn’t exactly a tough defense either, but given that the Hogs will likely play from ahead, Williams can pick his rushing total in his effort to wrap up that rushing title. Says here he gets nearly 200, and Arkansas wins by three scores.
Kirby Smart finishes the comeback from mediocrity: Georgia-Georgia Tech will feature a lot of running and a fair amount of defense. Sounds like heaven for Kirby Smart, who is less often mentioned to be in over his head since his defense started lighting people up. Tech is 7-4, but has actually been outgained on the season. The Bulldogs will get it right and win by two scores.
Kentucky will outrush Louisville, but it won’t be enough: Since UK and U of L started playing annually in 1994, the rushing champion has won the game in every year but one. Make it two this year. UK’s ground game by committee is something the Cardinals haven’t seen before … but then so is all-world QB Lamar Jackson for Kentucky. Jackson keeps the Cards on target in a 10-point win, but UK makes it interesting on the ground.
The Iron Bowl? The Statement Bowl more like it: What does Alabama have left to do? How about crush Auburn? This might be Nick Saban’s finest team and the guess here is that he will pull out all the stops to roll over the Tigers. Auburn is pretty badly banged up, and Jonathan Allen, Brandon Chicken — oops, we meant Tim Williams — and the rest of the Tide front seven will slow that vaunted ground game. Give me Alabama to not just cover the 17.5 point line, but to double it.
Dan Mullen caps off Ole Miss’ season to forget: What’s worse than failing to get bowl eligible in a loss to Vandy? Losing the Egg Bowl. Dan Mullen’s team hasn’t quit, and Nick Fitzgerald will have his way with the horribly disappointing Rebels defense. Shea Patterson will have a nice game too, but when this game is won late, it’s going to be the kids with the cowbells who are going to be happy.
Carolina will bend and bend — and finally break against Clemson: Will Muschamp’s Gamecocks have made life tough for more talented foes throughout the year with their bend but don’t break defense. Combine that with Clemson’s penchant for playing underwhelming football and you could have the upset of the season. We’re not willing to go that far, but USC will keep it competitive into the fourth quarter. Eventually, Clemson will earn the win, but as with most things in 2016, this gives the Gamecock fan base something to build on.
Vandy goes to a bowl — at 5-7: No, we’re not calling for that upset. Tennessee, particularly Josh Dobbs, has a habit of playing really well against so-so competition, and they’ll handle Vandy. The Commodores will still make a bowl with a losing record thanks to its high APR score. Is that enough to make Derek Mason’s bosses happy? Probably not, and the heat will be on in 2017.
The Seminoles make it four straight over the Gators: Florida State is looking to move to 8-0 over the Gators and the Miami Hurricanes over the past four seasons. The otherworldly Gators defense is the only thing standing in their way. But FSU has enough tools to grind out the win. A fourth consecutive win would match the Noles’ longest winning streak in the series.
Hey, the outgained opponents by 111 yards per game this year. The Gators struggled with balanced offenses of Tennessee and Arkansas, and the Noles will pick up this victory by two scores.