10 burning SEC questions for Week 7
After an exhausting double-overtime win against Tennessee, Texas A&M enjoys a bye this week, while Auburn has a week to prepare for Arkansas. South Carolina and Kentucky also have bye weeks.
Meanwhile, the Volunteers have to face No. 1 Alabama, although they will be at home for that one. Here are 10 burning questions:
- While Jalen Hurd is “available” for Tennessee, where is he at health-wise? Hurd was the most important piece of the offense last season against Alabama, so Tennessee would love to have him at 100 percent, especially in combination with the resurgent Alvin Kamara. Kamara had a huge game against Texas A&M, setting a school record with 312 all-purpose yards. However, Hurd has been in a non-contact jersey at this week’s practices, so he may be available, but will he be available for more than an emergency type of situation? If Tennessee can keep the game close and Hurd’s injury has healed significantly, he could provide a spark in the fourth quarter.
- Should Alabama fans be weary of a Tennessee comeback? Alabama played comeback against Ole Miss, and then hung on for a win. Arkansas started to make things interesting prior to Minkah Fitzpatrick sealing the game. Will Tennessee be able to make things interesting late?
- Will Ole Miss avenge an absolutely wild 53-52 overtime loss last season to Arkansas? The SEC front office breathed a sigh of relief, but Ole Miss was one crazy play away from facing another two-loss opponent out of Gainesville in the SEC Championship Game. Ole Miss does face Arkansas in Fayetteville, but the Rebels enjoyed a bye last week, while Arkansas faced No. 1 Alabama.
- Who has the better quarterback: Ole Miss or Arkansas? Who has the better cast of wide receivers? Chad Kelly is probably the SEC’s best quarterback, but Austin Allen has gotten more buzz as the season progresses. Kelly has an arsenal that includes: tight end Evan Engram and wideouts Damore’ea Stringfellow and Van Jefferson. Allen has tight end Jeremy Sprinkle and wideouts Keon Hatcher, Drew Morgan and Jared Cornelius. The game in Fayetteville could feature the most entertaining shootout in the conference at the least.
- Conspiracy theories abound with respect to last week’s cancelled game in Gainesville, but the big question entering the team’s game against Missouri is: How effective will Luke Del Rio be against Missouri? The Gators were beginning to look like the team to beat in the East with a healthy Del Rio. Del Rio went down against North Texas and the team lost to Tennessee, then struggled to muster enough points to beat Vanderbilt. A potential game against LSU with Austin Appleby at the helm was not looking favorable. Missouri should be a good litmus test to see where Del Rio is at health-wise because the Tigers aren’t as challenging as Georgia or Arkansas but are a much tougher challenge than Presbyterian.
- Missouri’s video game offense will receive its most difficult challenge of the season against Florida. The Gators’ defense has been stout all season with the lone exception of the second half against Tennessee. If the Tigers watch the tape of that half of the game, the team may come away with a tactic or two that works. That said, Missouri’s offense is centered heavily around Drew Lock throwing the ball to an abundance of receivers.
- Will Georgia be at all affected by a short week? With the team’s game against South Carolina moved back to Sunday, the Bulldogs had to change routines and didn’t receive the typical day of rest most college football programs give to players on Sunday following a Saturday game.
- After a tough loss to Kentucky, can Vanderbilt manage an upset with its defense? Ralph Webb is a one-man show on offense for Vanderbilt, but the defense has steadily improved under head coach Derek Mason’s watch. Will the Commodores be able to rattle freshman quarterback Jacob Eason in Athens?
- How will Nick Fitzgerald and Dan Mullen’s offense match up against BYU’s defense? This is the matchup that should make this game most interesting. BYU gave up just 14 points in a win against Michigan State, dominating both lines of scrimmage. Can the Bulldogs win in the trenches against the Cougars?
- Will LSU have any problems against Southern Miss? It seems silly to ask, but Kentucky lost to the same team in Week 1. Yes, LSU is much better than Kentucky, but you get the point. Perhaps the better question might be: Will the offense set any new highs for the season?