Bold predictions for SEC Week 11
Week 11 could be the most exciting week of the SEC season. And while we’re not forecasting a ton of upsets, we are foreseeing a ton of surprises. So here are some bold predictions for Saturday around the league.
LSU goes for 40
The Tigers’ offense isn’t always a thing of beauty, but the run game has improved, and Danny Etling’s weaknesses are growing less obvious. Shoot, the Tigers actually outgained Bama last week, they just had trouble turning it into points. Enter Arkansas, the second worst scoring defense in the SEC. LSU by three scores, with the Tigers breaking 40 for the third time this season.
Ta’amu has himself a day — 400+ yards
Ole Miss looked like it could be lost without Shea Patterson, but instead, the Rebels beat Kentucky with Jordan Ta’amu turning in an Aaron Rodgers-level performance. This week, it’s 4-4 Louisiana, which allows 252 yards passing per game in the Sun Belt. Look for more of the same from Ta’amu, who would be a heck of a grad transfer find for somebody next fall when Patterson is back taking the snaps.
In my mind, 2nd in the East is going to Carolina
Yes, that’s a James Taylor reference. Ain’t it just like a friend of mine (former Gators head coach Will Muschamp, in this case) to hit his old team from behind? Florida has now become a team that can’t score on anybody or stop anybody. The Gamecocks’ biggest margin of victory this year is 26 points, and they could threaten it. We’ll say it doesn’t get quite that bad, but give us USC by three scores.
Auburn over Georgia? Nauta chance
Virtually every measure of these two teams seems to suggest that Georgia is just a little bit better than Auburn. Categories in which UGA slightly leads Auburn include rushing, rushing defense, scoring defense, total defense, pass defense and passing efficiency. Looking for one player to be the difference? How about UGA tight end Isaac Nauta? He hasn’t caught more than two passes in a game this season, but last year, he had three catches for 43 yards against Auburn. Jake Fromm will find Nauta on a couple big plays that will be the difference in this game.
The sweet Snell of success
If Kentucky wants to steal a seventh win of the season against Vandy, there’s no question that the key is the SEC’s leading rusher, sophomore Benny Snell. Vandy’s rush defense is 12th in the SEC and has surrendered the most touchdowns on the ground of any team in the league. That makes it almost as bad as Kentucky’s passing defense, which is the worst in the SEC. The difference is that Snell is a little bit better at what he does than Kyle Shurmur is for Vandy. Wildcats win by a field goal.
Can State hang with Bama? The truth Hurts
LSU got popped this season by Mississippi State, so when the Tigers played to within two touchdowns of Alabama last week, Bulldogs backers got a little optimistic. They shouldn’t be. State is one-dimensional offensively, regardless of the fanfare QB Nick Fitzgerald receives. Sure, it can run (259.3 yards per game, 3rd in the SEC), but it can’t pass (12th in SEC in yardage, 3.1 yards per game out of last place, 12th in pass efficiency, behind Florida). Against Kentucky or even A&M, that might work. It won’t this Saturday. Alabama cruises by 30 behind its dual-threat QB, Jalen Hurts.
A&M has a rough half
This Texas A&M team can bounce back … which will be good, because it’s probably due for a sleepwalking first half. The Aggies end up with a solid victory, but scare the fan base to death for the first 30 minutes or so against visiting New Mexico.
Upset in CoMo? We say no
It is almost beyond belief that Tennessee is nearly as big of an underdog at MISSOURI as Mississippi State will be against Bama. It’s really hard to figure out which team that says the most about. One thing it does say is that Vegas hasn’t watched Mizzou play much defense. Tennessee will put up some points. In fact, they’ll be ahead late, only for Drew Lock to win the game on the last Mizzou drive. It won’t be the game the Tigers want, but it’ll be the game they need (and maybe it will finally end the Butch Jones era).