One bold prediction for each Week 9 SEC game
So Arkansas made us look silly in Week 8. But we learn from our lessons in the bold predictions department, and we’re back to have the best week yet of this college football season. With several interesting matchups (and two out-of-conference blowouts that made us get a little creative to be bold), here’s the predictions for Week 9.
Florida will have a pick-six and cover versus UGA.
Georgia in the East rivals Ole Miss in the West for the most disappointing teams in their respective divisions. The Bulldogs have dropped three of their last four, and bye week aside, there’s little reason to think that changes here. Florida is a bit offensively challenged, but the secondary will make some big plays on Jacob Eason and Florida wins by 14 or 17.
Auburn leads the SEC in rushing yardage again.
Sure, this doesn’t sound like an upset … but Mississippi State is playing an FCS opponent, and Texas A&M is playing New Mexico State. Never mind them, because Ole Miss will give up a blue million rushing yards to the Tigers. The coronation of Alabama in the West has two potential stumbling blocks that weren’t apparent a few weeks into the season — the Auburn Tigers and the LSU Tigers.
Kentucky upsets Missouri to all but assure a bowl game.
The Tigers are a 6-point favorite, but this is one of those cases where Vegas is picking the wrong team. The Tigers have momentum, backward momentum, as Mizzou lost last week to Middle Tennessee, and in the two weeks before that, lost by a combined score of 82-21 to LSU and Florida. Kentucky, meanwhile, isn’t pretty but has won three of its last four and is riding momentum and increasing bowl chances. UK’s ground game has enough mojo to outlast the inconsistent Mizzou passing attack. The same fan base that was starting to call for Mark Stoops’ head will be naming a street after him soon.
Tennessee will struggle with South Carolina.
The Tennessee team that started the season would be a safe pick on Saturday. That said, most of that team has been nursing major injuries. UT is the prohibitive favorite in the East (Florida has a challenging slate of games remaining), but the Vols look more like a MASH unit than a division champ. Jake Bentley will hit some passes on the Vols, and this game will be competitive into the fourth quarter, although UT will win by 10.
Trayveon Williams retakes the lead in the SEC rushing battle.
Obviously, we don’t see A&M struggling with New Mexico State. So we’ll get interesting by focusing on a personal achievement. The top two rushers in the league are off this week, and Williams will retake the league lead with 129 or more yards. LSU is off this week, too, so Williams can also gain some distance on Leonard Fournette, who is just 57 yards behind him. A&M can pick its point total — NMSU gave up 62 to Kentucky in Week 3.
Richie Brown leads the SEC in tackles this week.
Much as with A&M, it’s hard to imagine even a struggling Mississippi State team struggling with Samford this weekend. So we’ll take State LB Richie Brown to lead the league in tackles. Brown is seventh in the league in tackles, and four of the players ranked above him are on a bye week. It’s doubtful that Brown will rack up the 31 tackles he’d need to claim the season lead, but 15 stops to pass Kendell Beckwith for second place sounds about right. State gets a much-needed breather here and rolls, which is good because the back end of its schedule is nasty.