Ranking the SEC’s Week 7 games from toughest (Arkansas) to easiest (Alabama)
Week 7 features an array of interesting matchups, including Florida and Texas A&M duking it out for the first time since 2012. The Gators and Aggies will have fans glued to their seats, battling down to the wire in the closest contest on Saturday.
The Tigers of LSU and Auburn will battle on Saturday afternoon in a defensive struggle with Auburn pulling away by a touchdown. Two Tennessee schools — Vanderbilt and Tennessee — will both endure painful losses.
Kentucky sits out of the action this week with a bye after a 5-1 start. For the other 13 SEC teams in action this week, here are projections for margins of victory, ranked from losses/narrow wins to the biggest blowout.
Opponent: at Alabama
Bovada line: No line listed
Prediction: Arkansas loses by 52
Why: Arkansas has no shot in this game. None. Alabama is going to crush the Razorbacks, giving Arkansas fans more reason to forget about the 2017 season.
The Crimson Tide creamed the Razorbacks 52-0 in 2012 and 2013. The game will be similar in 2017 with a grotesque Arkansas offensive line. Austin Allen endures another painful beating from the Alabama defense.
Opponent: at Georgia
Bovada line: +31
Prediction: Missouri loses by 42
Why: The Tigers’ defense has been abysmal, allowing 40 points per game through six weeks of football. That is good for 120th in the country. The Bulldogs are going to thump Missouri in dramatic fashion. Enjoy another week of misery, Tigers fans.
Opponent: at Ole Miss
Bovada line: +3
Prediction: Vanderbilt loses by 14
Why: Derek Mason’s team can’t stop anybody, conceding 47 points per game to conference opponents this season. The Commodores have lost three straight and are about to start 0-4 in conference. Mason drops to 0-1 versus Matt Luke.
Opponent: vs. South Carolina
Bovada line: -2 1/2
Prediction: Tennessee loses by 10
Why: Butch Jones lost to South Carolina in Will Muschamp’s first year on the road last season. Now, Jones will lose in Neyland Stadium. The Volunteers have supposedly made a change, electing to go with Jarrett Guarantano in place of Quinten Dormady on Saturday.
It won’t be enough. Jake Bentley is better than both of them, and the Gamecocks leave with a victory on Saturday. Does Jones make it until Alabama?
Opponent: vs. Auburn
Bovada line: +7 1/2
Prediction: LSU loses by 7
Why: Last week’s game was typical LSU — a grind-it-out slugfest. The Tigers will face a similar task of dirtying up the game against Auburn. Their attempt will be unsuccessful.
LSU lost a heartbreaker to Auburn last season on the road. The Tigers will come up just short again to Auburn this season. Averaging only 201 passing yards per game won’t get it done against the visiting Tigers.
8. Texas A&M
Opponent: at Florida
Bovada line: +3
Prediction: Texas A&M loses by 3
Why: Kellen Mond showed grit and toughness last week against Alabama, but the Aggies weren’t able to pull it out. Mond is still learning as a true freshman and faces another tough test in Gainesville. The last time these teams met, Florida pulled out a victory against ole Johnny Football by three points.
History repeats itself. The trend of falling off in the second half of the season continues for Kevin Sumlin.
Opponent: vs. Texas A&M
Bovada line: -3
Prediction: Florida wins by 3
Why: Jim McElwain’s group will attack Mond just like Alabama did last week. It’s asking a lot of a true freshman to win in “The Swamp.” The Gators will try to control the football with a ground attack that’s averaging close to 200 yards against conference opponents.
Behind a gutsy performance, the Gators move to 4-1 in the SEC. Despite the critics, Jim McElwain keeps finding ways to win football games, even in the new uniforms.
Opponent: at LSU
Bovada line: -7 1/2
Prediction: Auburn wins by 7
Why: Despite LSU not being a part of the Associated Press Top 25, Auburn has a chance to pick up a solid win on the road. The Tigers need this win in order to stay in the College Football Playoff picture. Gus Malzahn knows that his squad has little room for error with an early loss to Clemson.
His team should be able to zero-in on Derrius Guice with LSU not having a threat at quarterback. It helps that Guice is not 100 percent, still dealing with a knee injury. Malzahn will make it two straight wins against the Tigers and start 1-0 versus Ed Orgeron as LSU’s head coach.
5. South Carolina
Opponent: at Tennessee
Bovada line: +2 1/2
Prediction: South Carolina wins by 10
Why: South Carolina picked up a big win at home against Arkansas with a dominating defensive performance. Will Muschamp’s calling card has always been defense, and that unit will be crucial on Saturday. The Volunteers have struggled offensively, averaging 24 points per game this season.
The Gamecocks should be able to stop John Kelly by loading the box. Guarantano isn’t going to beat them with his arm in his first start. Muschamp picks up another win versus Tennessee.
4. Ole Miss
Opponent: vs. Vanderbilt
Bovada line: -3
Prediction: Ole Miss wins by 14
Why: Ole Miss gets a breather after playing Auburn and Alabama in its previous two games. Shea Patterson should be confident after throwing for almost 350 yards and two touchdowns against the Tigers a week ago. He will be able to carve up a Vanderbilt defense that has been gashed in the last three games.
Luke’s team got off to a rocky start and this win will subside some of the overwhelming concerns about the program for now. The Rebels have enough firepower to earn their first SEC win of the season.
3. Mississippi State
Opponent: vs. BYU
Bovada line: -24
Prediction: Mississippi State wins by 35
Why: LSU dominated BYU 27-0 to begin the season. Now, another SEC West opponent will take its frustration out on the Cougars.
Opponent: vs. Missouri
Bovada line: -31
Prediction: Georgia wins by 42
Why: Kirby Smart has built his team up quick in only his second season. The Bulldogs only beat Missouri by one point in 2016. In 2017, Georgia mops the floor with the Tigers and Smart moves to 2-0 against Barry Odom.
Opponent: vs. Arkansas
Bovada line: No line listed
Prediction: Alabama wins by 52
Why: The Crimson Tide sacked Austin Allen seven times last season. The Razorbacks offensive line might be worse in 2017, giving up 13 sacks in five games. Oh, and Jalen Hurts makes the visiting team look atrocious. Alabama runs Arkansas off the field.