A bold prediction for each Week 7 SEC game
It’s that time again. Fall is in the air, the footballs are flying … and last week was a prediction disaster. LSU beating UT? Hm, must have been somebody else. Alabama rolling over A&M? That can’t be right. Yes, we did have Mississippi State opening up on Arkansas, but that was about the only acorn this particular blind squirrel nabbed last week.
But it’s a new week, and we’re going to continue doing what we do, bringing a bold prediction for every SEC game. Here’s the rundown for Week 7:
Dart leads Rebels with big passing day
Ole Miss follows a cupcake win over Vanderbilt with a matchup with Auburn. Last week, the Rebels showed us something they hadn’t before, throwing for 448 yards. While the Quinshon Judkins/Zach Evans ground attack has been more prolific, Lane Kiffin probably realizes that November will require more than a running game. Look for the Rebels to keep it up in the air, with Jaxson Dart passing for more than 300 yards before leaving early. Rebels win, 42-14.
3 TDs for Bowers as Bulldogs roll
What happens when a surprisingly good UGA passing game meets a Vandy team with the worst pass defense stats in the SEC? The Bulldogs will rule the air again. UGA tight end Brock Bowers has had a pair of 2-TD games this season — 2 receiving TDs against South Carolina, and 2 rushing TDs against Kent State. Bowers will go 1 better against Vandy — 2 receiving TDs and 1 rushing score. Georgia is rolling, and Vandy’s defense won’t have much to change it. Bulldogs 52, Commodores 10.
UT leads at half … but Bama responds
The money has flowed into Vegas this week on the Vols. The high-octane offense, the opportunistic defense and the big-time QB — the Vols have it all. And at halftime on Saturday, the UT fever will peak. Vols 21, Tide 14, the CFP spot is within sniffing distance.
But then comes the 2nd half. Yes, Alabama was pretty bad last week. Yes, Bryce Young is questionable for Saturday. But Nick Saban lives to have his back to the wall. And the real Tide will appear in the 2nd half in Knoxville, with help from a physical running game that UT hasn’t seen yet. Alabama 38, Tennessee 28.
KJ is SEC Player of the Week after Hogs beat BYU
As bad as Arkansas was a week ago, things could change in a hurry. Yes, the game at BYU is far from easy (even money pick at the moment). But KJ Jefferson is expected to return, and with Jefferson, Arkansas has enough offense to throttle BYU. The Cougars are 4-0 this season when they hold the opponent to less than 400 yards of total offense … and 0-2 when they don’t. Meanwhile, Arkansas has topped 400 yards in 5 of its 6 games this year, even last week. Also, BYU is 4-0 when holding opposing passers to less than 189 passing yards, and 0-2 when not. The guess here is that Jefferson throws for nearly 300 with 4 touchdowns and earns SEC Player of the Week as the Razorbacks win, 31-21.
LSU bounces back
As awful as LSU looked last week, the uneven Tigers surely can’t be that bad twice. Meanwhile, Florida hasn’t blown away Missouri or South Florida. This isn’t (presumably) another Tennessee situation, where LSU will shoot itself in the foot, reload and do it again. Florida’s defense is a much better matchup for the Tigers than UT’s. LSU had rushed for 185 or more yards in the past 4 games, and UT held the Tigers to 55 yards on 28 carries. But Florida is No. 13 in the SEC in rush defense, and Jayden Daniels is good for 2 passing TDs and 2 rushing TDs in a 31-24 win over the Gators.
State rolls again … with the run
Mississippi State is coming off a big win over Arkansas and meets struggling Kentucky. What’s surprising isn’t the success of Mike Leach’s Air Raid; it’s that the Bulldogs have started running the ball against a light box. Their 144 rushing yards against A&M were followed by 173 rushing yards against Arkansas. Only once in Leach’s first 2 seasons had State rushed for more than 125 yards — 151 in a win over Missouri in 2020. Kentucky, on the other hand, has struggled to run the ball. State will take down the Wildcats … and will outrush them, with 150 yards on the ground leading the way to a 34-24 win.