A bold prediction for each Week 8 SEC game
Midseason has arrived, and 5 SEC squads are taking a brief vacation. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be surprises among the active teams. Honestly, if we’ve learned anything this season, it has been to expect the unexpected. Which is good, because here at the bold predictions department, that’s what we were doing anyway. Here’s an off-the-wall prediction for each of this week’s SEC games. They probably won’t all pan out, but that’s the fun part. Here goes this week’s longshots.
The Hogs’ defense will outscore Arkansas-Pine Bluff
We’re not here to laugh about Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Everybody in the league earns that nice tasty cupcake that Arkansas will enjoy this weekend. Arkansas-Pine Bluff is 1-5 and is -7 in turnovers playing its FCS schedule. The Golden Lions will come in determined to take their shot, but this is an Arkansas defense that’s smarting from losses to Auburn and Ole Miss in the last 2 weeks. That phenomenal Arkansas linebacking corps will make sure that trend ends. Look for it to create enough havoc that safety Jalen Catalon and the Hogs’ secondary can get on the scoreboard … and, in fact, outscore A-PB for the game.
LSU has another surprise
Let’s be honest — this one hinges on Matt Corral. Is he okay? Is he playing? Is he playing but not especially okay? If Corral is right, skip on to the next prediction. But if he’s not, this gets really interesting — particularly since the one thing we know about LSU is that we don’t know about LSU. The Tigers seemed likely to give Kentucky a dogfight … and didn’t. They seemed likely to be crushed by Florida, and then they won. So let’s go with them in an upset that further confuses college football. Or should I go double-bluff and say this means Corral is fine and that he throws for 800 yards? Let’s go with the Tigers, before we get brain-addled.
Vandy scares State
Of course, we all saw Vanderbilt coming on and looking like a genuine SEC football team for 58 minutes, right? Before we overreact, bear in mind that South Carolina is probably the 13th-best team in the SEC. But Mississippi State probably isn’t far above that. Look for Vandy to continue its forward momentum, particularly if Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers is limited or unable to play. Now, we’re not saying Vandy wins the game. But maybe the ‘Dores have the halftime lead before MSU pulls it together late in a 31-21 kind of game.
A week after notching 7 sacks, Bama gets 8 in crushing UT
This is a bad matchup in many ways. But perhaps the worst is that UT has allowed 25 sacks in 7 games. Not only is that last in the SEC, it’s last by 8 sacks more than 12th-place South Carolina and Mississippi State. There are only 4 FBS teams that have given up more sacks than Tennessee. So let’s combine that with Alabama posting 7 sacks last week against Mississippi State in its 40-point win. Add in UT quaterback Hendon Hooker being in questionable health coming in, and this is just ugly. Bama by 40 again, with that defense continuing to be mobile, agile and hostile.
A&M doubles down on 100-yard rushers again
We didn’t learn from a good thing. We called A&M’s pair of 100-yard rushers last week against Missouri. We’re guessing the South Carolina defense didn’t learn from it, either. Give us Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane each topping 100 rushing yards again. The duo are both in the SEC’s top 10 in rushing, and they’ll soar up again after another strong week against another defense not especially equipped to slow them down. We’ll take the Aggies to cover that 19.5-point spread as well, something like a 42-14 kind of game.