A bold prediction for each Week 13 SEC game
SEC Week 13 features more than a couple of cupcakes, but a couple of nice league showdowns as well. Plenty of teams are up, plenty are down, and here in the Bold Predictions department, we’re doing what we do — giving you one off-the-wall guess for each SEC game this week.
The Taulia Era begins
What could make Alabama’s postseason scenario more dramatic? What if the Tide absolutely slays Auburn in the Iron Bowl with a multi-threat QB named Tagovailoa replacing the presumably irreplaceable multi-threat QB named Tagovailoa? That script starts here. Yes, Mac Jones will start, and he’ll be fine against Western Carolina. But when Taulia Tagovailoa gets in there, Alabama will really take off. He isn’t his brother, but he’s a lot closer than Jones. Taulia has 200 total yards and leads 4 ouchdown drives … and then gets the start next week.
Auburn runs for 400
The Tigers, meanwhile, have acknowledged that last week’s loss to Georgia featured a bit more passing than it probably should have. What better time to correct that oversight than against a 5-6 FCS foe, particularly when Auburn definitely doesn’t want Bo Nix banged up. The word here is that Auburn will run and run and run some more, to the tune of 400 rushing yards and a 40-plus-point win.
A&M hangs close, but Georgia hangs on
Texas A&M against Georgia is one of those “move the needle” kind of games. Georgia is a more talented team and is playing at home, but once you start to dig deep on these teams, they’re not all that different. Both are playing attacking defense, running the ball and using veteran QBs to keep defenses honest. The guess here is that Georgia has some emotional hangover, that A&M leads at the half but that Georgia wins by a touchdown late, probably after a big defensive stand.
Kentucky sets the school rushing record
Kentucky would love to get an easy sixth win and get Lynn Bowden some rest against UT-Martin. The Wildcats topped 400 rushing yards last week against Vandy, and they might close in on the school record of 446 this week. Last week, we told you to watch for Chris Rodriguez, who had his biggest game. This week, Kavosiey Smoke is the Wildcats back to keep an eye on as they get bowl eligibility and the school rushing record. How about 150 yards and two scores for Smoke?
Vandy looks to the future
Vandy QB Mo Hasan provided the only real offensive punch of the Commodores season against Mizzou before he left the game due to concussion. There’s no use pounding Riley Neal and Ke’Shawn Vaughn against ETSU, so look for Hasan to play — and star — for the Commodores, who, awful as they are, can’t find a way to lose to a 3-8 FCS team. Hasan has 250 total yards, and Vandy wins by more than 3 scores.
LSU doesn’t cover, showcases a Prince of a player
Had LSU lost to Alabama, it would be trying to impress to CFP crew and might cover that massive point spread in this game against Arkansas (43 1/2 at last look). Instead, the Tigers are playing the long game and will be trying to keep everybody healthy. Clyde Edwards-Helaire will be limited or out, so look for reserve running back Tyrion Davis-Price to have a big game, with 125 yards and a couple of touchdowns.
State stars Shrader
Along the same track as Vandy (although not quite as severely), Mississippi State will probably rely less on its grad transfer QB and lean heavily on Garrett Shrader to run the offense. Particularly with Kylin Hill sidelined, the freshman’s dual-threat skills will be prominently featured against Abilene Christian. Look for 200 yards passing, 75 yards rushing and 4 total scores in an easy State win.
How on earth is Missouri a 4-point favorite over Tennessee in this game? If you watched the past month of both teams’ games without noticing the names on the jerseys, UT would be a solid 2-touchdown favorite — which is about where this one figures to end up. Missouri can’t score. It put up 27 total against Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Vandy in its past four games. Tennessee doesn’t have to score a ton, and a 24-7 kind of win feels almost guaranteed.