Predicting Sunday's SEC headlines after Week 11 action
We all think we’d make great headline writers, but it’s actually more difficult than it looks.
Coming up with something short, simple and witty that can tell the story of an entire football game in just a fraction of a sentence is a unique skill.
This season, we’re going to have some fun trying to predict the headlines you’ll read about your favorite team in your local paper on Sunday morning.
We’re at a disadvantage, of course, because we don’t know how the game will turn out. That’s the part of the prediction that makes things interesting.
Here are our headline predictions for Saturday’s games in Week 11:
Alabama (at Mississippi State): The Starkville Survival
It won’t be pretty, and it might even get a little bit scary, but the Crimson Tide will find a way to survive a strong effort from a surging Mississippi State team. Corralling QB Dak Prescott won’t be an easy task, even for the talented Alabama defense.
Arkansas (at LSU): Hogtied on the Bayou
The Razorbacks have scored more than 50 points in each of their past three games, and they shut LSU out in Fayetteville last season. So there’s plenty of reasons for Arkansas fans to feel optimistic about keeping the Golden Boot in The Natural State. But LSU is a much better team this season, and Les Miles rarely loses two games in a row.
Auburn (vs. Georgia): Advantage Auburn
The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry is locked in a 55-55-8 tie, so whoever Saturday’s victor may be will own a slight advantage in the storied rivalry. These two teams are complete wild cards at this point in the season, so let’s give the nod to Auburn at home in revenge for what was an embarrassing loss in Athens last season.
Florida (at South Carolina): Gators offense finds its bite
Last week’s offensive effort against Vanderbilt was, well, offensive to most Gators fans. The South Carolina defense has served as a cure for struggling offenses this season, so expect to see more than nine points from the newly crowned SEC East champs this week.
Georgia (at Auburn): Downed on The Plains
I’ll be honest, I don’t have a good read on how this game will turn out. Georgia and Auburn have been really tough teams to figure out from week to week, and the fact that neither team seems to have a solid plan for who will be under center on Saturday further complicates things. I’ll give the advantage to Auburn at home, but Georgia could just as easily win this game.
Kentucky (at Vanderbilt): Stoops’ slide continues
The Wildcats are mired in a four-game losing streak and are struggling on the offensive side of the ball. Unfortunately for Kentucky, the Commodores have proven to be a pretty stingy defense this season. If Mark Stoops drops this game in Nashville, there will be some whispers about the program sputtering.
LSU (vs. Arkansas): Boot’s back in Baton Rogue
Last year’s shutout loss to Arkansas was surely an embarrassing moment for Les Miles and the Tigers. They’re also coming off a loss against Alabama and are in need of a win to keep the season from falling apart. Miles is 27-2 following a loss. Arkansas is hot, but the Tigers will find a way to win at home, reclaiming the Golden Boot in the process.
Missouri (vs. BYU): Distracted Tigers pounced in KC
The narrative is already in place. If Missouri loses to BYU on Saturday, there will be plenty of blame placed on the decision to strike in support of the movement to oust the university president. With the way the Tigers offense has been playing, the truth is they may be unable to score enough to beat BYU under normal circumstances.
Mississippi State (vs. Alabama): Tide breaks Bulldog hearts
I’m of the opinion that Alabama will see Mississippi State’s very best shot on Saturday. The Bulldogs have plenty of momentum, Dak Prescott is playing as well as he has all season, and the defense has been sharp this season. But Alabama looks like a team on a mission at this point in the season. A close loss will hurt.
South Carolina (vs. Florida): Gators get away
The Gamecocks have been very competitive under the direction of interim coach Shawn Elliott, beating Vanderbilt and dropping one-score games at Texas A&M and Tennessee. So it will surprise no one if the Gamecocks take the Gators down to the wire in this one, but the Florida defense may prove to be a little too much to overcome for the South Carolina offense.
Tennessee (vs. North Texas): Mean Orange
North Texas may be the worst team in FBS this season, and Tennessee’s offense should be ready to exploit it. The Vols will likely be able to name their score against the Mean Green, emptying their bench in the process.
Texas A&M (vs. Western Carolina): Ags sent off in style
This will be the final home game for Texas A&M before trips to Vanderbilt and LSU draw the regular season to a close. Expect the Aggies to have little trouble handling Western Carolina at Kyle Field.
Vanderbilt (vs. Kentucky): Ugly, yet effective
Vanderbilt’s offense is really, really bad. But the defense simply won’t let the Commodores fall out of games, and this home game against Kentucky represents the last realistic chance for a win this season. With the Wildcats struggling, the chance for another low scoring conference win exists for Derek Mason’s squad. Think of the 10-3 win against Missouri last month, or the near miss in Florida last week during a 9-7 loss.