SEC Week 9 Predictions
After an unintentional lackluster set of games last weekend (thanks A&M), we’ll get an appetizing showdown in Baton Rouge on Saturday night when LSU entertains unbeaten Ole Miss.
Week 8 Results
- Brad Crawford — 3-3 (against the spread); 4-2 (straight up)
- Christopher Smith — 2-4 (ATS); 5-1 (straight up)
- Brad (@BCrawfordSDS) — 29-29 (against the spread); 46-12 (straight up)
- Christopher (@csmithSDS) — 30-28 (ATS); 49-9 (straight up)
Readers can make their Week 9 picks here.
RELATED: SEC Power Rankings
As for this week’s games …
MISSISSIPPI STATE (-13.5) at KENTUCKY
Christopher: Kentucky will labor to score much more than 14 points in this game after manufacturing 3 at LSU an 17 against Vanderbilt. The Kentucky defense already has given up 36, 38 and 41 points in SEC play. (One of those games went to multiple overtimes and the Wildcats did shut out Vandy’s offense.) I don’t think the Wildcats are as bad as last week’s 38-point shellacking at LSU, but I don’t see UK, which I believe is a 6-6 team, staying within two touchdowns of the No. 1 team in the country at this point. Dak Prescott cements his status as a Heisman Trophy candidate as the Bulldogs roll toward a date with Alabama. Mississippi State 42, Kentucky 17.
Brad: My inbox was flooded with angry messages from Kentucky fans two weeks ago when I picked the Wildcats to finish 6-6 this season after a 5-1 start. I’m not ready to say I told you so yet, but Big Blue Nation’s first-half was inflated by wins over stinky teams which energized a dormant fanbase. I think Mark Stoops’ team has a better chance of beating Georgia in two weeks at Commonwealth Stadium than winning this weekend against an unbeaten No. 1 that’s had an extra week to prepare. Mississippi State 35, Kentucky 14
OLE MISS (-3.5) at LSU
Christopher: The Tigers are back at the top of a couple roller coaster ups and downs, but we’ve seen this movie before. LSU’s offensive line has improved since the team laid an egg at home against Mississippi State, and the offense is at least more settled since Les Miles handed the keys to Anthony Jennings at quarterback. But Mississippi State and Auburn both dominated LSU for most of the game. This Ole Miss defense is peaking. Unless Bo Wallace and the offense revert to old ways and cough up the ball multiple times, I expect the Rebels to pull away and end the mini renaissance for this LSU team. Ole Miss 24, LSU 10.
Brad: I wouldn’t expect the Ole Miss offense to produce in rapid fire mode inside a tough environment like Death Valley, but LSU’s offense is in for a much more difficult ordeal. The Rebels smashed Tennessee at the line of scrimmage last week and rattled quarterbakc Justin Worley early. That will happen again Saturday night against Anthony Jennings. If Ole Miss can make the Tigers one-dimensional early in the game, it’ll be a long night of punts and missed third downs. Turnovers too. Ole Miss 20, LSU 6
SOUTH CAROLINA at AUBURN (-18)
Christopher: This Gamecocks defense is as bad as Steve Spurrier insinuates. I don’t know what happened against Missouri, but the South Carolina offense is better than decent, and Mike Davis has returned to playing like one of the better running backs in the country. This is sandwiched between road trips to Mississippi for Auburn, so it’s a bit of a letdown spot for the Tigers. I’m wary of Gus Malzahn’s propensity to continue to score touchdowns late in the fourth quarter with a solid lead, but I think South Carolina has a chance to stay within striking distance for a while. Auburn 41, South Carolina 24.
Brad: “They’ll obviously make some yards, but we beat Georgia. Georgia is actually number one in the conference running the ball and Auburn is probably two or three. You always have to have hope that good can happen like happened for us in the Georgia game.” Two big differences between this game and that win over the Bulldogs, coach Spurrier: Georgia was one-dimensional at the time and that contest was played at Williams-Brice Stadium. Auburn will have its way with the Gamecocks up front, a fatal flaw in this year’s South Carolina team. To make this one respectable and cover, hand Mike Davis the football 25 times. If I’ve been sure about any South Carolina games this season, it’s this one. The Gamecocks haven’t beaten the Tigers since 1933 and this year’s team doesn’t match up physically or athletically. Auburn 38, South Carolina 17
ALABAMA (-17) at TENNESSEE
Christopher: This Crimson Tide team has epitomized one of those infamous Forrest Gump quotes. You really don’t know what you’re gonna get. Nick Saban can claim as much credit as he wants for rallying the team last week against a beat-up A&M team. Tennessee looked hapless against Ole Miss. But this UT team nearly beat Georgia with Todd Gurley on the field, and the defense is better than average. Last week was a perfect storm for Alabama, the opposite of the one-point win at Arkansas the week before. The true Alabama team is somewhere in the middle, just as this UT team is somewhere between the Georgia and Ole Miss performances. As long as Justin Worley is upright, I expect UT to stay within two scores in a physical, grinding type of game. Alabama 31, Tennessee 17.
Brad: I’m reluctant to pick Nick Saban’s team to cover based on the immediate overreaction of Alabama being a supernova following last week’s 59-point blasting of stumbling Texas A&M. It was a near flawless performance in every facet and I don’t think the Crimson Tide can repeat such a performance in consecutive games … though I could be wrong. The Vols stink up front and A.J. Johnson can only make so many tackles defensively. Alabama 38, Tennessee 10
VANDERBILT at MIZZOU (-21)
Christopher: I don’t have faith in either of these offenses to score three touchdowns. The Tigers should glide to a sixth win, but haven’t played as eel at home of late. A defensive score may decide the Vegas spread in this one. If Maty Mauk doesn’t play better, regardless of whether he’s getting help from his receivers and offensive line, fans at The Zou will get restless. Vanderbilt, meanwhile, quietly is pulling a Texas with players getting suspended and quitting the team. (‘Dores fans hope QB Patton Robinette isn’t playing the role of David Ash, but he’s still not medically cleared a month after suffering a concussion.) Tigers fans, this one should be far from the offensive renaissance of last season’s SEC championship, but with a better result for you. Missouri 27, Vanderbilt 7.
Brad: This one could be unwatchable offensively for both teams, but it’s an SEC East tilt the Tigers must win to stay alive in the divisional race. Maty Mauk’s been horrific over his last few starts, but Vanderbilt often the perfect remedy. Mizzou 31, Vanderbilt 6
UAB at ARKANSAS (23.5)
Christopher: The last we saw of the Blazers, they were hanging 34 points on eventual No. 1 Mississippi State in a too-close-for-comfort win for the Bulldogs. But this UAB team already has two losses on Conference USA, and despite a sometimes-explosive offense, the Blazers are facing a total mismatch here. Arkansas will physically dominate the game. If the Razorbacks had beaten Alabama or played Georgia tougher, this line likely would be four touchdowns. The team has owned non-SEC opponents this year, and this is no different. Arkansas 49, UAB 21.
Brad: The Razorbacks should take out their winless SEC aggression on the Blazers, a squad that put 34 points on Mississippi State earlier this season. I feel good about the 23.5-point spread and know that Arkansas is three touchdowns better than a team that just lost to Middle Tennessee. Bret Bielema and the Razorbacks get the dreaded noon SEC Network kickoff and need to avoid sleepwalking through a win. Arkansas 41, UAB 17