Posted: 11:00 a.m. Friday, Oct. 4, 2013
This week doesn't feature a massive conference matchup, but there are a few decent games that will determine the pecking order of the SEC also-rans. Games are listed in order of general watchability and all times are C e.n.tral.
Another season full of irrational hope for Mississippi State fans, another year full of heartbreak and disappointment. The Bulldogs sit at 2-2 and won't even make a bowl this year if they can't pull off at least one big upset before the season's end. Despite all that, the Bulldogs are actually a serviceable team. They can run the ball effectively, and their defense is easily in the top half of the conference. LSU, on the other hand, is more than serviceable. Despite taking it on the chin in Athens, the Tigers are still one of the elite teams in all of college football. The LSU defense isn't where it has been in years past, but the newfound balance on offense makes up for it. The Bulldogs front seven may be able to slow down Jeremy Hill, but Zach Mettenberger is good enough to finish the job through the air.
Arkansas is fresh off a respectable showing against Texas A&M;, and Florida is struggling with a sudden rash of injuries to key players. Freshman running back Alex Collins seems capable of leading the Razorbacks to the upset victory if a few things break their way -- but that seems fairly unlikely. Despite the loss of Dominique Easley, the Gator defense is still the best in the SEC and should keep Collins and the Arkansas offense from having any sustained success. Expect to see Tyler Murphy continue to develop and make just enough big plays to lead Florida to the win.
Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs have essentially clinched a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship. Think we're jumping the gun? Go take a look at their schedule -- we'll wait. You see any games on there in which the Bulldogs won't be double-digit favorites? We sure don't. All Georgia has to do is stay motivated, and running the table from here on out should be a breeze. Tennessee should be able to run the ball right at Georgia, but the Vols' defense hasn't done anything thus far that would suggest it can slow down Aaron Murray and his stable of talented running backs. Look for Georgia to take the Neyland crowd out of the game early.
Missouri finally begins its SEC schedule with a trip to Nashville to face the feisty Commodores. Despite being undefeated, the Tigers haven't won any beauty contests because of the lack of quality opponents on their early-season schedule. While that criticism is fair, Mizzou may have one of the more talented offenses in the league. Running back Russell Hansbrough is criminally underrated as a home run threat in this league. Vanderbilt, however, is no slouch with the ball, either. The ridiculously spelled Austyn Carta-Samuels has improved as Vandy's quarterback and needs this win to ensure that the Commodores get to Anchor Down in another bowl game this year. My head says that Mizzou pulls out the win, but I can't not use the GIF below ...
South Carolina is looking to rebound from a near-embarrassment at Central Florida. Who stands in the Gamecocks' way as they seek to make a statement this week? The hapless Wildcats of Kentucky. Big Blue isn't quite as bad on the gridiron as they are portrayed to be, but they will not beat any team that can slow down their running game. South Carolina is such a team. The Gamecocks' star running back Mike Davis has been explosive and should be able to break a few long ones against this Kentucky defense.
Alabama is 4-0, and has won three of the last four national championships. Georgia State is 0-4 and may very well be the worst team in the entire country. This game isn't worth reading a preview on. Go hug your children.