What should be a fun night down on the bayou in Louisiana, will hopefully make up for the lack of good games in the past two weeks throughout the SEC. With all the bye weeks and teams not hitting the meat of their SEC schedule yet, it’s been a boring few weeks but thankfully the schedule is starting to heat up beginning this weekend. But first, let’s take a look at where teams are this week in the conference power rankings and some interesting stats regarding SEC defenses so far this year.
- Alabama – Nothing new here. Tua and that Alabama offense scored 70 on their bye week last week, but in all seriousness the Tide won’t see a tough defense until they play LSU next month. However, an argument can made that LSU and Florida have played a tougher schedule up to this point so the winner of that game this week could take this spot next week.
- LSU – Riding high on the Bayou Bengals so far this season, with Joe Burrow in the thick of the Heisman race. Ed Oregeron and the Tigers face their toughest test of the season so far when Florida comes into Death Valley at night this week, in what will be a statement game for both teams.
- Georgia – I’ve made it known that I’m not a believer in the Georgia offense this season and I’m starting to sour on Kirby Smart as a head coach, but the Bulldogs deserve this spot for now with how consistent they’ve been so far this season.
- Florida – So I’m late on the Florida train, who cares? Feleipe Franks done for the season? Not a problem so far for the Gators, but that could end abruptly on Saturday night in Baton Rouge. I’ve been wrong about them to this point, can they prove me wrong again?
- Auburn – Todd Grantham and the Florida defense made Bo Nix look like a freshman on the road in the SEC, I guess I should have seen that coming. On top of that loss last week, the Tigers lost starting RB Boobee Whitlow for 4-6 weeks, but luckily in that stretch for Auburn they only play one good team and that’s at LSU which was likely a loss even with Whitlow.
- Missouri – Pretty much a coin toss between Auburn and Missouri for the 5th spot this week, but until Missouri beats a quality opponent or Auburn gives me a reason to drop them this 6th spot is on lock for Mizzou.
- Texas A&M – This has more to do with how bad the back half of the SEC is than anything, but it feels like a safe bet the Aggies are the SEC’s most average team this season.
- South Carolina – Will Muschamp and the Gamecocks are starting to right the ship, but will it be enough to save Muschamp’s job? Time will tell.
- Mississippi State – Win on the road against a team you’re supposed to beat and the putrid loss at Auburn will start to be forgotten. There’s a saying that you can’t let the same game beat you twice, and it feels like that fits here even with the Bulldogs having a bye last week.
- Ole Miss – The Rebels will likely run into a buzzsaw this week against the top ranked defense in the SEC at Missouri, but since JRP has taken the reigns he has given the Rebel fan base some hope.
- Kentucky – They miss Terry Wilson, some kind of bad.
- Arkansas – If the Razorbacks can go on the road and beat Kentucky this week, it might be a sign things are starting to turn for Arkansas.
- Tennessee – Why hasn’t Brian Maurer been the guy all season? I mean, he gave the offense a jolt last week in scoring 14 points against Georgia (LOL) which is better than what Guarantano could have done.
- Vanderbilt – It’s been fun Derek Mason, best of luck wherever you go next.
Some Weird SEC Defense Stats
- Ole Miss has a better run defense than Alabama does at this point in the season. The Rebels are 5th in the SEC in run defense, giving up 99.3 ypg while the Tide are 8th while giving up 134.8 ypg. On the flip side of that the Tide defense is 3rd in pass defense, while the Rebs are dead last.
- All the fuss about the LSU defense this year has been greatly exaggerated because of the amount of points they’ve given up, but when it comes to total yards given up per game the Tigers are 4th in the conference. They’ve given up 287.8ypg so far this season, which is better than Alabama and Auburn.
- Lastly, as bad as the Tennessee offense has been this season and it has been very bad. The same cannot be said about the Vols’ defense. They rank 8th in total defense, giving up 377ypg, while they rank 13th in total offense. If those two were closer together, maybe Pruitt’s job wouldn’t be in jeopardy.
The preview/prediction for Mississippi State at Tennessee can be found here: Mississippi State at Tennessee Preview
- South Carolina at Georgia – It’s hard to see South Carolina having enough offense to win this game, but their defense should keep it respectable early on. Final Prediction: Georgia 31, South Carolina 13
- Alabama at Texas A&M – This game is overshadowed by the Florida and LSU game, but I’m not expecting this to be a competitive game for long. Final Prediction: Alabama 49, Texas A&M 17
- UNLV at Vanderbilt – For Derek Mason’s sake, I hope he at least gets this win or we could see our first SEC head coach fired this season. Final Prediction: Vanderbilt 38, UNLV 21
- Ole Miss at Missouri – Mizzou has the best run defense in the conference, while the Ole Miss’ offense strength is the run game. One has to give and I expect that to be the Ole Miss run game, while Kelly Bryant lights up the conference’s worst pass defense. Final Prediction: Missouri 45, Ole Miss 20
- Arkansas at Kentucky – This is more of a toss up than one might believe, especially with the Kentucky offense in dire need of a jolt. Halfway expecting this to be a really ugly game and if you don’t have to watch it, then don’t. Final Prediction: Kentucky 23, Arkansas 17
- Florida at LSU – Personally, this is the most excited I’ve been for a game this season but unfortunately for me the Yankees play in game one of the ALCS the same time as this so my focus will be on that… However, I expect this to be a knockdown drag out for the first quarter and a half and then I anticipate Joe Brady to make adjustments in the passing game for Joe Burrow and the LSU offense will start clicking. I just don’t see Trask and Florida having enough offense to win this game, even if their defense keeps it close. Final Prediction: LSU 34, Florida 21
What do you think about the power rankings this week and my predictions? Agree or disagree on anything? If so, let me know on Twitter @dickinsonjc or on the Mississippi Sports page on Facebook! I would love your feedback!