After a perfect 9-0 two weeks back, I took a beating in the SEC prediction business last Saturday, missing on six of the nine games. Time for a rebound.
New Mexico State at Ole Miss (12:00/SEC): Ole Miss will try to pick itself back up after being mashed 38-10 last Saturday at Florida. Ole Miss forced five Alabama turnovers and beat the Crimson Tide. (Ole Miss hasn’t forced a turnover in the two games since.) The Rebels turned it over four times at Florida and lost to the Gators. Spot a trend here? New Mexico State has a trend of its own. The Aggies are 0-4. They’ll be 0-5 after the trip to Oxford. Ole Miss 45, New Mexico State 10.
South Carolina at LSU (3:30/ESPN): This game was moved from Columbia to Baton Rouge because of the flooding in South Carolina. Gamecocks are 2-3 overall and already 0-3 in the SEC. They aren’t likely to have an answer for the wrecking ball that is Tigers running back Leonard Fournette, who is stacking 200-yard rushing games. On offense, South Carolina gained just 298 yards in last week’s 24-10 loss at Missouri. And LSU has held each of its last three opponents under 300 yards. This has the look of No. 4. LSU 23, South Carolina 3.
Georgia at Tennessee (3:30/CBS): Tennessee lost 24-20 at home to visiting Arkansas last Saturday. Georgia lost 38-10 to visiting Alabama last Saturday. Mark Richt’s quarterbacks completed just 11 of 31 passes for 106 yards with three interceptions against Bama. Not good. Tennessee’s offense has had problems of its own. The Vols gained just 254 yards in the loss to Oklahoma and just 365 last Saturday against Arkansas. Tennessee might need it more, but Georgia is the better team. Georgia 27, Tennessee 21.
Troy at Mississippi State (4:00/SEC): Former UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown is 1-3 in his first season as Troy’s head coach. The win was over Charleston Southern (44-16) with the losses coming to North Carolina State (49-21), Wisconsin (28-3) and South Alabama (24-18). The Trojans have struggled on offense, ranked No. 123 out of 127 FBS teams in total offense. Mississippi State is 3-2 after a 30-17 loss at Texas A&M last Saturday night. The Bulldogs will be looking to get their defense back on track after giving up 516 yards in College Station. Mississippi State 34, Troy 17.
Arkansas at Alabama (7:00/ESPN): Arkansas hopes it turned its season around with the win at Tennessee last week, but now the Razorbacks must tackle Bama in Tuscaloosa. Alabama looked more like the Tide we expected in ripping Georgia last Saturday. Bret Bielema’s defense played better in Knoxville, allowing 365 yards. And Arkansas has rushed for 200-or more yards in each of its last three games. Alabama’s defense is starting to find its groove, however. Nick Saban’s team held UL-Monroe to just 92 total yards and Georgia to 299. Alabama 24, Arkansas 7.
Florida at Missouri (7:30/SEC): Florida is the conference’s biggest surprise with wins over Kentucky, Tennessee and Ole Miss. Missouri is 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the league with its one loss coming at UK 21-13 a week after Florida beat UK 14-9. Florida’s offense isn’t particularly explosive. The Gators gained just 355 yards against Ole Miss. But Jim McElwain’s team didn’t commit a turnover against the Rebels. It has committed just five turnovers in the first five games. And it forced four turnovers in the win over Ole Miss. The Gators roll continues. Florida 17, Missouri 13.
Last week: 3-6
Photo of Troy coach Neal Brown by AP