UMass at South Carolina
Why UMass will win: UMass will be playing its’ third game against an SEC opponent this year. Earlier this season, they were beaten by Florida and Mississippi State. The Minutemen have struggled at times this season on offense. The struggle starts with them committing 14 turnovers, 9 of them being interceptions. This will not be able to happen, especially against a good South Carolina defense. UMass will need to hand the ball off to running back Marquis Young and try and slow the game down.
Why South Carolina will win: Although the South Carolina offense is not great, the UMass defense may make them look great. Perry Orth should have a big game for the Gamecocks against that UMass defense. Orth will need to find a way to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers: Hayden Hurst and AJ Turner. The Gamecocks are also relieved to have receivers Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards back from injury.
Gorm’s Guess: South Carolina 31 UMass 13: The Gamecock offense has yet to truly prove anything this season and that will keep this game closer than it needs to be.
Texas A&M at Alabama
Why Texas A&M will win: The key to the Texas A&M offense is Alabama’s strength on defense. Running the football is going to play a huge factor in who wins the game. The Aggies’ tandem of quarterback Trevor Knight and running back Rawleigh Williams have combined for 1206 yards and the ground and 14 touchdowns. Knight is going to have to have a big game through the air. Alabama is going to find ways to stop the Texas A&M rushing attack, but if Knight can make plays through the air, the Aggies could steal this in Tuscaloosa.
Why Alabama will win: The first 7 weeks of the season have proven to be all Alabama. The Crimson Tide have only been truly tested in one game this season and have dominated every other one. Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts is playing his name into some Heisman talks. The Texas native, Hurts, grew up about 100 miles away from Texas A&M. He has passed for 1385 yards and 9 touchdowns, while also adding 428 more yards on the ground. Defensively, Alabama has been excellent in stopping the run and they will have to do that to win. If they can slow down the A&M rushing attack, this could turn in to a repeat of last week for the Crimson Tide.
Gorm’s Guess: Alabama 37 Texas A&M 24: This is going to be a great football game. I truly do expect Alabama to win, but wouldn’t be surprised if they won by 1 or 21.
Middle Tennessee at Missouri
Why MTSU will win: MTSU lost a heartbreaker last weekend to WKU in 2OT. The offense runs through quarterback Brent Stockstill, running back I’Tavius Mathers and wide receiver Richie James. Stockstill finds creative ways to get the ball into both of their hands. Mathers, an Ole Miss transfer, is third in C-USA with 725 rushing yards and first with 10 touchdowns. James is seventh in the nation with 776 receiving yards. Defensively, the Blue Raiders are not very good, they have given up 30 points 3 times this season, including giving up 47 points to Vanderbilt.
Why Missouri will win: Missouri has taken MASSIVE steps back in the past few weeks. If they do not have a better game, they will lose this week. MTSU is no walk in the park. The Missouri offense has disappeared and their talented defense from a year ago is nowhere to be found. Drew Lock must have a big game. The defense has to find ways to stop Mathers and James. If they don’t, they will lose and what looked to be a possible bowl game will get A LOT harder.
Gorm’s Guess: Missouri 31 MTSU 24: This game will make or break the season for Missouri. Their defense has to come to play if they want to win.
Tennessee State at Vanderbilt
Why Tennessee State will win: Tennessee State is playing their first FBS team of the year as they bring their 5-1 record to Vanderbilt. The two campuses are less than 3 miles apart in what will be Tennessee State’s biggest game of the year. The Tigers have a balanced offense. Quarterback Ronald Butler has passed for 825 yards and added 158 on the ground. His favorite targets are Patrick Smith and Steven Newbold who have combined for 940 yards and 9 touchdowns. These two will test a good Vanderbilt defense.
Why Vanderbilt will win: Vanderbilt is coming off their biggest win in the Derek Mason era, a 17-16 win in Athens. The Commodore defense stepped up in a BIG way shutting down the Georgia rushing attack. The secondary has had some question marks, but Tennessee State has only two receivers with over 100 yards. The Tigers struggled to stop EKU last week, especially on the ground. Ralph Webb should have a MASSIVE game this week.
Gorm’s Guess: Vanderbilt 35 Tennessee State 10: This is an interesting game. Tennessee State seems to be a decent FCS opponent, but the ‘Dores are just too good on defense for there to be an upset chance here.
Ole Miss at LSU
Why Ole Miss will win: The Rebels have lost their 3 games by a combined 20 points to 3 ranked opponents. Chad Kelly highlights this team. He has passed for 1849 yards and 14 touchdowns, while adding 213 more on the ground. He will get the ball into the hands of Evan Engram, who is his leading target with 590 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns. Defense is the big question heading into this game for Ole Miss. The Rebels rank 106th in the nation in total defense and are facing an LSU team that appears to be finding their stride.
Why LSU will win: The Tigers offense has EXPLODED in the two games under Ed Orgeron. The Ole Miss defense ranks last in the SEC and has looked terrible this season. Leonard Fournette will start after missing his third game of the season last week. Not having Fournette did not seem to have any effect on the Tigers as Derrius Guice stepped in and has rushed for 564 yards this season. Danny Etling has taken over the starting quarterback job and played extremely well. He has 925 passing yards and 6 touchdowns.
Gorm’s Guess: LSU 34 Ole Miss 27: The Ole Miss defense will struggle against the LSU rushing attack. That and the fact the game is in Baton Rouge will play to a big win for LSU.
Arkansas at Auburn
Why Arkansas will win: Austin Allen leads the SEC with 1861 passing yards and Rawleigh Williams leads the SEC in rushing with 785 yards on the ground. The Razorbacks offense is tough and playing really well right now. Their matchup with Auburn is interesting. The Tigers have a good defense, but are rather one-dimensional on offense. The Razorbacks will need to keep the Allen-Williams train rolling to win a big road win.
Why Auburn will win: Auburn is going to run the ball right at you. Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway are two of the better running backs in the SEC. Johnson has 538 yards and Pettway has 505 yards with the two combining for 10 touchdowns. When they aren’t running the ball, quarterback Sean White can get the ball into the air and make plays happen. This seems to be a decent matchup for Auburn. Arkansas’ defense isn’t great and Auburn’s is.
Gorm’s Guess: Auburn 24 Arkansas 23: This is an intriguing matchup. Both teams have a lot to prove with a win, but if Auburn wins, they could play their name into SEC Championship talk.
Other Games of Note
NC State at Louisville
Why NC State will win: Kyle Bambard missed three field goals and NC State fell to Clemson in overtime. If Bambard made one of his three, NC State would have had one of the bigger upsets of the year. Ryan Finley leads the way for the Wolfpack with 1272 yards and 9 touchdowns. Matthew Dayes also adds to the Wolfpack’s offensive attack with 669 yards on the ground and 4 touchdowns. Defensively will definitely be a challenge for the second week in a row, but as Duke showed last week, Lamar Jackson can be at least slowed down.
Why Louisville will win: Lamar Jackson continues to lead the Heisman conversation. His stats are impressive. Jackson has 1806 yards through the air and 832 yards on the ground for 30 combined touchdowns. Jackson’s 30 touchdown is more than half of the rest of the NCAA. When Jackson doesn’t have the ball in his hands, Brandon Radcliffe has added 534 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Gorm’s Guess: Louisville 45 NC State 24: I think NC State’s upset magic was used up last week against Clemson. Louisville will be ready for the Wolfpack.
TCU at West Virginia
Why TCU will win: Kenny Hill is 5th in the nation with 2142 passing yards. Hill and the TCU offense are extremely powerful and will find ways to score. Hill has one of the better running backs in the BIG 12 in Kyle Hicks and a talented wide receiver in Taj Williams. Defense has been the question all year for TCU as they can score a lot of points, but can’t stop anyone. They will have a massive challenge trying to stop a very well balanced West Virginia offense.
Why West Virginia will win: The Mountaineers have quietly been one of the NCAA’s better teams. Styler Howard has 1590 yards through the air and 8 touchdowns. He get to hand the ball off to a good tandem of running backs in Justin Crawford and Rushel Shell. The two have combined for 721 yards on the ground and 8 touchdowns. Defensively, the Mountaineers will have a challenge in slowing down Kenny Hill, but definitely have the team to do it.
Gorm’s Guess: West Virginia 31 TCU 21: I expect West Virginia to shut down the TCU offense. The Mountaineers are a really good football team and will finally get their chance to prove it to everybody on the national stage.