South Carolina at Florida
Why South Carolina will win: Under Jake Bentley, the Gamecocks are rolling. Bentley has thrown for 622 yards and 6 touchdowns in his three starts this season. He will be challenged by a really good Florida defense. The key matchup will be the South Carolina wide receivers against the Florida secondary. The Gamecocks are going to have to establish the run to have any shot at the upset in Gainesville.
Why Florida will win: Luke Del Rio will not play today for the Gators. Instead, the Gators will again turn to Austin Appleby. Appleby started 2 games earlier this season, where he passed for 440 yards and 3 touchdowns. The key to Florida is their defense. While they struggled at points last week, they still rank 2nd in the nation at defending the pass and 3rd in the nation overall. This is not promising for a quarterback who is making his first career road start.
Gorm’s Guess: Florida 24 South Carolina 23: I think South Carolina will keep this one closer than it really should be. Expect the Gator defense to make a stop to save the game in the 4th quarter.
Mississippi State at Alabama
Why Mississippi State will win: Mississippi State shocked the nation last week with a huge upset of Texas A&M. They have a chance to upset a top 4 team for the second week in a row by heading to Tuscaloosa. Nick Fitzgerald played well in the Bulldogs win last week. He passed for 209 yards and 2 touchdowns and added 182 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. Picking out a weakness on Alabama is not easy, but it would probably centered around the arm of Jalen Hurts. Mississippi State will have to pressure him and take away the scramble factor if they want any shot in this game.
Why Alabama will win: The Crimson Tide defense is REALLY good. They proved that again last week by shutting down two of the better running backs in the nation. Their defense has given up only 594 rushing yards in 9 games. That ranks first in the nation by 180 yards. They should not have any issues slowing down Nick Fitzgerald. If they can force him to pass, he becomes turnover prone and Alabama will win big.
Gorm’s Guess: Alabama 45 Mississippi State 10: Alabama is really good. It’s that simple.
Auburn at Georgia
Why Auburn will win: Auburn survived a scare last week against Vanderbilt. The Tigers still seem to be legitimate contenders in the SEC West. Running backs Kamryn Pettway (1106 yards, 7 TDs) and Kerryon Johnson (616 yards, 9 TDs) have dominated defenses so far this season. They will have a challenge going up against the SEC’s 3rd best rushing defense. On the other side of the ball, Auburn has had a lot of success at stopping the run. As Florida proved two weeks ago, if you can slow down the Georgia rush attack, they become very easy to beat.
Why Georgia will win: Georgia had a much needed win last week against Kentucky. The key for the Georgia offense all season has been whether they are able to run the football or not. In their 5 wins this season, they are averaging 219 yards/game, to only 125 yards/game in their losses. Rushing the ball against Auburn is not an easy task, but it is a must if Georgia wants to win. The rushing attack will also take pressure off of Jacob Eason (1754 yards, 5 TDs), who is still prone to make mistakes.
Gorm’s Guess: Auburn 35 Georgia 21: Jacob Eason is going to be the key in this game. He has to play well if the Dogs want any shot at the upset.
Vanderbilt at Missouri
Why Vanderbilt will win: Vanderbilt nearly knocked off Auburn last week. The ‘Dores seem to be truly finding their stride at the perfect point in the season. They will be facing a Missouri team that is struggling. For Vanderbilt, Ralph Webb continues his impressive sophomore season by rushing for 901 yards and 6 touchdowns. When Webb isn’t in the game, Khari Blasingame has proved to be a nice complement for the Vanderbilt offense. Defensively, the Commodores have struggled at points. The Auburn rush attack from a week ago torched the Commodores.
Why Missouri will win: Every week it seems as if I come back and talk about how far Missouri is sliding. This week is no different. The Tigers went through their non conference with people talking about this team maybe making a run at the SEC East title. Now, the worry is if they will even win another game this season. With games against Tennessee and Arkansas still to come, this is a game that Barry Odom’s team needs. Drew Lock has taken most of the load for the Missouri offense this season. Lock has passed for 2,517 yards and 19 touchdowns. Lock is going to have to have a good game and find ways to get the ball into the hands of running back Damarea Crockett and J’Mon Moore. If not, Vanderbilt could win this big.
Gorm’s Guess: Vanderbilt 31 Missouri 17: Missouri is somehow favored in this game. The Tigers are not a great football team and Vanderbilt is playing their best football of the year.
LSU at Arkansas
Why LSU will win: LSU was shut down on offense last week against Alabama. Leonard Fournette was held to 35 rush yards in the 10-0 Tiger loss. That will not be acceptable this week. Consistency has proven to be a major weakness of the Tiger offense. They boast one of the better running back tandems in the SEC in Fournette and Derrius Guice. The two have combined for 1,334 yards and 12 touchdowns. If LSU has success running the ball in this game, they win, if not, I cannot see them having much success.
Why Arkansas will win: Arkansas had a huge win last week against Florida. Austin Allen continues to have an impressive season. The Junior quarterback has thrown for 2,219 yards and 19 touchdowns, but has thrown 8 interceptions. When Allen is not passing, he can hand it off to one of the SEC’s best running backs in Rawleigh Williams III. Williams is second in the SEC with 955 rushing yards. The Allen-Williams combination showed its worth last week and will need to again this week to take down LSU.
Gorm’s Guess: LSU 27 Arkansas 24: Leonard Fournette will have a big game for LSU. This is a must win game for Ed Orgeron. His chances of landing the head coach position grow exponentially with every win.
Ole Miss at Texas A&M
Why Ole Miss would win: Ole Miss lost quarterback Chad Kelly for the season due to a torn ACL and torn lateral meniscus. They will turn to Shea Patterson. The Rebels are removing Patterson’s redshirt. Patterson was the top ranked dual threat quarterback in the class of 2016. It is obviously hard to predict how Patterson will perform, but he is lucky to have one of the better Tight Ends in all of the College Football in Evan Engram. Engram leads the SEC in receiving yards with 775. He is going to have to find ways to get open to try and make the transition to Patterson as smooth as possible.
Why Texas A&M would win: Like Ole Miss, the Aggies lost their starting quarterback to injury last week. The Aggies will turn to Jake Hubenak. In limited action this season, Hubenak has passed for 350 yards and 3 touchdowns. Texas A&M is going to rely heavily on Trayveon Williams, who has rushed for 804 yards this season. Ole Miss has been awful defensively this season. Williams should have a big game and take pressure off of Hubenak who is making only his second career start.
Gorm’s Guess: Texas A&M 27 Ole Miss 16: The Ole Miss defense poses too many questions, even against a new quarterback for the Aggies. That and the Rebels are starting a true freshman who is making first start in a hostile environment.
Other Games of Note
Baylor at Oklahoma
Why Baylor will win: Like any Big 12 team, Baylor can score. The Bears are led by Seth Russell who has passed for 1,978 yards and 19 touchdowns, while also adding 436 yards on the ground. Also coming out of the backfield is running back Terence Williams who has added 691 rushing yards of his own. Oklahoma is the second worst team at defending the pass in the Big 12. Russell is going to have to take advantage of this by getting the ball to receiver Shock Linwood and company.
Why Oklahoma will win: After a 1-2 start to the season, Oklahoma is finally in their grove. The key to that has been Baker Mayfield. Mayfield is 9th in the nation with 2,912 passing yards and tied for 3rd with 31 touchdown passes. His favorite target is Dede Westbrook. Westbrook has the most receiving yards of all of the Power 5 teams with 1,116. He is also tied for 3rd in the nation with 12 touchdowns. Out of the backfield, Joe Mixon is dangerous as both a runner and a receiver. He has combined for 1,170 all purpose yards for the Sooners.
Gorm’s Guess: Oklahoma 45 Baylor 41: If you like offense, this game is a must watch, because there will be a lot of it. I think it will come down to Baker Mayfield being able to make plays in the end for the Sooners to win.
Wake Forest at Louisville
Why Wake Forest will win: The Demon Deacons have struggled mightily on offense this season. They rank second last in the ACC by averaging 331.4 yards/game. John Wolford has passed for 1,313 yards and 5 touchdowns, but has thrown 7 interceptions. A consistent defense has been what the Demon Deacons have focused on all season. This defense will be tasked with defending the most electrifying player in the nation in Lamar Jackson.
Why Louisville will win: Lamar Jackson. Every week I wonder if this is the week where a team finds a way to shut down Jackson. The fact of the matter is that there isn’t a team that can accomplish this. Jackson’s numbers are incredible and you can expect them to become even more staggering following this weekend.
Gorm’s Guess: Louisville 54 Wake Forest 13: There is no reason why this game should be close. Louisville is better than Wake Forest at every position.
USC at Washington
Why USC will win: Ever since USC has turned to Sam Darnold as their starting quarterback, their season has completely turned around. Darnold has been fantastic. He has passed for 1,874 yards and 20 touchdowns to only 4 touchdowns. He is lucky enough to have one of the most talented wide receivers in all of College Football in JuJu Smith-Schuster. This combination can be lethal and will be a key factor on whether USC can pull off the upset.
Why Washington will win: If Lamar Jackson does not win the Heisman, it will most likely end up in the hands of Jake Browning. Browning is putting together a fantastic season for Chris Peterson’s Huskies. He has passed for 2,273 yards and 34 touchdowns to 3 interceptions. Out of the backfield, Myles Gaskin has added 952 rushing yards. John Ross is second in the nation with 14 receiving touchdowns. Washington’s offense is able to spread the ball out to multiple different receivers/backs which will cause issues for the Trojans.
Gorm’s Guess: Washington 34 USC 24: I expect Jake Browning to pass for 250 yards and at least 3 touchdowns in a big win for Washington. The Huskies NEED this win to add to their CFP resumÃ©.