LSU at Florida
UPDATE: This game has been suspended indefinitely due to Hurricane Matthew.
Auburn at Mississippi State
Why Auburn will win: The key to success for Auburn is centered around a talented defense. They should not have any issues slowing down a questionable Mississippi State offense. Offensively, for the Tigers, Sean White has passed for 983 yards and Kerryon Johnson has added 517 yards on the ground. The Bulldog defense has struggled at points this year and I expect them to struggle again. The Auburn offense is starting to find their way and Gus Malzahn has yet another must win game.
Why Mississippi State will win: After surviving against UMass in Week Four, the Bulldogs will try to get back on track in Starkville. Nick Fitzgerald has thrown for 603 yards and rushed for 329. Fitzgerald is going to get the ball into the hands of Fred Ross and Donald Gray who have accounted for 64% of the team’s total receiving yards. Mississippi State has had 2 weeks to prepare for this game and should be ready to play.
Gorm’s Guess: Auburn 27 Mississippi State 17: Consistency has been a main issue for Mississippi State this year, while Auburn has played consistently good defense all year. The Tiger defense has had success against one dual threat quarterback and struggled against another. If they can force Fitzgerald to stay in the pocket and make throws, Auburn will win.
#9 Tennessee at #8 Texas A&M
Why Tennessee will win: Tennessee fans may need to get their heart checked after this season. The Vols have almost lost 4 of their 5 games and will need to put together a complete performance to defeat A&M. The bad news for the Aggies is Joshua Dobbs is starting to find his rhythm on offense. This season, Dobbs has passed 1035 yards and rushed for 267 more. Dobbs must keep the Texas A&M offense off he field and control the game.
Why Texas A&M will win: Trevor Knight has been the surprise of the season in the SEC. He has been magnificent with 1261 yards through the air and 392 more on the ground. The Tennessee secondary has struggled at points this year and I am not confident that they will be able to slow down Knight. When Knight doesn’t have the ball, he is giving it up to Trayveon Williams who has added 487 rushing yards of his own. College GameDay heads to College Station and should add even more electricity to an already fantastic environment.
Gorm’s Guess: Texas A&M 38 Tennessee 34: Tennessee will once again stay within striking distance, but this time won’t be able to get over the hump.
#1 Alabama at #16 Arkansas
Why Alabama will win: I am still a believer that Alabama is the best team in the country. They have yet to show me anything differently. Jalen Hurts has surprised the nation as a untraditional Saban quarterback. Hurts has passed for nearly 1000 yards and added 276 yards on the ground. Hurts is able to spread the ball out to multiple different targets on offense through Damien Harris, Calvin Ridley and Joshua Jacobs.
Why Arkansas will win: Austin Allen has definitely filled the shoes of older brother, Brandon Allen, as he has helped the Razorbacks to a 4-1 record. Rawleigh Williams is the key to the Razorbacks offense, he has rushed for 559 yards and 4 touchdowns. He will NEED to have a big game for Arkansas. The key for the Razorbacks to have a shot to upset the #1 team will be to find a way to slow down Hurts and to limit turnovers.
Gorm’s Guess: Alabama 41 Arkansas 28: Alabama is better than Arkansas at just about every position on the field. Saban’s team will be ready to play in the hostile environment and should head to Knoxville next week as number 1 again.
Georgia at South Carolina
NOTE: THIS GAME HAS BEEN MOVED TO SUNDAY DUE TO HURRICANE MATTHEW
Why Georgia will win: Georgia lost in the worst possible way last week. After scoring with 0:10 left, the Bulldogs thought they had upset Tennessee. The Vols, on the other hand, had a different ending in mind. They scored on a Hail Mary as time expired to defeat Georgia. There is nothing more difficult than coming back from a heart breaking loss like the one Georgia just suffered. The key for this game has to be whether Nick Chubb will play. As Kentucky showed, the Gamecocks struggle at stopping a power running back. For me, that is the major key, if Chubb plays, this won’t be close.
Why South Carolina will win: South Carolina continues to use both Perry Orth and Brandon McIlwain at quarterback. If there was a bright side for Gamecock fans to look at, it would be the defense. They were able to slow down Texas A&M last week and will need a similar performance. South Carolina must hold Georgia to under 20 points. I am not confident in them actually being able to score 20.
Gorm’s Guess: Georgia 24 South Carolina 13: Georgia will bounce back from a heartbreaking loss last week. If Chubb plays, this margin could get a lot bigger.
Other Game of Note
Texas at #20 Oklahoma
Why Texas will win: Charlie Strong saved his job a year ago with a win in this game. A win might not save it, but it certainly will cool his hot seat. This game has all the makings of a shootout. The Longhorns feature Freshman quarterback Shane Buechele who has passed for nearly 1000 yards this season. Texas really likes to spread the ball out as they have 3 players with at least 100 yards rushing and 6 with at least 100 yards receiving. This will cause issues for an Oklahoma defense that has not impressed anyone this season.
Why Oklahoma will win: In a way, this could be a job saver for Bob Stoops. I know, I may sound crazy, but this would be Stoops’ second straight loss to Texas and the Sooners would fall to 2-3. With that being said, I can’t imagine Stoops getting fired regardless of a win or loss. Baker Mayfield will need to have a big game and should against a bad Texas defense. When Mayfield doesn’t have the ball, he will be handing it off to Joe Mixon and Samaje Perrine. Oklahoma can definitely score to keep up with Texas, but I am not sure they can stop the Longhorns.
Gorm’s Guess: Oklahoma 45 Texas 42: This will be a shootout for the ages, whichever defense makes the stop will win the game. I think the main factor in the win for Oklahoma will be the experience of Baker Mayfield, who is starting his 2nd Red River Rivalry game.
#25 Virginia Tech at #17 North Carolina
Why Virginia Tech will win: Jerod Evans is an under the radar Heisman candidate. Evans has passed for 970 yards and 13 touchdowns to only 1 interception. The Hokies can definitely score. The key will be limiting turnovers. The Hokies had 5 fumbles in their game against Tennessee last month. That will not be acceptable if Virginia Tech wants to win. Their secondary is talented. They held Joshua Dobbs to under 100 yards passing and will be going up against the hottest quarterback in the FBS.
Why North Carolina will win: The Tar Heels also boast a true Heisman candidate in Mitch Trubisky. Trubisky has passed for 1711 yards and 13 touchdowns with 0 interceptions. The Tar Heels are going to pass the ball and spread the ball out. 6 different North Carolina players have caught a touchdown pass this season and three different players have at least 4 rushing touchdowns. This will force Virginia Tech to play a safe and smart defense, because if they drop back and slow down the pass, North Carolina will just run the ball and vice versa.
Gorm’s Guess: North Carolina 56 Virginia Tech 52: This will be another shootout and should be fun to watch. I think that the best player on the field is Trubisky and he should test the Virginia Tech secondary.
#23 Florida State at #10 Miami
Why Florida State will win: The last time Florida State started 3-3 was 2011, when Mark Stoops, DJ Eliot and Eddie Gran were all members of that coaching staff. To avoid that, the Seminoles will have to defeat Miami. The Noles were embarrassed in Louisville on September 17th and were stunned last week on a last second field goal by North Carolina. The FSU offense is run through Dalvin Cook and Deondre Francois. Cook has rushed for 635 yards and 7 touchdowns and Francois has passed for 1323 and 7 touchdowns. The Florida State defense has not lived up to the preseason hype and will have to show up if the Seminoles want to take down Miami.
Why Miami will win: The Mark Richt era could not have begun any better for Miami. The Hurricanes are 4-0 and seem to have a future NFL quarterback behind center. Brad Kaaya has passed for 935 yards and 8 touchdowns for the ‘Canes. He will also hand the ball of to a duo of running backs in Mark Walton and Joseph Yearby. The two have combined for 766 yards. As shown in the Louisville game, FSU does struggle against the run. These two will have to have a big game to take pressure off a Brad Kaaya.
Gorm’s Guess: Miami 38 Florida State 35: This should be another great game. There are some worries on whether it will be played due to Hurricane Matthew, but if they end up playing I am picking the Hurricanes. The inconsistency on defense for Florida State poses too many questions for me to be confident in them winning.