Georgia Southern at Ole Miss
Why Georgia Southern will win: The Eagles bring one of the more spread out offenses I have covered this season. They have 2 quarterbacks, Kevin Ellison and Favian Upshaw, who have each thrown for at least 475 yards. When the Eagles run, the attack becomes even more spread out, 5 players have registered at least 200 yards on the ground and 3 of those 5 have at least 400. Georgia Southern will provide an interesting test for a struggling Rebel defense. Ole Miss has struggled mightily against the run this season and the multitude of backs that the Eagles can throw at them could cause issues for Ole Miss.
Why Ole Miss will win: The Ole Miss defense has been terrible this season. They have struggled to stop anybody. With that being said, their offense has had success moving the football. Chad Kelly is putting together another solid season, passing for 2532 yards and 18 touchdowns to lead the SEC in both categories. Georgia Southern’s defense has struggled this season, especially against the run, where they give up nearly 5 yards/carry. This is going to bode well for Kelly and running back Akeem Judd.
Gorm’s Guess: Ole Miss 45 Georgia Southern 24: Ole Miss will get back on track based solely on their offense. I expect their defense to have minor difficulties against Georgia Southern, but nothing that should put the game in jeopardy.
Texas A&M at Mississippi State
Why Texas A&M will win: The Aggies were a surprise addition to the top four in the first CFP rankings. They are led by Trevor Knight and Trayveon Williams. Knight is second among SEC quarterbacks with 529 yards rushing, while also adding 1868 yards through the air. The dual threat option for Knight has caused a lot of issues for opposing defenses. Williams has done an excellent job taking pressure off of Knight. He ranks fifth in the SEC in rushing yards with 776 and 6 touchdowns.
Why Mississippi State will win: The key for the Bulldogs to pull off the upset is going to be Nick Fitzgerald. He is going to have to find a way to expose a Texas A&M secondary that ranks as the second worst in the SEC. He will need to find ways to get the ball in the hands of his two playmakers, Fred Ross and Donald Gray. By doing this, he will hope to open up the read option game that has proved to be very beneficial for Mississippi State this year.
Gorm’s Guess: Texas A&M 38 Mississippi State 21: Trevor Knight and Trayveon Williams will both have big games for the Aggies. Expect Nick Fitzgerald to struggle against the Texas A&M front seven.
Vanderbilt at Auburn
Why Vanderbilt will win: Vanderbilt is coming off their biggest win in the Derek Mason era and seem to be playing their best football of the entire year. The Commodores have one of the best running backs in the SEC in Ralph Webb. Webb ranks 2nd in the SEC with 855 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. He is their key to victory. With a win, Vanderbilt could put themselves in range of making their first bowl since 2013.
Why Auburn will win: After a disappointing start to the season, Auburn has done a huge turn around. The key behind that is their rushing attack and defense. The Tigers rushing attack of Kamryn Pettway (933 yards, 7 TDs) and Kerryon Johnson (580 yards, 8 TDs) are one of the best combinations in the SEC. Vanderbilt has struggled at times in stopping the run, but at other times had a lot of success. If Auburn can run the ball anywhere near the way they have been, this could turn into a blowout.
Gorm’s Guess: Auburn 34 Vanderbilt 17: Auburn is playing its best football of the year and their rushing attack should cause issues for Vandy.
Florida at Arkansas
Why Florida will win: Florida’s team is built around defense. The Gators completely shut down the talented Georgia rushing attack last week. They forced Jacob Eason to beat them and he couldn’t. Florida will have a tougher challenge this week. Austin Allen has filled in the shoes of his older brother very well. If the Gators can again force Allen to throw the ball to win, it will definitely slow down the Razorback offense that does have a talented back in Rawleigh Williams.
Why Arkansas will win: Arkansas needs this win in the worst way. The key is going to be establishing the run game. Rawleigh Williams is one of the best running backs in the SEC. He will need to take pressure off of Austin Allen if the Razorbacks want a chance at the upset. The Arkansas defense has struggled this year and will have issues slowing down the Florida backfield. They will need to make Luke Del Rio throw the ball. It is also worth noting that if Arkansas wins and Kentucky wins, the Cats will be in first place in the SEC East, so… GO RAZORBACKS!
Gorm’s Guess: Arkansas 24 Florida 23: Because, why not? Let’s keep living this dream and hope the Razorbacks take down the Gators!
Missouri at South Carolina
Why Missouri will win: Missouri looked terrible in a loss to Kentucky last week. The team seems to have lost their identity under first year head coach Barry Odom. The defense was terrible, especially at stopping the run. The defense has to play better. Plan and simple. Offensively, the Tigers continue to show spurts of positivity. One drive, Drew Lock can look like one of the better quarterbacks in the SEC and the next he looks like he should not even be starting. Overall, the key for Missouri, not only in this game, but also the rest of the season is consistency.
Why South Carolina will win: The Gamecocks picked a great time to play their best game of the year last week. Jake Bentley played very well and showed a lot of poise in a big game. In two games this season, he has passed for 368 yards and 4 touchdowns. He seems to have the full support of the entire team. With a win against Missouri, South Carolina will move to 5 wins and all but clinch a bowl game. (They welcome in FCS-opponent Western Carolina on November 19th)
Gorm’s Guess: South Carolina 27 Missouri 21: I think that the Gamecocks have finally found their starting quarterback with Jake Bentley. He should have a good game against a Missouri team that is struggling.
Tennessee Tech at Tennessee
Why Tennessee Tech will win: The Golden Eagles enter Knoxville with a record of 3-5. They get to go up against a Tennessee team that is struggling. Michael Birdsong leads the way for Tennessee Tech. He has passed for 1967 yards and 12 touchdowns, but has thrown 6 interceptions. His favorite target is wide receiver Dontez Byrd, who leads the team with 502 receiving yards. Out of the backfield, the Golden Eagles send Yeedee Thaenrat. Thaenrat has rushed for nearly 400 yards in his Freshman season.
Why Tennessee will win: This time last month, Tennessee fans were beginning to make plans for Atlanta and a New Years Six bowl, if not even a CFP birth. That all has changed and fast. The Vols have lost 3 straight SEC games with the killer coming last week at South Carolina. The other big news is the reports of Jalen Hurd transferring. I cannot see Tennessee losing this game, but with all of the distractions this past week, anything is possible. With that being said, the Vols still have a more than capable quarterback in Josh Dobbs and a talented backup running back in Alvin Kamara.
Gorm’s Guess: Tennessee 56 Tennessee Tech 10: Tennessee will be able to get back on the winning track before a massive showdown with Kentucky next week.
Alabama at LSU
Why Alabama will win: Alabama has been the best team all season long. They are the most balanced team in the SEC. The strength for the Tide comes in the trenches, both offensively and defensively. Offensively, Damien Harris has had an excellent season. He has rushed for 700 yards. The Crimson Tide rank second in the SEC in rushing yards and will look to pound it right at LSU. Defensively, Alabama has been phenomenal at stopping the run. Opponents are averaging only 2.1 yards/rush and 70 yards/game. This ranks as the best in the nation by over 20 yards. (San Diego State is second and averaging giving up 91 yards/game) If Alabama continues its trend of shutting down opponent running backs, this won’t be close.
Why LSU will win: The start to the Ed Orgeron era could not have gone any better for the Tigers. Orgeron will receive his first big test this week against a really good Alabama team. The key for LSU is going to be Danny Etling. Alabama will more than likely be able to at least slow down Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice. This will put pressure on Etling to make throws against an Alabama secondary that isn’t as good as their front seven. (This is not saying much at all though) If Etling can make big throws throughout the game to open up the run game for Fournette and Guice, LSU could pull off the massive upset.
Gorm’s Guess: Alabama 31 LSU 21: Alabama’s defense is too strong. I do not have full confidence in Danny Etling and his ability to pass the ball with consistency.
Other Games of Note
Louisville at Boston College
Why Louisville will win: Louisville had a huge scare last week against Virginia. It took a Lamar Jackson touchdown pass in the closing seconds to defeat a 2-win Virginia team. The Louisville offense struggled at times last week, but still found a way to win. Lamar Jackson continues to lead the way for the Cards. He has passed for 2522 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushed for 996 yards and 16 touchdowns. He will have a challenge this week going up a really good Boston College offense.
Why Boston College will win: Patrick Towles has started to find his groove for Boston College. He has passed for 1146 yards and 7 touchdowns and added 268 yards and 4 more touchdowns. The key for the Eagles though is defense. Against the run, Boston College ranks 4th in the nation by allowing only 93.63 yards/game. This is the best defense that Lamar Jackson has faced this season. If they can make him throw the ball and Pat Towles can pass for 250 yards and 2 scores, we could be looking at a big upset.
Gorm’s Guess: Louisville 28 Boston College 13: As good as the Boston College defense is their offense has struggled. I really hope I am wrong as there is nothing I’d love more than to see Pat Towles get the big win!
Nebraska at Ohio State
Why Nebraska will win: Tommy Armstrong Jr. leads the way for the Cornhuskers into Columbus. He has accounted for 1764 yards through the air and 419 on the ground for 18 combined touchdowns. Out of the backfield, Armstrong is able to give the ball off to Terrell Newby who has 677 total yards of offense this season. The key for Nebraska is going to be striking early. They will need to try and force Ohio State to take the ball off of the ground and put it into the air. They also must take away the crowd.
Why Ohio State will win: JT Barrett is quietly having himself a Heisman-like season. Barrett has 1675 passing yards and 531 rushing yards for a combined 23 touchdowns. When Barrett isn’t handling the ball, he will give it off to both Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel. Weber leads the team with 770 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. Samuel is a huge target for Barrett with 558 yards on the ground and 539 receiving yards. Ohio State needs to win. A loss would all but eliminate them from CFP contention.
Gorm’s Guess: Ohio State 35 Nebraska 24: I cannot see Urban Meyer’s team losing this. JT Barrett will have a big game in a big Buckeye win.