We’re already a third of the way through the college football regular season. Moving into Week 5, no one yet knows what to make of any team in the SEC — minus the Crimson Machine that is Alabama. However, what we do know is this week’s slate of games will have you glued to your lucky seat all day.
VANDERBILT at No. 21 FLORIDA
Noon ET; ESPN; Florida -7
Vanderbilt looks to bounce back against divisional foe Florida after getting the absolute hell beaten out of them to the tune of 59-0 whopping. The Commodores’ defense continues to be the strength of the team despite the results of last week’s game, and it could serve as a real problem for the Gators, who have have yet to show any consistency on offense.
However, what the Gators have been able to do is win games they have no business winning. Jimmy Mac and the Gators pulled out a last-chance touchdown (for the second week in a row) to win a game against eastern divisional rival Kentucky to extend that win streak to 31 games.
That being said, expect this game to be a defensive battle, but nevertheless still an exciting matchup — especially if Vanderbilt’s defense shows out like it did prior to last week.
No. 7 GEORGIA at TENNESSEE
3:30 pm ET; CBS; Georgia -7.5
Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and even D’Andre Swift — the third string, freshman running back — ran all over Mississippi State on their way to a 31-3 throttling of the Bulldogs from Starkville.
Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney has had a tendency to go away from a good run game to start throwing the ball around the yard a little more, but that seems to be a thing of the past. Quarterback Jake Fromm only threw 12 passes in Georgia’s beat down of Mississippi State. Don’t let that small sample size fool you, because Fromm’s nine completions for 201 yards and two touchdowns were plenty effective.
On the other side of things, Tennessee is coming off a less-than-thrilling 17-13 win over UMass, who came into Neyland as one of the worst teams in college football. Nevertheless, Butch Jones has coached his best games against Georgia, and every game between the Vols and Bulldogs under Jones has come down to one possession.
The only thing that would make this game a bad one to watch is if Butch Jones has already lost his locker room, and the players come out totally flat. If that is not the case, then I would expect Tennessee to throw just about everything but the kitchen sink at the Bulldogs.
No. 24 MISSISSIPPI STATE at No. 13 AUBURN
6 p.m. ET; ESPN; Auburn -9
Jarrett Stidham is still the most confusing quarterback in the league. Everyone had written him off after a less-than-stellar performance against Clemson a couple weeks prior, but he showed out against Missouri by completing 13-of-17 passes for 218 yards and a score. It also helps that his running back Kerryon Johnson added five touchdowns and 48 yards on the ground.
The blue and orange Tiger defense still is a force to reckon with, too. The unit forced 4 turnovers and only allowed 14 points to a high-powered Missouri offense, including nailing down six tackles for loss and two sacks. They did give up 340 yards of offense, but when it came down to keeping Mizzou out of the end zone, they did the job.
Mississippi State got shut down last week, so this will be a bounce back opportunity for the Bulldogs. However, going against a strong defense like Auburn’s might not be the best game to regroup and set things straight.
SOUTH CAROLINA at TEXAS A&M
7:30 pm ET; SEC Network; Texas A&M -10
After Deebo Samuel went down two weeks ago, the Gamecock offense has been lackluster. South Carolina squeezed past Louisiana Tech with a game-winning field goal. At a final score of 17-16, I would deem the Gamecock win over the Ragin’ Cajuns the worst win of the week. They’ll definitely need to figure something out on offense to be able to hang with Kevin Sumlin’s high-flying Aggies.
South Carolina’s defense also left something to be desired, allowing the Ragin’ Cajuns to convert 6-of-13 third downs and and giving up a late 84-yard drive for what could have been a game-winning touchdown. If that’s how the Gamecock defense plays against the Aggies, it may be a long night for Will Muschamp.
Meanwhile, A&M’s defense is so non-existent that I can’t even dive into their stats. It allowed Arkansas to score 43 points in an overtime shootout, but got a turnover when the Aggies needed it the most. Unless they figure something out on defense quickly, though, Sumlin’s seat will just get hotter as SEC play continues.