We’re already starting down the home stretch of SEC action, and while this week doesn’t offer up the big time matchups like other weeks, there are still some interesting games to pay attention to on Saturday.
Just don’t watch the game that will be on CBS at 3:30.
Auburn is looking to bounce back from blowing a lead at LSU, Kentucky is attempting to become bowl-eligible and LSU wants to keep up its newly-found momentum against an electrifying Ole Miss offense.
Please, just don’t even ask about the 3:30 CBS game.
Let’s take a look at what to watch for in the SEC:
NO. 21 AUBURN AT ARKANSAS
7:30 P.M. ET; SEC Network; Auburn -15.5
Arkansas is utter trash. Auburn played like utter trash in the second half of its 27-23 loss at LSU, a game in which Auburn held a 20-0 lead at one point before the Tigers forgot how to run an offense.
However, try to find a silver lining in this one. Viewers should probably look forward to the Tigers’ offense getting things back on track when they visit Fayetteville on Saturday evening, and that can be entertaining for those of us who like to see many points on the scoreboard.
Despite severely regressing in the second half against LSU, Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham is still one of the top passers in the conference. Behind the Baylor transfer are a couple of outstanding running backs as well in Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway (when he’s healthy).
Johnson is only 28 yards behind Georgia’s Nick Chubb for the conference lead in rushing yards, so look for him to do some damage to an Arkansas defense that is coming off a punishing beatdown at the hands of Alabama.
However, don’t be surprised if Arkansas keeps this one pretty tight or even wins, since this feels like one of those conference matchups (against everyone but Alabama or Texas A&M) that Hogs’ coach Bret Bielema comes out on top of. However, the Hogs will still be without Austin Allen at quarterback, and redshirt freshman Cole Kelly gets the start for the second week in a row.
KEY PLAYERS FOR AUBURN: RB KERRYON JOHNSON; LB JEFF HOLLAND
KEY PLAYERS FOR ARKANSAS: RB CHASE HAYDEN; LB DE’JON HARRIS
NO. 24 LSU AT OLE MISS
7:15 P.M. ET; ESPN; LSU -7
Hey, Coach O and LSU ain’t dead yet!
After an embarrassing homecoming loss to Troy two weeks ago, the LSU Tigers have looked like an entirely revitalized group after wins against ranked Florida and Auburn teams. They’re even back in the polls at No. 24.
LSU can keep the the momentum rolling and move to 6-2 with a win in Oxford this Saturday in the Magnolia Bowl, but the Tigers’ secondary will be greatly tested against Rebels quarterback Shea Patterson and the top passing offense in the SEC.
After three-straight losses against Power 5 teams, the Rebels had their best game of the season in a 57-35 win at home against Vanderbilt. LSU’s defense is a much different animal for the Ole Miss offense to try and tame, though. The Tigers are one of the top defenses in the SEC, ranking second in sacks and fifth in pass defense so far.
With the health of star running back Derrius Guice a concern, the Tigers will need quarterback Danny Etling to be serviceable against a below-average Rebels pass defense.
Serviceable is what Etling has been the previous two weeks, though, and he’s provide some success to the tune of 331 passing yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers.
This will be an easier opponent than LSU has face the last couple of weeks, but they should still watch out for an Ole Miss team that will likely consider this to be one of its biggest games due to the program’s postseason ban.
There’s also the fact that Ed Orgeron coached at Ole Miss from 2005-07. He didn’t have a good record (10-25 overall), but he did make this legendary Hummer commercial:
Don’t think that Ole Miss has forgotten either:
See you Saturday in Oxford, Ed https://t.co/JLj3l7zhPQ
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) October 16, 2017
KEY PLAYERS FOR LSU: WR D.J. CHARK; CB ANDRAEZ WILLIAMS
KEY PLAYERS FOR OLE MISS: WRs A.J. BROWN/DARMARKUS LODGE; DE MARQUIS HAYNES
KENTUCKY AT MISSISSIPPI STATE
4 P.M. ET; SEC NETWORK; MSU -13
Did you all know that Kentucky-Mississippi State is considered an actual rivalry???
It’s certainly no Iron Bowl or World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, but these two teams are each other’s cross-divisional rivals and have met every season since the SEC went to divisions in 1992.
The all-time series is actually pretty competitive. Things are all tied up at 22-22 through 44 meetings between the teams. Kentucky is looking to win consecutive games over the Bulldogs for the first time since 2005-06 after they ended an eight-game losing streak to the Bulldogs last year on a last-second field goal.
This is an important contest that will have a big impact on both teams’ seasons. With a win, Kentucky will be bowl eligible for consecutive years under Mark Stoops and will be on their way to having an improved season over their 7-6 record in 2016.
For Mississippi State, the Bulldogs are looking to win their first SEC game since a then-incredible 37-7 stomping of No. 12 LSU. The Bulldogs look to be back on track after a 35-10 win over BYU last week, which came after getting outscored by a combined 80-13 in consecutive weeks in losses to Georgia and Auburn.
There’s some good shootout potential in this one, with neither team fielding a great defense and both squads being carried by a strong running game. Don’t let this game sneak past you on the SEC Network!
KEY PLAYERS FOR KENTUCKY: RB BENNIE SNELL, JR.; LB COURTNEY LOVE
KEY PLAYERS FOR MISSISSIPPI STATE: QB NICK FITZGERALD; DL JEFFREY SIMMONS
THE OTHER GAMES
Look, there’s no use trying to blow smoke up your hind-end, reader. The other two games involving SEC teams this weekend absolutely suck. However, if you MUST watch either of them, I’ll go ahead and tell you why you should view them, I guess.
IDAHO AT MISSOURI
NOON; SEC NETWORK; MIZZOU -14
It’s the Idaho Vandals final season as an FBS school before they relegate themselves back down to FCS in 2018, so I guess if they beat a terrible Missouri team in their last year with the big boys, they can hang a banner remembering it in the lovely Kibbie Dome?
Mizzou’s offense is okay against good teams, but spectacular against bad teams, so the Tigers and quarterback Drew Lock could potentially put 50-plus points up against the Vandals.
But, this is the same team that gave up 43 points to Missouri State in its only win of the season back in week one, so who really knows what will happen.
TENNESSEE AT NO. 1 ALABAMA
3:30 P.M. ET; CBS; ‘BAMA -36
Okay, if there is literally nowhere else on Earth you’re going to be at 3:30 this Saturday than in front of a TV watching CBS, then I guess you can take in what has a pretty damn good chance of being Butch Jones’ last game at Tennessee.
If you’re a Vol fan and just want to embrace the self-hatred of putting your body and soul through watching this, then I can’t stop you. Watch the potential final chapter of the Jones era, see if we can actually pull the early Christmas Miracle of scoring a touchdown against these guys before getting really, REALLY hammered.
If you’re not a Tennessee or an Alabama fan and are watching this one, what the hell is wrong with you?! You’re probably the type of sick bastard who takes their first date to see The Human Centipede and smiles the whole way through!
Go away and get some help!