Best SEC Games for Week 12
Week 11 was not overpacked with excitement, but there was certainly enough to keep us entertained.
The SEC saw a little bit of everything. Upsets, close games, and even a few beat downs occurred last weekend. If you missed any of the action, get caught up here:
- Arkansas overpowered LSU in Tiger Stadium as the Razorbacks won in convincing fashion, 31-14.
- A slow start ended with a strong finish for Alabama as it took down Mississippi State, 31-6.
- Georgia was also among the smattering of SEC teams that won on the road as the Bulldogs edged Auburn, 20-13.
- Florida continued its hot streak by taking down South Carolina, 24-14.
- Vanderbilt secured one of its biggest victories of the year, defeating Kentucky 21-17.
- An inspired Missouri played its heart out for the departing Gary Pinkel and beat BYU, 20-16.
We have reached that point in the season where most SEC schools are playing "cupcake teams" in an effort to rest up for rivalry week. Fortunately, there are still some big time conference games worth watching, and we have broken down the three most significant ones:
**Note: All stats, unless otherwise noted, are courtesy of cfbstats.com**
LSU followed up a disappointing loss to Alabama with an even more disappointing loss to Arkansas at home. Ole Miss, on the other hand, is hungry to prove its worth. Needless to say, this will be an interesting game.
The Tigers have to find rhythm on the offensive side of the ball if they plan on winning out because they are still relying too much on Leonard Fournette. Ole Miss is tied with Alabama for fewest rushing touchdowns allowed this season (5), so offensive coordinator Cam Cameron will need to establish a more balanced attack in this matchup. LSU's defense also has work to do after allowing over 400 yards of offense in its last three games.
Ole Miss is fortunate enough to be playing the Tigers in a very fragile state. The Rebels sit atop the SEC in total offense with the passing game being their bread and butter. Chad Kelly has the arm strength and mobility to score on LSU's defense, but he cannot afford to turn the ball over. Kelly has thrown 12 interceptions this season, which is the most by an SEC quarterback whose team has a winning record. LSU will take advantage of turnovers if you give them a chance to do it.
LSU has yet to lose three games in a row in the Les Miles' era. Ole Miss is very much capable of making it a first. However, the Rebels have to do what Alabama and Arkansas did and that's slow down Leonard Fournette. If they don't, it could be a long day in Oxford.
Arkansas has come a long way from its early home loss to Toledo. In fact, the Razorbacks may have established themselves as the second best team in the SEC West after last week's win over LSU. They can ride their hot streak until the end of the year, but they must first survive a visit from Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs were routed by Alabama last week. However, all signs point to a team that is capable of hanging with almost every other team in the conference. That is easy to do when you have Dak Prescott on your side. Prescott has accounted for 25 of Mississippi State's touchdowns this season. He still has his work cut out for him as he will be without his top target De'Runnya Wilson. This team will also be tasked with slowing down one of the conference's most balanced offenses.
The key to Arkansas' balanced offense has been Brandon Allen. His numbers were not jaw-dropping last week, but he had passed for 940 yards and 11 touchdown in the three games prior. Allen will face a tough Bulldogs' secondary, so Alex Collins and Kody Walker will literally have to carry the load. One problem the Razorbacks face is figuring out how to stop Prescott. They did a good job of slowing down Fournette, however, Prescott is a completely different monster.
This game will be decided by which defense plays the best. Both teams have some big time offensive playmakers that will make you pay in a hurry. This one may be a shootout, which means even more excitement.
Missouri played with a chip on its shoulder in last week's win over BYU. The extra inspiration came from head coach Gary Pinkel's announcement that he would be stepping down at the end of the season. The Tigers are one win away from bowl eligibility, which makes this game all the more important.
Tennessee is also playing with a little extra momentum thanks to a three-game win streak. The Vols did not meet this year's expectations, so winning out would be a huge momentum swing for the 2016 season. This team has multiple threats on offense including one of the best running back duos in the conference in Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara. Quarterback Josh Dobbs has also shown significant improvement during the win streak, but how will he do against one of the SEC's best defenses?
Missouri never lacks talent on the defensive side of the ball as they currently rank in the top-10 nationally despite a dismal 5-5 record. The Tigers would be SEC East contenders if not for their offensive woes. They rank 124th nationally in total offense out of 128 FBS teams. They end the season on a tough note, so their offense needs to step up if they plan on making it to a bowl game.
The passion that both teams will have going into this game makes the matchup worth watching. No team wants their coach to end his tenure in the regular season, so Missouri will be playing for Gary Pinkel. Meanwhile, Tennessee is trying to give fans a reason to have faith in Butch Jones in the coming years.