Best SEC Games for Week 8
Fans of the SEC enjoyed a weekend of high profile games and surprise endings. It would be unfair to say that it was the best weekend yet but it certainly had its fair share of excitement.
If you missed any of the action, here is what you missed:
- Three defensive touchdowns was the icing on the cake for Alabama in its 41-23 route of Texas A&M.
- The Mad Hatter Les Miles reached into his bag of tricks and called a fake field goal which turned into the go-ahead touchdown. That late score proved to be the game winner as LSU knocked off Florida, 35-28.
- Ole Miss fell victim to an upset as Memphis defeated the Rebels, 37-24.
- Georgia ended its losing streak in a low scoring battle versus Missouri. The Bulldogs used a late field goal to win. 9-6.
Unfortunately, this week's slate of games may not match last weekend's excitement. This is still the SEC we are talking about, so we will not discredit any potential chaos that may ensue. If that excitement happens, here are the three games where it's most likely to occur:
**Note: All stats, unless otherwise noted, are courtesy of cfbstats.com**
This year's game between Arkansas and Auburn is a great example of how quickly things can change in reference to preseason hype. The Tigers were a favorite to win the conference, and the Razorbacks carried high hopes as well. Despite the early disappointments, these two teams may put on a show for SEC fans this weekend.
Arkansas is coming off a bye week after having back-to-back road SEC games, so the much needed break will work in their favor. The Razorbacks are not a team to sleep on and that's because of their new found identity in the passing game. Brandon Allen has already thrown for over 1,500 yards, and the offense as a whole is averaging 433 yards per game. Arkansas' glaring weakness is in the secondary where they are dead last in the SEC in pass defense.
Auburn has slowly improved from week-to-week, and the improvement can be attributed to quarterback Sean White. White may not be a big time playmaker. In fact, he has yet to throw a touchdown pass. However, he has allowed the Tigers offense to run more efficiently than it did with Jeremy Johnson. The not so easy fix has been on defense where Auburn is ranked last within the conference. This proves that the hype around Will Muschamp and Johnson in the preseason may have done more harm than good.
Both of these teams are trying to regain some lost confidence and respect. This could cause high emotions and lead to an exciting game.
The rivalry between Alabama and Tennessee has not had as much fire in recent years due to the Tide's dominance over the Vols. Butch Jones needs a statement win to help put them back on the map, and a win over a ranked rival usually does the trick.
That does not mean that Alabama will be easy to defeat. In fact, Jones is going to have to pull out all the stops if he plans on winning. The Tide once again has a defense that is ranked in the top-10 nationally, but the steady growth in confidence for quarterback Jake Coker has been the key. Coker completed 57.7 percent of his passes in his first four games. He has since completed 72.5 percent of his throws. Those numbers are a recipe for success when combined with Derrick Henry's numbers.
Tennessee's season has gone awry due to the team blowing two big second half leads, which is just enough to drive any coach, player, or fan crazy. The good news is that there is still a lot of talent and there is enough of it to knock off Alabama if everything goes perfectly. It will be up to Josh Dobbs to make this game a close because it is unlikely that the Vols' offense will get the ground game going. Dobbs threw for a season high 312 yards in his last game, so that is a good sign heading into the matchup.
Regardless of the outcome, this game features two SEC rivals going head-to-head in a midseason matchup. These are the type of games that tend to get interesting when you least expect it.
The only top 25 matchup in the SEC this week features two teams that are coming off of disappointing losses. A win would be a much needed boost in morale for both teams still fighting for major postseason trips.
Ole Miss' loss to Memphis took a toll on its season, but it does not affect the hopes of making it to the SEC Championship. A loss to Texas A&M this Saturday would likely kill those chances though. The Rebels can avoid that if they go back to playing hard-nosed defense. They allowed 491 yards of offense in last weekend's loss, and they will face one of the best offenses in the SEC this weekend. On offense, Ole Miss is happy to welcome back Laremy Tunsil as they look move the down field by dominating up front.
Texas A&M did a lot of things well in its loss over Alabama. But it shot itself in the foot by turning the ball over so much. Kyle Allen had only thrown two interceptions all season prior to throwing three last Saturday. Avoiding turnovers alone will do wonders for the Aggies in this matchup. On defense, A&M struggled slowing down the ground game, but they still possess some of the best defensive linemen in the country. They will do themselves a great service by putting those linemen to good use.
This game has a lot of implications in regard to who will represent the SEC West in Atlanta. In other words, this may be the most important SEC game of the week.