Best SEC Games for Week 9
Remember how week eight was suppose to be a slow weekend? Well it wasn't.
Granted, not every single SEC matchup was super exciting, but fans got everything they could have possibly asked for in one weekend. If you missed any of the action, here is what you missed:
- Arkansas defeated Auburn in four overtimes. No, that's not a misprint. The Razorbacks pulled away from the Tigers in the fourth overtime, 54-46.
- Alabama needed a late touchdown drive and a forced fumble to avoid being upset by Tennessee. The Tide took care of business for the ninth consecutive year by a final of 19-14.
- Ole Miss bounced back nicely from a loss to Memphis by defeating Texas A&M, 23-3.
- Vanderbilt's Derek Mason got his first conference win in a defensive battle that saw the Commodores come out on top, 10-3.
Week nine also looks to be "slow". However, we learned last week to never underestimate the potential chaos that a weekend may have in store. If you are looking for the best SEC games to watch this week then look no further:
**Note: All stats, unless otherwise noted, are courtesy of cfbstats.com**
Ole Miss had a nice bounce back victory over Texas A&M last weekend. Meanwhile, Auburn came up short in a hard fought battle with Arkansas. The Tigers have not met expectations, but that doesn't mean that things will be easy on the Plains this weekend.
It was nice to see the hard-nosed defense we all remember return to Oxford on Saturday. Ole Miss held Kevin Sumlin's high-octane offense to just three points. The other side of the ball hasn't been too shabby either. The Rebels have the best offense, statistically, in the SEC behind the strong arm and mobility of Chad Kelly. However, Kelly has thrown 10 interceptions, which is tied with Vanderbilt's Johnny McCrary for most in the conference. Turnovers will kill you in games like this.
Auburn's concerns for this matchup go way beyond just turnovers, especially in regards to defense. The Tigers are dead last in total defense for the entire SEC. Fortunately for Gus Malzahn, things are starting look up on the offensive side of the ball. Sean White has brought a breath of fresh air to a unit that was struggling to find rhythm with Jeremy Johnson . The emergence of Peyton Barber has helped as well. Barber has 11 touchdowns in his last three games alone. Things can only go up from here, right?
It is hard to say that this game will be close. Ole Miss clearly has more overall talent, but Auburn is beginning to show signs of potential. Either way, we suggest that you tune into this game on Saturday.
These two teams have had it rough over the last few weeks. South Carolina is playing in the post-Spurrier era, while Texas A&M is reliving the midseason quarterback nightmare that they had last season. These story lines alone will make this game worth watching.
The Shawn Elliott era got off to a good start two weeks ago when South Carolina knocked off Vanderbilt. It should go without saying that the Gamecocks will be facing a much tougher team on Saturday. Fortunately, Elliott got an extra week to prepare and get things in order. He certainly needs all the time he can get as a complete overhaul is in order. South Carolina ranks 13th in both total offense and total defense among the conference. However, they may have caught A&M in a vulnerable state.
The Aggies' vulnerability stems from recent quarterback issues. Kyle Allen appeared to be the man in charge until Alabama came to town. Allen has thrown four interceptions in his last two games after throwing just two picks in the five games prior. Normally this would not be an issue when you have a superstar freshmen like Kyler Murray as your backup, but he has been benched for undisclosed amount of time. Could these issues at quarterback lead to a third straight loss for A&M?
Kyle Allen stepped up last season in place of the struggling Kenny Hill. It is unclear if Sumlin will let Kyler Murray do the same thing for Allen, but something needs to be done. There is reason to believe that South Carolina has a serious chance of winning.
Georgia was the favorite to beat Florida last year, and the Gators responded by rushing for over 400 yards in route to a 38-20 win. New circumstances has allowed Florida to be favored over the Bulldogs in this year's matchup. Will the underdog once again come out on top?
No one expected in the preseason for Florida to enter Jacksonville as favorites over Georgia. Jim McElwain will more than likely when SEC Coach of the Year, and he could win it on the national level. The job he has done with the Gators in his first year was unforeseen because no one thought that it could be done so quickly. Under his guidance, Florida may find a way to the SEC Championship, but it will be tough to do without quarterback Will Grier. However, it was Treon Harris, not Grier, that beat the Bulldogs last season.
Georgia's season has been the complete opposite of Florida's. That is not to say that Mark Richt's team is out of the hunt for the SEC, but he does have a large mountain to climb. The season ending injury to Nick Chubb combined with quarterback uncertainty makes the climb even harder. The Bulldogs do benefit from a strong defense that can take advantage of a Florida offense that will be without its best passer. However, Richt will have to get the offense going as well.
Both teams benefit from a bye week, so expect the unexpected on Saturday. This game could get close, and it may be the best SEC matchup of the week.