Congrats to Mississippi State for their Egg Bowl upset of Ole Miss. Came within a hair of picking the Bulldogs… and then refused to pull the trigger because Dan Mullen had said Dak Prescott was out. Thanks, Dan. Two weeks in a row you’ve gone all rope-a-dope with your QBs.
Our Arkansas/LSU game preview can be found right here. The rest of the weekend action you can find quickly, neatly broken down below.
Good luck to your favorite team this weekend!
Florida State (11-0) at Florida (4-7)
TV: 12:00pm ET on ESPN
Opening Line: FSU -26
Current Line: FSU -27
One To Watch: Jimbo Fisher’s foot. Florida State is the more healthy team and the more talented team. His old coaching colleague and friend Will Muschamp is taking fire from all sides after a loss to Georgia Southern of the FCS. At what point will the Seminoles’ coach take his foot off the gas? Or will he?
This And That:
1. Florida will be trying to avoid its first eight-loss season since being saddled with an 0-10-1 mark way back in 1979. Most likely, they’ll have third-string quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg leading their attack. In two games he’s completed 24-of-38 passes for 229 yards, two TDs and one INT. That six-yards-per-attempt average is what’s worrisome. Especially going against an FSU team that ranks second in the nation in pass defense (allowing just 156.5 yards per game).
2. The Gators rank right behind the Noles at #3 in passing defense. But here’s the rub: Florida State has this feller named Jameis Winston playing quarterback and he’s already thrown for 3,163 yards, 32 touchdowns and seven interceptions. How much stat-padding can he do against a UF players who might be ready to fold their tents and go home for the winter?
3. Blowouts are not uncommon in this rivalry. Five of the last eight have been decided by 21 points or more. Expect more of the same Saturday.
Prediction: Florida State 38, Florida 10
Wake Forest (4-7) at Vanderbilt (7-4)
TV: 12:21pm ET on SEC TV
Opening Line: VU -14
Current Line: VU -14
One To Watch:
This And That:
1. Vanderbilt has now won eight straight November games under James Franklin, dating back to 2010. With a win over the Deacons, VU will have posted its eighth win of the season (after winning nine games last year). Vandy hasn’t posted back-to-back seasons of eight or more wins since Dan McGugin’s days back in 1927 and 1928. Franklin has already won 22 games in Nashville in his first three seasons. The last time the Commodores posted 22 wins over a three-year span? Yep, McGugin’s run from 1927 through 1929. Remarkable.
2. Wake Forest ranks dead last in the SEC in scoring offense (18.1 points per game). They’re sixth in scoring defense (24.2 points allowed per game). Vandy ranks ninth in the SEC in scoring offense (29.7) and scoring defense (25.0). In other words, this one might be ugly, just like the Dores’ last two wins over Kentucky and Tennessee.
3. Vanderbilt’s offense revolves around Jordan Matthews. The SEC’s all-time receptions leader has 25 catches for 274 yards the last two weeks. If Wake Forest can’t stop him, they’ve got no prayer. Especially since they’re unlikely to win the turnover battle. WFU has turned the ball over 11 times in its last four games. Vandy has forced 19 turnovers in its last five games.
Prediction: Vanderbilt 24, Wake Forest 13
Georgia Tech (7-4) at Georgia (7-4)
TV: 3:30pm ET on ABC
Opening Line: UGA -3
Current Line: UGA -3
One To Watch: Georgia QB Hutson Mason. He’s waited patiently behind Aaron Murray and now with UGA’s starter felled by an ACL injury, Mason will finally get his shot as the Dawgs’ starter. The junior from Marietta should know all about the “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate” game and its importance. Georgia fans should hope that the combination of first start and rivalry game doesn’t cause their new signal-caller to press.
This And That:
1. Triple-option attacks are no fun to defend. Ask Florida after the Gators loss to Georgia Southern. Even though UGA’s defense sees Bobby Johnson’s option attack on an annual basis, there’s little reason to believe familiarity alone will result in victory. The Yellow Jackets are averaging 316 yards per game on the ground (fourth best in America) and Georgia’s rush defense allowed 323 yards on 57 carries (5.67 yards per rush) against Gus Malzhan’s spread-option. With a new quarterback, Todd Grantham’s defense will have to come through on Saturday.
2. Another Todd will have a big hand in determining the outcome of this one, too. Since returning from an ankle injury, sophomore back Todd Gurley has rushed for 331 yards (and 6.2 yards per carry) in four games. Obviously, Mike Bobo will want to feed the ball to Gurley in order to take pressure off of Mason and keep Tech’s offense off the field. But that won’t be as easy as it sounds. Georgia Tech has the 10th best run defense in the country and is allowing just 104.1 yards per contest. Gurley and UGA’s line need to come up very big tomorrow.
3. Mark Richt has lost eight players to season-ending injury this season. Those injuries have already knocked the Bulldogs from the ranks of BCS contender to East Division also-ran. Now comes a big rivalry game… against a pretty good team with a funky offense… and the Dawgs will be without their All-SEC senior leader at quarterback? That’s not a recipe for success.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 33, Georgia 30
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