It’s Week 8 in the SEC and here are my best games.
But first, I am going to do a quick rewind of Week 6 and 7. In Week 6, we saw 3 teams Alabama, Georgia, and Auburn emerge at the top of the conference. In Week 7, LSU rallied from 20 points down to hand Auburn its second loss of the season. Texas A&M gave Alabama a slight challenge the week before, but went into Florida and pulled off a win. There are 2 teams, Georgia and Alabama possible set to meet in the SEC Championship and College Football Playoff.
There are 5 teams on a bye week, 4 conference games and one non-conference games. The best game of week 8 is the Kentucky-Mississippi State game.
Tennessee vs. Alabama
Bryant- Denny Stadium-Tuscaloosa, AL
Saturday, 3:30 pm, CBS
It’s is the third Saturday in October and that means Tennessee-Alabama. However, it has not been a marquee SEC matchup in many years and it will not change on Saturday. This is the 100th game in series history. The Butch Jones’ era is coming to an end. The Vols haven’t scored a TD in 10 quarters – not exactly a streak you want to be carrying into a game against the Tide. Alabama’s run defense has been great, and if the Vols can’t run, they are in trouble. The QB change did not help last week against South Carolina. Tennessee has struggle to stop the run and Alabama’s run game is ranked seventh nationally. This game is a complete mismatch. Alabama is averaging 43 points per game, Tennessee 22. The Crimson Tide will roll against Tennessee.
LSU vs. Ole Miss
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium-Oxford, MS
Saturday, 7:15 pm, ESPN
Since losing at home to Troy two weeks ago, LSU has rebounded a won two games in row. The Tigers have played physical defense and step to the challenge from LSU fans and alumni to play better. LSU dominated the second half against Auburn. A win at Ole Miss would mean more to LSU- no matter what Coach Ed Orgeron said. Coach O is returning to Ole Miss, where he was head coach from 2005-07. The last time Orgeron won in Vaught-Hemingway was November 3., 2007. So, an LSU win would be huge.
However, LSU will be tested by Ole Miss passing attack; the Rebels lead the SEC and rank ninth nationally in passing offense (357.2 yards per game). Rebels QB Shea Patterson and a deep group of receivers headed by A.J. Brown will have some success against the Tigers’ secondary. On the flip side, LSU should be able to establish the run game with RBs Guice and Williams against the Ole Miss’ run defense. LSU has not loss to both Mississippi State and Ole Miss in the same season since 1999. The home team has won five in a row in this matchup.
Kentucky vs. Mississippi State
Davis-Wade Stadium-Starkville, MS
Saturday, 4:00 pm, SEC Network
Kentucky is 5-1 and looking for its first 6-1 start since 2007; that’s when the Wildcats won 8 games. The Wildcats have a good chance of spoiling “homecoming” for Mississippi State. This sets up as an intriguing match between Mississippi State, who must run effectively to win, and Kentucky whose has been able to stop the run. The Wildcats are ranked 10th nationally in rush defense, but struggled to stop the run against Florida. Kentucky needs a solid game from RB Benny Snell Jr., who ran for 128 against Mississippi State last season.
Mississippi State needs QB Nick Fitzgerald and RB Aeris Williams to be extremely productive to win. The problem here is the Bulldogs does not have a second offense game plan; if the run does not work against the Wildcats. Mississippi State struggled against Georgia and Auburn when their run offense was shut down. Mississippi State’s seven-game winning streak in the series was snapped last season when the Wildcats’ Austin MacGinnis kicked a 51-yard field goal on the final play of the game for a 40-38 win. This game is going to be close and will be decided by less than 10 points.