Week 5 Results (5-2) | Overall Record (31-8)
FINALLY! The best weekend for the SEC is in our midst. All the weeks of pretending to not look ahead and take it all one game at a time are over. October 4th is about to bust through the front door of this college football party like a lame fraternity pledge — I repeat myself — screaming “PLAY SOME SKYNYRD!”
I guess that’s a bad analogy. Whatever. It’s the dang 4th of October. Great football coupled with the opening week of the NHL regular season and the beginning of the MLB Playoffs. October is awesome.
One easy way to find out how meaningful and intriguing the weekend will be for the SEC is to count the number of games being played. There are only six games to predict this week, which means one of two things. Either there are a few teams with open dates or there are zero non-conference games on the card. The latter applies for this Saturday.
Missouri and Arkansas are unfortunately sitting out this great weekend with open dates. They both did enough work to earn the weekend off, but Missouri was the only team that could avoid choking on its own excitement. Arkansas led 28-14 in the fourth quarter, but the presence of Johnny Cleveland Football provided Texas A&M the magic necessary to win the game. That and a WEAK tripping call on Arkansas.
“Did Eric Taylor pick Missouri and Arkansas to win on FBSchedules?” you ask. Yes. We were so close to being so right. Instead, we finish our weekend proud of our brave and historic picks, but saddened by the two losses we endured. Hey! Get your heads up, everyone. There’s a lot of football to play.
That Ole Miss pick tho….
Before we get to all that football that’s left to be played, let’s review Week 5’s awesome and Week 5’s weakly.
Week 5′s Weakly Comparison
1. Ole Miss 24, Memphis 3 (Predicted Memphis 18, Ole Miss 9) | I think Memphis had just north of 100 yards… of offense. Total. I’m a genius.
2. Texas A&M 35, Arkansas 28 OT (Predicted Arkansas 44, A&M 35)
1. Texas A&M 35, Arkansas 28 OT (Predicted Arkansas 44, A&M 35) | Seriously, you guys. It was over. Arkansas won, right? But I correctly predicted 35 from A&M, so, yeah.
2. Georgia 35, Tennessee 32 (Predicted UGA 35, UT 17) | Georgia scored 35, just as I suspected. I’m great with the number 35, but I’m humble so I’ll stop going on and on about it. If I could, I’d like to point out how I just knew Richt would have 35 points of coaching in him and Todd Gurley runs fast and stuff.
Week 6 Predictions
October 4th’s lineup of games looked good weeks before the season kicked off, but it looks even better as the actual day approaches. The only SEC West team with a loss coming into Saturday is LSU. They have the loss. So let’s do the math. The combined record of all SEC West teams playing each other this weekend is 25-1. TWENTY-FIVE and ONE! I’m not sure you heard me, but I can’t say it any louder than that. That’s 26 games played. That’s 1 game lost. One. Uno (and other foreign language translations of the number one). ALL THE LANGUAGES!
Do I need to say much more about this weekend? The answer is no, but I’m totally about to anyway because y’all love me so much. Am I right? Hello? Pffft. Pffft. Is this thing on?
Prepare yourself for this weakly prediction of the Week 6 SEC football schedule.
All Times Eastern | Utilizing AP Poll until College Football Playoff Selection Committee poll is released on October 28.
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Florida (2-1, 1-1 SEC) at Tennessee (2-2, 0-1 SEC)
12:00 PM | SEC Network
The Vols are so close in so many areas, yet they keep falling just shy of victory in big games against programs like Georgia. If I had to compare the 2014 version of the Vols to anyone, I’d say it’s this year’s Arkansas and the 2006 Alabama team.
2006 Alabama was coached by Mike Shula. I love Mike Shula. So did the rest of the SEC. That was the problem. Anyway, I digress. The biggest difference for the Vols (and Hogs as well) of this season is it appears they have the right coaches in place. Rather than lose a close game because of bad decisions by the coach, Tennessee seems to be in most every game because of Butch Jones and what his staff is doing. Jones gets the most of his current roster and is is utilizing more true freshmen than a 101-level university course.
Butch Jones and the Vols need to show improvement each year. One way to quantify the success somewhere besides wins and losses is the who in the win column. Last season, Jones and the Vols beat an 11-win Steve Spurrier Gamecocks team, but lost to a not-so-great Florida team in Gainesville. Saturday, the Vols get a shaky and punch-drunk Gator squad that is very beatable and appears to be playing for the coaching life of Will Muschamp.
The last time Tennessee beat Florida, Twitter was still four years away from being in anyone’s vocabulary (2004). Florida and Tennessee are probably about equal in talent. They appear to be equal on paper, but it’s like two people that weigh 200 pounds. One person weighing 200 weighed 158 a year ago. The other person weighing 200 weighed 263 a year ago. While equal, they are very separate because the former 263-lb person appears very healthy and ready to continue improving. The former 158-lb specimen is tired and out of breath most every waking moment of the day. Equal weight. Separate futures.
Although this game kicks off at noon in Knoxville, the fans will be ready as will be the players. Word out of Knoxville is that Butch Jones is calling on fans to #CheckerNeyland. If they pull this off for an early game, the effort could win an ESPY or at least a Nobel Peace Prize. Don’t be surprised if Jones also calls on Phillip Fulmer, Al Wilson, Tee Martin, and/or anyone else that remembers beating Florida. Although the fans may start a little quieter than the normal night Neyland Stadium crowd, the time of day will melt into the moment and the Vol fans will be loud and on their feet the moment they smell blood in the water.
The Vols break this long streak and they do so in eerily similar fashion as Tennessee did when beating Alabama in 1995 to end the 9-game unbeaten streak to the ‘Tide. Peyton Manning is not walking through that door and neither is Joey Kent for that matter, but they won’t need them. Will Muschamp will be able to begin preparing to become some very lucky head coach’s 2015 defensive coordinator before halftime. This one is over in a hurry. Can Justin Worley direct a band?
FINAL SCORE: Tennessee 41, Florida 14
#6 Texas A&M (5-0, 2-0 SEC) at #12 Mississippi State (4-0, 1-0 SEC)
Noon | ESPN
I really was not prepared to predict this game with both teams touting undefeated records. I actually expected both to have more than one or two losses by this point of the season. Johnny Football is hanging with LeBron in Cleveland and Mississippi State is…. uh…. Mississippi State, but here we are at noon (11am local time) in Starkville on a Saturday in October with the Bulldogs one win away from College Football Playoff discussion. Very raspy and whispery discussion, but there’s conversation at the dinner table. There’s a ton of football left to play after this one (you can never remind people enough that there actually is more football to be played), but the discussion will not be as premature as you think if you can beat LSU at night inside Tiger Stadium and follow that up with a win over a Texas A&M team that can score at will (but finds ways to win even when they can’t — see September 27th vs. Arkansas).
This game should be high-scoring, but every time the collective college football world rants and raves about how many points will be scored, the game goes the total opposite direction.
I expect this one to follow the script and be very entertaining. If this game were before MSU’s win over LSU, I think I’d take the Aggies, but after running all over the Tigers in Baton Rouge as well as holding on when it appeared they had choked away the victory I think State is better than A&M.
One thing is for sure: both coaches have their favorite brand of quarterbacks. Kevin Sumlin’s Kenny “Trill Football I Found My Thrill On Blueberry” Hill can take the snap and get the ball 40 yards downfield to a receiver in 1.3 seconds. Tim Tebow won the Heisman while running Dan Mullen’s offense at Florida. Mullen now has Dak Prescott and he is Tim Tebow in maroon. I’ll be the first to admit that I thought Prescott was overrated and I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong. The Bulldogs will go as far as Prescott’s healthy legs and arm will take them. They may be the surprise team we all look at in November and think, “The struggle to beat this team is real.” (See 2013 Auburn).
Congrats Mississippi State. You are still undefeated going into Week 7.
FINAL SCORE: Mississippi State 41, Texas A&M 28
#3 Alabama (4-0, 1-0 SEC) at # 11 Ole Miss (4-0, 1-0 SEC)
3:30 PM | CBS
Stop me if you’ve heard this from Ole Miss before: “We are better this year. This could be the year we make some noise in the SEC West. All we have to do is beat Alabama and… Oh dang. We lost to ‘Bama again. The Music City Bowl is fine. Nashville is fun during the holidays.”
This seems to happen every few years and it appears the Rebels will be forced to go through this pain two consecutive years. Remember last year when Bo Wallace said something like, “We’ll definitely score a few times on that defense,” about four days prior to being shutout 25-0 in Tuscaloosa?
For the Rebels sake, let’s hope they have a short memory.
This is one of those games that could be magic and the excitement of the moment could carry Ole Miss above the waves of the Crimson Tide and into a very weird discussion of “Which Mississippi team will play in the College Football Playoff.” College Gameday is making it’s first ever appearance in Oxford Saturday. Everyone will be walking in the clouds from the energy and excitement. The players will be interviewed and talked about more than ever. It’ll be bigger than anything they’ve ever been a part of.
Alabama calls all this energy and excitement surrounding a game “Football Season” and I think it will be the difference in this game. The road team normally performs better in games of substance where something is on the line and I don’t see anything telling me this one will be any different. All Nick Saban’s team has to do is come in and play after preparing on a quiet campus compared to what Oxford will be like the entire week.
Ole Miss will come out really hot and may even take a 7-to-10-point lead in the first quarter, but once Alabama gets settled in and takes the fans out of the game, the weight of that excitement and pressure will come crashing down on Hugh Freeze and the Black Bears. It will be too much to bear (PAWWWWWWWWWL, HE SAID BEAR TWICE WITHOUT MENTIONING COACH BRYANT!) and Alabama will leave Oxford victorious once again.
If Wallace can do the unthinkable and get it done in Oxford, there will be as many kids running around named Bo in the next 15 years as there are kids and adults named Eli and Archie. Lucky for the parents of Mississippians, they stick with Eli, Archie, and Whatever Grandaddy’s Name Was, IV.
FINAL SCORE: Alabama 32, Ole Miss 14
Vanderbilt (1-4, 0-3 SEC) at #13 Georgia (3-1, 1-1 SEC)
4:00 PM | SEC Network
Vandy is looking better each week.
Georgia has Todd Gurley. He’s “they should change the rules because it’s not fair” good. Sorry, but this one has nothing about it that requires discussion. Vanderbilt doesn’t even win the coin toss. The B52’s and REM get playing time before this one is over.
FINAL SCORE: Georgia 48, Vanderbilt 3
#15 LSU (4-1, 0-1 SEC) at #5 Auburn (4-0, 1-0 SEC)
7:00 PM ET | ESPN
There’s LSU right where we expect them to be, eh? Not really. The Bengal Tigers come to The Plains 0-1 in the SEC. There’s a very real possibility they could leave Jordan-Hare Stadium (That’s Jerrrrrrrdn Hay yurr Stay dee yum) at 0-2.
Gus Malzahn’s game plan is a good one. He will probably order his regular food first and have them bring his waffle out last so it’ll be nice and warm. The chocolate chips will be a great addition filling the squares of the waffle while hot syrup is poured all up on it. Les Miles shows up and orders (yep, you guessed it) grass. He then stands on the booth, gets everyone’s attention and tells Waffle House patrons with a Les Miles serious face (which is mostly just a grin and sporadic eye contact, “This Gus’ want to ingest that pancake with little squares put in it is an inspiration. Chicago sang Inspiration back in the 80s. This Pancake House Huddled Among International ISIS holds our futures in its hands. Smothered hearts. Covered minds. Can’t lose.”
Before all that occurred at the Waffle House in Opelika, a game was played. It was pretty good. Let’s just say there was a 2-point conversion in overtime because LSU fumbled the snap on the extra point, which forced the holder to run up the middle and he somehow scored. Game over.
FINAL SCORE: LSU 22, Auburn 21 OT
South Carolina (3-2, 2-2 SEC) at Kentucky (3-1, 1-1 SEC)
7:30 PM ET | SEC Network
Even this game has implications. Kentucky football. A game with implications. Remember when I said this season smells like 2007? Go back and read what Kentucky did in ’07. If they win this game, the East will be Missouri and Georgia’s to lose. I guess you could say it would be Kentucky’s to lose as well.
South Carolina comes into this game having already played half their SEC schedule, yet the season already feels less half over than half dead. South Carolina might be turning into the 2000 Alabama team that began the season ranked as high as No. 3. The only thing finishing with the No. 3 attached to it for the ‘Tide is the number of wins for the entire season. If South Carolina is not careful, they will find themselves giving up on the season and on the losing end more times than not in 2014.
We are all talking about Muschamp at Florida and Hoke at Michigan being canned at or before season’s end which will open up two huge jobs. If South Carolina continues on its current track, I think Spurrier will admit that he’s had enough. From a guy who was winning 11 games per season and being touted as a possible SEC representative for the inaugural College Football Playoff to what appears to be a coach who’s allowed the game and his “give a damn” to pass him by.
“That’s impossible,” fans will say.
“Uh, no. You got a minute or ten?” responds Phillip Fulmer.
What will happen with Carolina in 2014 will more than likely follow its current course where neither wins or losses will come in handfuls. Each will be sporadic and cause multiple head scratches. One week they’ll get handled by Texas A&M. The next they’ll beat an unbeatable Georgia. Then a few weeks later, the Gamecocks will blow a late two touchdown lead to a Missouri team that was beaten at home by Indiana.
Naturally, it looks like Spurrier will stay on pace and win one on the road in Lexington, but I don’t see Carolina having the ability to match Kentucky’s energy. This game means something to the Wildcats. This game for the Gamecocks will probably feel like nothing more than a hindrance. What Spurrier began building in 2005 will begin to be taken to the ground following this surprisingly lopsided win by the Wildcats.
FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 23, South Carolina 6
Open Date: Arkansas, Missouri
Eric Taylor is a contributor to FBSchedules.com. Follow him on Twitter @EricFromSpfld or contact him via email at Eric.Taylor –at– stadiumjourney –dot– com.