Week 4 Record (5-4) | Overall Record (32-10)
Welcome back to SEC Football Predictions. The folks over at Vols Today had the audacity to criticize our picks prior to Week 4’s games. And, boy, were they right. The Week 5 edition of SEC Football Predictions will be utilizing near-identical tactics as everyone associated with the Tennessee football program regarding Week 4 — hope for a miracle invention similar to what the Men In Black use to erase memory. Until that apparatus is invented, we will take our lumps, dust ourselves off and give the Predictions the old college try.
I live in Nashville, Tennessee, and feared the sky was falling when Florida quarterback Will Grier hit receiver Brandon Powell for his fifth completion in as many tries on fourth down late in the fourth quarter. The completed pass on the deep curl route that was enough to move the chains on fourth-and-14 turned into a touchdown and the Gators first lead since early in the first quarter. As Tennessee fans sat, waiting for a stop on fourth down, Florida fans jumped in jubilation as the Vols snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for the second time this season.
To add salt to the wound, Vols kicker Aaron Medley didn’t just miss a 55-yard field goal that would have won the game on the last play. He missed a 55-yard field goal by mere inches to the right that, had it been from 60 or even 65 yards out, it would have had time to hook just enough left to sneak in just inside the right upright. Medley approached the ball like most kickers approach an extra point. Two relaxed steps and a swing of the hips and legs to give the ball some lift. Most kickers don’t want lift on kicks outside 50 yards. This one had lift and it struck the net with velocity around the bottom of the Allstate hands logo. It was one of the most impressive misses we’ve ever witnessed.
Enough reliving heartbreak for my local brethren who choose to wear orange. Let’s get this week’s aberration better known as Week 5’s SEC Football Predictions.
All Times Eastern | Utilizing AP Rankings until the College Football Playoff Selection Committee Rankings are released in October.
SEC Football Predictions | Week 5
Saturday, October 3, 2015
South Carolina (2-2, 0-2 SEC) at Missouri (3-1, 0-1 SEC)
Noon ET | SEC Network
Quick word of wisdom: When you tally the number of 2015 conference wins for South Carolina, Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee you get a total of zero. During the preseason when Alabama-Georgia was the obvious main event, the Carolina-Mizzou/Arkansas-Tennessee games appeared to be great bookends. Now we have a combined 0-5 SEC record among the four aforementioned teams.
Don’t let the records fool you. Desperation breeds instant classics in the SEC and Week 5 is full of desperation.
Missouri will be without senior starting quarterback Maty Mauk because he violated the ever-sacred policies of his team. We won’t go into the obvious violation to which this usually refers, but did you know you can consume a bowl of lettuce in Colorado and Washington without much fuss?
Tigers fans hope this is the first of many great starts for freshman quarterback Drew Lock. South Carolina will have a freshman taking snaps as well in Lorenzo Nunez. He already leads the team in rushing and appears to be the Gamecocks’ signal caller from here on out.
The last time South Carolina was in Columbia West, they handed Missouri their only conference loss of 2013 before the SEC Championship Game. This time, the Gamecocks hand the Tigers their first conference win of 2015.
PREDICTION: Missouri 17, South Carolina 13
#13 Alabama (3-1, 0-1 SEC) at #8 Georgia (4-0, 2-0 SEC)
3:30 PM ET | CBS
Big game word of wisdom: Alabama has not been an underdog since 2008… when they faced Georgia in a Saturday night blackout in Athens. Nick Saban, Julio Jones, and the Tide ran out to a 31-0 halftime lead and have not looked back since.
In a rare feat, the same coaches that faced off in October of 2008 are the same ones that will meet at midfield Saturday afternoon. Something that many forget was Mark Richt’s face and comment when he was interviewed by ESPN’s sideline reporter before heading off the field at halftime saddled with a 31-point deficit. Richt looked at the camera, smirked, and said something along the lines of, “We are getting our a**es kicked.” It was the equivalent of watching a preacher drop 10 F-bombs from the pulpit.
There will be no shortage of desperation throughout the conference on Saturday and this game will have a large dose. Although many see this as a potential preview of the SEC Championship Game, Alabama is sitting at 0-1 in conference play with no room for a second loss if they expect to play in the state of Georgia again in 2015. Georgia looks to keep the momentum alive as they head into a winnable remainder of the schedule, but a loss could lead to a letdown next week in Knoxville against a Tennessee team that will eventually put four full quarters of football together before this season is over.
Georgia is at home. Alabama is desperate with a great defense that matches up really well against teams that don’t run flashy spread offenses. Georgia is getting great play from quarterback Greyson Lambert, who has 733 yards passing with seven touchdowns. The biggest and most impressive number Lambert possesses is zero. He has thrown zero interceptions in the first four games. The Dawgs will be barking with the joy of victory if Lambert continues playing turnover free football.
Which quarterback keeps the ball out of the defense’s hands? The answer will tell you the winner. This predictor thinks Georgia plays enough mistake-free football to get their first win over Alabama since 2007 and first win in Athens since 2003.
PREDICTION: Georgia 34, Alabama 27
San Jose State (2-2) at Auburn (2-2, 1-1 SEC)
4:00 PM ET | ESPN
Quick word of wisdom: Auburn does not look very good, but they should beat San Jose State.
PREDICTION: Auburn 28, San Jose State 14
#3 Ole Miss (4-0, 2-0 SEC) at #25 Florida (4-0, 2-0 SEC)
7:00 PM ET | ESPN
Quick(ish) word of wisdom: Although Alabama and Georgia are getting the attention from the nation, this is quite possibly the biggest game in college football on Saturday. Florida will need to come down off a miracle win last week over Tennessee. Ole Miss showed the effects of its Tuscaloosa marathon as Vanderbilt hung around within one score much of the night.
We will find out how good Florida’s defense can be and we’ll also find out if Jim McElwain will be setting himself up for a season he may never be able to duplicate. A win against Ole Miss would catapult the Gators into SEC East contenders and a spot near the top ten.
PREDICTION: Florida 21, Ole Miss 16
Arkansas (1-3, 0-1 SEC) at Tennessee (2-2, 0-1 SEC)
7:00 PM ET | ESPN2
Quick word of wisdom: The pain is real for both teams. An honest fan of either team will admit that they were pondering about what trajectory the program will take following wins over Texas A&M (Arkansas) and Florida (Tennessee) just prior to complete meltdowns just hours apart.
Rumors of Clint Stoerner running out the game ball and laying it near midfield are greatly exaggerated, but pretty fitting for this battle in Knoxville on Desperation Saturday in the SEC.
PREDICTION: Tennessee 31, Arkansas 21
Eastern Michigan (1-3) at #9 LSU (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
7:00 PM ET | ESPNU
Quick word of wisdom: The biggest theme here is for LSU and it is simple. “Nobody Get Hurt.”
PREDICTION: LSU 48, Eastern Michigan 0
Vanderbilt (1-3, 0-2 SEC) at Middle Tennessee State (2-2)
7:00 PM ET | CBSSN
Quick word of wisdom: Middle Tennessee has won each meeting in this series since 2001. The 2001, 2002 and 2005 games were played at Vanderbilt Stadium. The 2005 version saw an undefeated Vanderbilt with quarterback Jay Cutler and a winless MTSU play a classic that was won by the Blue Raiders on a blocked field goal as time expired.
Middle will not change tradition just because it’s been a few years and the game is being played 35 miles southeast of Nashville in Murfreesboro.
PREDICTION: MTSU 21, Vanderbilt 13
#21 Mississippi State (3-1, 1-1 SEC) at #14 Texas A&M (4-0, 1-0 SEC)
7:30 PM ET | SEC Network
Quick word of wisdom: The Aggies of A&M are staking their claim as a true force in the SEC. A win Saturday at home against Mississippi State Saturday night will give the team huge momentum going into the open date before they host Alabama on October 17.
PREDICTION: Texas A&M 33, Mississippi State 24
Eastern Kentucky (2-1) at Kentucky (3-1 2-1 SEC)
7:30p.m. ET | SEC Network
Quick word of wisdom: Kentucky should win this game,
PREDICTION: Kentucky 44, Eastern Kentucky 28
Eric Taylor is a contributor to FBSchedules.com. Follow him on Twitter @EricFromSpfld or contact him via email at EricFromSpringfield–at– gmail–dot– com.