For the first time in the history of the SEC, there are three interim head football coaches at the same time. Randy Shannon at Florida, Matt Luke at Ole Miss and Brady Hoke at Tennessee. The sad part of this? There will likely be two more coaching vacancies in the next few weeks.
Mercer at Alabama
Coach Nick Saban has proclaimed this as "Mercer Week" to try to keep his team focused and avoid looking ahead to the "Iron Bowl" match up with rival Auburn next week. Don't look for any letdown by the Crimson Tide. 'Bama has had some problems with injuries, but if they allowed Mercer to play with extra players on the field, they wold still win.
Alabama 49 Mercer 7
Mississippi State at Arkansas
This game could prove to be competitive, but with the Razorbacks firing Athletic Director Jeff Long this week and head coach Bret Bielema on really shaky ground, the Hogs may be ready for the 2017 season to end.
The Bulldogs could be focused on all the talk surrounding their head coach Dan Mullen, who is a viable candidate for several coaching vacancies. Still this one should belong to the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State 37 Arkansas 13
ULM at Auburn
Auburn is within striking distance of the College Football Playoff Poll, coming in at number six this week. Last week the Tigers shellacked top-ranked Georgia 40-17 to make a huge statement. They are the highest ranked two-loss team in the country right now and what a match up it will be next week in the "Iron Bowl" if they take care of business this week.
Auburn 54 ULM 14
UAB at Florida
Interim head coach Randy Shannon had the Gators playing better in last week's loss at South Carolina but this is still a pretty bad football team. They host the UAB Blazers this week in the "Swamp" after two SEC road losses in a row. UAB is good enough to put a real scare in the Gators which is why this one should be marked with an "upset alert". Florida should prevail, even though a UAB win wouldn't surprise me a bit.
Florida 27 UAB 14
Kentucky at Georgia
It will be interesting to see how Georgia responds this week following their blow out loss at Auburn last week. If they're not focused on Kentucky the Wildcats could really put a monkey wrench in the Bulldogs chances of getting back in the College Football Playoff poll. Kentucky is already headed to a bowl game, but with every win they get, the better bowl trip they qualify for. The Bulldogs have Georgia Tech next week, then the SEC Championship Game versus Alabama on Dec. 2. I believe Georgia will get back on track this week.
Georgia 30 Kentucky 17
Texas A&M at Ole Miss
The Aggies are a decent football team but Texas A&M administration has had about all they want from Coach Kevin Sumlin. Neither of the two head coaches in this game are expected back next year, including interim Coach Matt Luke from Ole Miss. The Rebels can actually score a lot of points and so can the Aggies. This could be a high scoring affair and, since Ole Miss has the home field advantage, I'm picking the upset.
Ole Miss 38 Texas A&M 35
Missouri at Vanderbilt
Missouri has beaten Florida and Tennessee in back to back home wins, outscoring the SEC East foes 95-33. The Tigers are on the road this weekend at Vanderbilt against a Commodore team that is 4-6 and needs two more wins to be bowl eligible. Missouri on the other hand is 5-5 and the Tigers are in a position to finish 7-5 on the year, with a game at Arkansas next week. Since Vandy still hasn't recovered from that 59-0 loss to Alabama, I see no reason to believe they can beat Mizzou.
Missouri 40 Vanderbilt 24
Wofford at South Carolina
The Gamecocks have had a solid season under second year head coach Will Muschamp and, with all their SEC games completed, USC is 7-3 on the year with Wofford and in-state rival Clemson remaining. Eight wins would be a banner year for the Gamecocks, which is all they will get before their bowl game.
South Carolina 33 Wofford 7
LSU at Tennessee
Where do I start with this one? The Tigers are favored by at least trwo touchdowns in the game at Neyland Stadium and for the first time in almost five seasons, Butch Jones will be absent from the Volunteer sideline. Former Michigan Coach Brady Hoke is the Vols' interim coach for the final two games of the season, and, while things will be a bit different for the Big Orange this week, it's still the same Tennessee team that lost to Missouri 50-17 last week. UT desperately needs six wins to get a bowl bid because of the extra three weeks of practice that are afforded bowl teams. But 5-7 will be the best the Vols can do and that's dependent upon a win over Vandy next week. It's obvious this has been a bad year for Tennessee football.
LSU 33 Tennessee 13
Last Week : 7-1
Year to Date: 73-20
Randy Smith has been covering sports on radio, television and print for the past 45 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has written two books, and has continued to free-lance as a play-by-play announcer. His career has included a 17-year stretch as host of the Kickoff Call In Show on the University of Tennessee’s prestigious Vol Network. He has been a member of the Vol Network staff for 30 years. He has done play-by-play on ESPN, ESPN II, CSS, and Fox SportSouth, totaling more than 500 games, and served as a well-known sports anchor on Chattanooga television for more than a quarter-century. In 2003, he became the first television broadcaster to be inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame. Randy and his wife Shelia reside in Hixson. They have two married children, Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith. They have five grandchildren, Coleman, Boone, Mattingly, DellaMae, and CoraLee.