There is a new power atop the SEC and college football and this new power is not coached by Nick Saban. LSU pulled off a win in Tuscaloosa last week 46-41 over the Crimson Tide, vaulting the Tigers to the number one spot. With three weeks left in the regular season all LSU has to do to win a national title is..... win.
Tennessee and Arkansas are idle this week.
Alabama at Mississippi State
A funny thing happened to the Crimson Tide on the way to a playoff match up with powerful Clemson for a fourth straight season.
They lost and now may not even make the SEC Championship Game, even though they're ranked fifth in the latest playoff poll. Obviously the Tide must have some help to actually get in the playoffs, though it really wouldn't seem like a college playoff without Alabama. The Tide has been in every single one of them and they've won two. This week 'Bama plays at Mississippi State in a game they should win handily. LSU exposed weaknesses that Alabama has that no one else has been able to expose. In years past, this one would be a dangerous place for Alabama to visit. Not this year.
Alabama 52 Mississippi State 20
Florida at Missouri
Missouri has gone in the tank since quarterback Kelly Bryant was injured a few weeks ago. The Tigers have lost three in a row since their last SEC win against Ole Miss. This week, Mizzou faces Florida in Columbia and in any other season one could expect the Gators to be falling into a trap but I'm not so sure how much the Tigers have left in the tank this season. Over the past several seasons, Missouri has started slowly and finished strong. It's been the direct opposite in 2019.The Gators are fresh from a 59-0 shellacking of Vanderbilt last week and I don't see the Gators losing again this year.That won't get them in the playoffs but it will land them a nice New Year's Day bowl game.
Florida 37 Missouri 17
Kentucky at Vanderbilt
Both of these teams are really struggling to score points. While this game should be competitive it will very likely be ugly. While 'Cats coach Mark Stoops may be on a lot of schools' short list for next season, Vandy's Derrick Mason's seat is extremely hot. Fans have been staying away in droves to the Commodores' games this fall. Every time when Vandy has a season go in the tank, critics start the same old, "Vandy shouldn't be in the SEC" rant. They could be right, unless school administration starts putting more money into the program. Right now the only SEC level program Vandy has is baseball and that's the best program in the country. Still with no bowl game in sight for the Commodores this year, they have only pride to play for.
Kentucky 21 Vanderbilt 13
LSU at Ole Miss
The biggest question heading into this game is: will LSU suffer a letdown after that big win over Alabama last week. Even if they do is Ole Miss good enough to pull the upset? The Bengal Tigers proved last week they are every bit as good as advertised. Their defense is still the biggest question mark they have. There are no questions at all on offense. Quarterback Joe Burrows is far and away the leading Heisman Trophy candidate and will be playing on Sundays next fall. The Rebels have a dangerous football team and they have lost three straight SEC games by an average of eight points per game. An upset this weekend is not likely at all.
LSU 44 Ole Miss 21
South Carolina at Texas A&M
The Gamecocks have been up and down like a yo-yo this season. They've beaten Georgia and lost last week to Appalachian State. Texas A&M has won three in a row since they were beaten 47-28 by Alabama. Jimbo Fisher's team has already qualified for a bowl game with a 6-3 record and they are playing great football right now. The Aggie offense has scored 94 points in their last two wins and they're really cooking right now behind quarterback Kellen Monds who has passed for 2,214 yards so far in 2019. If the same Gamecock team that upset Georgia shows up in College Station, they have a chance.
Texas A&M 34 South Carolina 14
Georgia at Auburn
A lot of people are at odds over Georgia being ranked fourth in this week's playoff poll. The Bulldogs are the only team in the top four with one loss and that one loss was at home to South Carolina, while Alabama, ranked fifth, lost to top-ranked LSU. It's up to the 'Dawgs to prove they belong and that starts with this game at Auburn. The Tigers' only losses this year have been to LSU and Florida, and Auburn is a hungry football team. They can play a big spoiler over the next three weeks. They get Georgia and rival Alabama at home. Chances are they can beat one of them and knock them completely out of the playoffs. To beat both would be a real stretch. In an upset............
Auburn 27 Georgia 23
Last week: 5-2
Year to date: 71-16 (82%)
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Randy Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org