It’s head-to-head week in the SEC, which means state bragging rights, border warfare and a passion for college football will be on full display for the nation. However, it’s not just that. The New Year’s six stops, College Football Playoff positions and leaderboard eligibility will also be announced during the game.
No.3 Alabama will visit Jordan-Hare Stadium – which it has not won since 2015 – to take on opponents Auburn during the annual Iron Bowl. No. 1 Georgia will play Georgia Tech in Atlanta, just 1 mile from where it will play the Crimson Tide next week in the SEC Championship Game. LSU, meanwhile, will bid farewell to coach Ed Orgeron compared to number 15 Texas A&M in Death Valley.
Let’s analyze the top storylines in the SEC this weekend and make picks that are straight forward as well as against the spread.
Appetizer: Question answered and maybe a bonus
Arguably, as the season has passed, Brock Bowers of Georgia has emerged as one of the most important players on the Bulldogs roster. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound freshman leads the Bulldogs with 34 catches for 552 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s the biggest answer to the wide receiver uncertainty that coach Kirby Smart has encountered during the off-season.
“The most important thing with Brock’s consistency is that, number one, he’s not just a key player,” Smart said during Monday’s press conference. “He can block and play with his physical stamina. He’s very smart. He takes notes. He comes in early and watches his tapes. When you have trust and talent put together, that’s it. That’s usually what you get and you have a guy who has put up the numbers that he’s done. Again, he’s given a chance on every single game we’ve played.”
Help may be on the horizon.
Wide receiver George Pickens, who tore his ACL net this spring and has missed the season so far, dressing last week with Charleston Southern. It’s unclear if he’ll get actual exposure, but his comeback will be huge in the long run. He had 85 catches from 1,240 yards and 14 touchdowns in his first two seasons on the program. If Smart can get Pickens into the mix and still use Bowers on the ramp, this offense will be nearly unstoppable.
Main dishes: Bo Nix add seasoning
Auburn defender Bo Nix suffered an ankle injury, but that didn’t stop the junior from creating some waves during Iron Bowl week. Nix appears weekly on “Next round“and suggested that some calls in Alabama’s favor last week against Arkansas on par with the course for SEC officials.
“I think, legally, you watch the game and anyone who is unbiased will think something is different,” he said. “That’s what it is. It’s the same way it’s always been. It’s part of the game. And they have good players. Can’t take that away from them.”
There were definitely some dubious calls last week, especially when the Razorbacks ran again Dominique Johnson appeared to be 2 yards into the final zone but was called down to the 1-yard line.
I’m all for giving Nix some extra spice to the competition. After all, it won’t look like Alabama can get back to him on Saturday. In fact, most calls are not even timed. Yes, it looks like Arkansas was near the end of the stick against Alabama, but that doesn’t mean there’s bias. With that said, if Auburn ends up on the same stick on Saturday, conspiracy theories and anger will fly away.
Dessert: Billy Napier love
It seems Louisiana The coach, who has had extensive success as a head coach and assistant coach in the southeast, is at or near the top of the coaching wish list at Florida and LSU. The winner of the Napier lottery will be able to build a fort sooner rather than later.
Napier is not a big name like others supposedly because of the job. That’s OK, though. All Napier has done is lead the Ragin’ Cajuns to three consecutive double-digit seasons, suffer just two convention losses in the past three seasons, and is gearing up for the Sun Belt vs. Appalachian State on December 4th. His recruiting relationships not only in Louisiana but also in recruiting hotspots like Atlanta and the state of Florida will set him up for instant success wherever he goes. come.
Sometimes, sports directors have to look to the big names to win the PR wars. Napier probably won’t do it, but he’ll build a CFP contender whether it’s in Gainesville or Baton Rouge.
Straight: 83-20 | Against the spread: 45-43
Mississippi State Bulldog -1.5
The Egg Bowl will take place on Thanksgiving night – its opportune time. It will be an exclamation point to Rebels coach Lane Kiffin’s stellar second season. Midfielder Matt Corral will cut and cut the Bulldogs’ attack in the air and on the ground, Bulldogs coach Mike Leach won’t be able to keep up and the Rebels will take home the golden egg for the second consecutive season. Pick: Ole Miss (+1)
Arkansas Razorbacks -14.5
Arkansas’ multi-dimensional pounding attack led by midfielders KJ Jefferson and back Dominique Johnson will run through, around and through a forward defense of Tigers ranked 125th in the FBS for dash defense (235.36) and 122nd in javelin allowed per play (5.52). This will quickly go sideways. Pick: Arkansas (-14.5)
Georgia #1 at Georgia Tech
Make no mistake, Bulldogs will destroy the Yellow Jackets. In the end, coach Geoff Collins had to sit in the hot seat due to a rough defense and inconsistent play. With that said, the Bulldogs will also want to stay healthy, so when they return to Atlanta next week to play Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, they’ll be ready to kick-start their homes in style. Coach Kirby Smart will pull in the early starters and allow Jackets to enter under numbers. Pick: Georgia Tech (+35)
Florida Gators -2.5
The Gators’ disastrous season will end mercilessly at home as they are upset by rival Seminoles. Florida State won two games in a row and averaged more than 5.5 yards per play in the process. Florida’s defense is extremely inconsistent, and the entire squad looks destroyed by all the drama surrounding former coach Dan Mullen. This has cash flow written on it. Select: Florida State (+2.5)
#3 Alabama in Auburn
Auburn Tiger +19.5
The second Tigers are very talented but haven’t had much recent success, including two weeks before Mississippi State QB Will Rogers 416 yards and six touchdowns in a winning comeback. Pandemic: Bryce Young’s Operation Heisman Trophy will have one more time. However, the Crimson Tide won’t be able to run the ball effectively, and the Tigers will have enough stops to keep it in numbers. Pick: Auburn (+19.5)
Tennessee volunteers -31
The Commodores’ defense played not bad last week against Ole Miss’s strong offense, and that trend will continue into their finale against rival Tennessee. Strange things tend to happen in this game, so expect QB Hendon Hooker made enough mistakes to get this closer than the oddsmakers thought. Pick: Vanderbilt (+31)
15 Texas A&M at LSU
LSU Tigers +6.5
The thought here is that the Tigers could send coach Ed Orgeron into the sunset with a sadness over the Aggies. Don’t fall into that trap. The Aggies are headed straight for a New Year’s Six. If all it took was one tap down and cashed a Texas A&M ticket, I’d put my faith in it. Isaiah Spiller, Devon Achane and the Aggies’ rush. Pick: Texas A&M (-6.5)
Louisville Cardinals -3
The Cardinals have been hot for the past few weeks, and they will continue that momentum into the season. Defender Malik Cunningham and Cardinals offense will force the Wildcats into a gunfight. I love the Wildcats midfielder Will Levis, but he will make a few more mistakes in this game and the Cardinals will win with at least one goal on the field. Pick: Louisville (-2.5)
South Carolina Gamecocks +11.5
The Gamecocks will attend a bowl game after topping Auburn last week, but won’t get the job done this week against the Tigers from the Upstate. Clemson’s defense has been lousy all season and midfield DJ Uiagalelei is finally starting to look like the star he was touted for pre-season. Clemson will withdraw late for a two-touch victory. Pick: Clemson (-11.5)
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