This is an exciting week in the SEC. Heck, it's an exciting week nationwide, but you won't get much flavor for that here. I pretty much just cover the SEC. It sets up really nicely in the SEC with 4 quality in-conference matchups, all televised. This week, instead of putting two of the best games against one another, they moved one of the best ones to Thursday, so we can all watch it.
Anyway, here we go:
Kentucky at South Carolina: 6:30pm ESPN, Thursday. If LSU beats Florida, then this game decides who's in the driver's seat in the SEC East. It's one of the biggest matchups of the year in the East, and it's between two of the traditional bottom-feeders in the Eastern Division. It remains to be seen how the loss of Jasper Brinkley will affect USC. Kentucky will bring a dynamic offense to this game. They're a big play team. South Carolina will bring a grind-it-out offense and solid defensive play to the game. This should be an exciting game to watch.
Vandy at Auburn, 11:30am, Lincoln-Financial. Tommy Tuberville went from the hot seat to the I-might-get-a-better-job-offer seat in one game. If I was him, I'd want to leave Auburn for Texas A&M. The man has given Auburn its best sustained run of success in its history, and people are talking about firing him because he was .500 four weeks into the season. Yes, I think some criticism was justified, but the calls for firing were insane.
After this week, the calls may come again, because Vandy is anything but a pushover, and Auburn may be still on its high from beating Florida. Plus, this game is in the morning, so the Jordan-Hare stadium crowd may not be into it.
If you're Vandy, and if you want to go to a bowl game, this is another one of those difficult but winnable games on the schedule. You don't have to win this one, but you have to figure out how to win one or two of the games against the pretty good teams. It's too bad for Vandy that their best team in years coincides with South Carolina's best team in decades and Kentucky's best team in decades.
Louisiana Tech at Ole Miss, 1:00pm, no television: This is actually a pretty interesting matchup. Both of these teams are attempting to become the go-to for Louisiana recruits that LSU does not want. Ole Miss has their sights set a little higher than that, but for right now, that's what they are. Louisiana Tech is trying to take that from them under former Tiger assistant coach Derrick Dooley. These schools will probably be competing against one another for recruits in the coming years. A good result on the field for La Tech would be huge.
UAB at Mississippi State: 1:30pm, no television. MSU tries for its 4th win. They better get it, because this might well be their last win of the season. It gets much tougher from here for MSU. I think 5 wins probably saves Sly Croom's job, but they absolutely need this one to have a realistic shot. I don't think they'll be able to best two of Tennessee, W. Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, and Ole Miss. Well, maybe they can. Like I've been saying, they're not a bad team. They'll stay in most games. They'll just have hard times winning them because they do not have a dynamic offense in any way shape or form.
Houston at Bama: 2:00pm, no television. I don't know why they want their homecoming game in the afternoon, but they do. Houston's not really SEC calibre, but they're no pushover either. They're probably about as good as Ole Miss, and a little worse than Vandy. They're a half-decent C-USA team. Bama should be able to handle them, but if Bama is off or down or otherwise not playing well, this could be trouble. If Bama shows up ready to play, they should win by 2 or 3 touchdowns at least.
Georgia at Tennessee: 2:30pm CBS. This is a nice matchup and a key game for both teams. Both have designs on winning the SEC East, but both teams have a conference loss. This is likely then an elimination game. Both teams have already lost to an SEC East opponent, and I don't think you can win this division with two losses to Eastern Division teams. Georgia's the better overall team, but it's always tough to go on the road.
Chattanooga at Arkansas: 6:00pm, no television. Has anyone noticed that Arkansas has an extremely weak OOC schedule? Troy, North Texas, Chattanooga, and Florida International.
Then of course there is Florida at LSU: 7:00pm CBS. This is the second game of a CBS double-header. I don't know if there are more than one of those or not. This is also the second CBS game LSU will play, and we're scheduled for at least 2 others later in the season (Kentucky and Arkansas). Also, the CBS Morning Show and ESPN GameDay will be on campus later this week. Do you think this is a big game? A win by LSU gives Florida a very tough road to win the East and paves the way for us to pursue an undefeated season (which would still be tough, but this may be the biggest obstacle along the way). A win by Florida puts them right back in the East race and potentially back in the national championship race.
Nationally, there are five other games between ranked teams, plus a game between Wisconsin and Illinois. If Illinois wins, they WILL be ranked.