Week six of SEC play will make for a busy Saturday, as nearly all teams will be facing conference competition. Some squads are still seeking that elusive first conference win, while Missouri will make its 2013 SEC debut.
Only Alabama steps out of conference, while Texas A&M is idle.
Following is a preview of all the week six contests, complete with game predictions.
Arkansas at No. 18 Florida
Florida’s top tier defense will be showcased in this one, and Arkansas may not have an answer for it. Tyler Murphy has settled in nicely at the quarterback position following Jeff Driskel’s season-ending injury, and he’s complimented by a blossoming running game.
Arkansas will be looking to stop the bleeding after two straight losses, but a trip to The Swamp isn’t always the best remedy for an ailing young football team.
If the Razorbacks can get running back Alex Collins off and running early, they’ll have a chance. But with the way the Florida defense is performing, that will be much easier said than done.
Prediction: Florida 30, Arkansas 10
No. 24 Ole Miss at Auburn
Following a humbling loss to Alabama, Saturday’s trip to the Plains could prove to be more of a fight than Ole Miss is looking for this week.
Auburn has a capable offense led by quarterback Nick Marshall, and running back Tre Mason can be a handful if the Tigers’ passing game is clicking.
Ole Miss may very well come out flat, but look for quarterback Bo Wallace to gather his composure, and make plays down the stretch.
Prediction: Ole Miss 31, Auburn 24
No. 6 Georgia at Tennessee
The Bulldogs are just removed from a huge win over LSU, and a sluggish start wouldn’t be entirely surprising in this early afternoon road contest.
Tennessee, on the other hand, probably has a bit more left in the tank after a lackluster effort against South Alabama last week.
It may take a quarter or two, but expect the Georgia offense to eventually rev up its engines for a convincing win. Tennessee will come out swinging, but Bulldogs signal caller Aaron Murray has too many offensive weapons for the Vols to contain for four quarters.
Prediction: Georgia 42, Tennessee 17
No. 10 LSU at Mississippi State
For LSU, this one has all the ingredients of a classic “trap game.” Les Miles’ Tigers are coming off a tough loss on the road, and could easily find themselves looking ahead to next week’s showdown with Florida.
Mississippi State, meanwhile, has had two weeks to prepare, and will run out fired up at home on the heels of an open date.
In the end, however, none of that will matter. State will score some points on LSU’s maligned defense, but it won’t be enough to keep up with Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger and the LSU offense.
Prediction: LSU 41, MSU 21
Missouri at Vanderbilt
In the “James Franklin Bowl,” Vanderbilt coach James Franklin’s squad will try and corral the dangerous Missouri quarterback who bears the same name.
The Tigers are off to perhaps the quietest 4-0 start in the country, and they’re largely untested. That will change this Saturday in Nashville, as battle-hardened Vanderbilt seeks to secure its first conference win.
Missouri appears to be playing with something to prove in just its second season in the SEC. Saturday presents the Tigers with a chance to go on the road and pick up a big win over a divisional opponent. Look for coach Gary Pinkel’s squad to take full advantage of the opportunity.
Prediction: Missouri 27, Vanderbilt 24
Kentucky at No. 13 South Carolina
Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks are looking to establish some consistency, as Kentucky visits Columbia with visions of an upset.
But South Carolina is too strong up front on both sides of the ball. The Gamecocks are looking to improve upon last week’s uninspired effort at UCF, and they’ll appreciate the chance to feed off a lively home crowd.
Prediction: South Carolina 34, Kentucky 17
Georgia State at No. 1 Alabama
This contest doesn’t really require much in-depth analysis. Alabama will score lots and lots of points. Georgia State will not. The Tide are coming off a big divisional win over Ole Miss, but Nick Saban won’t let his squad relax for even a second.
Prediction: Alabama 49, Georgia State 7
With hardly no rent-a-wins or cupcakes in the lineup, this week will feature some hard-hitting, Southeastern Conference slugfests.
When the dust settles on the day, some SEC squads will have completed another step towards their goals. For others, the taste of defeat will be harsh and bitter.