The Kentucky Wildcats will try to bounce back from yet another loss to Florida when they tangle with Missouri Saturday night at 7:30 on the SEC Network.
Everything seemed to set up perfectly for the Cats to finally end the streak against the Gators but it was not to be. Questionable play calling and bad execution on offense along with time management issues led to a 29th straight loss in the series.
Previewing Missouri at Kentucky
Onto this Saturday and much of the speculation on talk shows and the internet has been squarely on who lines up at quarterback. The Wildcats have now gone six straight quarters without a touchdown and Patrick Towles has the lowest quarterback rating in the SEC. Many True Blue Fans are wondering when backup Drew Barker may take some snaps. For now Mark Stoops says Towles is his guy, but another bad game and you have to wonder.
On the other side of the ball the quarterback with the next lowest rating is Maty Mauk from Missouri. Whether it is a change in personnel or something else the Tiger offense isn’t clicking in 2015. Their 9-6 win over Connecticut last week was the first time since 2011 an SEC team won a game without scoring at least 10 points.
Defensively the Tigers are number one in the league and a big part of that is Kendrell Brothers, who leads the SEC in tackles with 42 and also has two interceptions.
The Wildcats are favored in this game which surprises me. It is also the first time since 2007 a Kentucky team has been favored against a Top 25 team. Also, the Tigers have owned the Wildcats in the three previous games since they joined the SEC winning by a margin of 101-37.
Ultimately this one may come down to who runs the ball better. Boom Williams is fiifth in the league in rushing while the Tigers will have Russell Hansbrough back after missing last week’s game due to an ankle injury.
A loss here and Kentucky fans will start to turn their attention to basketball, which is only three weeks away.
Time to take a look at the rest of the games in the SEC this weekend. Last week I went 6-3 on my picks making my season record 23-6.
Central Florida at South Carolina (NOON ESPNU)– The Gamecocks were thumped last week in a loss to Georgia and are 1-2 and 0-2 in the SEC.
The Ol’ Ball Coach will have a new quarterback on Saturday at Lorenzo Nunez takes over. Thankfully for USC the Knights are a really bad this year plus they just dismissed their best player in running back William Stanback.
South Carolina 24-10
Southern at Georgia (NOON SEC Network)– The Bulldogs have looked very impressive so far this year with Nick Chubb and an emerging Grayson Lambert leading the way. The Jaguars scored 50 points in their last two games and it is possible Marc Richt’s club could be looking ahead to Alabama next week, but I still don’t think they have any trouble here.
LSU at Syracuse (NOON ESPN)– This one is an interesting matchup between undefeated SEC and ACC clubs. Leonard Fournette firmly established himself as a Heisman contender last week with his 229 yard performance against Auburn. The Orange are third in the country in rushing defense but haven’t played anyone near the caliber of the Tigers. Les Miles’ club picks up a nice road win in this one.
Tennessee at Florida (3:30 CBS)– While not as incredible as the Gators’ streak over Kentucky is the fact Florida has won ten straight games against the Vols. The last win was a 30-28 game in 2004 when Ron Zook was still the Gators coach.
Jim McElwain has settled on a quarterback in Will Grier, who didn’t play great but got the job done against Kentucky.
This one is going to come down to how Joshua Dobbs and the Tennessee offense, who is averaging 46 points a game, handle a stifling Gator defense. I picked one Florida streak to end last week and I am going to do it again here.
Louisiana-Monroe at Alabama (4:00 SEC Network)– For a second straight year the Crimson Tide will try to bounce back after a loss to Ole Miss. After falling behind by 20 points Jake Coker almost rallied the team to a comeback win. Nick Saban says he will start on Saturday after starting Cooper Bateman against the Rebels. The Warhawks were off last week after beating Nicholls State 47-0. They lost 51-14 to Georgia three weeks ago and I think the score will be something similar.
Vanderbilt at Ole Miss (7:00 ESPNU)– The Rebels knocked off Alabama for the second year in a row and have jumped to third in the national polls. Hugh Freeze’s club is averaging a remarkable 64 points per game and have won ten straight home games against unranked opponents. The last loss was against these same Commodores in 2012. History will not repeat itself in this one.
Ole Miss 42-14
Arkansas vs Texas A&M (7:00 ESPN Game Played in Arlington, Texas)– I could make a joke about how the Razorbacks will be playing a ranked team this week, but I think everyone has already done that.
The wheels have come off for Bret Bielema’s club who are trying to bounce back after two straight bad losses to non-conference foes. It certainly doesn’t get any easier as they play an Aggie squad who is rolling up over 500 yards and 46 points a game behind Kyle Allen. The Aggies will win but will Kevin Sumlin make jokes at Bielema’s expense after the game.
Texas A&M 44-24
Mississippi State at Auburn (7:30 ESPN2)– After some less than stellar outings Gus Malzahn has decided to bench Jeremy Johnson in favor of redshirt freshman Sean White. The Tigers were roughed up badly by Leonard Fournette and LSU last week while it looks like the Bulldogs are starting to get things figured out. Dan Mullen’s club ran up 62 points and a school record 647 yards against Northwestern State. They won’t score that many but I think they send the Tigers to another loss.
Mississippi State 31-27
I am probably a little crazy for picking so many road teams to win. I would love to hear your predictions below.