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Last week’s slate of SEC games was nothing short of a treat. We saw complete domination, strange wins, and disheartening losses–including a 31-16 Ole Miss loss at home to Auburn. We saw Kentucky beat Vanderbilt with only 18 yards passing; Alabama continue to be other-worldly with a blowout win at Tennessee; and LSU continue its domination at home. This week we are treated to another great schedule of games, while a few of the league’s best enjoy a bye week.
With just four games left in the regular season, SEC teams will face off and be tested. Both sides of the SEC are still wide open, and Week 9 is a great place for teams in the hunt to make their case.
So, let’s take a look around the SEC with our Week 9 Rebel Walk Roundtable!
Here are our records after last week’s picks!
11 A.M. Vanderbilt (3-5, 0-4 SEC) vs Arkansas (2-6, 0-4 SEC)
2:30 P.M. #9 Florida (6-1, 4-1 SEC) vs #7 Georgia (6-1, 4-1 SEC)
3:00 P.M. #12 Kentucky (6-1, 4-1 SEC) vs Missouri (4-3, 0-3 SEC)
6:00 P.M. #16 Texas A&M (5-2, 3-1 SEC) vs Mississippi State (4-3, 1-3 SEC)
6:30 P.M. Tennessee (3-4, 1-3 SEC) vs South Carolina (3-3, 2-3 SEC)
Teams with a bye this Saturday: #1 Alabama, #4 LSU, Auburn, and Ole Miss
Now, let’s take a look at what The Rebel Walk team thinks about this week’s slate of SEC games.
Here are our picks for each of this weekend’s upcoming SEC games. Take a look at what we think will happen this Saturday, give us your feedback on Twitter (@TheRebelWalk) and Facebook, and let’s talk SEC football! Hotty Toddy!
Jake: Vanderbilt’s defense has been stout all year, and Arkansas’ offense has been average at best. Vandy has five losses, but four were to ranked opponents, and three were games they were in until the final minutes. If Ke’Shawn Vaughn is healthy for Vandy, they will roll the Hogs. This game will be tight since it’s in Fayetteville, but Vandy will pull out a close win, thanks to their defense.
Evie: Vandy lost a close one to then-No. 14 Kentucky last week, 14-7, but I think Derek Mason’s Commodores get a win this Saturday over Arkansas. Four of Vandy’s five losses have come against teams ranked in the top 15, so even though the Hogs get QB Ty Storey back this week, it won’t matter. Vandy wins this one.
Land: The Hogs got a much-needed win last week, while Vandy couldn’t beat the Wildcats of Kentucky. I don’t expect either offense to light up the scoreboard, but I expect Vandy’s defense to make enough stops to bail their offense out. Vandy in a snoozer in Fayetteville
Hays: Vanderbilt’s defense has given up 37+ points in three out of four SEC games, while the Razorbacks have given up 34, 24, 65, and 37 in SEC games. It is going to be a high-scoring game despite Vanderbilt giving up only 14 points last week. Vanderbilt QB Kyle Shurmur will be too much for the Razorbacks.
Jake: UGA has had a week to think about its blowout loss at LSU and will come out firing on all cylinders against the Gators. This game will be tight for a while, but UGA will pull away in the second half. UGA is beatable, but not by Florida this Saturday.
Evie: Florida and Georgia will face off at a neutral site (TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL) in a game billed as “The World’s Largest Cocktail Party.” The Bulldogs, Gators and Wildcats are all tied atop the SEC East standings at 4-1, so this game has huge implications in who represents the division in the SEC Championship game. With a bye week, following a 36-16 loss to LSU, Kirby Smart has the kinks ironed out and beats the Gators in a thriller that comes down to the final possession.
Land:This game got a whole lot more interesting in the last couple of weeks. Florida has found its rhythm and Georgia proved it is very much beatable. Though Florida has picked up steam, I think Kirby will get his team back to basics out of the bye week and take care of business.
Hays: I like the Gator defense, but I am not convinced Feleipe Franks can make enough plays to outlast a Bulldog defense that was embarrassed in Death Valley two weeks ago. Georgia will run the football, control the line of scrimmage, and put the Gators away late.
Jake: Kentucky managed to win an SEC game last week with 18 passing yards. They’re the underdog in this game, but I think they’ll shut down Mizzou’s offense, while Benny Snell will run wild. UK wins a high-scoring battle on the road.
Evie: Although Missouri is a favorite in this game, I’m going with the Wildcats. Kentucky, who has won the last three over the Tigers, enters the game with the league’s No. 3 ground attack and the SEC’s top rusher, Benny Snell. The Tigers own the league’s No. 3 passing attack with QB Drew Lock at the helm; however, Kentucky’s pass defense has been solid this season. This one may come down to turnovers. Because of Kentucky’s turnover edge (the Wildcats are +2 this season, while Missouri is -2 in turnover margin), I am taking Kentucky.
Land:This game might be the hardest to pick. Mizzou gained a lot of confidence last week after steamrolling a very solid Memphis team. Kentucky, on the other hand, is going back to the drawing board after a 14-7 slug-fest against Vandy. Mizzou is favored, and I think they give Kentucky all they can handle–but, ultimately, the Wildcats win it late.
Hays: Missouri is 0-3 in SEC play, but the Tigers’ losses are to Georgia, Alabama, and a thriller to South Carolina. Kentucky’s offense has struggled scoring the past two games. They also have travel to Columbia. Drew Lock and the Tigers are too much for the Wildcats and blow them out.
Jake: State’s offense was nonexistent last week at LSU, and I think they’ll have similar troubles this week with A&M. Kylin Hill is the X-factor, as State’s success and his good games are usually aligned. However, A&M has won three straight and is rolling. QB Kellen Mond and RB Treyveon Williams should outplay Fitzgerald and Hill. The fact that this game is in Starkville will keep it closer than it should be, but A&M wins late.
Evie: A&M is coming off a bye week as it enters the game with State, which means Jimbo Fisher has had an extra week to prepare for his team’s trip to Starkville. Since Johnny Manziel left College Station, State has won three of the last four over the Aggies—but Fisher will get the Ags back in the win column, regardless of how many cowbells are clanging in Starkville Saturday. LSU gave Fisher’s Aggies a pretty good road-map of how to beat MSU: focus the defense on stopping the run and make Fitz beat you through the air. The Aggies bring the nation’s No. 4 rushing defense into the game, so that shouldn’t be much of a problem. In State’s loss to LSU, the Bulldog QB was 8-24 through the air for 59 yards and 4 INTs—for a QBR of 9.8 in the game. Fitz has not thrown a single TD in SEC play this season. (Yikes!) If State decides to start backup QB Keytaon Thompson, as some have suggested, it might be a little bit of a different game; however, A&M still wins this one.
Land: State’s offense has taken a nosedive since the start of the season. To say that Fitzy has struggled throwing the ball lately is an understatement… Five interceptions in two games…and the last time he threw a TD pass? September 15th… let that sink in. State’s defense is good, but not good enough to hold off Kellen Mond, Trayveon Williams and the rolling Aggies. First time in Starkville for Jimbo; wonder what he’ll think of those cowbells?
Hays: Nick Fitzgerald has gone from Heisman hopeful to fighting for his job. The Bulldogs have a posted a combined nine points vs. ranked opponents. A&M is ranked, which could be trouble for the Bulldogs. Even though the game is in Starkville, I think the Aggies win it.
Jake: Despite giving up 58 at home to Alabama, UT actually looked decent on offense. Defense was a mess, but they seemed to have turned a corner with their offense. However, with Guarantano shaken up, UT will struggle this week on the road. USC will win by a couple TDs.
Evie: The underdog has dominated the matchup between these two, going 6-0 against the spread in the last six meetings, while the home team has won seven of the last ten. I think these teams are more evenly matched than most believe. Tennessee’s passing attack has picked up, while the Gamecocks have one of the nation’s worst defenses in opposing passer efficiency. That being said, the Vols have a non-existent ground game and are ranked dead last in the league in rushing offense. Though South Carolina isn’t the toughest rush defense in the league (ranked 12th), the Gamecocks are coming up with key stops at key times—allowing offenses to convert just 25% of their third down tries. The key for South Carolina will be the pressure from its defensive front, and in the end, I think they make enough stops at important times to get the win over the Vols.
Land: Neither of these teams are as good as we expected them to be this year. Tennessee has shown promise of late (if you can call last week’s 58-21 drubbing by ‘Bama, promise), but I just don’t see UT getting another upset win without their starting QB healthy. Muschamp and the Gamecocks win this one.
Hays: South Carolina’s losses are only to ranked opponents, and this game is at home for the Gamecocks. Tennessee’s offense is dangerous through the air, but I am not sure they will be able to convert on short third downs. The Gamecocks win a close one.
|VAN vs ARK||#9 UF vs #7 UGA||#12 UK vs MIZZ||#16 A&M vs. MSU||TENN vs. S. CAR|
There you have it for The Rebel Walk Roundtable’s Week 9 SEC Picks!
Let us know what you think will happen on Saturday, and start the conversation with us on Twitter (@TheRebelWalk) and Facebook!
Jake, a 2021 graduate of Ole Miss with a degree in Integrated Marketing and Communications, is from Nashville, TN. Along with his work at The Rebel Walk, Jake hosts “The Flagship Football Show” podcast. He’s also a huge fan of the Rebels, Titans, Predators, and Braves.