Around the SEC: A look at Week 4 in the Nation’s Best Conference
OXFORD, Miss. — It is an intriguing weekend in the Southeastern Conference. The league eases into the fratricide that is SEC play while others dip their toes into the pool of playing other leagues. Alabama and Auburn will splash around in the kiddie pool while Missouri takes a leap off the high dive to take on a real opponent.
NO. 2 GEORGIA AT VANDERBILT, 11 a,m., SEC Network
Georgia is rolling. Vanderbilt is reeling. The only mystery in this one is how much the color red outnumbers black and gold in the stands. Dawgs’ QB J.T. Daniels is getting back into national relevance after his game against South Carolina, but an early start will not help his visibility. Neither will a game against the Commodores. There is must-see-TV, this one is must-find-remote control.
LSU AT MISSISSIPPI STATE, 11 a.m., ESPN
Pity the poor oddsmakers in Las Vegas. Not many would be surprised if LSU won this one by 25 points; not many would be shocked if Mississippi State won by 25 points. Do not put too much on the “revenge factor” for the Bayou Bengals. Sure, State took the Tigers to the mat to start that odyssey that was 2020, but so much has happened since then that game is a distant memory.
MISSOURI AT BOSTON COLLEGE, 11 a.m., ESPN2
Missouri steps out of conference, but in a non-traditional way. Not only does Mizzou play 3-0 Boston College, the Tigers are going on the road to do it. This game will tell us a lot about the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Eagles have won three games, pitching a shutout in one and surrendering a field goal in another, but those games were against Colgate and Temple. BC hosts Clemson next week. A win over Mizzou and a win against Clemson sets the Eagles up the rest of the way. Missouri has Tennessee next week.
NO. 7 TEXAS A&M VS. NO. 16 ARKANSAS at ARLINGTON, TEXAS, 2:30 p.m., CBS
Sometimes CBS gets it wrong, sometimes it gets it right. It gets it right this week. A top-20 showdown of a pair of SEC teams. One (A&M) was expected to be ranked, one (the Hogs) were not. The Aggies are still utilizing a backup quarterback while Arkansas has a potent running attack. The winner of this one will be mentioned with Ole Miss as the team with the best chance to topple Alabama.
GEORGIA STATE AT NO. 23 AUBURN, 3 p.m., SEC Network
Here is the traditional out-of-conference game. It will probably be somewhere in the second quarter when the Tigers forget Georgia State is even in Jordan-Hare Stadium and begin to think about playing next Saturday night at LSU. But don’t sleep on the Panthers. After losses to Army and North Carolina, Georgia State did beat Charlotte. Yeah, go ahead and bring some mattresses to the sidelines Auburn, you can sleep on these guys.
TENNESSEE AT NO. 11 FLORIDA, 6 p.m., ESPN
Not an out-of-conference game, but close enough for the Gators. Florida is coming off its “emotional win” over Alabama, but now looks for an actual one. The Gators were without the services of Anthony Richardson against the Tide, and although Emory Jones did not play badly, UF could have used that change-up at quarterback last week. They won’t need it this week, but it will be available.
KENTUCKY AT SOUTH CAROLINA, 6 p.m., ESPN2
What is up with Kentucky? Take care of Missouri and look good doing it one week, escape against Chattanooga the next. No offense to the Mocs which is a good FCS team, but UC started the year by getting beat by Austin Peay. South Carolina got its first taste of SEC play last week by watching Georgia do what it wanted at Samford Stadium. The Gamecocks will have a better shot this week.
SOUTHERN MISS AT NO. 1 ALABAMA, 6:30 p.m., SEC Network
Nick Saban can say what he wants, but Southern Miss is not the Miss on his mind. It is unspoken, but the Crimson Tide is not worried about this game, it is worried about a freak injury before Ole Miss comes to Tuscaloosa next week. As for Southern, they will achieve the Bama Trifecta this week. The Golden Eagles will lose to their third Alabama team (South Alabama and Troy already) in four weeks. Southern Miss’ last chance against an Alabama team comes later in the year against UAB.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.