Oh, what a difference a couple of months make. Prior to the season's start, this game had the look of a late-season dramatic test for two division contenders. Now, it's just a pair of also-rans playing out the season. Arkansas fans' attention is about to turn full-time towards a coaching search, while South Carolina will play without star running back Marcus Lattimore. If the Razorbacks have any hope at a bowl this season, it must upset the Gamecocks in this game and Mississippi State next week, because they aren't getting by LSU this year.
Louisiana-Lafayette (5-3) @ Florida (8-1)
The Ragin' Cajuns are coming off a win over Louisiana-Monroe, the early-season media darling of the Sun Belt Conference. ULL hasn't been quite the team some thought they might be in the preseason, but this is still a well-coached outfit with a good, balanced offense and a decent defense against the run. Florida should win easily, but with the Gators' struggles on offense, don't expect a total blowout. A repeat of the Gators' opener against Bowling Green is probably more the order of the day.
Missouri (4-5) at Tennessee (4-5)
Missouri looked much improved, particularly on defense, last week against the Gators. But oft-injured QB James Franklin was too rusty to be of much help, and turnovers allowed Florida to sneak by. Tennessee is coming off a flag football display against Troy that saw the Volunteers very fortunate to emerge with a win in hand. Both teams need this game to become bowl-eligible, especially Mizzoui, who finish with Syracuse and Texas A&M. If the Vols lose this game, however, it could be the catalyst that finally ends Derek Dooley's tenure on the sideline.
Texas A&M (7-2) at Alabama (9-0)
There's no team in the conference playing hotter or faster than Texas A&M right now. QB Johnny Manziel is on track to rack up more yards than both Tim Tebow and Cam Newton amassed in their Heisman winning years.
The real problem for Alabama, and the matchup that I fell will turn this game, is how the Tide's secondary turns up against the Aggies wide receiver corps and whether they can get any effective pressure on Manziel. After watching Zach Mettenberger carve up Bama's short-range pass defense last week, one has to wonder how they'll do against a receiver corps that is twice as dangerous as what LSU brought to the table.
This game will likely be separated by single digits, and in the end I do see the Crimson Tide rolling to10-0.
Georgia (8-1) at Auburn (2-7)
Georgia keeps threatening to revert to form, as seen in its blowout loss to South Carolina, its near-miss win over Kentucky and the first quarter or so of its game against Ole Miss. Still, the Bulldogs are one of the league's most talented teams, and when Georgia is playing with its head on straight, few teams can stop the Dawgs. Auburn finally had something good happen last week against lowly New Mexico State, as the combination of a victory and the play of freshman QB Jonathan Wallace have convinced some Tiger fans that a full turnaround is on the horizon. But Auburn may come crashing back to earth this week. If Georgia shows up motivated, the Bulldog defense is capable of completely wiping out the Tiger offense, while the Bulldog offense is busy blowing the scoreboard to bits. Look for either a last-second nail biter or a blowout, with no in-between.
Vanderbilt (5-4) at Ole Miss (5-4)
It's no longer imperative for Vanderbilt to win this game to be bowl-eligible. The Commodores are 5-4 with winnable games against Tennessee and Wake Forest ahead, but Vandy could put all speculation to rest by beating the Rebels on the road. Ole Miss, meanwhile, would also become bowl-eligible with a win here, and with LSU and Mississippi State yet to appear on the schedule, Vanderbilt certainly makes for the easiest path to the postseason. The Commodores have handled Ole Miss with regularity lately, but the Rebels bring too much speed and offensive prowess this time out.