After a one-week hiatus due to some unforeseen circumstances, we are back to tell you exactly what will happen this weekend in the world of SEC football. This Saturday is filled to the gills with some extremely meaningful conference games as we approach the halfway point of the college football season. This week’s slate of games will feature a battle of Tigers as Auburn travels to Death Valley to take on LSU. Vanderbilt will try to take down Ole Miss when they travel to Oxford as both teams look to rebound off tough losses the past few weeks. Texas A&M will look to ride their hot streak against a reeling Florida club, and Butch Jones will fight for his job when Tennessee takes on South Carolina in the friendly confines of Neyland Stadium. Closer to home, Mississippi State needs a dominant win to right the ship coming off the much-needed bye week against BYU. We are also adding our newest writer John Haynes into the competition, but of course he can’t win because he’s late to the party, and here at HST we hate tardiness almost as much as Hugh Freeze hates cell phone technology.
Standings after week 6:
1. Trey: 43-9 (82.6%)
2. Peyton: 42-10 (80.7%)
3. Cooper: 41-11 (78.8%)
4. Blake: 40-12 (76.9%)
5, Matt: 39-13 (75%)
BYU at Mississippi State (-24) Saturday 11:00
Cooper: BYU has struggled all season, and the road doesn’t get any easier when they come to Starkville. Mississippi State should have no problem imposing their will on the defensive side of the ball against an incompetent BYU offense, and the Bulldogs should have a field day running the football with Nick Fitzgerald and Aeris Williams. I predict the offense will run for close to 300 yards, and the defense should be able to keep BYU out of the end zone until late in the game. Mississippi State wins easily 52-6.
Blake: At the halfway mark in the 2017 season, most teams know who they are and what they can do. Mississippi State may be one of the few teams that still has yet to show what they truly are after a really great win followed by two terrible performances. On the other side of the football, BYU knows exactly who they are and what they can do. They are terrible, and they can’t do much. On the year, the Cougars have allowed over 2200 yards on defense and scored just seven offensive touchdowns in five games. I don’t see this week being any different. After the loss in overtime last year, State should be ready to dominate the Cougars start to finish on both sides of the ball. Nick and Aeris will roll downhill and I expect at least 500 yards of offense from the Bulldogs. It may not be an SEC win, but State will get a little momentum back in this win. MSU 48-6.
Peyton: At this point, BYU looks like a terrible team. Rumor also has it that they will be starting a true freshman at quarterback. BYU has one of the worst offensive lines State will see all year, so expect a field day for this front seven. As hard as it is to believe, the BYU receiving corp is worse than the Bulldogs, and that says something. I expect a huge performance for Nick in a blowout victory. MSU 49-13.
Trey: BYU is 1-5 on the season and the Cougars have really struggled to score points. This should be a good game for the Bulldog defense to get back on track and gain some much needed confidence. I expect Nick Fitzgerald to have a big game in this one, and State will pull away in the second half. State wins by a score of 38-10.
Matt: BYU is awful. Offensively, they may be the worst team the Bulldogs have played all season. I expect Todd Grantham to get the defense back on track this weekend. Having Gabe Myles back will certainly help our offense, but we will miss Martinas Rankin badly at tackle. Overall, I think the defense helps to put this one away early. Bulldogs win 31-7.
John: BYU’s only win this year was their home opener against an FCS team. MSU has had essentially two weeks to prepare for the Cougars, and they will be looking for a win to show that their past two games are not the norm. If anything, 24 points is a conservative estimate for State’s margin of victory; I expect the defense to score a touchdown or two along with three or four from the offense. MSU 38-3.
South Carolina at Tennessee (-2.5) Saturday 11:00
Cooper: Tennessee is coming off a bye week that was filled with rumors of Butch Jones being extremely close to being on the way out and fights breaking out at practice. Not to mention, the Vols will be starting a new quarterback in Jarrett Guarantano. I am interested to see how Tennessee responds amid all the controversy surrounding the program. I am going to take the Gamecocks in this one 34-24, and Tennessee will be looking for a new head coach next week.
Blake: Oh, Butch. Tough life, huh. But what are you gonna do? It’s so difficult to recruit in the SEC as an historical powerhouse in the weaker division in the conference. Tennessee is such a dumpster fire, it’s amazing Neyland Stadium isn’t a smoldering pile of ash. South Carolina looked great prior to losing Deebo Samuel, but now it’s a crapshoot as to how the offense will perform week to week. Considering it’s a home game for the Vols and the men in orange appear to be more talented than the Gamecocks. But add in the Butch factor, and there’s no confidence in Knoxville. Give me the Gamecocks in a tight one, 34-30.
Peyton: Butch Jones, I fear for your job. I really feel this game is the deciding game for Tennessee on whether to keep or fire him. Unfortunately this comes at a bad point in the schedule, because South Carolina is no slouch. The Gamecocks will get back rolling and take the victory. SCAR 38-24.
Trey: Butch Jones is coaching for his job every week of the season, and I expect him to be gone before the end of the season. Tennessee is not a very good football team at all, and they are starting a new quarterback in this game. On the other hand, South Carolina had a good momentum-building game last weekend when they demolished Arkansas. South Carolina wins this game 34-20.
Matt: Neither of these teams are overly impressive. The East is comprised of an outstanding Georgia team, two average teams in Vandy and Kentucky, and then a bunch of teams lumped together in the category I call “Sun-Belt level competition.” I expect Butch Jones to delay the inevitable by winning this one in a close, ugly game. UT wins 24-21.
John: Butch Jones is barely clinging to his job at this point. He announced on Wednesday that the redshirt freshman quarterback Jarrett Guarantano will start over the veteran Quinten Dormady. While the Gamecocks have looked decent so far this year, I doubt they can beat the raw desperation of the Volunteers. UT 28-21.
Auburn (-7) at LSU Saturday 2:30
Cooper: LSU showed last week against Florida that they still care, which was a huge concern for the rest of the season. But simply caring isn’t going to help them beat Auburn. Auburn is a vastly superior team in just about every phase of the game, and I think that will be put on display this Saturday. But keep in mind that Auburn hasn’t won in Death Valley in over 20 years, and it will certainly be a factor Saturday. I think LSU will keep it close early before Auburn tacks on a touchdown or two late to make the game seem like it wasn’t as close as it really was. The Auburn Tigers get their first win in Death Valley since 1999, 34-17.
Blake: Florida certainly showed how bad an offense can be to get outscored by Danny Etling and company last week, but I don’t know if the Tigers truly gained any momentum with the win considering who comes calling to Baton Rouge this Saturday. Auburn is clearly better than everyone in the West other than Alabama, and I think that will show in this game. Jarrett Stidham is a good quarterback and the Auburn run game should give LSU fits much like MSU did earlier this year. Orgeron may last just a year at the helm of LSU, but this wasn’t one he was supposed to win. Auburn 42-13.
Peyton: Well, LSU looked a lot better against Florida last week, but Auburn is one of the top-three SEC teams that have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Aeris Williams and Nick Fitzgerald had a field day rushing the ball, so I expect much of the same from the new guy in my Heisman Top Five, Kerryon Johnson. Auburn takes it 38-10.
Trey: LSU got a much needed win last week when they went on the road and beat Florida in the Swamp. On the other hand, Auburn blew out a bad Ole Miss team last week in a game where the Tigers were able to cruise the entire second half. This will be a close game because I think LSU found some confidence after winning in the Swamp last week. However, Auburn is too balanced on offense and their defense will limit the LSU offense. Auburn wins by a score of 27-20.
Matt: Simply put, LSU is a team with talent but they are just not that great. They look good at times but don’t have the talent they used to have. Auburn on the other hand is a very solid team that will beat LSU. I predict it will be closer than the experts think. Auburn will win 31-21.
John: LSU looked better last week, but then they really could not have looked any worse after a loss in Death Valley to Troy. Auburn’s only loss has come to Clemson, so the Tigers of Auburn still hold out hope for a chance in the College Football Playoffs. Unfortunately for LSU, Auburn is too consistent and relentless to lose this one. Auburn 21-17.
Vanderbilt at Ole Miss (-3) Saturday 2:30
Cooper: Vanderbilt has had a great deal of success against Ole Miss as of late, winning six of the last ten between the two programs, and I expect that trend to continue this Saturday. The difference in this game will likely be decided by the Vanderbilt defense and if Ralph Webb can get back on track against a putrid Ole Miss run defense. If both of these factors go in Vanderbilt’s favor, I expect the Commodores to come out of Oxford with a big win. I’m taking Vanderbilt 38-34.
Blake: Let’s go Commies. The Rebels are reeling, and now Landsharks, and Vanderbilt has talent on defense and at running back. Ralph Webb should put up big numbers against a nonexistent defense for Ole Miss. The Rebels have been beaten a combined 110 to 26 the past two weeks. I think it’s a close one this week, but give me Vandy in an upset, 38-35.
Peyton: This is a tough one for me. I’m not sure Ole Miss has anything left in the tank and I fill a large percentage of the team have just, pretty much gave up. But I’m not sure Vandy can quite stop this “lob it deep” offense that Ole Miss runs. I’m going with my gut pick here and not my heart. Ole Miss 34-24
Trey: I’m torn on who to pick in this game. I’m not as down on Ole Miss as most people are, just because I know Ole Miss is talented on offense, and they can really score some points if their offense is clicking. On the other hand, Vanderbilt and Ralph Webb can run the football and Ole Miss absolutely can’t stop the run. I think Ole Miss is desperate for a win and desperate for something positive to happen in their football program. This is a home game for Ole Miss and I am picking the home team in this one. Ole Miss wins 38-31.
Matt: I still think Vandy is the 2nd best team in the east. Ole Miss is an absolute train wreck and things will get even crazier this weekend after Vandy lays the smackdown on them. Vandy over the reb/bear/sharks 28-21
John: Derek Mason has really managed to put Vanderbilt on the map during his time there, and while SEC play has been pretty rough so far, I sense the Commodores will find a way to win in Oxford. On the other hand, it seems unlikely that Ole Miss will be able to stick in the game into the second half. I predict a 35-21 win for Vandy.
Texas A&M at Florida (-2.5) Saturday 6:00
Cooper: This one is really interesting to me because I’m not too sure what to make of Texas A&M right now. Early in the season, I watched them play and thought to myself “this may be the worst team in the West”, but this past Saturday, they made Alabama look beatable. I still don’t trust their defense, but freshman Kellen Mond has improved each and every week and has shown he can win in the SEC. Florida, on the other hand, is exactly who I thought they were, a team that struggles offensively, but makes up for it with excellent defense. I am going to take Florida at home in a close one 27-24.
Blake: This game is an intriguing matchup with the quarterback issues at Texas A&M and complete lack of an offense in Gainesville. I think Jim McElwain may have pulled the biggest heist of the century in convincing people he was an offensive genius. Florida has been awful, which is tough with such a talented defense on the other side of the ball. I think the Gators have the edge at home, and I just don’t think the Aggies have it in them to get a big win. Florida in a tight one, 28-20.
Peyton: I have no idea on how to gauge anything about Florida. One week they play pretty decent and look to have things headed in the right direction, the next week it’s straight awful. Texas A&M has looked good the past few weeks and I think we are that awful side of Florida again. Texas A&M 35-17
Trey: I really like the way Texas A&M played last week against Alabama. Kellen Mond is progressing and gaining confidence in the Texas A&M offense and they are utilizing their weapons on offense, as well as playing good defense. On the other hand, Florida is not very good on offense at all and I’m just not sure that Florida is a very good football team. I’m taking the Aggies to win by a score of 31-20.
Matt: The Aggies of aTm seem to have hit their stride. The young QB is getting better every week and Sumlin seems to have found out the most effective way to use him. Unless he has another November let down, I think Sumlin has saved his job. He will go a long way in doing that by beating Florida this weekend. I think he will. I have aTm winning 38-14
John: This game could swing either way. Florida has less embarrassing games, but its wins have been very close. The Aggies looked better than expected last Saturday against the Crimson Tide, and Kevin Sumlin needs some wins to keep his job. It will likely be close, but I expect Texas A&M to sneak out of the Swamp with a victory 42-31.
Arkansas at Alabama (-28) Saturday 6:15
Cooper: Alabama looked beatable last weekend against Texas A&M, but not at home against Arkansas. The Razorbacks just seem to get worse and worse each week, and Alabama isn’t the team you want to face when you are struggling. The Tide will run the ball down Arkansas’ throat and will exploit a porous Razorback offensive line all game long. Bama wins big 52-7.
Blake: Arkansas lost to Texas A&M. Do you need any more reason to pick the Tide? Alabama is in a class above everyone right now, and that will be evident in this game from the very start. It’s never good when the fan base is debating how much your buyout is and whether or not it’s worth five million dollars to wait until January to make the move. Bret Bielema is in hot water, and this game will only turn up the temperature. Tide roll 52-10.
Peyton: Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha. Is there much to say about this game? Will Arkansas even show up to the game? Well since I’m sure they kinda have to show up. I expect nothing short of a blowout that Bama has out on Ole Miss and Vandy. Alabama 49-13
Trey: Alabama should have no trouble in this one. Arkansas has looked really bad so far this season and Austin Allen is banged up from all the hits he’s taken so far this season. Alabama’s rushing attack will have a big game against an Arkansas defense that can’t stop anyone. The Tide rolls in this one and wins by a score of 49-14.
Matt: I’m surprised at how terrible Arkansas has been this season. I actually like Bret Bilema and hope he keeps his job. I do not think he will ever be a championship coach but I do think he can have a contender there year in and year out. Having said that, Bama is still Bama and they are going to crush the fighting berts… 45-14
John: Arkansas has yet to impress this season, while the Crimson Tide continues to roll. Nothing indicates that Arkansas will be able to pull off the upset in Tuscaloosa. I pity the Arkansas quarterback that has to deal with Bama’s defense with his own anemic offensive line. Nick Saban leads Alabama to victory 49-7.
Missouri at Georgia (-30) Saturday 6:30
Cooper: What is there to say about this one? Missouri is by far the worst team in the SEC, and Georgia is far and away the best team in the East. This game will likely be over by halftime, if not by the end of the first quarter. Georgia wins easy 49-3.
Blake: Georgia is going to absolutely crush Mizzou in what will be a bloodbath rivaled only by Custer’s Last Stand. The Bulldogs are an NFL team compared to Missouri, and I can’t imagine the Tigers even score a point. Georgia rolls 45-0.
Peyton: This Georgia team is easy one of the top 4 teams in the country and is the real contender to Alabama in the SEC. Kirby Smart has those guys rolling and the train ain’t stopping anytime soon. Georgia will have no problem here. UGA 56-17
Trey: This game should be a blowout win for Georgia. Missouri is the worst team in the SEC and I believe Georgia is the second best team in the SEC. Georgia should be able to do whatever it wants to do on offense against an atrocious Missouri defense. Georgia wins big by a score of 45-14.
Matt: Ok, I am going to say it. My pick to win the SEC and the National Championship is NOT Alabama… It is UGA. That team is the real deal. Jake Fromm state farm is growing every week, they have a strong rushing attack, and the defense is stifling. I expect this to be a big win for the future champs. UGA wins, 48-14
John: Only a true Mizzou faithful could predict anything other than a humiliating game for the Tigers. Georgia will annihilate the 98th-best rushing defense in the country with its running backs. The best comparison would be a hot knife through butter. The home crowd in Athens will have plenty to celebrate as the Dawgs win 49-17.