HST Staff Predictions Week 8

After a weekend filled with huge upsets and fantastic finishes, it will be interesting to see if the chaos continues this week. My bet would be no, but it’s always fun to think hypothetically. There are a total of five SEC teams on a bye this week, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a couple fun matchups in store. Auburn looks to get back on track against Arkansas following their embarrassing loss at LSU in which they blew a 20-point lead. Alabama and Tennessee will renew their “rivalry” in Tuscaloosa. LSU will travel to Oxford to take on Ole Miss in a homecoming of sorts for Ed Orgeron, and Mississippi State and Kentucky will duke it out in Starkville as both teams look to supplant themselves as a top-five team in the SEC.

The standings halfway through the season are becoming a little more spacious at the top, as Trey and Peyton continue their torrid picking streaks. The bottom half of the group has some work to do with just six weeks left in the season. It should be a fun ride, and just think, if you put ten dollars on every pick we made this year, you would be a very wealthy individual.

1. Trey: 49-10 (83%)

2. Peyton: 48-11 (81.3%)

T3. Blake: 45-14 (76.2%)

T3. Cooper: 45-14 (76.2%)

5. Matt: 43-16 (72.8%)

*Late add in* John: 4-3 (57.1%)

Idaho at Missouri (-15) Saturday 11:00

Cooper: Missouri is by far the worst team in the SEC, but they couldn’t possibly lose to a 2-5 Idaho team at home, could they? I’m honestly not one-hundred percent sure, but I’m certainly not going to take the Vandals of Idaho. Missouri should have little trouble putting up a ton of points Saturday, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Idaho can keep it close in the first half, maybe into the third quarter. I’ll take Mizzou 49-27.

Blake: The main reason I’m not leading this contest is because of Missouri at the start of the season. I picked Mizzou to win a few games that they of course lost, and as such I am now not winning this contest. Absolute garbage. So now I’m reluctant to pick the Tigers even against an inferior opponent like Idaho. But I guess I have to take Mizzou, and I hate myself for it. Tigers win 45-28.

Peyton: This could be a fun one, but the key word there is “could.” The first quarter will stay close before the SEC power of Mizzou will be enough to pull away. Tigers 49-20.

Trey: Missouri is the worst team in the SEC, but they should be able to handle this game against an inferior opponent. Idaho is just 2-4 on the year and reside near the bottom of the Sun Belt Conference. I expect Drew Lock to have a big day, and Missouri should be able to score a lot of points in this one. Missouri wins by a score of 45-24.

Matt: Mizzou is not a very good SEC football team, however Idaho is not ready to compete with any SEC team. Mizzou has an offense that can be dangerous at times. Idaho will score points, but not enough. Mizzou wins 51-21.

John: Despite Mizzou’s 1-5 record, they are still an SEC football team who managed to drop 28 points in Athens and almost beat Kentucky. I have respect for quality Group of 5 teams like Memphis and South Florida, but Idaho is on the lower end of the Sun Belt. With a bit of luck, the Tigers should beat the Vandals. Mizzou 35-28.

Tennessee at Alabama (-34.5) Saturday 2:30

Cooper: How about the spread on this game? Typically Nick Saban-coached teams don’t cover spreads this high due to him letting his foot off the gas, but with this being a conference game against Tennessee, it wouldn’t surprise me if they covered. Let’s be honest, Tennessee has little-to-no shot in this one, especially with the game being played in Tuscaloosa. Give me the Tide 45-7.

Blake: This could be an ugly end to an ugly tenure for Butch Jones in Knoxville. I’m not saying this game will force the UT administration to fire Jones on the spot, but it’s the culmination of continued underperformance on and off the field that may just hit a breaking point this Saturday. Alabama will run away early with this game and never look back. Tide rolls 51-9.

Peyton: Will this be Butch Jones’ last game? I can’t answer that question for you, but I don’t expect this game to be close at all. Alabama scores on their first four drives and then coast from there, pitching a shutout. Alabama rolls, 49-0.

Trey: Tennessee is a poor team and they haven’t scored an offensive touchdown in nearly three games. Butch Jones is on his way out as head coach, and he could be fired after this game on Saturday night. I expect Alabama to absolutely dominate this game and win by as much as Nick Saban wants to win by. Alabama wins by a score of 41-6.

Matt: UT is reeling right now, and Alabama is a very good football team. I expect the Tide to roll big, and this to be Butch’s last game as head coach at UT. Bama rolls 45-10.

John: Tennessee’s last touchdown came against UMass on September 23. Unfortunately, their drought will likely stretch on against the Crimson Tide this weekend. Alabama has yet to miss a beat this year; it is no surprise that they are the unanimous number 1 in both the AP and Coaches Poll. Fun Fact: this is the largest line against the Volunteers ever. Bama wins 56-12.

Kentucky at Mississippi State (-10.5) Saturday 3:00

Cooper: This may be the best game of the day in the SEC in my opinion. Kentucky hasn’t been all that impreesive so far this year, but they still sit at 5-1 and could easily be undefeated if they had a couple calls go their way against Florida. The key in this game will be the Mississippi State defense’s ability to slow down Benny Snell of Kentucky. He is easily the engine that drives that offense, and if State can slow him down they have a good chance in this game. Kentucky’s defense also isn’t something to brag about. The Wildcat’s rank 106th nationally in run defense and rank 119th nationally against the pass, so I expect a big day from Fitzgerald and company on offense. My head tells me the Bulldogs win comfortably, but something tells me Kentucky will find a way to keep it close. Give me State, 38-28.

Blake: This game has been an easy win for MSU since Dan Mullen’s arrival on campus, but last year changed all that. A last-second field goal gave the Wildcats a big win over State, but this year should be a slightly better matchup for the Bulldogs. Nick Fitzgerald and Aeris Williams should have no problem running through this Kentucky defense, but the real key is Fitzgerald’s arm. The Bulldogs have not thrown the ball well this year, but that should change against one of the worst pass defenses in the country. If the passing game can’t show up this Saturday, it won’t ever show up for MSU this year. Defensively the Bulldogs must play smart and aggressive up front to contain a dual-threat QB like Stephen Johnson. I think State has the talent and coaching advantage, and it will come down to execution. I think the Dawgs get it done at home for a 38-24 win.

Peyton: This is a game that has scared me the past 10 years. It’s become a bit of a rivalry game, as it doesn’t matter how the teams have played on the year, they always play this one close. Last year they got us on a game-winning field goal. This year it’s our turn! We get them on a last minute drive and Nick takes the ball in to give us the win. Miss State wins 34-30.

Trey: I think Kentucky is a decent football team, but I think their record is a little deceptive. They are 5-1 on the season, and they should be 6-0 had they not blown a couple coverages in the Florida game. However, Kentucky hasn’t had a difficult schedule and they struggled against Eastern Kentucky and Eastern Michigan. Kentucky is a good, but not great football team. I just believe Mississippi State is a better football team than Kentucky. The interesting matchup to watch in this game is the Kentucky rush defense against the Mississippi State rush offense. Everyone knows State’s bread and butter is the running game, but Kentucky’s rush defense ranks 10th nationally, so that bears watching. I think State is able to run the ball well enough in the game and I think the Bulldog defense has a solid game and State wins by a score of 31-21.

Matt: Apart from UGA, the eastern side of the conference is awful. Make no mistake, Kentucky is certainly a much improved team from last year but so is MSU. I think Dan will have our guys ready for revenge from last season and expect us to win, pulling away late. 35-24 Dawgs.

John: Kentucky would be 6-0 if it was not for an incredibly unfortunate touchdown in the fourth quarter by Florida. Mississippi State has more to be worried about than they may have thought at the beginning of the season. Kentucky has a terrible pass defense and a solid run defense, just the opposite for Dan Mullen’s preference. Aeris Williams could have some trouble finding openings in this game. Mississippi State should win, but it will likely come down to the wire. MSU 24-21.

LSU (-7) at Ole Miss Saturday 6:15

Cooper: I have no idea what to think about LSU at this point. After getting blown out by Mississippi State and losing at home to Troy, the Tigers have responded with a road win in Gainsville and a win at home against Auburn last week. LSU should have no problem running the football on Ole Miss, which should keep the ball away from Shea Patterson and the explosive Ole Miss offense just enough to escape Oxford with a win. I will take LSU in a close one 31-27.

Blake: This game is so scary from a betting standpoint, if it was a movie it would be the offspring of Paranormal Activity and The Ring. I want no part of this game with my money. Both teams have been terribly inconsistent, but both have gotten much-needed wins in their last outings. LSU stunned the college football world with their come-from-behind win over Auburn and has gotten back into the Top 25 with wins over Florida and Auburn the past few weeks. Ole Miss got an SEC win over Vandy, but what does that mean. I think LSU has the talent to win this game going away, but Orgeron in Oxford has never worked well in the past. Give me LSU in a tight one, 31-28.

Peyton: I have no idea which LSU team will show or which Landshark/Bear/Rebel/Bagmen team will show. But Ole Miss will get up for this game, until they realize they can’t score like they did on Vandy. I give this one to LSU and I think they found a little something after beating Auburn last week. LSU 30-17

Trey: This is a very intriguing game to me. I could see Ole Miss winning a close game in this one, or I could see LSU beating Ole Miss by 20 points, just because I’m not sure what to make of either team right now. I think this is a bad matchup for Ole Miss because LSU has a strong rushing attack and Ole Miss can’t stop the run at all. Also, on the other side of the ball, LSU’s strength is it’s secondary that will be against Ole Miss and their pass heavy offense. I think LSU has the advantages on both sides of the ball in this game and for that reason I have LSU winning this game by a score of 38-31.

Matt: No matter how poorly coached the OM Rebels are, make no mistake they still have loads of talent on the offensive side of the ball. LSU has the team to destroy OM but who knows if that team will show up. There is talent all over the field when LSU is playing but they are schizophrenic. I’m picking the better Tigers team to show up and beat OM in a close one, 31-24.

John: I have no clue what kind of football team LSU is. MSU crushed them and Troy humiliated them, but they were able to beat Auburn. On the other hand, I am confident that Ole Miss will not be able to beat them. Ole Miss beat Vanderbilt handily, but the Commodores are hardly a standard of excellence. If LSU can beat Auburn, they should be able to handle the Rebels. Dave Aranda will use his defense to shred the University of Mississippi’s offense. LSU wins 28-10.

Auburn (-15.5) at Arkansas Saturday 6:30

Cooper: I would hate to be Arkansas this week after the loss Auburn took in Baton Rouge this past weekend. I expect the Tigers to come out mad and looking to put up a lot of points against an Arkansas defense that has struggled all year. Couple that in with the fact that Arkansas’ offensive line may be the worst in the SEC facing one of the premiere defensive lines in the country, and they are starting a backup redshirt freshman at quarterback, this doesn’t look good for the Razorbacks. I’m taking Auburn in a blowout 52-7.

Blake: This should be a bad one for Arkansas. If the Auburn players aren’t beyond pissed off, I don’t think they should keep playing this year. The Tigers blew a 20-point lead in Death Valley last week, and now they get to vent their frustrations on the poor Razorbacks. Arkansas is just not a good team past Austin Allen. Auburn is much better on both sides of the ball, and I expect that to show quickly. Tigers win 52-17.

Peyton: Auburn is still a top 4 team in the SEC and Arkansas is still at the bottom. This game is usually a close one as well though but I just don’t expect it this week. Auburn picks up where they left off after the Ole Miss blowout and they blowout another team. Auburn 49-10

Trey: Auburn should come out swinging in this game. After an upset loss to LSU last weekend, I would expect Auburn to look to avenge the loss to LSU and win this football game. Arkansas struggles to stop the run and Auburn is a physical team that likes to run the football with two really good running backs. Auburn wins this game by a score of 41-21.

Matt: Arky is not very good right now. Auburn is coming off a devastating loss to LSU and I expect the Gus Bus to get rolling this week against an inferior opponent. Is Bret coaching for his job? I don’t think so. I believe he will get one more year regardless but no doubt the seat is warming. He needs this win but he won’t get it. Auburn will come out on top with Stidham having a big day. Tigers win 38-17

John: Bret Bielama is 1-3 against Gus Malzahn, and his record is unlikely to improve this go-around. Arkansas has looked worse than expected this year, and Auburn will be playing angry after a loss last week to LSU. While Auburn can be beaten, Arkansas is not the team to do it. Auburn wins 35-14.

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