Week 13 is often the most fun of the year in the SEC. This is what rivalry week brings this year.
By Steve Wright
Week Results: 10-0. This probably looks better than it is given that seven of the 10 games this week were of the cupcake variety.
Closest Pick: Last week was really a case of picking a big number and a small one and mashing them together. The winner of the cupcake lottery was my pick of Tennessee State @ Mississippi State which I missed by a field goal.
Season Results: 83-22 (79.1%). Last week was 76.8%.
(9) Ole Miss @ Mississippi State – This is the Thanksgiving Day treat in 2021. Two offenses that can really go – Will Rogers is the hottest quarterback in the entire country with 20 touchdowns and an 80% completion mark over his last five games – and a couple of defense that will make splash plays and try to keep up. I think the Bulldogs are a touch healthier and that will be the difference. Mississippi State 41, Ole Miss 34.
Mizzou @ (25) Arkansas – Tyler Badie will need to go for around 200 yards again as the Tigers face a Hogs team that is good at doing things right without the elite talent of some of their SEC West rivals. Turnovers and the battle for positive field position will matter here in a game those projects to be tight. Arkansas 31, Mizzou 28.
(1) Georgia @ Georgia Tech – Rivalry games are never easy but the 11-0 Bulldogs should have little issue pushing past a bad 3-8 Georgia Tech team. This is as much about staying healthy and being focused enough to run up a big score early as anything else. Georgia 35, Georgia Tech 13.
Florida State @ Florida – Florida State has been getting better while the debacle at Florida has been getting worse. Greg Knox – the running backs coach/special teams coordinator – takes over on an interim basis and a big question will be how much the Florida offense changes without Dan Mullen calling plays. There are just too many questions about the Gators to predict a win for them, even at home. Florida State 31, Florida 21.
(3) Alabama @ Auburn – Alabama is going to have too much explosion for an Auburn team that would love to know them out of the CFP race. ‘Bama has 293 plays of 10 yards or more – leading the nation – with Bryce Young to Jameson Williams tearing teams to pieces. Auburn doesn’t have the firepower to keep this close and the Tigers can’t score in the second half of games. Alabama 42, Auburn 20.
Vandy @ Tennessee – Vandy usually plays Tennessee close and the ‘Dores have hung around in games later than they were supposed to against the likes of Ole Miss and South Carolina. Having said that, this Tennessee team plays at an insane tempo and I think they want a statement win over their in-state rival here. Tennessee 52, Vandy 20.
(15) Texas A&M @ LSU – I mean I really have no idea how to pick this. It is (likely) Ed Orgeron’s last game as coach and it is (certainly) his last in Tiger Stadium in a night game. Texas A&M does many things well – they love to control the clock and grind down an opponent – but Orgeron could throw literally anything at them here. I think I like the Aggies to escape, but if I were a betting man I wouldn’t touch this one. Texas A&M 24, LSU 17.
(23) Clemson @ South Carolina – The 8-3 Tigers are benefitting from playing in a bad ACC, but Dabo Swinney has pulled this team up from a terrible early start to the season. The Gamecocks have been good over the last three weeks – and they are 5-1 at home – but I think Clemson will be too good here. Clemson 31, South Carolina 21.
Kentucky @ Louisville – The 8-3 Wildcats look to give themselves a shot at a 10 win season against the 6-5 Cardinals in the Governor’s Cup. Their defensive issues – and continuing turnover problems – make this a much more compelling contest than it looked a month or so ago. The higher this score goes the more it will suit Louisville and quarterback Malik Cunningham who is having a monster end to the year. It will go high. Louisville 45, Kentucky 38.