Welcome to the calm before the storm as the majority – but not all – of the SEC squads have a non-conference, non-threatening (in theory) matchup on tap this weekend. Here is a look at how Week 12 shapes up.
By Steve Wright
Week Results: 6-1
Closest Pick: Georgia 41, Mississippi State 21. The actual was Georgia 45, Mississippi State 19. Just a six-point miss here as the Bulldogs continue to struggle offensively against teams that stay home and make their tackles in the secondary.
Worst Pick: Kentucky 27, Vandy 17. The Actual was Vandy 24. Kentucky 21. The only miss of the week and a disaster for Kentucky, given the expectation on the team entering the 2022 season.
Season Results: 76-16 (82.6%). Last week was 82.4%
Byes – None
Austin Peay @ No. 9 Alabama – Get up big early and don’t turn the ball over after Bryce Young leaves the game to recover from his current injuries. Nick Saban knows how to manage these late-season cupcakes. Alabama 48, Austin Peay 10.
ETSU @ Mississippi State – The only question here is if the Bulldogs will overlook the Buccaneers off the back of a demoralizing loss to Georgia – and a demoralizing stretch in general – and with the Egg Bowl up next. I think Mississippi State starts slow before taking this one over. Mississippi State 35, ETSU 17.
UMass @ Texas A&M – The Aggies are awful, but UMass is way, way worse. A&M needs to win this in a rout. Texas A&M 38, UMass 10.
Florida @ Vanderbilt – Very few would have predicted that Vanderbilt would beat Kentucky for its first SEC win in what feels like a decade (it was 26 games). Taking down Florida would be even more of a shock. I can’t see it. Florida 35, Vandy 17.
No. 1 Georgia @ No. 24 Kentucky – This one sounds physical as Georgia looks to stay perfect, and Kentucky looks to prove that some of their weird defeats this season – including against Vandy last weekend – were just flukes. Kentucky stays close in every game (often to their detriment), and they will again here. It won’t be enough in the end. Georgia 31, Kentucky 21.
Western Kentucky @ Auburn – This needs to be a battle and not a shootout for the Tigers. Western Kentucky brings the No. 4 passing offense and the No. 14 scoring offense at 38.2 points per game to the Plains. Auburn can’t match that, but the Tigers can win if they make this a shorter game, dominating the time of possession with their reinvigorated ground attack. Auburn 27, Western Kentucky 24.
No. 5 Tennessee @ South Carolina – Tennessee has reacted to the Georgia defeat well and smashed Mizzou to pieces on Saturday with a school record 724 yards of offense. South Carolina just went down 38-6 to Florida, and their offense can’t get going without the injured MarSahwn Lloyd at running back. This will be a blowout. Tennessee 52, South Carolina 17.
No. 11 Ole Miss @ Arkansas – Can Arkansas stop Quinshon Judkins and an Ole Miss ground game that goes for 260 yards per game? If they can, is KJ Jefferson healthy enough to lead the Hogs and give them a chance of winning? Arkansas has had a weird year and Ole Miss played well enough against ‘Bama to suggest they will take this. Ole Miss 39, Arkansas 24.
New Mexico State @ Mizzou – Mizzou got monstered by Tennessee last weekend as the Vols scored their most-ever points in an SEC game (66). New Mexico State is not Tennessee. The Vols are the No. 1 school in the country in total offense, while NMSU is No. 127 (of 131) with under 290 yards per game. Mizzou’s defense will get back on track. Mizzou 35, NMSU 10.
UAB @ No. 7 LSU – Jayden Daniels will be the best athlete that the Blazers have faced all year, and I like the athletic LSU defense to do a good job of limiting the No. 1 running back in the nation DeWayne McBride. LSU 41, UAB 21.