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SEC Week 12 Preview

November 14, 2014

Two weeks ago, there was a chance that this weekend would be loaded with SEC games that would help decide the final four for CFP. Georgia was struck down by a mix of a dumb rule and blunt honesty from the best skill player in the country. The Dawgs [sans Gurley] looked like many on Frat Beach at the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, aimless and flustered.* Auburn got jumped all over, made one of the best comebacks we will see all year and fumbled it away. Twice. That leaves us with what will probably be the best game all season, which we will get to shortly. However, there are other games with varying levels of importance that we must talk about first.

South Carolina v Florida
Why is this game listed first? To me, it's the most interesting game of the week outside of Tuscaloosa. The gamecocks have NFL talent and are terribly mediocre. It's as if Steve Spurrier died and Al Groh is just Weekend at Bernies-ing the old ball coach. Groh would totally luck into Mike Bobo forgetting he had Todd Gurley and then lose to Kentucky.

As for the Gators, they are at full Muschamp. If you watched taped games of the 2014 Gators, one would assume they were all from different coaching eras. Zook against UK (3 OT win, making the easy one look really hard), Spurrier versus the Vols (who else enjoys beating them more?) and Urban versus the Dawgs. What era will we see against South Carolina? Doug Dickey? Maybe more Zook? Let's go with Spurrier. UF 24, USC 10.

Kentucky v Tennessee
The two worst defenses in the SEC, outside of Nashville, face-off in must wins for both teams. Tennessee needs to win two of its' last three games to gain bowl eligibility. One of those games is versus Missouri. That's not one they can really bank on winning. Kentucky has five wins and two games left, UT and Louisville. While the Cardinals should be weaker with their QB out with an injury, they should have no issue beating their in-state rival. Both teams need this game. However, only one has Josh Dobbs and only one has given up 169 points in the last four games. The latter is Kentucky, the former will be the victor. UT 42, UK 35.

Missouri v Texas A&M
The (other, other) Tigers have the easiest schedule in the SEC this year. They get to play in the weakest SEC East in decades and this is their first game against the west (there other being against Arkansas). Had they not blown a game against Indiana, they would still have a shot at the CFP. Despite getting their doors blown off by UGA and by all statistical measures being a fairly average team. Now, in November, they finally venture west. Against a team who cannot pass against a zone. And a defense who has given up an average of 46.4 points to teams with a pulse ranked teams. Mizzou has a pulse but they shouldn't be anywhere near the top 25. A&M should continue to surprise, despite the bad defense and Kenny Trill's inability to read the defense. This loss will put the SEC race back into Georgia's hands. And with Gurley back, they may just spoil the SEC's chances at their ninth straight trip to the title game and an eighth title in nine years. A&M 48, Mizzou 24

LSU v Arkansas
The Hogs haven't won an SEC game since October 13, 2012, when they beat Kentucky 49 to 7 under John L. Smith. They won two SEC games that season. Meaning, they've gone 2-17 since Bobby Petrino crashed his motorcycle. And while the Hogs are only winless in the league because of the division it plays in, this isn't the weekend where that streak ends. LSU is just too good for the Hogs and Mizzou will be the streak ender. LSU 24, Ark 14.

Auburn v Georgia
As I mentioned earlier, the Tigers are recovering from an absolutely brutal loss. One they managed to fumble away, not once but twice. Georgia on the otherhand is celebrating the return of their best player since Herschel Walker. I like Georgia to win this border war. Afterall, they already blew their shot at a national championship. This is when Richt's teams play their best. UGA 38, AU 35

Mississippi State v Alabama
The SEC needs Alabama need to win this game, both teams to win out and TCU or Baylor to drop a game. It's their only chance of having two teams in the CFP, something the SEC West deserves by just being head-and-shoulders better than everyone else. However, what will likely happen. Alabama loses this weekend,knocking them out of the race. Mississippi State loses to Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl and then lets Todd Gurley run all over them in Atlanta. The SEC would be a victim of its' own awesomeness, cannibalizing itself out of the final four.

Given that grim outlook, I really have no idea what will happen in this game. Alabama has been very hard to read this season. Last week, they waited almost four quarters to decide to play offense against LSU. And if not for a terrible kick-off, they'd be out of the CFP race. Against A&M, they made us all wonder how they ever lost. Eviscerating the Aggies in every facet of the game and making them look more like an FCS squad than a top 25 team. Now, I'm not sure if Kiffin has a little bit of Bobo in him or if Saban really is tempering the offense. But the play-calling seems to avoid the best receiver in football for extended periods of the game. That's a total Bobo move. Get Cooper the GD ball and watch the Tide roll.
As for Mississippi State, at times they seem to be destined for greatness. And others, they seem to be the same old team who sat at the bottom of the SEC almost annually. But they have something Bama doesn't. And it'll sound very cliche but I'm not sure there is any other way to explain it. They have a quarterback in Dak Prescott who just seems to want it more than everyone else. He's got that same aura that Cam Newton and Tim Tebow had before him. With a defense as good as the Bulldogs', you cannot give Dak a chance to win a game. After watching that gif, I'll take the cowbells. MSU 17, Bama 13.

*We [non-Gator fans] should all be thankful for this loss by the Dawgs. That game should all but guarantee Muschamp is back as the head coach in the Swamp next season. That's a win for everyone.

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