Here’s a look at three best SEC games this weekend.
This is a lackluster weekend in the SEC for sure — but it’s also a lackluster week nationally. The best SEC game does have playoff implications, but a major reason we picked the other two games is that they involve coaches on the hot seat.
Here’s a look.
3. Mississippi State (7-3) at Arkansas (4-6)
When/TV: Noon, CBS
The skinny: The Bulldogs took Alabama to the wire last week, and must guard against a letdown this week with archrival Ole Miss next week. Mississippi State ran effectively on the Tide and should be able to do so against Arkansas, which has struggled to stop the run in SEC play (248.8 yards per game, 19 TDs). Arkansas is 1-5 in the league and has allowed at least 33 points in each of those games and at least 40 in four of them. The Bulldogs remain in the hunt for a “good” bowl, while the job status of Arkansas’ Bret Bielema – who is 11-27 in SEC games since taking over in 2013 – seemingly grows more and more tenuous.
RELATED: This week’s SEC Power Rankings
2. Texas A&M (6-4) at Ole Miss (5-5)
When/TV: 7 p.m., ESPN2
The skinny: It appears the clock is winding down on Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, whose team has lost at least four games for the fifth season in a row. Ole Miss hasn’t skipped a beat since the season-ending knee injury to QB Shea Patterson. QB Jordan Ta’amu in his three starts since Patterson was hurt: 79-of-106 (74.5 percent), 1,168 yards and seven TDs. The Rebels also have scored 124 points in those three games, and should have success against A&M’s shaky cornerbacks. The flipside: A&M QB Nick Starkel should have success against Ole Miss’ secondary, as well. And maybe this will be the game where the Aggies get their rushing attack cranked up. Ole Miss has been rancid against the run, allowing 253.1 rushing yards per game overall and 292.7 in SEC games.
1. Kentucky (7-3) at Georgia (9-1)
When/TV: 3:30 p.m., CBS
The skinny: The Bulldogs suffered their first loss of the season last week in a beatdown at Auburn, but they remain very much alive in the playoff hunt – assuming they win out. It starts with a game against UK, whose run defense has been solid. Can the Bulldogs get their running game cranked up against a defense that has allowed fewer than 100 rushing yards in six games? The Wildcats, though, also have allowed at least 203 rushing yards three times – including against woeful Tennessee. Offensively, Kentucky must find a way to be productive on the ground. Benny Snell Jr. has three consecutive 100-yard games and has rushed for nine TDs in that span. But Georgia’s defense is much better than anything UK saw in those three games: Tennessee, Ole Miss and Vandy. UK is 4-3 in SEC play this season and is trying to finish above .500 in the league for the first time since 1977. Georgia has won seven in a row in this series.
(You can follow Mike Huguenin on Twitter @MikeHuguenin)
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