Here’s a look at three best SEC games this weekend.
If ever there were a weekend to curry favor with others by not sitting in front of the TV and watching SEC games, boy, this is it. While other leagues have some tasty matchups this weekend, the SEC most certainly does not.
3. Tennessee (3-3) at Alabama (7-0)
When/TV: 3:30 p.m., CBS
The skinny: This is the 100th game in series history. We’ve been saying it for a few weeks, but is this Butch Jones’ last stand? The Vols haven’t scored a TD in 10 quarters – not exactly a streak you want to be carrying into a game against the Tide. Alabama’s run defense has been sterling, and if the Vols can’t run, they are in trouble. The flip side: Tennessee can’t stop the run (242.8 yards per game) and Alabama has one of the best rushing attacks in the nation (302.6 ypg). All of that adds up to a big “uh-oh” for the Vols. Alabama has won 10 in a row in the series, and the Tide has won 11 in a row over the Vols once (1971-81). Just two games during the current streak have been decided by fewer than 14 points and seven have been decided by at least 20, including last season’s 49-10 rout in Knoxville.
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2. LSU (5-2) at Ole Miss (3-3)
When/TV: 7:15 p.m., ESPN
The skinny: “Coach O” returns to Oxford. (Maybe someone will put his old Hummer ad on a loop inside the stadium during pregame festivities.) The home team has won five in a row in the series. Ole Miss does one thing well: throw the ball. QB Shea Patterson and his deep group of receivers headed by A.J. Brown will test LSU’s secondary, which has played well of late. Can LSU get any pressure on Patterson? Ole Miss’ run defense is akin to a sieve, meaning LSU RBs Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams should have a lot of room to roam. Tigers QB Danny Etling is coming off one of his best games, and Ole Miss’ pass defense isn’t all that good, either. This is the 106th meeting in the series, making it the eighth-most played rivalry involving an SEC team.
1. Kentucky (5-1) at Mississippi State (4-2)
When/TV: 4 p.m., SEC Network
The skinny: Kentucky is looking for its first 6-1 start since 2007; that’s also the last time the Wildcats won eight games in a season. The last time UK won more than eight? It was 1977 – which also is the last time the Wildcats finished above .500 in SEC play. This sets up as an intriguing chess match between Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, whose team must run effectively to win, and UK coach Mark Stoops, whose team has sparkling run-defense stats. But while UK is allowing just 97.2 rush yards per game, Florida and Missouri were quite effective on the ground against the Wildcats (69 carries for 399 yards – 199.5 yards per game – and three TDs). Mississippi State’s duo of QB Nick Fitzgerald and RB Aeris Williams is averaging 161.5 yards per game. UK will want to rely on RB Benny Snell Jr. These teams have played annually since 1990 and are yearly division crossover opponents.
RELATED: Our latest SEC Power Rankings
(You can follow Mike Huguenin on Twitter @MikeHuguenin)
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