Week 12 SEC Preview
Wow, would you look at this. We’ve got our first slate of Saturday games that are all against other conference teams. Thank you God because a part of me dies inside every time I have to look up the stats of some FCS directional school that Vandy is playing in hopes of getting to the Bennigans Bowl in Hoboken, New Jersey. This should be an awesome day of games for the SEC from start to finish.
Before we look at this week let’s take a look back at what we learned a week ago…
Well, UGA fans are severely overvaluing a win over Kentucky, Will Muschamp had his first winning streak since 2012, apparently the Tide really don’t lose in Baton Rouge, and Auburn’s national title hopes were dashed after they fumbled twice in the last 4 minutes against a woeful Texas A&M team including one where C – Reese Dismukes snapped the ball into his own butt.
That being said if someone didn’t say, “Hey, Reese where’d Auburn’s national title hopes go? Did you check up your butt and around the corner?” I will be unbelievably disappointed.
Anyways, on the week I was 4-2 straight up but only 2-2 against the spread after Bama’s miraculous backdoor (no pun intended Dismukes) cover against LSU in overtime. That brings my season record to 69-19 SU and 38-38-2 ATS, but I’m sure this week I’ll finally go undefeated. Let’s get it!
South Carolina (4-5) @ Florida (5-3) -7 – Gainesville, FL 12:00 PM EST SEC Network
This game is a perfect example of how ridiculously crazy this year has been in the SEC. Florida is a 7 point favorite against South Carolina this Saturday. I guess you can make the argument that the reason they’re getting points is because they’re playing at home in the Swamp. However, this is the same Florida team who lost 42-13 to Missouri in their last home game. What’s even crazier than the 7 points is that it actually opened at 3.5 and has been bet up to 7 due to most bettors backing the Gators. Can Carolina really be that bad? And do people who buy jorts really gamble on sports and not just their fashion? The answer to both questions could be determined this weekend.
Carolina has been terrible this year. The last 4 seasons at USC have been the most successful in program history. Everyone assumed that it would continue for a fifth season. However, Carolina has been a bigger disappointment than the straight-to-VHS disaster “Rocky V”. Their defense has been atrocious. They’re scoring defense is ranked 107th in the country giving up 34.1 ppg, and they’ve given up back-to-back double digit 4th quarter leads. The terrible play has led to Steve Spurrier spiking his visor with a Rob Gronkowski-esque ferocity.
All of that is concerning. However, what’s most concerning is Carolina’s rush defense. Their defense has more holes than a Sarah Palin political argument while wearing a pair of fishnet stockings. Carolina is giving up 237 rush ypg and nearly 6 rush yards per carry. If a defense is giving up an average of 6 yds per rush then I don’t know why you’d ever throw the football. Meet Florida. Florida throws the ball like they have an amputee at quarterback. In their last 2 games the Gators have run for a combined 632 yards. Their pass offense has more abandonment issues than me. Sorry. That got weird.
Bottom line, Carolina sucks and on paper it looks like Florida should win this game. However, I can’t find it in me to pick against Spurrier with an off week against a one dimensional team in a stadium that he built.
Carolina 27 Florida 24
Booze – Sparkling Grape Juice. Why? Because that’s what is served at an office retirement party, and this game may end up being just that. This could be the last SEC game coached by Steve Spurrier and/ or Will Muschamp. I’m sorry for not splurging on an actual bottle of champagne. However, those are usually reserved for toasts, and I can’t see anyone in Gainesville who wants to give a congratulatory toast or sing “For he’s a jolly good fellow” about Will Muschamp. Spurrier, I’m sorry you have to be a part of this. Feel free to sneak out after they cut the cake and polish off the brandy in that decorative vase thing on the CEO’s desk. You deserve it.
Missouri (7-2) @ Texas A&M (7-3) -4 – College Station, TX 7:30 PM EST SEC Network
On the surface this game looks like it should be a great matchup between two teams who’ve been given new life in the recent weeks. Missouri is back in the Eastern Division driver’s seat after Florida’s upset of UGA and A&M’s shocking 41-38 victory at Auburn. However, like the female dating pool in College Station this game is almost sure to disappoint.
A&M is favored in this game solely because of last week’s win. That seems fair considering they did beat a top-5 team on the road and snapped the nation’s longest home winning streak. It also seems fair when you consider just how bad Missouri has looked at times this season. Their offense is averaging only 330 ypg, and they’ve had embarrassing losses at home to Indiana and a UGA team starting a 4th string RB. However, there are two reasons I don’t put too much stock into any one performance/ victory: Texas A&M and Lou Bega. The last time A&M had a huge upset on the road was earlier in the year at South Carolina. After the win they were prematurely tabbed as the best team in the SEC with a Heisman trophy contender at QB. Fast forward to November and the chances of the Aggies winning the SEC are about as good as “Mambo Number Six” landing on the Billboard Top 100.
I’m not taking anything away from what A&M did on The Plains last weekend. I just don’t think they’re a very good football team, and I think that people sleep on Missouri like they’re a goddamn tempur-pedic mattress. SEC fans have shown Missouri the same amount of respect as a substitute teacher in an inner-city high school. However, I think the Tigers pull the upset in College Station. They’re coming off a bye, they’re in control of their own destiny, and their pass rush will have Kyle Allen running for his life all afternoon. All of that should be enough to overcome an anemic offense.
Score – Mizzou 33 Texas A&M 31
Booze – Heineken. It seems normal enough, but it is rarely ordered by SEC fans. It’s an afterthought. It’s an overlooked outsider amongst our traditional preferences like Bud Light. Much like this pale lager these two teams have also been viewed as outsiders. They’ve also been overlooked since they joined the SEC 2 years ago – especially Missouri. Despite winning the SEC East last year many fans still scoff at the idea that they’re a good program. It’s not because they aren’t. It’s because as SEC fans we’re so entrenched in our biases and familiarities that we don’t like anything that’s different or new. We’re like college football’s version of Mean Girls. “Heineken? No, we drink Stella, and we only wear sweatpants on Fridays. Welcome to the SEC.”
Kentucky (5-5) @ Tennessee (4-5) -8.5 – Knoxville, TN 4:00 PM EST SEC Network
Tennessee and Kentucky face off in a border war between two states known for bourbon, whiskey, and people who wear overalls in public. Nobody cares about this game nor will they be watching this game outside of people in either state. SEC fans have more important things to do like watch Alabama-Miss St or talk shit on message boards with poor grammar and syntax. All jokes aside this should actually be a pretty good game.
Tennessee has won 28 of the past 29 meetings in this series. However, this may be one of their most evenly matched contests in quite some time. Both teams have nearly identical records and eerily similar statistics at this point in the season. However, the biggest disparity between these two teams is confidence.
Kentucky has lost 4 in a row, and last week UGA’s QB Hutson Mason posted a QBR of 99.3 against them. I can only imagine what Josh Dobbs will do.
Score – Tennesee 37 Kentucky 28
Booze – Flaming Dr. Pepper. It’s perfect for two reasons. One, Tennessee’s offense has been on fire ever since Josh Dobbs took over at QB. In the 7 quarters he’s led their offense the Vols have put up a total of 65 points. Against South Carolina he became the first QB in UT history to throw for 300 yards and rush for 100 yards in a single game. Reason two is because Josh Dobbs has no eye brows, and just like the Bacardi 151 in this drink I am completely fucking terrified at his mere presence. If you haven’t seen him it’s definitely worth a google. He looks like a cross between former UConn b-ball star Charlie Villanueva and a 7th grader who had an accident with a Bunsen Burner. His eyebrows look somewhere in between a newly purchased Chia Pet and Mr. Bigglesworth’s coat from “Austin Powers”. But, man can he play football.
LSU (7-3) @ Arkansas (4-5) -1.5 – Fayetteville, AR 8:00 PM EST ESPN2
Am I the only one who was equally surprised and pissed off that this game was scheduled for this weekend? This game has long been played on the day after Thanksgiving. It’s as much of a Black Friday tradition as turkey sandwich leftovers and Chinese cutting someone in line at a Best Buy.
The only thing that surprised more than the scheduling of this game is the fact that Arkansas is actually favored to win it. Arkansas has lost 17 consecutive SEC games and is favored against a perennial conference power. Go home 2014 you’re drunk. I know they’ve come close to winning several times during that streak. This year alone they blew 4th quarter leads to Texas A&M, Alabama, and Mississippi State. However, it’s also the same team who was down 38-6 at the half to a Todd Gurley-less UGA team.
I’m a strict believer in Vegas, so I’m a little concerned that they actually favor the Hogs in this one. It also worries me that LSU is ranked in the lower half of the SEC in rush defense at 159 ypg and may be without their best defensive player LB Kendell Beckwith. However, LSU is still LSU. I just don’t see a one dimensional offense like Arkansas’ having much success against a John Chavis defense. Also, LSU is 25-1 following a loss under Les Miles. If there are two things Les Miles knows how to do it’s speak in mad libs and motivate his team after a loss.
Score – LSU 27 Arkansas 25
Booze – A gallon of Boone’s farm Cabernet Sauvignon. Why? Because the people of these states are absolute trash, that’s why. Nothing says low class trash more than a gallon of wine. If your wine bottle has a handle on it you probably shouldn’t buy it. Furthermore, if the wine has the same metric measurement as your milk or unleaded gas AND costs roughly the same amount then chances are you shouldn’t be drinking it. But that fancy wine and metric system bullshit don’t matter when you’re trying to get a good gameday drunk for the annual Battle of the Boot. Am I right?! I honestly debated on making you drink this out of an actual boot, but it seemed too farfetched. Is it though? You know that at some point of drunken desperation there has probably been some Cajun moron named Claude Barbereaux in Shreveport who used a gortex rain boot as a wine glass while he made a week’s worth of turtle gumbo. I also deliberately chose Cab solely to see how pathetically funny it would be to hear the word “Sauvignon” spoken in drunken Creole vernacular. Also, Arkansas fans I don’t know why you’re laughing because the only thing your school is famous for is Bill Clinton and a motorcycle accident. I feel okay saying that because I’m sure there can’t be anyone in the state of Arkansas who is or can read this article. Also, if they are reading it it’s probably on a dial up computer at the public library because having technology in the home would only invite evil, temptation, and the inevitable rapture. Regardless enjoy the $3 gallon of wine you ingrates. I hope it’s as bland and boring as this game will be since the two teams will probably combine for over 100 rushing attempts and 100 fans trying to figure out cousin math to see if it’s ok that he said his 2nd cousin twice removed was hot. I’ll be at home praying the camera man pans over to Beliema’s hot ass wife and wondering how many gallons of this shit wine she must have drank to marry that monster and move to Fayetteville.
Mississippi St (9-0) @ Alabama (8-1) -8.5 – Tuscaloosa, AL 3:30 PM EST CBS
Mississippi State heads about 90 miles for yet another Top 5 matchup in the SEC West. The Bulldogs sit atop the national rankings but are a huge underdog yet again. When is the last time the #1 team in the country was an underdog by a touchdown or more? That’s crazy.
Mississippi State is being severely underestimated in this game. They’re undefeated, ranked #1, and have beaten three Top 10 teams this season – Alabama hasn’t defeated one. In addition to a chip on their shoulder MSU also has the best offense in the SEC and a Heisman frontrunner at QB. Alabama has traditionally struggled with mobile quarterbacks like Prescott. Want an example? How about the last game they played that followed a huge emotional victory at LSU in 2012. Their next game was at home against Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M where the Tide lost.
Alabama has been a completely different team at home versus on the road. They’ve won 13 straight games in Bryant Denny Stadium, and their average margin of victory during that streak is nearly 40 ppg. It’s no secret what Bama’s game plan is for this game and that is to beat MSU through the air. Bama’s starting RB TJ Yeldon sprained his ankle last week which could make it difficult to get the run game going against a team that has only given up 6 rushing TD’s this year (3rd in the country). However, Miss St’s pass defense is ranked 120th in the country and are giving up 311 ypg. It’s not that Blake Sims and Amari Cooper should have a big game or will have a big game it’s that they HAVE to have a big game for Alabama to win.
I think this game will be much closer than people think, but I will once again point out that this Miss St defense gave up over 500 yards and 34 points to The University of Alabama-Birmingham.
Score – Alabama 31 Mississippi State 27
Booze – Shot and a beer. Specifically a refill of the draft beer that you’re 75% percent through with. Why? Because that’s what 95% of people order at closing time, and it’s about to be closing time for one of these team’s championship hopes. For the shot it really doesn’t matter what you order. I’d usually go with Fireball because apparently my taste buds haven’t developed since sophomore year of college. But, for this game I’d say it deserves something a little stronger like Jack Daniels. The beer specifics are perfect as is. There’s not a single person reading this article that hasn’t heard the yell for last call and then asked the bartender, “Hey man, can I just get like a little top off please, and I’ll close out?” Jesus guys. Why do we do this? I guess to save money. Although the $3.50 we’re getting for free isn’t really making a huge dent into the bill we’ve racked up. However, Mississippi State fans could definitely use a little financial help considering how many big games their fans have had to scalp tickets for this season. A ticket to an SEC game with a top-ten matchup is easily a $150, and this will be the Bulldog’s fourth of the year. So, I’m happy to help MSU. Here’s a free one on the house to help drown your sorrows after the loss to Bama. But, I swear to God if I have to ask you to stop ringing that cowbell one more time I will come across this bar and stomp you out like your starting Center did against LSU earlier this season.
Auburn (7-2) @ UGA (7-2) -2.5 – Athens, GA 7:15 PM EST ESPN
God I love this game. This is my absolute favorite rivalry in the SEC if not all of college football. It’s the South’s oldest rivalry, and it fully embodies what SEC football is: tradition, pageantry, and 2 fan bases that are easier to pick on than a fat kid with braces in middle school.
It features two (almost) annual powers in the SEC with fans that are as passionate as they are delusional. On one side you have Georgia, a bastion of underachievement and what “might have been”. On the other side you have Auburn who has pretty much viewed Athens like it is a farm system of felonious former UGA players.
This game is always entertaining and always has a storyline. However, this year’s matchup is one of the most anticipated in quite some time. In addition to being a revenge game it also marks the return of the best player in all of college football – Todd Gurley. Outside of Outkast’s performances at Centennial Olympic Park earlier this fall I can’t ever remember a return that has garnered this much excitement in the state of Georgia.
I’m extremely torn over this pick. The game should come down to whichever defense is able to stop the run. It’s hard to think that UGA would have the advantage after they gave up over 400 yards rushing to Florida just two weeks ago. If a one dimensional Florida offense can put up those types of numbers I can’t imagine what the Gus Bus and Nick Marshall can do. It’s also worth noting that UGA was favored heavily in their other rivalry games this year (USC and Florida), and they lost both in embarrassing fashion. However, the difference between this game and those two is the fact that it’s being played in Athens…at night. I think Auburn is the better team and would win at home, on a neutral field, or in the yard outside of Cell Block C where they recruited a majority of their players. However, I’m not picking against a team who put up 63 points a week ago and now gets the best player in college football back on the field.
Score – UGA 38 Auburn 34
Booze – Crown and Coke. Specifically in an 8 oz Styrofoam cup. Why? Because this drink and this rivalry are two fundamental traditions of the South. The only thing found more in cups at a southern tailgate than this drink is probably tobacco spit. Usually I would say this drink needs to be in a red solo or souvenir collectable cup from the home stadium. However, I chose Styrofoam for this week. A lot of you would make the logical assumption that I made that choice because it’ll be cold this weekend and your hands won’t be as cold with Styrofoam as opposed to plastic. Or, maybe you though it’s because this will be a long game and you should maybe only drink 8 ounces at a time in order to pace yourself right? Wrong. I’m not that nice. I chose the 8 oz Styrofoam cup because that’s what they give you in jail, and the players from these two teams spend almost as much time behind bars as they do in the end zone. Just like the Master’s, these two teams having off-field issues is a tradition unlike any other. So, grab your cup and enjoy. Remember to avoid eye contact with the enemy but don’t look weak. Also for UGA – please don’t drop the soap like you did against Carolina and Florida.
Author: Chris Marler