After a loss like that, the team, coaches, and administration at the school need to take a long look in the mirror and decide if this is what they want football to be for the future. Of course, I'm talking about Arkansas and South Carolina. After losing to two G5 teams in convincing fashion, there are coaching changes coming for both teams, believe that. No one in his/her right mind expects the Gamecocks or the Razorbacks to consistently exist in the upper echelon of college football, but losing like that to G5 teams is whole cloth unacceptable. Oh, and LSU proved to have more offense than Alabama. From what I've seen this year, both of those teams would lose Ohio State (a much more complete team). Take that for what you will.
Each week this column will give you readers a breakdown on top games featuring SEC teams and picks for the remaining games involving SEC teams. Last week I went 4-3 with the picks bringing my total record to 61-21, 74%.
Week 12 Conference Games
All times listed below are Central.
Alabama (8-1) @ Mississippi State (4-5)
11:00 AM - ESPN
Angry Alabama is not a team you want to play and that's exactly what Mississippi State can see coming down the tracks straight for Starkville. The Crimson Tide not only needs wins; they need to eradicate the remaining teams on the schedule in order to keep any hopes alive of impressing the selection committee. (Side note: how ridiculous is this? This whole playoff thing is a beauty contest where the criteria are inconsistent and contestants are asked to do anything but be great at football to be chosen. I miss the polls and bowls era.) Mississipi State's bowl hopes are on life support and this won't help that cause one bit. Alabama needs to get right on defense by applying pressure and getting this team off the field on third downs. On offense, expect Alabama to run the ball to set up their passing game theatrics.
Alabama 45, Mississippi State 14
Florida (8-2) @ Missouri (5-4)
11:00 AM - CBS
Florida's SEC title game hopes are over but this team has a lot to play for and stands a good chance to finish the season with 10 wins and that's no small thing. Missouri fights hard but injuries on offense have derailed the Tigers spread attack. Florida's defensive front is outstanding and should handle whatever is coming for them in this game. The Gators aren't going to find a run game this late in the season. So, they should keep Kyle Trask distributing the ball to talent in space on the field.
Florida 31, Missouri 17
Georgia (8-1) @ Auburn (7-2)
2:30 PM - CBS
This is the game that Alabama-LSU used to be - two defensive teams who like to run the ball and attempt to suffocate each other. Auburn's chances in this game exist due to the outstanding defensive front and being the home team. The Tigers offense is what it is this year (mediocre offensive line play, decent RBs, inconsistent passing game) and this week's opposition is the best defensive unit they will play in the regular season. Georgia's offense is built around that outstanding run game and complimented by the efficient thought, not exciting passing drills from QB Jake Fromm. Auburn won't generate enough scores and points in this one. Couple that with the major special teams advantage Georgia holds (led by bespeckled K Rodrigo Blankenship), and it's fairly clear the Bulldogs are the better team.
Georgia 16, Auburn 10
Kentucky (4-5) @ Vanderbilt (2-7)
2:30 AM - SECN
Kentucky let Tennessee off the hook and seriously damaged their bowl game chances last week. Good thing for the Wildcats is the Vanderbilt team that awaits is just not good at football this year. Kentucky's run game should shorten the game which is a gift for anyone who has to watch it.
Kentucky 20, Vanderbilt 13
LSU(9-0) @ Ole Miss (4-6)
6:00 PM - ESPN
LSU might be worried about a big win hangover but the way this team handles business should sooth such fears. The Tigers execute their offense all game and play enough defense to limit opponents' chances for effectiveness. Ole Miss has found a run game and LSU is susceptible to that, but the Rebels defense is plain bad. Expect LSU to lean on RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire after Heisman-candidate QB Joe Burrow has his show-off moments early in the game.
LSU 45, Ole Miss 20
South Carolina (4-6) @ Texas A&M (6-3)
6:30 PM - SECN
South Carolina's season has gone completely sideways. Whether the blame is injuries or youthful inexperience, it is clear this is a poorly coached team. While Texas A&M has played unevenly at times this year, no one questions what is happening on the sidelines and in the booth. If this is the end of the Muschamp era in Columbia remains unknown as of this writing, but it is clear the Gamecocks don't have the players nor mettle to go on the road and win this one. The Aggies have a long way to go but they are the better team.
Texas A&M 31, South Carolina 23
You can hear Jay each Wednesday on The Gridiron Breakdown Show podcast. Go to anchor.fm/gridironbreakdown to see platforms where you can listen and subscribe.