Mississippi Rebels defensive tackle Lavon Hooks (45) sacks LSU Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger (8) during the game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. (Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports)
Daily Post staff correspondent Andrew Hall previews the Southeastern Conference each week for the Daily Post. Last week’s crazy week of SEC upsets dropped Hall to 46-14 this season in his predictions.
Here’s this week’s schedule:
Today, 7:30 p.m./ESPN
The Wildcats and the Bulldogs are each looking for their first conference win, and the good news is that one of these teams is going to get it. Unfortunately for first-year Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, he’ll have to wait a few more weeks. Mississippi State is hardly the class of the SEC, but they’ve been able to hang tight with some of the league’s better teams over the past few seasons. Most recently, they pushed Auburn on the road in a 24-20 defeat. Kentucky remains the conference’s bottom-feeder.
Our pick: Mississippi State by 10.
No. 16 Texas A&M
Saturday, 12:21 p.m./SEC-TV
The Commodores will get another shot at pulling off an upset as they travel to College Station to take on the somewhat deflated Aggies. Both teams battled hard last week with A&M coming up short against Auburn and Vandy prevailing over Georgia. If Johnny Manziel is healthy enough to play — which is not guaranteed — the Aggies will cruise comfortably.
Our pick: Texas A&M by 17.
No. 1 Alabama
Saturday, 3:30 p.m./CBS
Last week the Volunteers followed a near-upset of Georgia with late-game heroics that sent South Carolina out of Knoxville with a loss. For the first time since 2007 the Vols boast a winning record seven games into the season, but their work is cut out for them if they want to maintain their hot streak. Alabama is coming into its own and asserting dominance on a weekly basis. Over the past four games Alabama has outscored its opposition by a combined score of 170-10.
Our pick: Alabama by 24.
Furman at No. 13 LSU
Saturday, 7 p.m./PPV
The Tigers will be playing in their ninth game in nine weeks but have a manageable task this weekend before heading into an off week followed by a matchup with Alabama. The Paladins of Furman have losses to Gardner-Webb, Coastal Carolina, Elon and Chattanooga on their record, and there’s no reason to think they won’t take another knock from LSU.
Our pick: LSU by 38.
No. 21 South Carolina at No. 5 Missouri
Saturday, 7 p.m./ESPN2
The few Georgia fans who aren’t already completely disheartened will be keeping a close eye on this ball game as the Bulldogs desperately need a few Missouri losses to get back into the SEC East picture. Missouri will be relying on a freshman quarterback to make plays against a physical South Carolina defense that is continuing to improve. On the other side of the ball, backup Dylan Thompson will be starting in the place of injured South Carolina starter Connor Shaw. Thompson has been impressive in limited action and may actually be the difference maker in this ball game.
Our pick: South Carolina by 6.
Idaho at Ole Miss
Saturday, 7:30 p.m./CSS
Ole Miss bucked the system last week with an upset against LSU and will get another chance to build on early season success against Idaho. The Vandals are a meager 1-6 with losses to a host of mediocre competition. This could get out of control.
Our pick: Ole Miss by 28.
Florida Atlantic at
No. 11 Auburn
Saturday, 7:30 p.m./Fox Sports Net
The Auburn Tigers are 6-1, off to their best start since their national championship run in 2010, and will likely advance with another win against Florida Atlantic this weekend. This will be the Owls’ fifth game in three years against SEC competition. They’ve lost the previous four contests by a combined score of 167-44, but the closest game was a 30-14 loss to Auburn in 2011.
Our pick: Auburn by 21.