The long-awaited 2020 SEC Championship takes place this Saturday night between the undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide and the SEC East champion Florida Gators. This matchup has been anticipated for several weeks now, and the playoff implications surrounding this game are enormous. LSU welcomes Ole Miss to Baton Rouge as the Tigers are aiming to get their second straight win after upsetting Florida in Gainesville last weekend. Finally, the third best SEC East Missouri Tigers travel to Starkville to try and end Mississippi State’s season on a four-game losing streak.
No. 1 Alabama (10-0) vs No. 7 Florida (8-2)
Saturday, Dec. 19 – Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Atlanta, Ga.
7 p.m. on CBS
At long last, Alabama and Florida will face off to win the SEC title in Atlanta, though it won’t be quite the spectacle as before since Florida was knocked out of contention for the fourth College Football Playoff spot with the loss to LSU. Quarterback Kyle Trask also essentially ended his hopes at a Heisman Trophy with a pair of interceptions in the loss, despite throwing for 474 yards and two touchdowns. Turnovers as a whole were the main reason the Gators let LSU hang around all night long as a fumble went along with Trask’s interceptions. This is fairly obvious given the fact that the Gators otherwise had all sorts of statistical advantages such as averaging 8.2 yards per play offensively, punting half as many times as the Tigers, logging nearly 200 more total yards, and committing less penalties. The extra possessions given away simply cost them too much. The Gators will have to take care of the ball and play way better defense if they want to have a shot at upsetting Alabama. The Crimson Tide made quick work of Arkansas on Saturday, winning 52-3 and putting up a clinic in every facet of the game. Every statistic was to Alabama’s advantage including a ridiculous eight total sacks, 216 rushing yards between five players, only two punts and penalties, and a 71-percent third-down conversion rate. It would be extremely surprising if Nick Saban’s team found a way to lose this Saturday night. They are undisputedly the most dominant, powerful, and intimidating team in the country and have so much talent on each side of the ball, it’s almost unfair to opposing teams. The Tide takes this one fairly easily and ride into the playoffs with a record of 11-0.
Prediction: Alabama 42, Florida 27
Ole Miss (4-4) at LSU (4-5)
Saturday, Dec. 19 – Tiger Stadium – Baton Rouge, La.
2:30 p.m. on SEC Network
LSU shook the entire country when it managed to take down the previously No. 6 ranked Florida Gators in The Swamp 37-34 thanks to a game-winning 57-yard field goal by Cade York. York made all three of his field goal attempts. Prior to that game, LSU had won just two of its last six games and hadn’t scored more than 27 points since October. One thing that really seemed to keep the Tigers hanging around was quarterback Max Johnson finally settling in for an entire game without getting swapped out. He finished the game with three touchdown passes and was also the team’s third leading rusher. Another huge aspect of LSU’s win was that the Tigers won the turnover battle 3-0, including a pick six that put them up 14-7 early in the second quarter. On the other hand, Ole Miss is playing in its first game since Nov. 28 after the program was put on pause on Dec. 2 due to COVID-19 issues. This pick depends on whether quarterback Matt Corral and receiver Elijah Moore are available for the Rebels as the pair is one of the most dynamic duos in the country. Corral sits behind Trask and Alabama’s Mac Jones in several SEC statistical categories and has broken several school records in 2020 as Moore has the second-most receiving yards in the FBS behind Alabama’s DeVonta Smith. If the pair are good to go against LSU, which has the worst passing defense in the SEC, the Rebels could very well go into Baton Rouge and win, but it’s almost a toss-up after the Tigers’ performance against Florida.
Prediction: Ole Miss 38, LSU 35
Mississippi State (2-7) at Missouri (5-4)
Saturday, Dec. 19 – Faurot Field – Columbia, Mo.
2:30 p.m. on SEC Alternate
Missouri lost its first game since October last weekend as Georgia came into Columbia and laid down the hammer, winning 49-14. The Tigers’ offense was abysmal, managing just 200 yards of offense of which only 22 were by way of rushing. Georgia logged over 600 yards of offense and averaged over eight yards per play against Missouri’s defense. It was a tough wake-up call for a Missouri team that has been one of the more surprising SEC teams this year, but luckily the Tigers finish off the regular season against lowly Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have won only two games this season and scored just ten in a loss against Auburn this past weekend. They ran for only 19 yards and threw for just 221 as freshman quarterback Will Rogers attempted 51 passes, completing only 30. Mississippi State doesn’t have any one player on offense that truly provides a spark, so Missouri shouldn’t give up more than three scores, which should be more than enough for them to get their sixth win of the year. The battery of Connor Bazelak and Larry Rountree III will have lots of opportunity to pick up chunks of yardage, especially through the air where the Bulldogs give up the sixth-most yardage in the conference.
Prediction: Missouri 31, Mississippi State 17