Week 6 in the Southeastern Conference saw Alabama outmatch Ole Miss, Auburn cement its place near the top of the SEC West and Vanderbilt finally pick up its first win of the season. While several SEC teams, including Texas A&M, do not play this week, there are many interesting games across the SEC for fans to tune into, including a top-10 matchup with playoff implications. Let’s look at what’s happening around the SEC this week.
No. 7 Auburn (5-0) at No. 10 Florida (5-0)
Saturday, Oct. 5 — Ben Hill Griffin Stadium — Gainesville, Florida
2:30 p.m. on CBS
In the premier matchup of the weekend, the Tigers travel to The Swamp to face battle-tested Florida. Both teams have impressed this season, with a win further cementing their case in playoff consideration. Auburn is looking to build its resume with another road win against a ranked opponent. Offensively, freshman quarterback Bo Nix has steadily improved all season, having his best performance in Auburn’s last game against Mississippi State, where he completed 76 percent of his passes while contributing 390 total yards of offense and two touchdowns. As the season has progressed, the development of Nix offensively, plus the strength of Auburn’s defense, has put the Tigers in national conversations. Florida is looking to continue its upward momentum, as the early-season success has put the Gators in position to challenge Georgia for the SEC East. They must be careful though, as Florida has a tough upcoming schedule, facing off against Auburn, No. 5 LSU and No. 3 Georgia over the next four weeks. The Gators have seen steady improvement from their offense over the last three weeks. Since losing Feleipe Franks in the fourth quarter against Kentucky, Florida quarterback Kyle Trask backup quarterback has performed exceptionally well, helping lead the comeback against the Wildcats before doing good in wins against Tennessee and Towson. Whoever can limit their mistakes and help lead their offense down the field will be the difference-maker in this top-10 matchup.
Prediction: Auburn 24, Florida 17
No. 3 Georgia (4-0) at Tennessee (1-3)
Saturday Oct., 5 — Neyland Stadium — Knoxville, Tennessee
6 p.m. on ESPN
While Saturday’s game between Georgia and Tennessee does not look impressive on paper, this SEC East showdown features a familiar matchup of rivals led by two former Alabama defensive coordinators. For Georgia, a win against Tennessee would be its eighth win over the Volunteers in the last 10 years, further cementing the Bulldogs’ place at the top of the SEC East. This season, the Bulldogs started off hot, with a close win over No. 9 Notre Dame keeping them entrenched in the playoff conversation. Led at quarterback by Jake Fromm, and with a rushing attack that is top-3 in the nation in terms of yards per attempt, the Bulldogs have a potent offense similar to the 2017 Bulldogs that went to the National Championship. Tennessee, on the other hand, is looking for a do-over, as its season has turned into a tumultuous mess, with home losses against BYU and Georgia State. If the Volunteers are to win, they will need quarterback Jarrett Guarantano to limit mistakes and keep Tennessee in the game with his arm.
Prediction: Georgia 30, Tennessee 7
Vanderbilt (1-3) at Ole Miss (2-3)
Saturday, Oct. 5 — Vaught-Hemingway Stadium — Oxford, Mississippi
6:30 p.m. on SEC Network
As two of the teams near the bottom of the SEC, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss enter Saturday looking to build momentum for the second half of the season. For Vanderbilt, a win against Northern Illinois gives the Commodores hope of turning around a season which started with blowout losses to Georgia and LSU. The Commodores are led on offense by graduate transfer quarterback Riley Neal and senior tailback Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who ran for 138 yards and a touchdown in their win over Northern Illinois. Ole Miss enters the game after a disastrous loss to Alabama, in which the Rebels gave up over 400 yards through the air. Despite their defensive issues, the Rebels continue to put out a high level offense, with the Ole Miss rushing attack averaging just under 200 yards rushing per game. With depth at tailback, led by senior Scottie Phillips and freshmen Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner, the Rebels possess enough firepower on offense to outmatch the underachieving Vanderbilt defense.
Prediction: Ole Miss 31, Vanderbilt 7
Troy (2-2) at Missouri (3-1)
Saturday, Oct. 5 — Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium — Columbia, Missouri
3 p.m. on SEC Network
While most SEC fans may scoff at this non-conference matchup, it delivers what college football fans want to see: two explosive offenses in a shootout. For Missouri, the Tigers begin this season with upward momentum, winning their last three games after a season opening loss to Wyoming. The Tigers, led by Clemson transfer Kelly Bryant, have one of the highest scoring offenses in the country with 38.3 points per game. Other than Bryant at quarterback, the Tigers have a strong rushing attack, led by junior tailback Larry Rountree III. Troy, a team well known for upsetting Power 5 teams such as LSU and Nebraska, enters Missouri with a potent scoring offense as well, scoring 40 points per game. The Trojans are led by senior quarterback Kaleb Barker, who has made Troy the ninth-best passing offense in the nation with 342 passing yards per game. With two high scoring offenses and a team that has experience in upsetting Power 5 teams, Missouri and Troy provides enough fireworks for an exciting matchup.
Prediction: Missouri 35, Troy 31