After last week’s matchups of Southeastern Conference powerhouses playing out-of-conference teams, there were still questions that remained unanswered. As some teams kick off SEC play this week, those questions will receive some solid answers. Here’s a rundown of games to look forward to around the SEC.
No. 2 Alabama (2-0) at South Carolina (1-1)
Saturday, Sept. 14 — Williams-Brice Stadium — Columbia, South Carolina
6:30 p.m. on ABC
Alabama kicks off its SEC schedule on the road in South Carolina. The game being played in Columbia is the main advantage the Gamecocks have in this matchup. South Carolina began the season with a disappointing loss to its rival North Carolina. Along with the loss, the Gamecocks lost veteran quarterback Jake Bentley for the season. South Carolina is now starting freshman quarterback Ryan Hilinski, who threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns in his debut. Alabama is rolling through the beginning of its schedule with large offensive outputs. The Crimson Tide put up 42 points in its first game and 62 in its last. Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has thrown for at least three touchdowns in the first two games of the season and will look to continue that in Columbia.
Prediction: Alabama 59, South Carolina 7
No. 9 Florida (2-0) at Kentucky (2-0)
Saturday, Sept. 14 — Kroger Field — Lexington, Kentucky
6:00 p.m. on ESPN
Last season, Kentucky rose from the ranks of the bottom of the SEC to become a formidable threat, finding themselves in the AP poll for the first time in a decade. The Wildcats started well with two big wins over Toledo and Eastern Michigan. This is promising, considering the Wildcats had to replace 16 of 22 starters from last season. With Kentucky building momentum early and the game being played at home, this will not be an easy task for the Gators. No. 9 Florida kicked off the season with a quality win over Miami, returning 14 of its 22 starters from last season. The key for Florida lies with quarterback Feleipe Franks. After a strong 2018 campaign with zero interceptions, which is quite a feat in the SEC, Franks looks to lead this team on the road in Lexington.
Prediction: Florida 31, Kentucky 17
Mississippi State (2-0) vs. (2-0) Kansas State
Saturday, Sept. 14 — Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field — Starkville, Mississippi
11:00 a.m. on ESPN
One of the more interesting matchups this weekend, this Big 12 vs SEC matchup is not getting the recognition it deserves. This is the first time in 26 years that Kansas State does not have a head coach named Bill Snyder. Despite that, there is much optimism around the team as new head coach Chris Klieman has the team rolling. The Wildcats have put up big wins against Nicholls State and Bowling Green to gain some confidence. Despite losing seven of its 11 starters, Mississippi State has historically proven to be a tough team at home. This game will serve as a true test of how good Kansas State can really be.
Prediction: Kansas State 30, Mississippi State 20
Colorado State (1-1) vs Arkansas (1-1)
Saturday, Sept. 14 — Donald W Reynolds Razorback Stadium — Fayetteville, Arkansas
3:00 p.m. on SEC Network
Colorado State and Arkansas have the same record and essentially the same situations within their conference. They both produce NFL prospects, but find themselves at the bottom of the standings within their respective conferences. The Razorbacks’ new starting quarterback is a familiar face to A&M fans — Nick Starkel. In his first start last week, Starkel threw for 201 yards, a touchdown and only seven incompletions. Arkansas’ rushing attack features another notable name, Rakeem Boyd, who is a former star of the Netflix Original series, “Last Chance U.” Boyd is the Razorbacks’ leading rusher. Colorado State returns only 11 of their 22 starters from last year. Look for the Razorbacks’ offense to be firing on all cylinders.
Prediction: Arkansas 31, Colorado State 10