Posted: 3:00 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, 2013
Here's your guide to what everyone else in the conference is up to this weekend. Games are listed in order of general watchability, and all game times are Central.
This is really the only legitimately interesting game on the SEC slate this weekend. Missouri is the biggest surprise of the conference, and possibly the entire nation. If the Tigers manage to knock off South Carolina this weekend, about a thousand things would have to happen just right for them to miss out on Atlanta. While you cannot deny a 7-0 record, Missouri has undoubtedly been the beneficiary of some crazy luck. It seems that every team it plays is decimated by injury, and this week will be no different, as Mizzou will avoid Connor Shaw taking snaps for South Carolina. On the other sideline, the Gamecocks are one of the major disappointments in the conference this season. Steve Spurrier's squad has underperformed on both sides of the ball, and it probably won't change on the road against Mizzou. Take the freshman Maty Mauk and the Tigers at home.
People all over the conference are raising eyebrows at this matchup. Tennessee's noticeable improvement this season has convinced many that the Vols have a shot at knocking off the mighty Tide. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but they don't. Tennessee coach Butch Jones is doing an admirable job in his debut season in fluorescent orange, but a win over struggling South Carolina isn't quite on par with marching into Tuscaloosa and being competitive with Alabama. Tennessee has a nice little offense behind the running of Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane, as well as the leadership of Justin Worley, who can best be described as "pretty adequate." The Volunteers may be able to scratch out a score or two, but this one should still be ugly.
Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Football is nursing a shoulder injury. Turns out, he played a game last week against a defensive line that DON'T TAKE NO S*@# OFF NOBODY and paid the price. If Johnny Manziel plays, Texas A&M wins. It's as simple as that. Vanderbilt is riding high after the big Georgia upset, but the Dawgs are looking more and more pathetic by the week. Vanderbilt should be able to score -- hell, Opelika High School could score on A&M -- but it won't be quite enough.
Did anyone see an Ole Miss upset over LSU coming? Sure, the Rebels were a trendy pick to make some noise early in the season, but it seemed like the wheels had officially fallen off the bandwagon. Kudos to Hugh Freeze and the Ole Miss players for fighting like hell last week. Much like Auburn this week, the schedule smiles upon the Rebs and helps avoid any emotional letdown after such a huge win. An easy game against 1-6 Idaho is exactly the right way to proceed after an intense victory.