Saturday in the SEC Week 8: after chaos, what’s next?


Hunter Long

Vanderbilt football plays Kentucky on Saturday, November 12, 2017. (Hustler Multimedia/Hunter Long)

Betsy Goodfriend, Senior Writer

Two major upsets shook up the SEC in Week Seven. 

Tennessee surprised Auburn on the road 30-24, While many believed that Auburn was overrated as the #21 team in the AP poll, no one expected Tennessee to pull off the upset. The Volunteers snapped an 11-game losing streak in conference play with the victory.

LSU also beat previously-undefeated Georgia in Baton Rouge. The 36-16 score does not even tell the whole story; LSU outplayed Georgia in every facet of the game. Coach Orgeron coached an aggressive game and went for it four times on fourth down, and the Tigers converted each attempt.

Week Eight appears to have less upset potential, but as Week Seven proved, it’s not college football if there’s not some craziness. Memphis visits Missouri, and their high-powered offense could keep up with quarterback Drew Lock and Missouri to pull off the upset.

Running back Darrell Henderson is the star of Memphis’ offense. Henderson averages 161.9 rushing yards per game, which leads the country. He is also second in the nation with 13 rushing touchdowns. On the other sideline, Lock, who has always struggled with accuracy, has been forced to make shorter throws in new offensive coordinator Derek Dooley’s offense. His completion percentage is still only 58%, though.

Prediction: Memphis 34, Missouri 31

Mississippi State visits an LSU squad brimming with confidence after a victory over Georgia. As if the LSU defensive backs needed any more confidence, holding Jake Fromm to a 47% completion percentage surely provided a boost. The Bulldogs’ defense has been stifling this year, allowing opponents to convert just 26% of their third down attempts. A statistic of note is that the Tigers are 2-0 against teams with the bulldog as their mascot. LSU beat Louisiana Tech earlier this season in addition to last week’s win over Georgia. Make that 3-0 after this game is over.

Prediction: #5 LSU 27, #22 Mississippi State 13

Tennessee will become the bane of the entire state of Alabama’s existence if it can shock Alabama after knocking off Auburn last week. Whereas Auburn was beatable, this Crimson Tide team has shown no signs of weakness this year. Alabama’s offense is one of the best ever. The Tide are second in the nation in third down conversions, second in yards per completion, first in passing efficiency, first in scoring offense, and first in total offense. Tennessee is coached by former Alabama assistant Jeremy Pruitt, who faced Alabama’s offense every day for two years as the Tide’s defensive coordinator.

Prediction: #1 Alabama 45, Tennessee 17

Auburn heads to Oxford to take on Ole Miss, who is surprisingly decent this year. The Rebels are averaging over 550 yards of offense per game. Ole Miss was blown out by Alabama and LSU, but beat Texas Tech in the season opener. Auburn is having another up-and-down year. After a season-opening victory over Washington, the Tigers have lost to LSU, Mississippi State, and Tennessee in conference play.

Prediction: Auburn 31, Ole Miss 27

Ke’Shawn Vaughn is expected to be back at running back for Vanderbilt when the Commodores face Kentucky. Vanderbilt’s offense looked inept without Vaughn for the last three quarters of the game against Florida. If Vaughn gets into a groove, the Commodore offense could control the time of possession and keep the ball out of Benny Snell Jr.’s hands. Snell Jr. is averaging over 166 yards per game on the ground for a resurgent Kentucky squad.

Prediction: #14 Kentucky 24, Vanderbilt 20

Arkansas gets a much-needed break from SEC competition this week, but the Razorbacks have not performed well in non-conference games either. Tulsa could reasonably beat the Razorbacks after North Texas and Colorado State also claimed victories over Arkansas earlier this year. Tulsa is only averaging 24 points per game, and Arkansas is not much better with 26 points per game. Expect a close game, but expect Arkansas running back Rakeem Boyd to have a stellar game. Boyd combined for 211 rushing yards against Alabama and Ole Miss.

Prediction: Arkansas 28, Tulsa 20