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The schedule might look soft around the rest of the SEC, but all eyes will be on the games in Knoxville and Arlington this weekend. While Tennessee tries to keep the voodoo hex that is Florida football from stealing a win, Arkansas will look to continue adding to the problems for Texas A&M.
We all know the significance of these two games. Jimbo Fisher is looking to get this season back on track, while Billy Napier is walking into a hornets nest with a team that has gone backwards since their win over Utah. Also, don’t forget about the hot seat that Bryan Harsin is currently sitting on at Auburn. You can bet this Missouri team will be looking to cause further chaos.
Trey’s Saturday Predictions
Texas A&M vs. Arkanas (Jerry’s World, Arlington)
The Aggies somehow sit as a two-point favorite heading into their showdown with Arkansas. This has the makings of a KJ Jefferson masterpiece if Texas A&M can’t find a way to put him on the turf consistently. After watching both Max Johnson and Haynes King take snaps at quarterback for the Aggies, I am still having a hard time convincing myself that this offense is good enough to score in the 30’s. And that might what’s needed this weekend.
Maybe this turns into a coming out party for the Jimbo Fisher offense. But Arkansas is the type of team that will bring multiple blitz packages on defense, forcing the QB’s to make quick decisions. As we all witnessed in the App State and Miami matchups, Texas A&M is struggling to find an identity, while Arkansas knows exactly what they have.
It will certainly be a raucous environment inside ‘Jerry’s World’ on Saturday, but the fans in red might be the ones celebrating the most in the fourth quarter. Look for multiple touchdowns from KJ Jefferson and Rock Sanders, while the Aggies struggle to keep up offensively. Arkansas 34, Texas A&M 20
Missouri @ Auburn
If there was ever a ‘must win’ game for Auburn, it’s certainly this weekend against Missouri. After the beatdown at the hands of Penn State last weekend, the Tigers fan base is feeling the blues. Having to show up for an 11am local time kickoff doesn’t help either, not after the madness last Saturday. Bryan Harsin is currently sitting on a seat that’s burning through his pants, and a bad performance this weekend could end it all.
Auburn will be without quarterback TJ Finley, meaning Robby Ashford or Holden Geriner will take the snaps. If the coaching staff decides to roll with Ashford to start things off, one would think they have to go the whole way with him or give the true freshman (Geriner) a shot. Zach Calzada will be taking a medical redshirt, after deciding to have surgery on his non-throwing shoulder. Auburn is desperate right now and Missouri is salivating at the opportunity to wreck things on the Plains.
Keep an eye on Missouri QB Brady Cook, who has been hot and cold so far this season. Eli Drinkwitz isn’t afraid to open it up down the field and will most certainly throw the kitchen sink at Auburn. I have been back and forth on this game since driving home from the Plains. I think Tank Bigsby brings this home for the other Tigers. Auburn 24, Missouri 21 (I Think This One Stays Close)
Florida @ Tennessee
If you haven’t noticed, there’s a massive game for Tennessee this weekend. The Florida Gators will head to Knoxville looking to wreck the party, and based on previous years, nothing would surprise me. There’s some type of voodoo surrounding this game, with the Vols having squandered multiple wins in the past seventeen years. From the ‘CheckerNeyland’, a watch party on campus and what feels like every college football pregame show being in town, this is shaping up to be a madhouse.
The key to this game is Tennessee just handling business on offense. The scheming that Josh Heupel will have for this Gators defense will be intriguing to follow, especially with Florida potentially missing linebacker Ventrell Miller. If Tennessee forces Anthony Richardson to sit in the pocket and try to beat them with his arm, this one might be ugly by the fourth quarter. But, if Richardson can use his legs and force the Vols to put a spy on him, maybe this Billy Napier led team can find some success.
It’s been six years since the Vols have beaten the Gators, and the overall record in the past twenty years is worse than that. But for the first time in a while, Tennessee is entering this game as true favorites, with the current 10-point spread pretty much not moving the entire week. It’s time for the Vols to handle business when they should and Hendon Hooker will be the catalyst. The party will be going for at least two weeks in Knoxville. Tennessee 34, Florida 20
Rest Of The Conference
It’s downright ugly around the SEC outside of these three games, but I do think Vanderbilt covers the 41 points in Tuscaloosa, not by much though.
Here’s a look at the rest of the conference slate on Saturday.
Enjoy the weekend of football and make sure to follow Outkick for the latest coverage across the conference and Knoxville on Saturday.