SEC Picks: Tennessee-Georgia Battle For East Division; Brian Kelly Gets First Taste Of LSU-Alabama Rivalry

ATHENS, Ga- The biggest SEC regular season matchup in a long time will take place Saturday afternoon, as Tennessee battles Georgia for Eastern supremacy. On the Bayou, LSU and Alabama will play for first place in the West.

And we cannot overlook what’s going on in College Station, with Jimbo Fisher trying to right the ship behind quarterback Connor Weigman. Can Florida make things worse for Texas A&M with Anthony Richardson? This is a pivotal game for both programs.

No. 3 Georgia And No. 1 Tennessee Battle For SEC East Lead

Tennessee heads into Athens as the No. 1 team in the playoff rankings, while Georgia comes in at No. 3. Okay, now erase that from your memory for this game, at least until after it ends.

TENNESSEE-GEORGIA OFFENSIVE BATTLE: SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE

Each offense can cause multiple problems for each defense. Whether it’s Hendon Hooker and Tennessee’s lightning fast receivers or Georgia’s Stetson Bennett with his monster tight ends, this game should deliver lots of points. The biggest question is which secondary gives up the most explosive plays. We know they’re coming, along with a healthy dose of running the football. Can Vols defensive coordinator Tim Banks get enough pressure on Bennett to cause mistakes? Sure, but the Georgia QB has a safety net with multiple playmakers.

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

It comes down to defense in this one, and I give the edge to Georgia at the moment. Now, the Bulldogs will need someone to step up for Nolan Smith, but the talent is there. Tennessee will score points, but I think one mistake turns the game. Georgia 37, Tennessee 33

Alabama Heads To The Bayou For SEC Showdown With LSU

Give me all the smoke in this game. The trash talk, playing the game Saturday night where everyone can put down a few (lots of) beers to the sound of ‘Callin’ Baton Rouge’. This matchup between Alabama and LSU comes at a crucial time for both teams, with a clear path to the SEC Championship Game.

THIS IS WHY BRIAN KELLY LEFT NOTRE DAME FOR THE BAYOU

Head coach Brian Kelly and Jayden Daniels #5 of the LSU Tigers. (Getty Images)

I’m enjoying this revamped version of LSU QB Jayden Daniels; after the Tennessee game, I never thought we’d see. LSU is playing better on offense and defense, posing a real threat to Alabama. I expect Bryce Young to make life miserable for the Tigers defense at times, especially outside the pocket. Brian Kelly seems to have found something within his Tigers, which should worry Nick Saban.

It will come down to which defense can cause the most problems for the quarterback. I am not high on the LSU rushing attack against Alabama, but I love what Crimson Tide RB Jahmyr Gibbs is doing. This game reminds me of the 2012 matchup when TJ Yeldon scored late in the fourth quarter for the 21-17 Alabama win. Alabama 31, LSU 23

Can Connor Weigman Turn The Ship Around Against Florida?

Ok, we got a taste of Texas A&M quarterback Connor Weigman last week against Ole Miss, passing for four touchdowns. But can Weigman do it this week against Florida? There’s a lot of Aggie fans hoping he can be the guy to turn this Jimbo Fisher mess around, but don’t put too much on the young fella. The Aggies are a ship that’s taking on water, but hoping to patch it with a new quarterback.

Texas A&M Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher. (Getty Images)

As for the Gators, coming off the loss to Georgia, this team is looking for some positive vibes. Can they go to College Station and win? Yes, but it will take more than the offense playing Jekyll and Hyde, along with a good defensive performance. Both teams are wounded at the moment, which makes this game intriguing. I don’t know if things will workout longterm in College Station, but the Aggies put a temporary patch on the hole by forcing turnovers. Texas A&M 27, Florida 20

Other Games Of Note

Auburn heads to Mississippi State with a new lease on life, after head coach Bryan Harsin was fired. Cadillac Williams will get his shot at leading the Tigers as the interim coach and I think his players rally around him. MSU QB Will Rogers will get his touchdowns, but something about this pieced together Auburn team has me thinking they’ll show up. Auburn 28, Mississippi State 27

Kentucky heads to Missouri looking for some type of output on offense. Unfortunately, the Missouri defense continues to play well. Coach Eli Drinkwitz gets enough out of his team. Missouri 24, Kentucky 20

Watch out for the Vanderbilt and South Carolina game, as the Dores could sneak up on the wounded Gamecocks. Vandy quarterback AJ Swann can sling it (if healthy), while counterpart Spencer Rattler has struggled recently. South Carolina 21, Vandy 17

While Hugh Freeze ponders what life would look like in Auburn, his Liberty Flames will be extinguished by the Arkansas Razorbacks. Arkansas 34, Liberty 24

Enjoy the weekend, as the picture starts to become clearer about which teams will be playing in Atlanta for an SEC Title, while battling for CFP rankings.

Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.

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