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Trey’s Takes: Three Questions I Have For The SEC This Weekend

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Welcome to “Cupcake Saturday” in the SEC, as we have only a few interesting games in the Eastern Division this weekend. This always happens in the conference, as teams usually schedule some sort of “bye game” in the final three weeks of the season, either to pad the win column or give starters a break. Either way, we do have a few games that deserve our attention.

 

Does Florida have anything left in the tank, even for the coaching staff? 

We all witnessed the ugly win over FCS Samford last weekend in Gainesville, where the Gator defense gave up 42 points in the first half. This was coming off a rough performance against South Carolina, where they lost 40-17, leading to the firing of DC Todd Grantham. Dan Mullen is 2-4 over this six game stretch, and the defense has given up a combined 213 points, prompting questions about whether Mullen can actually lead this program into the future. The fan base is shook, the boosters are pissed, and the administration is confused. Those three things are not a very good combination for Mullen, who’s currently on the college football hot seat.

Florida (5-5, 2-5) are a 8.5 point favorite against Missouri (5-5, 2-4), according to FanDuel.

So, the Gators now travel to Missouri, where Tiger QB Tyler Badie rushed for over 200 yards last weekend against South Carolina. Florida has been saved by its offense numerous times this season, but will they actually show up in Columbia motivated? We know Missouri will be, as they look to become bowl eligible and continue to turn around their season. As for Florida, well they could continue to spiral out of control with two games remaining on the schedule. If the Tigers come out and run the football on a consistent basis against the Gators, then it will be a long flight home for Dan Mullen. Could he survive at Florida if they lose this weekend? That is a very legitimate question and one that’s been swirling around for the last few days. Either way, this team better show up ready for a fight, because Missouri would love nothing more than to make things worse in Gainesville.

Can South Carolina take advantage of Auburn’s QB situation? 

Bo Nix, the Auburn QB, unfortunately broke his ankle last weekend against Mississippi State and is out for the remainder of the season. The Tigers will now turn to LSU transfer T.J. Finley on the road in Columbia. We haven’t seen much of Finley this season, besides the comeback win against Georgia State, so the Gamecocks defense should dial up the pressure on the new starter.

This is the second year in a row that Auburn is playing at South Carolina, and last year, the Gamecocks snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Tigers. So Bryan Harsin better figure out a way for his team to show up, especially in the 2nd half. They were outscored 50-6 in the second half of their previous two losses, against Texas A&M and Miss State.

Auburn (6-4, 3-3) are a 7.5 point favorite against South Carolina (5-5, 2-5), according to FanDuel.

As for the Gamecocks, Shane Beamer will start Jason Brown at QB again this week. He had a nice outing at Missouri last weekend and showed the ability to control the Carolina offense, even if his numbers don’t look good on paper. The good new is QB Zeb Noland looks to be healthy after having surgery on his meniscus last month.

If the Gamecocks can figure out a way to stop the Tigers’ rushing attack, then the pressure will be on Finley to pass the ball soundly. This could give the Gamecocks an opportunity to bring the house and put the Auburn QB in some tricky spots. We’ll see how Beamer draws this one up.

How long can Arkansas hang with Alabama? 

Outside of the Eastern Division, there is one game that could clinch a division title this weekend in the SEC. Alabama will look to take advantage of the Arkansas run defense and wear down the Razorbacks on Saturday. There should be a distinct mismatch at the QB position, with Bryce Young looking to lead the Tide to an SEC Championship Game appearance. The Razorbacks will have K.J. Jefferson scrambling outside the pocket, looking to make plays on the run in an effort to get away from Alabama’s front four. The Tide have shown some vulnerability in the secondary at times this season, so we will see whether Arkansas OC Kendal Briles can draw something up to gain separation down the field.

Alabama (9-1, 5-1) is a 28.5 point favorite over Arkansas (7-3, 3-3), according to FanDuel.

I don’t know how long the Razorbacks can hang with Alabama, but I promise you they will look at how LSU played the Tide and try to mirror the play calling. This one shouldn’t be close, but as we’ve seen out of Alabama this season, they can be hot and cold in these types of games. I think Nick Saban leads his team to a Western Division crown, but I would imagine Sam Pittman will have his Razorbacks ready for a fight. Hopefully this one turns into a good game and proves Vegas wrong.

Written by Trey Wallace

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