Monsoons and blowouts took center stage for most of the SEC last week. In Knoxville, rain and a drunken Periscope chase overshadowed Brady Hoke’s first game. Elsewhere the top SEC teams had their cupcakes and ate them too.
This week, the SEC docket is spread out like a Thanksgiving feast over three days. On Thursday, the Egg Bowl begins the schedule, while the Iron Bowl arrives on Saturday. Playoff implications and state ownership rule rivalry week. Can teams rise to the challenge, or will they fold?
The Iron Bowl: No. 1 Alabama @ No.6 Auburn
Saturday, 3:30 PM: CBS, Alabama -4.5
No. 1 Alabama takes its show on the road to Jordan-Hare Stadium this Saturday for another classic battle. The Tide roll in after rolling past Mercer. Despite a litany of injuries on defense, ‘Bama has been able to reach the final regular season game undefeated and ready for a showdown. With their sights set on Atlanta, the Crimson Tide must first take care of business against a streaking Auburn team.
The last time the Tigers faced off against the No. 1 team in the country, they destroyed the Georgia Bulldogs. After wrecking one undefeated season, the Tigers look to maul another undefeated season and head to Atlanta for a rematch.
This game is bound to be epic, possibly echoing back to the returned missed field goal famously known as the “Kick Six” from 2013. Both teams have looked incredible this season. Hurts and Ridley will have to step up to take the pressure off the running backs. Auburn has proven that shutting down the run is its specialty, so Hurts will have to prove he can beat the Tigers with his arm.
Alabama’s Key Players: Jalen Hurts, Bo Scarborough, Calvin Ridley
Auburn’s Key Players: Jarrett Stidham, Kerryon Johnson, Javaris Davis
Battle 4 Tennessee: “This is our state!”
Saturday, 4:00 PM: SEC Network, Tenn. -1
(just check in on the score around 5:30 and 7:00…that is about all you will need to watch of this game) For real though, if you are dead set on being a die-hard Vol’s fan, at least split screen this with the Iron Bowl.
But enjoy watching the Vols rally for their seniors and play their hearts out. Currently, the weather looks pretty mild so we will see what Hoke and the staff have come up with. Fingers crossed for more intentional screens to Chandler and Kelly!
Tennessee Key Players: John Kelly, Ty Chandler
Vanderbilt Key Players: Kyle Shurmur, Ralph Webb
Texas A&M @ No.20 LSU
Saturday, 7:30 PM: SEC Network, LSU -10.5
Looking to close out a decent season under Ole Coach Ogeron, the Bayou Bengals look to close out 2017 with a regular season win at night. The Tigers have raced to their record on the back of their dynamic running back duo. In combination with the ground game, the passing attack has been managed beautifully by Danny Etling. After almost drowning in Neyland last week, the Tigers hope for a much dryer climate at home.
Meanwhile, the Aggies play what could be Coach Sumlin’s last game as head coach. The Aggies have been struggling this season, leading to their hopes of losing Sumlin for a step up in coaching. After blowing one of the biggest leads of the season, the Aggies have lost big to their other opponents. Sumlin has led his team to gritty wins this season. The Aggies will look to notch another one in a quality win for the program.
LSU’s Key Players: Derrius Guice, Darrel Williams, D.J. Chark
Texas A&M’s Key Players: Nick Starkel, Christian Kirk