SEC Week 7 picks: Georgia vs. Alabama & 4 more
Following another wild weekend of football in the SEC, the madness should intensify in Week 7, with a matchup between No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia.
In Week 6, Alabama's defense allowed Ole Miss to stay within reach in a 63-48 shootout, while the Crimson Tide's upcoming opponent, Georgia, crushed a ranked team for the second straight week.
After five straight losses to the Crimson Tide, Georgia may finally hold the upper hand in the series, especially with Alabama coach Nick Saban forced to sit out Saturday.
Let's break down this high-stakes clash, along with four other intriguing Week 7 SEC matchups.
#3 Georgia vs. #2 Alabama
Sun, October 18 2020, 12:00 AM
Alabama Crimson Tide
The Crimson Tide is just a 4.5-point home favorite, after the line shifted two points following the announcement of Saban’s COVID-19 diagnosis.
With Saban currently in quarantine, offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has been named acting head coach against Alabama’s toughest opponent on the schedule.
Through three games, Georgia has won by an average margin of 23.6 points, behind the steady play of quarterback Stetson Bennett and the No. 2 defense in the nation.
The Bulldogs rank first in the SEC in yards allowed (236.7), passing yards allowed (198.3), rushing yards allowed (38.3), and points allowed (12.3).
The Crimson Tide is fourth to last in the conference in total yards and passing yards surrendered, while it has given up 30.3 points per game, eighth most in the SEC.
On the plus side for Alabama, it has two Heisman candidates, in Mac Jones — college football’s most efficient passer — and Najee Harris, the nation’s rushing touchdown leader (10).
Alabama QB Mac Jones is ranked:— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) October 11, 2020
— No. 1 nationally in pass efficiency (220.3)
— No. 2 in completion percentage (79.5)
— No. 2 in yards per completion (16.7)
— No. 4 in passing yards per game (367)
Those two hold the key to Alabama’s success Saturday. If they can jump out to a lead early against Georgia, the Bulldogs — who tend to start slow — should struggle to catch up.
The Tide is 4-1 against the spread in its last five home games, but the underdog is 6-0 ATS in the past six games in this series.
#15 Auburn vs. South Carolina
Sat, October 17 2020, 4:00 PM
South Carolina Gamecocks
After losses to Tennessee and Florida, South Carolina beat up on a winless Vanderbilt, as Kevin Harris ran for 171 of the team’s 289 rushing yards and added two scores.
Auburn was lucky to get a win against Arkansas in Week 6 and has struggled to defend the run. The Tigers offense hasn’t inspired much confidence (the unit is second to last in the SEC in yards per game) and will find it difficult to move the chains on the Gamecocks’ stingy defense.
Kentucky vs. #18 Tennessee
Sat, October 17 2020, 4:00 PM
Kentucky’s defense embarrassed Mississippi State last weekend and held K.J. Costello to 232 yards on 36-of-55 passing. The defense also intercepted Costello four times and picked off his replacement, Will Rogers, twice.
Kentucky 24, Miss. State ...— Will Stewart (@WillStewartTSL) October 11, 2020
Wait for it ...
A Mike Leach offense just scored 2 points. And threw six interceptions.
With a defensive performance like that, it hardly mattered that UK’s Terry Wilson went 8-of-20 passing, for 73 yards, while the run game put up 84 yards on 32 carries.
The offense must play better in Saturday’s rivalry matchup. The Vols haven’t lost to Kentucky at home since 1984 and lead the series 81-25-9.
Ole Miss vs. Arkansas
Sat, October 17 2020, 7:30 PM
Both Ole Miss and Arkansas are coming off hard-fought, gut-wrenching losses.
In Week 6, Ole Miss matched Alabama score for score, up until the final minutes of the fourth quarter, when the Crimson Tide put the game away. And a questionable play call cost Arkansas an upset over Auburn.
The Razorbacks have shown surprising fight this season and already beat Ole Miss’ cross-state rival, Mississippi State. They won’t have the same luck against the Rebels offense, which ranks second in the country in yards per game (573).
#11 Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State
Sat, October 17 2020, 8:00 PM
Mississippi State Bulldogs
Texas A&M Aggies
All the excitement Mississippi State built with its season-opening win over defending champion LSU has fallen by the wayside.
Costello has coughed up nine interceptions across three games, and his passing yardage has continued to drop since his SEC-record 623 in Week 5.
Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond is trending in the opposite direction. He played his best game of the season in a win against Florida last week and will ride that momentum to a victory Saturday.