SEC football election, likely in Week 12: Alabama overtakes Arkansas, Auburn crosses South Carolina

We reached the penultimate weekend of the college football regular season. In the SEC, this is often referred to as “Cupcake Saturday”. Some teams will visit the bakery for sweet treats, but there are a few matches that will please your palate much more than just dessert.

No. 21 Arkansas will visit No. 2 Alabama in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week, Florida visits Missouri in one of the biggest games of Gators coach Dan Mullen’s career and Auburn will be without quarterback Bo Nix when it plays South Carolina in Columbia. .

What are the biggest stories in the SEC this weekend? Let’s take them down and then make game choices directly and against the spread.

Auburn quarterback Bo Nix had surgery this week to repair a broken ankle he suffered in the loss to Mississippi State, meaning TJ Finley will step in as the No. 1 quarterback for coach Bryan Harsin. Finley, of course, replaced Nix when Auburn followed Georgia State in the second half and led the Tigers to a last-minute victory.

Finley, a delivery from LSU, will make his first start for the orange and blue on Saturday at South Carolina. Coincidentally, Columbia is where he got his first start last year for LSU. Harsin and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo wouldn’t have to change much of the offense to fit Finley’s style. He is quiet in the pocket, possesses the arm strength to make hard throws across the field and has decent accuracy deep ground.

“There are a lot of similarities out there, but as for TJ, we’ve already done it,” Harsin said Monday. “You know a little bit of what he likes and, again, we’re going to have to still do our offense and do things that we feel are going to succeed. He’s going to have to be able to implement those (things), and he’s. Will do everything we have in our game plan. “

South Carolina has the second-best pass in the SEC (185.5 yards per game), so it will be a great way for Finley to settle in before next week’s Iron Bowl against Alabama.

Main course: Alabama lacks time

The Crimson Tide must win one of their final two games to clinch the SEC West and place in the SEC Championship Game. This weekend against Arkansas is huge not only for conference title hopes, but one of the last shots coach Nick Saban’s team has to solve their one ongoing problem – taking care of the football.

They averaged just 3.76 yards per carry in conference games and managed 0.23 yards per carry in its last SEC game, the 20-14 win over LSU two weeks ago. That will prevent Alabama from being a true national title contender unless it is fixed in a hurry. If it isn’t, the Crimson Tide will have no chance of defeating No. 1 Georgia in Atlanta and swinging back-to-back victories in the College Football Finals – if it even gets it there.

The Razorbacks are a good team to try right against. They give up 4.66 yards per rush and are 11th in the conference in tackles for a loss allowed at 64. That’s a far cry from late September when defensive coordinator Barry Odom was praised as one of the best in the business.

Alabama must have a great day on earth on Saturday. If it doesn’t, alarm bells should ring very loudly.

Dessert: A little love for the defenders

The Heisman Trophy race is as open as ever, and two stud defenders made Caesars Sportsbook’s odds at (+8000) this week: Georgia nose guard Jordan Davis and Will Anderson Jr. Forgive me as I get up from my seat and get a standing ovation. The award is given to the “leading player in college football” not the “best offensive player on one of the best teams”. There is no doubt that the duo are fit.

Davis, a 6-foot-6, 340-pound monster, dominates the inside of the Bulldogs defensive line. Even if he doesn’t actually make kits, Davis occupies a space that allows his teammates to make games. Anderson, meanwhile, leads the nation in sacks at 12.5 (1.25 per game), and has hit on quarterbacks in critical situations since the opening against Miami.

Or will it actually win it? Probably not. After all, there are a lot of Heisman voters who fall into the offensive agility game trap every year. However, both stars belong to New York City in mid-December as finalists for the most prestigious individual award in American sports.

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Straight up: 74-19 | Against the spread: 42-39

So much for the Aggies licking their wounds after being strolled by Alabama. They will face their second direct SEC opponent this week as they travel to Kentucky, and it will turn out almost like last week’s disaster in Tuscaloosa. Kentucky will use its multi-dimensional passing attack, get quarterback Will Levis ready for next weekend’s rivalry with Louisville and hang a half-cent on the unfortunate Aggies. Selection: Kentucky (-36)

number 21 Arkansas at number 2 Alabama

Latest Odds:

Alabama Crimson Tide -20.5

This one won’t be as nervous for Alabama fans as the LSU game was two weeks ago, but it won’t be exactly comfortable either. The Arkansas offense is very unique thanks to 6-foot-3, 240-pound double threat quarterback KJ Jefferson. Simply put, there aren’t many ways to simulate the kind of multidimensional power attack that Arkansas deploys every weekend. That offense will be successful enough to stay within the number against an Alabama team that will continue to struggle on the football field. Selection: Arkansas (+20.5)

Florida at Missouri

Latest Odds:

Missouri Tigers +8.5

Florida is an 8.5-point favorite this weekend that feels 14 points too much. The Gators defense was burned by Samford last week, and Missouri running back Tyler Badie will flirt with 200 rushing yards this weekend. Yes, Florida’s offense shone last week with Emory Jones at the helm, suggesting this will be a shootout. Home-standing Missouri will have no problem punching it on the ground and playing hold in the fourth quarter to source the frustration. Selection: Missouri (+8.5)

Auburn at South Carolina

Latest Odds:

South Carolina Gamecocks +7.5

Auburn gives quarterback TJ Finley his first start of the season, and it will be against the second best pass defense in the country. In theory, this should give bettors a break if they intend to take the Tigers and place the points. Don’t worry about it. Auburn running backs Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter will return to their early-season ways, hammer the rock against the 11th-ranked fast defense in the SEC (168.9 yards per game) and come out of Columbia with a two-digit win. Selection: Auburn (-7)

Ole Miss is on a bee line to New Year’s Six Bowl, and it will make a big statement on Saturday night in Oxford. The Rebels offense have been lights all year, but the defense looked terrible last weekend against Texas A&M and hasn’t been lit like a Christmas tree since it peaked in Arkansas in early October. We’re looking at a 50-burger from Matt Corral and Co., and the Commodores won’t even hit double digits. Choice: Ole Miss (-36.5)

Latest Odds:

Tennessee Volunteers -28

Tennessee has scored more points against Georgia than any other team this season, but not as if the Jaguars are a disaster in that section. They rank second in the Sun Belt in overall defense (320.4 yards per game), yards per game (4.98) and red zone touchdown percentage (50%). I love the Volunteers offense and where coach Josh Heupel is headed, but Staggerers give the Jaguars too many points: Selection: South Alabama (+27.5)

Latest Odds:

LSU Tigers -29

The Warhawks have the worst offense and second worst defense in the Solar Zone, and it’s clear at this point that Garrett Nussmeier and Max Johnson are currently hearing for the top spot on the deep letter to the still-hired staff. That means coach Ed Orgeron won’t take his foot off the gas during the full four quarters and gain some offensive momentum by directing next week’s rivalry game against Texas A&M. Select: LSU (-29)

Other games against FCS teams

  • # 1 Georgia over Charleston Southern (No line available)
  • # 16 Texas A&M over Prairie View A&M (No line available)
  • number 25 Mississippi State over Tennessee State (No line available)

What choices of college football can you make with confidence in Week 12, and which College Football Playoff contestant will be difficult? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread – all from a proven computer model that has returned nearly $ 3,500 in profit over the past five-plus seasons – and find out.

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