Friday, October 10, 2014

Best Games for Week 7

Noon Game
No. 13 Georgia Bulldogs @ No. 23 Missouri Tigers (CBS)

This game has lost a bit of its appeal in the wake of Todd Gurley being suspended for receiving improper benefits. Gurley is the leading Heisman candidate and has been unstoppable in every game this year. Georgia is going to be in a tough situation heading into this game. They will also be without standout freshman Sony Michel due to injury, leaving them with their other standout freshman Nick Chubb and a strangely underutilized Keith Marshall in the backfield. I simply don't trust quarterback Hutson Mason to make the throws necessary to keep them in the game. Their defense will also be tested against a Missouri offense that has a lot of potential, but has been inconsistent this season. Their quarterback Maty Mauk has a good touchdown to pick ratio (14:4), but he is only completing 56% of his passes on the year. A big reason for this is that they throw a lot of intermediate to deep routes, as evidenced by their two leading receivers averaging over 15 yards a reception. Russell Hansbrough and Marcus Murphy have combined for 733 yards and six touchdowns on the year at a solid 5.6 yards a carry. The Tigers also have a pair of dangerous edge rushers who will hassle Mason all day if he doesn't make quick decisions and deliver. Without Gurley, I don't think Georgia has enough fire power to keep up with Missouri. I think the Tigers solidify their position in the SEC East with a victory over Georgia, 28-20.

Afternoon Game
No. 2 Auburn Tigers @ No. 3 Mississippi State Bulldogs (3:30 on CBS)

This should be a great game. I'll admit that I really don't know that much about Mississippi State as I haven't had a chance to watch them this season, but their quarterback Dak Prescott has emerged as a Heisman front runner. Prescott accounted for five total touchdowns in the upset of Texas A&M last week and will need to have an equally big performance this week to pull off another upset. The Bulldogs have been averaging 43 points a game this season, best for 12th in the nation at this point. Its clear that they know how to generate yardage and points, but it is going to be up to the defense to give them a comfortable lead at home. The defense picked off Kenny Hill three times last week, but they still have given up an average of 30 points against their two SEC foes. We already know what Auburn is capable of as they retained a lot of players from a championship run last year. Lead by Nick Marshall, Auburn is a dangerous offensive team that can strike in any multitude of ways. Marshall is still developing as a passer, but his game against LSU can show you what he is capable of when he gets into a rhythm. For the Bulldogs to win, they have to limit the ground game and keep Marshall in the pocket and force him to beat them with his arm. Auburn has a surprisingly stout defense this year that is allowing only 14 points a game. I think experience and better coaching allows Auburn to walk away from this one in an all too close for comfort game, 41-35.

Evening/Night Game
No. 3 Ole Miss Rebels @ No. 14 Texas A&M Aggies (9:30 on ESPN)

Unfortunately, there really aren't any appealing games once the Auburn vs. Mississippi State game ends and this one begins. If you are feeling desperate, Alabama at Arkansas should be interesting to see if Alabama can rebound after last week's loss. But this game provides the most intrigue. Ole Miss is coming off of the high of beating a top three ranked team last week and vaulting eight spots up the polls. As I discussed in my top ten rankings for this week, the Rebels have a superb defense and an offense that is very dynamic when it is clicking. They are going to need a complete game to be able to beat a Texas A&M team that is looking very desperate after a loss last week and a poor outing against Arkansas the week prior. As was the problem last year, the Aggies defense just lets up too many big plays. They have some highly touted recruits on that side of the ball, but Sumlin hasn't been able to put it all together to make a strong defense that can show up every week. The good news is that they can score with the best of them. Kenny Hill is a talented quarterback, but sometimes he makes some absolutely dreadful decisions that lead to turnovers. Against Ole Miss, Sumlin is going to have to get the run game going from the start. Alabama churned out six yards a carry against Ole Miss last week, and with A&M averaging 190 yards a game on the ground they shouldn't have too much difficulty getting the ball moving. Still, I don't think that they will be able to overcome the Rebels' stifling defense. I like Ole Miss in this one 35-27.

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