As the college football season dwindles down to the last couple weeks of play, here’s a look at this weekend’s SEC action.
Mississippi State at Arkansas.
Both teams want desperately to douse their losing streaks. Mississippi State is currently riding a three game losing skid while Arkansas has chalked up a gasping seven game streak. It’s been nothing short of a dismal season for the Razorbacks under first year coach Brett Bielema, who has yet to win his first conference game.
Bielema knows the struggle has been hard on his players, and he talks about what the team needs to do in order to capture their first W.
“They’re doing a lot of really good things, both on and off the field, and hopefully they’re able to put it together in a winning fashion on Saturday. I think they’ve understood how we can win, the physicality that we got to play with, the X’s and O’s, and the things that we preach about every day. It’s become more and more evident. I hope it happens this Saturday. If it doesn’t, it’s going to come soon,” he said.
Both teams feature a run-heavy offense, and something will have to give as both of these teams seek to get on the winning side of the tracks. For Mississippi State, a win would keep their bowl dreams alive, giving them an opportunity to win their last game and finish at 6-6. Kick off between these SEC West foes is slated for 12:21.
Coastal Carolina at South Carolina.
Although it sounds like South Carolina should steam roll to a blowout victory, Coastal Carolina could put up a fight with their high powered offense, which is ranked top 10 in scoring offense and rushing in the FCS.
Carolina coach Steve Spurrier knows it’s no surprise with that type of offense, that the Chanticleers won a share of the Big South Conference, “
They are a very good team. They’ve set all types off offensive records this year at Coastal. They’ve got excellent running backs, wide receivers, quarterback plays well, defense hangs in there and plays well, and a well-coached team,” said Spurrier.
Shon Carson will get the start at running back for the gamecocks as Senior Mike Davis is out with an ankle sprain. Spurrier also mentioned the possibility of junior quarterback Dylan Thompson getting some reps as well. Kick off is at 1 pm from Williams-Brice Stadium.
Kentucky at Georgia. Kentucky heads into Athens after a loss to Vanderbilt and still looks to notch its first conference win under first year coach Mark Stoops. For Georgia, the year has been a disappointment to say the least. Playing amidst injuries and failed expectations, Georgia is looking to rebound after a heartbreaker against Auburn.
Although their season hasn’t panned out like they envisioned, Georgia head coach Mark Richt knows his upperclassmen want to walk off of their home field for the last time as winners.
“The big focus for us this week is, it’s our senior’s last home game, and we’ll be honoring those guys prior to the game. I know they’re going to want to play their best. I think their teammates are going to want to play their best for them. So, that’s been a big part of our motivation this week,” Richt said. Kickoff is set for 7 PM.
Vanderbilt at Tennessee.
The Commodores come into this weekend’s game as slight favorites, but that doesn’t fool head coach James Franklin. Franklin knows Tennessee has the talent needed to pull out an upset.
“I think they’re still loaded with athleticism and size. I mean you go back and study Tennessee’s recruiting classes for the last 80 years; they’ve had great recruiting classes. They’ve brought really talented people there,” said Franklin. Kickoff between the Commodores and Volunteers is set for 7 PM.
Texas A&M at LSU.
With players such as Mike Evans, Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, Johnny Manziel, Zach Mettenberger, and Jeremy Hill, the match between the Aggies and Tigers will showcase some of the top receivers, quarterbacks, and running backs the SEC has to offer.
Johnny Manziel and company bring a high-powered offense that leads the league in both yards (578) and scoring (49.2) per game. A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin talks about what he has seen from Johnny Manziel and the Aggie offense this year.
“It’s fun to watch. I’ve said this before; I think everybody gets to see him on Saturday. The coaches and players around here don’t get surprised too much anymore because as good of things we see on Saturday, there’s some things we see Monday through Friday that are even more amazing,” he said.
With A&M’s prolific offensive attack, LSU could counter by keeping control of the clock with a little ground and pound from running back Jeremy Hill. A little back up from the roaring crowd in Tiger stadium wouldn’t hurt either. Kickoff is set for 3:30.
Missouri at Ole Miss.
Two ranked teams play here. With SEC title hopes on the line, Missouri controls its own destiny on the way to Atlanta. Simply put, if the Tigers can beat Ole Miss and Texas A&M next weekend, they punch their ticket to the SEC championship game. Any stumbles along the way however, will grant South Carolina to represent the East come December.
However, Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel isn’t biting on the title talks just yet.
“ No one’s talking about championships around here. Nobody’s talking about anything. We’re talking about Ole Miss and our preparation to play our best football game. That’s what we work real hard to do, and hopefully we can do that,” Pinkel said.
Missouri welcomes back quarterback James Franklin to the starting lineup. Franklin has been out the past four games due to an injured shoulder. With regards to Ole Miss, starting running back Jeff Scott seems to be back at full health after recovering from a deep thigh bruise. Kickoff is set for 7:45
*Other SEC action includes Chattanooga at Alabama.
To hear the head coaches’ comments on this weekends games, please click on the links below.