After going 13-1 in Week 1, the SEC reloads for Week 2 with all 14 teams playing, including two games where both teams are ranked, two games with conference opponents and seven games where both teams are from a power-five conference.
Headlining the SEC Week 2 schedule are No. 1 Alabama’s trip to Texas at noon, Vanderbilt playing host to ranked Wake Forest, No. 23 Tennessee traveling north to face No. 17 Pitt and No. 12 Florida hosting No. 20 Kentucky.
SEC Week 2 noon slate
No. 1 Alabama (-20.0) @ Texas
The reigning SEC champions face their first test of the season against Texas for Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff.
Alabama is coming off of a 55-0 win over Utah State, in which 2021 Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young picked up right where he left off with 295 yards of total offense and six total touchdowns. Transfers running back Jahmyr Gibbs and wide receiver Jermaine Burton both had solid games with Gibbs having 95 yards rushing and Burton scoring two touchdowns.
Although Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers played well in his first-career start against UL-Monroe, where he threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns, this is the real deal coming to DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium in the Crimson Tide. The power of Alabama’s defense, led by Heisman Trophy contender Will Anderson Jr., as well as the star power on offense will be too much for the Longhorns on Saturday.
Television Coverage: Fox
Prediction: Alabama 45, Texas 21
South Carolina @ No. 16 Arkansas (-8.0)
To kick off SEC-play within the conference, South Carolina travels to Arkansas on Saturday for a noon kickoff on ESPN.
The Razorbacks kicked off the 2022 campaign with an impressive win at home against then-No. 23 Cincinatti, where KJ Jefferson threw for three touchdowns and Raheim Sanders rushed for over 100 yards.
Meanwhile, South Carolina struggled at home against Georgia State offensively. The Gamecocks, who were 12.5-point favorites, only led 12-7 at the end of the first half and found themselves down 14-12 late in the third quarter. Spencer Rattler threw two interceptions in the game but added a touchdown pass to take the lead in the third quarter.
That being said, Arkansas is too talented and too experienced for South Carolina to compete, especially with the Hogs having home-field advantage.
Television Coverage: ESPN
Prediction: Arkansas 31, South Carolina 14
No. 23 Wake Forest (-12.5) @ Vanderbilt
To say Vanderbilt being 2-0 to start the season may be a surprise to some, but not to second-year head coach Clark Lea.
The Commodore offense has impressed the last two weeks behind the heroics of quarterback Mike Wright, who has ten touchdowns from scrimmage this season. Overall, Vanderbilt is averaging 52.5 points per game.
However, the defense is a major red flag, especially after allowing 31 points at home against Elon last week.
Meanwhile, Wake Forest welcomes back star quarterback Sam Hartman after he missed time due to a blood clot issue. Wake Forest should have no issue scoring points on Saturday between Hartman’s return and a talented dynamic duo of Christian Turner (100 yards and two touchdowns against VMI) and Justice Ellison.
However, expect Vanderbilt to go down swinging with Wright at quarterback, but their defense simply is not good enough to stop the Demon Deacon offense.
Television Coverage: SEC Network
Prediction: Wake Forest 42, Vanderbilt 31
Missouri @ Kansas State (-7.5)
In a battle of former Big 12 foes, Missouri takes on Kansas State for the first time since 2011, the Tigers’ last year in the Big 12.
Missouri ushered in a new quarterback in Brady Cook last week, but the true identity of the Tigers’ offense is their rush attack. In their 52-24 win over Louisiana Tech last week, the Tigers combined for over 300 rushing yards with five touchdowns. Three players (Cook, running back Nathaniel Peat and running back Cody Schrader) all rushed for at least 60 yards and a score.
Kansas State also ushered in a new quarterback last week in former Nebraska starter Adrian Martinez. Similar to Missouri, Kansas State’s offensive identity, at least last week, was to run the ball. Star running back Deuce Vaughn finished with 126 yards and a touchdown.
While, ultimately, Missouri should keep it close and at least cover the spread, Vaughn’s rushing ability, overall team experience and home-field advantage should be enough for a Wildcats’ win.
Television Coverage: ESPN2
Prediction: Kansas State 28, Missouri 24
SEC Week 2 3:30 p.m. Slate
Appalachian State @ No. 6 Texas A&M (-19.0)
One of six SEC schools to begin the season with a new quarterback, the Aggies’ transition with Haynes King had some growing pains in the 31-0 win over Sam Houston.
While the Aggie defense shined allowing less than 200 yards of total offense, King threw two interceptions in Sam Houston territory while the Aggies’ special teams missed a field goal. Despite these growing pains, King was able to throw for over 350 yards and three touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Appalachian State nearly knocked off North Carolina in a game that saw over 120-combined points scored, including 40 points by the Mountaineers in the fourth quarter after being down by 20 at one point.
Quarterback Chase Brice shined, throwing for 361 yards and six touchdowns, while Nate Noel added 116 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Expect this one to be decided in the fourth quarter, but for the Aggies to pull away with the win.
Television Coverage: ESPN2
Prediction: Texas A&M 38, Appalachian State 24
No. 23 Tennessee (-6.0) @ No. 17 Pittsburgh
The most compelling non-conference game in the SEC belongs to Tennessee, who makes a rare trip North to face 2021 ACC Champion Pittsburgh.
In a comfortable 59-10 win over Ball State, Hendon Hooker threw for 221 yards and two touchdowns with another two scores on the ground. The Vols’ running back duo of Jaylen Wright and Jabari Small rushed for a combined 151 yards and two touchdowns, while the defense pitched a near-shutout with three takeaways.
On the other side, Pittsburgh defeated West Virginia 38-31 in the return of the Backyard Brawl. In his first start for the Panthers, Kedon Slovis threw for over 300 yards and a touchdown, while Rodney Hammond Jr. added two more scores on the ground. However, the play of the game came with about three minutes left in the fourth quarter when MJ Devonshire intercepted a dropped ball and returned it 57 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
However, Pitt made plenty of mistakes in that game, and the pick-six came off of a dropped pass.
This game will come down to the wire, and despite the Panthers playing at home, Hooker’s experience and Tennessee’s overall talent should be enough to squeak by a win against a ranked non-conference opponent.
Television Coverage: ABC
Prediction: Tennessee 28, Pittsburgh 27
Samford @ No. 2 Georgia
Georgia impressed in Week 1 against then-No. 11 Oregon with a 49-3 win in Atlanta and now look to build off of that against Samford.
There was hardly anything Georgia didn’t do wrong. Stetson Bennett IV threw for 368 yards and two touchdowns while adding another on the ground. Running back Kenny McIntosh caught nine passes for 117 yards and added a rushing touchdown. Ten different Bulldogs caught passes with seven of them catching at least two.
Defensively, Georgia intercepted two passes and shut down everything Oregon had to offer offensively. In the second half, the Bulldogs only allowed Oregon to cross the 50-yard line once, which was the final drive of the game that ended in a turnover on downs.
That being said, Georgia is at the top of the college football world with Alabama, and there’s no one even close.
Television Coverage: SEC Network (4 p.m.)
Prediction: Georgia 59, Samford 6
SEC Week 2 Evening slate
Central Arkansas @ No. 22 Ole Miss
Ole Miss looks to move to 2-0 in 2022 against another lower school, and they should have no problem defeating the Bears.
Another SEC school with a new quarterback, Ole Miss also experienced some growing pains with USC transfer Jaxson Dart, who threw for 154 yards, one touchdown and one interception last week. However, the Rebel offense prides itself in star running back Zach Evans, who rushed for 130 yards against Troy. Evans’ total is already good for fourth in the conference this season, despite two Vanderbilt players holding the top-two spots (Vanderbilt’s already played two games).
There is no line or over/under in this game due to Central Arkansas not being a FBS school, but expect the Rebels to win comfortably.
Television Coverage: ESPN+/SEC Network+ (7 p.m.)
Prediction: Ole Miss 52, Central Arkansas 3
No. 20 Kentucky @ No. 12 Florida (-6.0)
After an upset win over Utah to kick off the Billy Napier-era, Florida looks to add another win over a ranked opponent in Week 2.
Anthony Richardson rushed for three touchdowns and accounted for 274 yards of total offense in his first start in the Swamp, earning SEC Offensive Player of the Week. Defensively, Florida experienced highs and lows both in passing and rushing. However, an Amari Burney interception in the end zone sealed the win for the Gators.
Meanwhile, Kentucky defeated Miami (Ohio) 37-13 to open the 2022 season, but it wasn’t pretty by any means. Will Levis threw for over 300 yards, but the Wildcat offensive line gave up four sacks. Additionally, Kentucky rushed for only 50 yards on 26 carries, despite having an offense known for rushing.
Additionally, the Wildcats will be without three running backs as two are out with injuries and starter Chris Rodriguez is unavailable due to off-field issues.
Kentucky defeated Florida 20-13 in 2021 for their first win at home against the Gators since 1986, but with another sold-out crowd in the Swamp and momentum from last week, the Gators should be able to pull out the win at home in arguably the most important game in Week 2 of the SEC.
Television Coverage: ESPN (7 p.m.)
Prediction: Florida 34, Kentucky 24
San Jose State @ Auburn (-23.0)
Another team with growing pains, Auburn’s 42-16 win over Mercer last week certainly wasn’t perfect, but the Tigers’ rushing offense shined behind a 147-yard, two touchdown performance from running back Tank Bigsby.
Defensively, Auburn shut down the run completely and held the Bears to less than 200 yards of passing offense.
In their close win over Portland State, the Spartans handled the run decently but did not protect their air well as they allowed 270 passing yards and two touchdowns.
That being said, Auburn starter TJ Finlay should perform smoother on Saturday while the rushing attack and defense build on their momentum from last week.
Television Coverage: ESPNU (7:30 p.m.)
Prediction: Auburn 47, San Jose State 10
Southern @ LSU
LSU disappointed in Week 1 against Florida State by not only missing a field goal early in the game and the game-tying PAT at the end of the game, but by being the only SEC-school to lose last Saturday. However, Brian Kelly’s Tigers have a great chance for an easy rebound against FCS Southern. Television coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.
Quarterback Jayden Daniels provided 92% of the Tigers’ total yards against the Seminoles, and expect that trend to continue. Meanwhile, the Tiger defense and special teams performed poorly, to say the least. LSU gave up 392 total yards against Florida State while muffing two punts, missing a field goal and missing the game-tying PAT.
However, LSU should rebound comfortably against an FCS opponent for their Week 2 game in the SEC.
Television Coverage: SEC Network (7:30 p.m.)
Prediction: LSU 56, Southern 10
Mississippi State (-10.5) @ Arizona
In the final SEC game of the night, Mississippi State travels West to take on Arizona for the PAC-12 after dark game, with kickoff set for 11 p.m. EST.
The Bulldogs found themselves up 35-3 in the third quarter against Memphis last week before the Tigers scored three touchdowns over the final 22 minutes of the game, but mostly against Mississippi State’s backups.
Mike Leach’s air-raid offense shined as Will Rogers threw for 450 yards and five touchdowns in the 49-23 win.
Last week, Arizona shut down San Diego State’s non-existent passing offense in a 38-20 win while adding 299 passing yards and four touchdowns of their own from Jayden de Laura.
However, Leach’s air-raid offense, while hit or miss at times, is significantly stronger than the San Diego State offense Arizona shut down. While Arizona’s offense should put up some points, the Bulldogs should be able to pull this one out to conclude the SEC Week 2 schedule.
Television Coverage: Fox Sports 1 (11 p.m.)
Prediction: Mississippi State 38, Arizona 28