Here is my best games of Week 4 in the SEC
Week 4 of the SEC is interesting. There is a big division crossover game in Athens and many in the SEC believe this could very well decide who the SEC’s second-best team to contender with Alabama. Also, Week 4 means when all of the game have ended on Saturday; a third of the SEC college football season will have been played.
Vanderbilt vs. Alabama
Vanderbilt Stadium-Nashville, TN
Saturday, 3:30 pm, CBS
This is the best Vanderbilt team since James Franklin left four years ago. Coach Derek Masson has built a legit SEC contender, with a strong defense. The QB Kyle Shurmur has the best QBR (quarterback rating) in the conference. Vandy has not really relied on RB Ralph Webb, who has rushed for only 149 thus far because Shurmur is playing so great. The Commodores’ defense has been playing “lights out” so far this season. However, Vandy has a difficult next couple of games-Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.
The Alabama Crimson Tide makes it way to Nashville. Alabama’s offense is probably the most complete offense that the Commodores will face this season. Vandy’s defense will be ready to challenge Alabama; however the Crimson Tide will prevail in the end.
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M
ATT Stadium-Arlington, TX
Saturday, Noon pm, ESPN
This game is known as the old Southwest Classic, when both Arkansas and Texas A&M were in the now defunct Southwest Conference. However, right now the game could be known as the “Hot Seat Classic” because the fans at both Arkansas and Texas A&M are not happy with their coaches right now.
The question in this game which team is going to move the ball? The Aggies are 5-0 against the Hogs and if their running game is effect on Saturday, it possible to be 6-0. Texas A&M started off slow against Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend, however had success moving the ball in the second half with RB Trayveon Williams and WR Christian Kirk. So, if the Aggies can get off to a good start then they should have a chance to win. On the other side, Arkansas has an advantage with QB Austin Allen and if the Razorbacks’ offensive line can hold up; then Allen can do some damage against the Aggies’ corners. The Hogs are coming off a disappointing loss to TCU, who ran the ball quite easily against them. Arkansas should step up this week and be ready to play.
Florida vs. Kentucky
Kroger Field-Lexington, KY
Saturday, 7:30 pm, SEC Network
Florida have won 30 in row in this series against Kentucky; that is the best current series winning streak in FBS. Is this the year that Kentucky can bring the streak to an end? The Wildcats are off to the first 2-0 start since 1977 and coming off a surprise win against South Carolina. However, Kentucky will need to have an effective run game against Florida to win. UK RB Benny Snell needs to be a factor in this game. Snell did not have a carry against the Gators last year. He must produce to complement the passing of UK QB Stephen Johnson.
On the other side of the ball, Florida still have not found an offensive identity yet. If QB Feleipe Franks has time to throw the ball; he could potentially do some damage to the Wildcats’ secondary. For that to happen, the Gators will have move the ball effectively to take the pressure off Franks throwing the ball. Florida has dominated this series and I don’t see that change Saturday night. I see the Gators’ defense holding the Wildcats to one or two touchdown and their offense doing just enough to win the game.
Mississippi State vs. Georgia
Sanford Stadium-Athens, GA
Saturday, 7:00 pm, ESPN
Let’s take a poll. Raise your hand, if you thought this would be the SEC game of the week. The Georgia-Mississippi State was just one of many games this weekend before the season. However, it’s the game that many SEC sports commentators believe the winner becomes the leading contender to Alabama. Mississippi State and Georgia are both undefeated right now and coming off great wins. So, on Saturday night which team of Bulldogs will get the “W” and catapult into the second-best team in the SEC? Mississippi State definitely looked “real” against LSU last week after their 37-7 rout. MSU physically outmatched LSU last week. The Bulldogs’ defense created all kinds of chaos for LSU. MSU QB Nick Fitzgerald’s performance earn him SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors, along with DL Jeffrey Simmons earning SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week as well. The question is now will Mississippi State be able to do it again in Athens on Saturday night?
The Georgia Bulldogs are coming off a road win against Notre Dame and this game is their SEC home opener. We know “Between the Hedges” is tough atmosphere to play in. Georgia’s defensive front is better than LSU’s, so MSU may struggle to run the ball as effectively as it did last week. UGA has more talent and a consistent program than MSU. The main factor in this game will not be MSU QB Nick Fitzgerald, but UGA’s freshman QB Jake Fromm. I don’t believe UGA wants to make Fromm win this game with his arm alone; running backs Nick Chubb and/or Sony Michel will need a big game as well.
Two interesting caveats to this game: Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald is a Georgia native, who grew up a huge UGA fan and was not recruited by them. Also, MSU defensive coordinator is Todd Grantham, who was at Georgia from 2010-2013. I think this game will be close than most expect. Georgia is a five point favorite.