1) Arkansas at Florida. Bret Bielema is rebuilding the Arkansas football team and he’s doing it Nick Saban style: control the line of scrimmage and run the ball. So far – against a somewhat suspect early season schedule – the Hogs rank second in the league in rushing and 13th in passing. There’s no question that Arkansas is better than last year, but they are in the middle of a rough patch with Texas A&M last week and Florida, South Carolina and Alabama upcoming. Florida, meanwhile, is flying well below anyone’s radar following a week two loss to Miami. The Gators are leading the SEC in total defense and Tyler Murphy has looked solid so far replacing Jeff Driskel at quarterback. I don’t think Arkansas wins this game, but I think it’ll be close.
2) Georgia at Tennessee. This game won’t be close, but it’s always a must-see game. The Vols have to hope Georgia’s in the mood for an October nap following a brutal September schedule, but I wouldn’t count on it.
3) Missouri at Vanderbilt. The Tigers have quietly opened the season 4-0, but things are about to get rough and that makes this game extra important for their post-season aspirations. After Vandy, there’s Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. It’s entirely possible the 4-0 start will look like 4-4 by the end of the month. It’s possible that the Tigers have only two more “sure thing” wins – Tennessee and Kentucky – so they need to make hay while their sun is shining. The Dores are in a similar position. At 3-2, they can figure at least three more losses – Georgia, Texas A&M and Florida, so this weekend’s game could be the difference between 6-6 and 7-5.
4) Ole Miss at Auburn. Both teams sit at 3-1 and both teams need a win to keep the possibility of a special season alive. Special for Ole Miss would mean improving on last season’s 7-6 mark, while special for Auburn would mean eight or nine wins this year after their nightmare 2012. For Auburn, you can pencil in losses to Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama. That means games against Ole Miss and Arkansas likely mean the difference between 6-6 and 8-4. For Ole Miss, there’s only two more gimme wins on their schedule: Idaho and Troy. That means they have a lot of football to play to avoid a 5-7 collapse. By a lot of work, I mean games against Auburn, A&M, LSU, Arkansas, Missouri and Mississippi State. Regardless, of the overall season implications, it’ll be fun to see these two teams of similar style and situations match up.
5) LSU at Mississippi State. Last time out, MSU dropped 62 on Troy. LSU lost to Georgia last week and plays Florida next. Could this be the perfect time for the Dogs to catch LSU? Maybe so.