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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Around the SEC

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SEC Logo

Week two was a beauty for the SEC, but division battles lie ahead on the western front this weekend, which may start to shape up into a thrilling conference slate as we dive deeper into the season.
Mississippi State at No. 20 LSU
Sept. 17, Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
6:00 p.m. on ESPN2
After Brandon Harris was benched last week social media drama ensued, and it appears Danny Etling will be the Tigers’ QB1 against the Bulldogs. Despite the Bayou Bengals’ quarterback drama, Leonard Fournette returns to the backfield after missing last week due to injury. This could be a classic trap game, however, as the Tigers are slowly bleeding more internally and the Bulldogs are carrying momentum from their convincing 27-14 win over South Carolina last Saturday — a game in which Nick Fitzgerald set a State single-game quarterback rushing record after he pounded out 17 carries for 195 yards and two scores on Will Muschamp’s Gamecock defense. Likewise, Death Valley is not a place any team can walk into and easily steal a win, as LSU may just be too talented for the Bulldogs to overcome.
Prediction: LSU 28, Mississippi State 20
No. 1 Alabama at No. 19 Ole Miss
Sept. 17, Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, 
Oxford, MS — 2:30 p.m. on CBS
Here we go again — the Rebels have stunned the Tide in this matchup two years in a row. Hugh Freeze’s current bunch, however, is not the same it has been in the last two seasons, and Nick Saban has lost to the same team three times in a row as a head coach only once, when a kid from Purdue named Drew Brees defeated  Saban’s Michigan State team three years in a row. If the Rebels want to take down the top-ranked Tide yet again, Chad Kelly will have to play even better than his 341-yard and three touchdown passing performance in Tuscaloosa a season ago. Kelly and his skill players finally caught their rhythm last week, as five different players found the endzone, a positive step forward for a team still searching for offensive identity. The salty Alabama secondary has other ideas, though, as the unit has allowed just 173 passing yards per game this year. The Tide is too much for the turbulent Rebels and will roll in Oxford.
Prediction: Alabama 35, Ole Miss 17
Vanderbilt at Georgia Tech 
Sept. 17, Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta GA
11:30 a.m. on ACC Network Extra
No, these two schools are not competing in a scholastic decathlon this Saturday, but they are meeting on the football field. Both squads favor old school, pound-the-rock tactics on offense. The Commodores and Jackets each average more than 200 rushing yards per game and fewer than 100 passing yards per game with a combined one passing touchdown on the season. This old-fashioned slugfest will be a grind through the Atlanta afternoon, but Vanderbilt may keep a postgame party from forming down the street at The Varsity.
Prediction: Vanderbilt 17, Georgia Tech 16
Bonus Pick: New Mexico State at Kentucky
Sept. 17, Commonwealth Stadium, 
Lexington, KY — 3:00 p.m. on SEC Network
This one is for my Grandad, UK class of 1971. His Wildcats got chomped in The Swamp by Florida last week and are the only winless team left in the SEC. Surely Kentucky can defeat New Mexico State and surely quarterback Drew Barker can only go up from his 2-of-10 for 10 yards and 3 INT performance last weekend, right? No matter what happens in Lexington this Saturday, just remember, Grandad: It is just one day closer to basketball season.
Prediction: Kentucky 38, New Mexico St. 23
 

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