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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

Photo by Valerie Gunchick
TAMU vs Arkansas – Kyle Allen

The fast-paced college football season continues charging forward. In just four weeks, football fans have seen playoff contenders like Auburn become unranked, learned that SEC powerhouse Alabama might be in for a down year and watched the rise of two frontrunners in the SEC West, Ole Miss and LSU.

In week five, the SEC is in the national spotlight yet again. Marquee matchups highlight yet another beautiful fall Saturday in the South.

Here is what to watch for around the SEC this weekend.

No. 13 Alabama at No. 8 Georgia — 2:30 p.m. Oct. 3 at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia

Broadcast on on CBS

All eyes will be focused on what is going on between the hedges Saturday afternoon. For the first time in 73 games, Alabama comes into this football game as an underdog. The Crimson Tide rebounded from their loss to Ole Miss with a 34-0 shutout of Louisiana-Monroe last Saturday. Meanwhile, Georgia comes into this game rolling, having defeated Southern University 48-6 Saturday.

It is Nick Chubb versus Derrick Henry in Athens. The running backs are two of the SEC’s best on the ground. Henry has amassed 422 yards and eight touchdowns thus far, and Chubb has 599 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. The battle between the two running backs against two talented defenses will be a fight all afternoon.

The key to this game will be which team can actually pass the ball. Georgia seems to have its offense clicking behind Chubb and quarterback Greyson Lambert, the transfer from Virginia. Lambert, however, has not faced a defense as talented and fundamentally sound as Alabama’s. The Tide has issues with their quarterback, and going on the road to Georgia is a tall task. With an unproven passing attack, no matter how good the running game is, they’re going to have to put the ball in the air once the Bulldogs begin to key on Henry. Georgia should continue to roll.

No. 3 Ole Miss at No. 25 Florida — 6 p.m. Oct 3 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida

Broadcast on ESPN

Welcome back to the top 25, Florida. For the first time since 2013, the Gators find themselves ranked going into a showdown at home. Ole Miss struggled with pesky Vanderbilt at home after its emotional win over Alabama, but pulled away for a 27-16 win. Florida won its 11th straight over Tennessee on Saturday with a furious 13-point comeback in the fourth quarter for a 28-27 win at the Swamp.

Although quarterback Will Grier engineered the fourth quarter comeback against the Vols, the Gators come in with some speculation as to who they will start. Meanwhile, the only thing that is scarier than Robert Nkemdiche lining up on the Ole Miss defensive line is watching him lineup as a receiver. Nkemdiche is a true dual threat player. He is a destructive defensive end with an impressive pass rush by day and a pass catching tight end by night. On the year, the junior has two receiving touchdowns.

Florida actually has a chance here. The game is in the Swamp, and they actually have a pretty underrated defense, which is the 22nd best in the country. If the Gator secondary can keep Laquon Treadwell even halfway contained, and the pass rush can get to Chad Kelly, then there might be an upset in Gainesville, Fla. However, the Gator offense, even after the comeback win over Tennessee, is unproven against a good defense. They were abysmal on that side of the ball for the last two years, and even though they have shown improvement this year, there are still too many question marks. Ole Miss should get out of the Sunshine State with a solid SEC road win, but keep an eye on this one. It should be a fun game to watch.

Eastern Michigan at No. 9 LSU — 6 p.m. Oct. 3 at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Broadcast on ESPNU

This is not one of the marquee matchups of the week. In fact, many people reading this might not even watch the game at all. But this game is mentioned for one specific reason — Leonard Fournette. Unless you have been living under a rock, odds are that you have heard the LSU running back’s name mentioned. This week, they take on the nation’s worst rush defense. The ceiling for Fournette in this one is sky high.

Bold prediction: Fournette will rush for over 275 yards.

Arkansas at Tennessee — 6 p.m. Oct 3 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee

Broadcast on ESPN 2

This is a game of coaches who both desperately need a win. Tennessee has blown fourth-quarter leads in its two losses, and very well could be 4-0 right now. Bret Bielema and Arkansas have been one of the SEC’s biggest disappointments. Both coaches are considered by some to be on a bit of a hot seat. This is a win both of them need, which means this will be a fun one to watch.

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