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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: Week 8

In week eight, the SEC picture will become a little less hazy as A&M and Ole Miss essentially play a de facto SEC West elimination game in Oxford. Outside of that, there are no top 25 matchups happening. Because of that, there are only a couple important games in the SEC, along with a bonus pick.

Tennessee (3-3, 1-2 SEC) at No. 8 Alabama (6-1, 3-1 SEC)

2:30 pm at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Broadcast on CBS

The rivalry, called “The Third Saturday in October” — even though it is not played on the date anymore — adds another chapter on Saturday. Alabama rolls into the weekend after a 41-23 win at A&M last Saturday, and the Volunteers travel 315 miles to Tuscaloosa off a bye week after their 38-31 win over Georgia at home on Oct. 10.

Even though Leonard Fournette is the conference’s best running back, Derrick Henry stated his case as one of the SEC’s best against A&M last weekend, rushing for over 200 yards and two touchdowns. He faces a rush defense ranked 70th nationally this week with Tennessee. The Vols will have to, at the very least, halfway contain Henry to have a chance in Tuscaloosa. The other key for an upset is turnovers. As A&M learned, you cannot turn the football over against Alabama, and if Tennessee can move the ball efficiently and put some points on the board, the ingredients for a big time upset will be in place.

A win for Tennessee would be program-defining, especially since the Crimson Tide has won the last eight meetings between the two. Butch Jones’ job is safe for now, but a win in Bryant-Denny would secure his job firmly. However, don’t expect Alabama to concede anything at home. Alabama has a bye week before LSU comes to town Nov. 7, so as long as they are not caught looking ahead, they should have no problems. Tennessee might keep it close for a half, but Henry and the front seven of the Alabama defense will take over the game and ultimately put the Vols away.

Western Kentucky (6-1, 4-0 C-USA) at No. 5 LSU (6-0, 4-0 SEC)

6 pm at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Broadcast on ESPNU

This game is a lot more intriguing than it might look on the surface. Western Kentucky is a dangerous team that does not get the recognition it deserves. The Hilltoppers came in rolling and beat North Texas 55-28 last weekend.

Everyone knows about LSU’s Leonard Fournette. However, Brandon Dougherty is the real name to know for this game. The Hilltopper quarterback is a pure gunslinger, who has thrown for 2,709 yards and 24 touchdowns against merely four interceptions. They can put up tons of points and yards in an instant. The biggest questions will be if they can score on a much underrated LSU defense.

Ultimately, the WKU defense will be the key in this game. They are one of the worst in the country, and stopping Fournette, as it is for everyone, will be a very tall task. Overall, this game will be a little bit more of a shootout than people expect. LSU should wear down the Hilltoppers in the fourth quarter for the win, but keep an eye on this game.

Bonus pick:

Kentucky (4-2, 2-2 SEC) at Mississippi State (5-2, 1-2 SEC)

6:30 p.m at Davis-Wade Stadium at Scott Field in Starkville, Miss.

Broadcast on SECNetwork
This is a game between two middle-of-the-road SEC teams that won’t matter much, but it should be a good game. Neither has been overly impressive this year, but they have been beating who they are supposed to beat. This should be a fun battle to watch.

Andre Perrard is a sports management senior and sports writer for The Battalion.

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