clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Saturday’s Week 4 SEC Slate

What games are on the horizon on the first weekend of Fall?

As we come to the official first weekend of fall, we look forward to cooler weather, the changing of the leaves and yes, more football! And while the weather may not be “cool” here in south Louisiana, the games are definitely starting to heat up, especially in two games on the schedule today. Let’s take a look at these games, starting in Knoxville…

As previously mentioned, the marquee matchup on the SEC schedule this week is the rivalry game between two top 25 teams, as the number 20 Florida Gators travel to Rocky Top to take on the 11th ranked Tennessee Volunteers. The game is the scene for ESPN’s College Football Gameday and is the conference’s game of the week as it kicks off at 2:30 p.m. For UT, a win here would keep the Vols undefeated, as they are off to their first 3-0 start since 2016. A Volunteers win would also stop the five game losing streak to the Gators. Florida, on the other hand, is hoping to avoid having two SEC losses in the month of September as they already lost to Kentucky earlier in the season and want to avoid another loss in conference play. This game will be a battle of big name quarterbacks, UF’s sophomore Anthony Richardson and Tennessee’s senior Hendon Hooker. Hooker is definitely winning the statistical battle, especially in passing numbers, as he currently has 844 yards through the air to go with six touchdowns in three games. The big name on the Gators offense is running back Montrell Johnson, Jr., who already has 240 yards and two touchdowns this season. The Gators average 212 yards rushing per game and Johnson and Richardson are a big part of this. This matchup of SEC East foes is the twenty-fifth game where both teams are ranked and the first time since 2017. In this one, the Volunteers are the odds makers’ favorite to win the game. In fact, Tennessee is a 10 and a half point favorite. This may be looking at the numbers on paper, but I think this game will be closer than that. Can Gators first year head coach Billy Napier lead his team to victory in the sold out Neyland Stadium? The experts say no, but I say yes. Yes, the Vols are 3 and 0, but their victories are against Ball State, Pittsburgh and Akron. Not exactly “Murderer’s Row”. I think the Gators come into Knoxville and pull out the closely contested game…

Speaking of closely contested, let’s go from a key SEC Eastern Division matchup to a key SEC Western Division game between two ranked teams. The matchup in question is between the number 10 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks and the number 23 Texas A&M Aggies. According to Vegas, the Aggies are one-and-a-half point favorites, but the Razorbacks are the ones who can start their season 4 and 0 for consecutive seasons for the first time since Arkansas was in the Southwest Conference. The Red Hogs are also looking for their second win in conference play after dismantling South Carolina two weeks ago. As for the Aggies, they are hoping to notch their first conference game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas this evening. The key player to watch in this game is the Razorbacks’ dual-threat signal caller, KJ Jefferson. Jefferson is a beast on offense for Arkansas, completing 70 percent of his passes for 770 yards and six touchdowns (with only one interception) along with 169 yards on the ground and three scores. The Aggies are ranked ninth in the country in total defense, giving up only 8.7 points per game and ninth in pass defense, yielding 147.3 passing yards a game. Obviously, something has to give in “Jerry’s World” here tonight. Another matchup to watch is the Aggies quarterback (and LSU transfer) Max Johnson against the Hogs’ linebacker Drew Sanders. Sanders, a transfer from Alabama, has 28 tackles, including 6 and a half for loss and is tied for the national lead in sacks with five and a half. One bit of lagniappe for this game, in the series of this game, which dates back to 1903, it is the Razorbacks who lead the series, with 42 wins, compared to the Aggies’ 33. Tonight, in my opinion, Arkansas makes it win number 43 and trip up Texas A&M tonight…

Unfortunately, with the rest of the games on the SEC schedule, there really isn’t anything of note to speak of. None of the other games have the same intrigue as the previous two I mentioned. Don’t believe me? See for yourself…

Kent State @ #1 Georgia

Vanderbilt @ #2 Alabama

Northern Illinois @ #8 Kentucky

Tulsa @ #16 Ole Miss

Missouri @ Auburn

Bowling Green @ Mississippi State

New Mexico @ LSU

Charlotte @ South Carolina

As for LSU, what’s to say? This is another cupcake game for the Fighting Tigers, just like Southern was and UAB will be in November. Yes, there is a chance that LSU will stumble in this one. I was there in 2000 when LSU first-year head coach Nick Saban lost to the aforementioned UAB Blazers, 13-10. And yes, there was the homecoming loss to Troy in 2017, when the Tigers were shut out in the first half and had to rally to make the final score respectable, 24-21. Could there be an upset brewing in Baton Rouge tonight? According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Lobos have a little more than a 2 percent chance of winning in Death Valley this evening. As they say in “Dumb and Dumber”, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?” Sure, there’s a chance. There’s a chance I win the Powerball. There’s a chance I get a new job as a professional sportscaster. Hell, there’s a chance I land a date with Jennifer Lawrence. But let me tell you, two percent isn’t much of a chance. LSU will dominate New Mexico and send the Lobos back to Albuquerque with a “L” tonight.

Geaux Tigers!