SEC Week Eight Preview
No. 3 Florida (6-0, 5-0 SEC) welcomes No. 8 South Carolina (5-1, 4-1 SEC) to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in a huge SEC matchup. The Gamecocks have won the last two games in the series, but the Gators have never dropped three-straight to Carolina in their 32 meetings. ESPN’s College Gameday will be at the Swamp, marking Florida’s 35th appearance on the program, the most of any team in the nation.
No. 6 LSU (6-1, 2-1 SEC) hits the road to take on No. 20 Texas A&M (5-1, 2-1 SEC) in the rivals’ first matchup as conference opponents. The Tigers and Aggies have squared off 50 times, last meeting in the 2011 Cotton Bowl, where LSU won 41-24. A&M leads the SEC in most offensive categories, including total offense (544 ypg), scoring offense (47 ppg) and rushing offense (236 ypg). The Bayou Bengals, on the other hand, allow only 14 ppg and rank second in the league in both rushing and passing defense.
No. 1 Alabama (6-0, 3-0 SEC) visits Neyland Stadium to take on Tennessee (3-3, 0-3 SEC) as Volunteers head coach Derek Dooley searches for his first win against a ranked opponent since taking the helm in Knoxville two seasons ago. “The Third Saturday in October” has been dominated by the Crimson Tide in recent years, with Bama winning the last five matchups. The Vols’ 37 victories over the Tide, however, are more than any other team in country.
No. 13 Georgia (5-1, 3-1 SEC) needs a win against Kentucky (1-6, 0-4 SEC) to remain in the SEC East race. The Wildcats have played the toughest schedule in the nation according to two components of the BCS system and are desperate for a win after dropping five-straight contests. Keep an eye on “Gurshall,” the Dawgs’ freshman running back tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. Each ranks in the top-10 in the SEC in rushing but will face one of the conference’s best defenders in Kentucky LB Avery Williamson, who ranks third in the SEC in tackles.
The last time Vanderbilt (2-4, 1-3 SEC) faced off with Auburn (1-5, 0-4 SEC), the Commodores ended a 13-game Tiger winning streak in the series. Two players to watch are Vandy WR Jordan Matthews and Auburn RB Onterio McCalebb. Matthews ranks first in the conference in yards per reception (7.2), while McCalebb is just the second player in SEC history to total 2,000 rushing yards, 1,000 kickoff return yards and 500 receiving yards.
In non-conference action, Mississippi State (6-0, 3-0 SEC) hosts Middle Tennessee.