Sports, Thrill of Victory

Around the SEC: Week 11 Edition

Alabama's Jonathan Allen continues to lead a dominant Crimson Tide defense. PHOTO COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA

Here’s the latest in and around the Southeastern Conference, with Week 11 football action on the horizon. 

BIGGEST STORIES

College Football Playoff rankings

Alabama remained atop the rankings again, while Texas A&M dropped to eight after Mississippi State pulled a stunning upset. Other SEC teams in the rankings are Auburn (nine), LSU (24) and Arkansas (25). 

Quarterback health

Ole Miss and Texas A&M, who happen to play this weekend, both got horrible news this week, with the Rebels losing staring quarterback Chad Kelly and the Aggies, starter Trevor Knight, for the season to knee and shoulder injuries, respectively. Both were among the top players in the league on offense.

Alabama's Jonathan Allen continues to lead a dominant Crimson Tide defense. PHOTO COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA

Alabama’s Jonathan Allen continues to lead a dominant Crimson Tide defense. PHOTO COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA

Ole Miss turns to Jason Pellerin, or perhaps five-star recruit Shea Patterson, who hasn’t played this season. Both are freshmen. Pellerin redshirted this year and is 5-for-13 passing for 53 yards, two TDs and one interception, though he does run well and was used situationally for precisely that purpose this year.

A&M will now start Jake Hubenak, who started the Aggies’ bowl loss to Louisville last season. Hubenak doesn’t run nearly as well as Knight, but has been a more accurate passer (23-of-38, 350 yards, three touchdowns, one pick) this season. 

Florida starter Luke Del Rio is also hurt—again. Del Rio missed time with injuries earlier in the year, and now, shoulder issues have him out for South Carolina. Austin Appleby, who has started for the Gators in his absence, will take over, though the Gators have also been preparing former top recruit Feleipe Franks, a true freshman, to perhaps play. 

Hoops season starts

Yes, hoops season is here. Here are Friday-night games involving SEC teams:

Louisiana Tech at South Carolina

Vanderbilt vs. Marquette

Stephen F. Austin at Kentucky

Tennessee-Martin at Ole Miss

Chattanooga at Tennessee

Georgia at Clemson

Florida Gulf Coast at Florida

Ft. Wayne at Arkansas

Norfolk St. at Mississippi St.

Northwestern St. at Texas A&M

North Florida at Auburn

On Saturday, LSU opens its season by hosting Wofford, while Missouri opens with Alabama A&M on Sunday. South Carolina and Florida also play Holy Cross and Mercer, respectively, on Sunday.

POWER RANKINGS

  1. Alabama (9-0, 6-0)
  2. Auburn (7-2, 5-1)
  3. Texas A&M (7-2, 4-2)
  4. LSU (5-3, 3-2)
  5. Tennessee (6-3, 2-3)
  6. Arkansas (6-3, 2-3)
  7. Ole Miss (4-5, 2-4)
  8. Florida (6-2, 4-2)
  9. Mississippi St. (4-5, 2-3)
  10. Georgia (5-4, 3-4)
  11. Kentucky (5-4, 4-3)
  12. South Carolina (5-4, 3-4)
  13. Vanderbilt (4-5, 1-4)
  14. Missouri (2-7, 0-5)

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  1. Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama
  2. Kamryn Pettway, RB, Auburn
  3. Trevor Knight, QB, Texas A&M
  4. Nick Fitzgerald, QB, Miss. St.
  5. Chad Kelly, QB, Auburn
  6. Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
  7. Sean White, QB, Auburn
  8. Trayveon Williams, RB, Texas A&M
  9. Ralph Webb, RB, Vanderbilt
  10. Rawleigh Williams III, RB, Arkansas

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  1. Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
  2. Derek Barnett, DL, Tennessee
  3. Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
  4. Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama
  5. Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn
  6. Arden Key, LB, LSU
  7. Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
  8. Ryan Anderson, LB, Alabama
  9. Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida
  10. Justin Evans, DB, Texas A&M / Jamal Adams, S, LSU / Montravius Adams, DT, Auburn
Vanderbilt and Jeff Roberson are ready to tip off the hoops season. PHOTO COURTESY VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY

Vanderbilt and Jeff Roberson are ready to tip off the hoops season. PHOTO COURTESY VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY

THIS WEEK’S PICKS

All times Central and p.m., unless noted

South Carolina at Florida (-11.5), 11 a.m., CBS

It’s been three starts, three wins, and zero turnovers for South Carolina freshman Jake Bentley, but, all those games also came at home. The Gators are awfully banged-up and just look bad on offense at times, and I think it’s more of a toss-up than Las Vegas does. That said, I’ll go with the home team here… barely. Florida 17, South Carolina 16

Kentucky at Tennessee (-14), 11 a.m., SEC Network

Kentucky wants to run the ball with Benjamin Snell Jr. and Boom Williams, and it’s done that fairly well lately. UK also has a mobile quarterback in Stanley Johnson, and that’s given Bob Shoop-coached defenses issues in the past. But the Vols are getting healthier on defense, and that should make a difference. Tennessee 30, Kentucky 20

Auburn at Georgia (+10), 2:30, CBS

Auburn wants to run the ball; Georgia defends the run well, and AU star tailback Kamryn Pettway is hurt. So, the Deep South’s oldest rivalry could be a better game than people think, but, I don’t trust Georgia to score on anything more than a below-average defense—which Auburn certainly is not. Tigers 30, Bulldogs 17

LSU at Arkansas (+7), 6, ESPN

LSU runs the ball 63.3 percent of the time, and averages an SEC-high 6.2 yards per carry. Arkansas defense gives up 6.1 yards per rush, which is far and away the league’s worst. Arkansas plays at home, where crazy things sometimes happen, but it won’t be enough to overcome Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice. LSU 38, Arkansas 24

Mississippi St. at Alabama (-28.5), 11, ESPN

MSU has been up and down, and Alabama stops mobile quarterbacks. That’s not good for the Bulldogs, led by QB Nick Fitzgerald, whose 839 rushing yards are 41 percent of the team’s total. ‘Bama has given up more than 14 points exactly twice in nine games. Alabama 44, MSU 13

Ole Miss at Texas A&M (-10), 6:30, SEC Network

There wasn’t even a line on this game for part of the week because of the uncertainty at the quarterback position for both teams, especially Ole Miss. I’m thinking A&M relies heavily on Traveon Williams and tries to beat the Rebels on the ground, where they’re vulnerable. Aggies 34, Rebels 24

Vanderbilt at Missouri (-3.5), 2:30, SEC Network

Vanderbilt will try to run all over Missouri with running back Ralph Webb, but Webb’s ankle has bothered him for more than a month now. So, that may hurt VU a bit, but if quarterback Kyle Shumur plays like he did last week, the Commodores win, anyway. Vanderbilt 27, Missouri 20