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Big Blue Pick ‘Em Week 8

We’re picking bye-week games in the SEC.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 16 Alabama at Mississippi State Photo by Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The No. 19th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats are one of five teams with a bye this week in the SEC as Coach Mark Stoops will gladly take the extra time to get his team healthy for the upcoming showdown with No. 3-ranked Tennessee on October 29th at Neyland Stadium.

Coming off a solid home win against Mississippi State, the Wildcats have several players banged up including quarterback Will Levis, right tackle Jeremy Flax, and wide receiver Tayvion Robinson. Linebackers Jacquez Jones and J.J. Weaver have also missed time with injuries.

Looking ahead, Kentucky is currently 5-2 (2-2) with five games remaining and will be favored against Missouri, Vanderbilt, and Louisville. However, the Wildcats are expected to be big underdogs against Tennessee and Georgia so an 8-4 season is a very real possibility.

The good news is that we have yet to see Rich Scangarello’s offense hit on all cylinders as the Wildcats are currently ranked 10th in the SEC in total offense (373.7 ppg) and 11th in touchdowns per game (26.4). A big game from Will Levis and Chris Rodriguez in Knoxville could raise expectations and get Kentucky back in the national conversation among college football’s best teams.

The Week 8 schedule features two marque games this week with No. 24 Mississippi State playing at No. 6 Alabama and 7th-ranked Ole Miss hitting the road to face the LSU Tigers who are a slight favorite (-1.5). This should be a tight one with our Sea of Blue staff writers giving a slight edge to Ole Miss this week.

With Kentucky on the sidelines, this is a great time to recharge for the final five games of the season and get ready for the short trip to Knoxville. Fortunately, there will be a couple of really good games to watch on Saturday so fire up the grill and keep the tailgate energy going this weekend. You can find our picks and this week’s TV schedule below.

Games of the Week

(7) Ole Miss at LSU

Coach Lane Kiffin and the Ole Miss Rebels enter the week with a perfect 7-0 record as they confront the meat of their schedule with games at LSU and Texas A&M the next two weeks before hosting Alabama on November 12th.

The Rebels have used a potent run game to climb up to No. 7 in the recent college football rankings and will get its first true road test after easy wins against Georgia Tech in a neutral site game in Atlanta and a win at Vanderbilt.

Surprisingly, LSU comes in as a slight favorite (-1.5) after scoring 45 points in last week’s win at Auburn as quarterback Jayden Daniels threw for 349 yards and three touchdowns.

Ole Miss is led by an offensive line that has only given up three sacks this season with a ground attack that is ranked first in the nation in rushing touchdowns and third in rushing yards per game. However, the Rebels have a few holes on the defensive end and gave up 300 yards rushing yards to Auburn last week.

This one should come down the wire in the SEC’s marque game on CBS.

(24) Mississippi State at (6) Alabama

On paper, the Mississippi State-Alabama game looks to be another SEC slugfest with two ranked teams looking to bounce back after a pair of tough losses in Week 7 against Tennessee and Kentucky, respectively. In reality, Alabama is the clear favorite and should have little trouble getting back in the win column.

But that doesn’t mean the Crimson Tide don’t have work to do to right the ship.

Last week, luck finally ran out for Coach Nick Saban’s team, who have won close games against Texas and Texas A&M in recent weeks, as an explosive Tennessee team torched the ‘Bama defense for 52 points, the most given up by an Alabama team since 1907.

In fact, quarterback Hendon Hooker has quickly emerged as a Heisman Trophy candidate after leading the Vols to 567 total yards in offense last week as Tennessee scored on eight of 14 offensive drives. Tennessee’s win was the first against Saban as fans stormed the field and tore down the goal posts in celebration.

This week, the Tide will face another standout quarterback in Will Rogers, who leads the SEC with 2,324 passing yards for Coach Mike Leach and the Air Raid offense. Rogers was 25/37 for 203 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the Bulldogs’ 27-17 loss at Kentucky.

While Alabama is a heavy favorite this week, it will be another good test for the Crimson Tide defense so expect another high scoring game with two of the best quarterbacks in the league facing off in Rogers and Bryce Young, the reigning Heisman winner, who is second in the league behind Rogers in passing touchdowns with 16.

Be sure to check out the current standings below as teams in both divisions take one step closer this week to the SEC title game in Atlanta.

SEC Standings

SEC East

  • Georgia 4-0
  • Tennessee 3-0
  • Kentucky 2-2
  • South Carolina 1-2
  • Florida 1-3
  • Missouri 0-3
  • Vanderbilt 0-3

SEC West

  • Ole Miss 3-0
  • Alabama 3-1
  • LSU 3-1
  • Mississippi State 2-2
  • Texas A&M 1-2
  • Arkansas 1-3
  • Auburn 1-3

SEC Football TV Schedule Week 8

October 22nd

  • UT Martin at (3) Tennessee (12:00 p.m. on SEC Network)
  • (24) Mississippi State at (6) Alabama (7:00 p.m. on ESPN)
  • (7) Ole Miss at LSU (3:30 p.m. on CBS)
  • Texas A&M at South Carolina (7:30 p.m. on SEC Network)
  • Vanderbilt at Missouri (4:00 p.m. on SEC Network)