October football—it’s coming to a Southern state near you, and coming with the full force of SEC conference play.
The forests are turning gold, orange, and red all over the South as the biggest tailgates surround the stadiums and backwoods homes turn on their outdoor back-deck televisions for barbecues, corn hole, sweaters, apple cider, pumpkin-carving, and a full Saturday of action.
Or maybe football has nothing to do with the event, but memories are still cemented of seeing the score updates on your phone as your team pulls off a surprise upset while enjoying the hiking trip or family picnic.
Fall is such a precious time of year for so many reasons, and the ways college and pro football have little influence on that, even though they are way less important than family and friendships and time celebrating together, is interesting.
It was a pretty epic week last week for Kentucky fans, thumping Florida by more than two touchdowns in their biggest win over them since 1979 and their third straight win over the Gators overall. Now they take their 5-0 record to Athens to face the 2-time defending champions, who haven’t looked as invincible as in times past and needed some things to break their way to get past Auburn.
UK’s hung with Georgia over the past few years—could this finally be the year Mark Stoops, the second-longest tenured coach in the SEC, beats the Bulldogs for the first time? That would be a very bold prediction to make...and that’s what I’m going to lead off with!
1. Kentucky beats Georgia
There you have it—I predict Kentucky is going to beat the #1 team in the AP and coaches polls and 2-time defending champions on the road to improve to 6-0. Kentucky hasn’t given up 20 points to anybody all year except Vanderbilt in garbage time, and has been playing as physically as ever with a much-improved offensive line and rushing attack that was absolutely fearsome against Florida last week. The Cats couldn’t have a better setup for this yearly matchup than they do now: everybody’s healthy, Georgia’s shown itself vulnerable a couple times already this season, and if this wasn’t in Athens would be the best chance Stoops’ Troops have ever had to topple the Bulldogs. Let’s see it happen—somehow, someway. As Rocky Balboa said in his old age before his final fight, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
2. Texas A&M beats Alabama
This is Jimbo Fisher’s chance to finally get off the hot seat and finally break through with Texas A&M. If the Aggies beat the Tide in College Station, which they’ve done before under Fisher, they’ll be undefeated in SEC play and have fantastic odds of winning the West and going to the SEC championship game. The Tide have always, always blocked the path to Atlanta, but now there might be a way to make that Miami road loss completely forgotten and get the Aggies on that championship road they so badly want to be on.
3. Missouri’s undefeated ride comes to an end
It’s been a fun ride for Missouri surprising the league with its 5-0, but LSU doesn’t care and is definitely not going to fall to 3-3 without putting up a massive fight. If they’re going to continue this ride, they’re going to have to play very, very good football.