The Daily Gamecock

Vols, Bulldogs battle for first SEC win Saturday in Athens

Georgia defensive end Ray Drew (47) sacks Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley in the first half at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Saturday, October 5, 2013. (Jason Getz/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/MCT)
Georgia defensive end Ray Drew (47) sacks Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley in the first half at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Saturday, October 5, 2013. (Jason Getz/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/MCT)

Arkansas looks for upset over No. 6 Texas A&M

Tennessee at No. 12 Georgia             

If you’re wondering whether the Bulldogs have recovered from the excruciating loss they suffered at Williams-Brice Stadium a few weeks ago, just ask the Troy Trojans, who were put in their place 66-0 last week by Todd Gurley and company.  The Volunteers are coming off a bye week, in which they had time to reflect on their 34-10 loss to Oklahoma , arguably the best team in the country. So, unless Peyton Manning decides to suit up for the Vols and can work around the NCAA bylaws to earn a fifth year of eligibility, it seems clear as day that the Bulldogs have a distinct advantage.

Arkansas at No. 6 Texas A&M             

The Razorbacks begin a treacherous three-game stretch this week that features No. 3 Alabama, No. 12 Georgia and this week's opponent, the No. 6 Texas A&M Aggies.  Much like Mississippi State last week, Arkansas is looking for respect against a top-10 opponent they're entirely capable of beating, if everything falls into place. But before that, Arkansas has to establish the run game. The two-headed monster of Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams has combined for 881 yards and 12 touchdowns so far, helping the Razorbacks earn the fifth-best running attack in the country. Quarterback Brandon Allen has already shown significant improvement, completing 61.4 percent of his passes, up 11.8 percent from a year ago , while throwing for eight touchdowns with only one interception.  He may not put up gaudy numbers like Kenny Hill, but he’s shown he can manage a football game and not make the big mistake. The Aggies, meanwhile, have yet to pump the brakes since they opened the season by annihilating South Carolina 52-28 at Williams-Brice, winning by an average of 44 points per game.  Led by Hill, the Aggies have gone on to average over 400 yards passing per game, ranking second nationally and easing the pain of losing Johnny Manziel  that many fans have been dealing with following the young Heisman-winning quarterback's departure. The Razorbacks will keep it close, but in the end, Kenny Hill and the 12th Man could be too much to overcome. 

Vanderbilt at Kentucky

After a full two weeks to grieve after their triple overtime heartbreaker at “The Swamp,” Kentucky should be fired up to get back on the field against an SEC team they’re actually favored against.  The Commodores are also coming off a tooth-grinder of a game in which they went up by 14 points against the Gamecocks and had many fans thinking of what could have been.  On paper, though, Kentucky has the clear advantage. The Wildcats are led by sophomore quarterback Patrick Towles, who's had a respectable year, throwing for 916 yards and 5 touchdowns. Towles, who redshirted in 2013, has already shown dramatic improvement since his 2012 campaign, increasing his total QBR to 67.5.  The Commodores also rank lower than 105th in almost every offensive statistical category, including 113th in scoring offense. The defense has offered little resistance in its first four games, allowing an average of 39.3 points per game and ranking 115th nationally.  Expect the Wildcats to come out on top in a slugfest.

Memphis at No. 10 Ole Miss

When the Rebels’ 2014 schedule came out, not many people gave the game against the Memphis Tigers a second thought, instead thinking about how the SEC West was going to conduct its own version of the Hunger Games before declaring a champion. This Tiger team is no slouch, though — the proof being a 42-35 scrap with No. 11 UCLA on the road.  The Tigers also have one distinct characteristic that often leads to upsets: they don’t turn the ball over. Through three games, the Tigers rank 18th in turnovers lost.  They do, however, draw penalties in droves, averaging 66.7 penalty yards per contest, which will no doubt have to be addressed by head coach Justin Fuente if he expects his team to compete.  All this, of course, is in addition to the fact that they will have to physically outplay Ole Miss, which is going to be difficult with Rebel quarterback Bo Wallace currently sporting the nations eighth-best passing attack.  Ole Miss has had a tough time running the ball, however, and if it is unable to produce a balanced attack, it could be the Memphis Tigers who come out singing "Dixie" at the final whistle.