SEC Match-ups Two Teams Guaranteed to Lose
A bottle of Champagne broken on the bow of the 2015 Season with the first SEC matchups and fans witnessed the first SEC teams take their first loss at the hands of fellow SEC brethren last Saturday. Both on-the-edge-of-your-seat nail-biter games won on the road, LSU beat Mississippi State in Starkville, 21 – 19, and Kentucky beat South Carolina in Columbia, 26 – 22. Usher in a pair of big SEC matchups this week in the Western Division and a pair in the East. Records could be broken. Hunts for the College Football Playoff greatly impaired. Sadly two NFL caliber linemen probably won’t play. One thing is for sure, four SEC teams will take its first loss this Saturday, September 19, 2015 two will be in the SEC West.
SEC Matchups in the Western Division
Ole Miss at Alabama
Auburn at LSU
Records Broken or Extended
SEC Matchups Western Division #15 Ole Miss at #2 Alabama
Last year in Oxford, MS, the Mississippi Bears gave Alabama their only regular season loss, 23 – 17, with great defense and an unfortunate broken leg by Alabama starting running back, Kenyan Drake. Going into the Ole Miss game, October 4, last year, Drake, then a junior, was the team touchdown leader with six.
This year, now in Bryant Denny, Mississippi Coach Hugh Freeze and his defensive “Sharks” will attempt to do what only two SEC coaches have done, beat Nick Saban in back-to-back games. In the twenty attempts, only two managed to beat Nick Saban the year following a victory over one of his SEC teams. Steve Spurrier got him with his Gators when Coach Saban was head coach at LSU and Les Miles accomplished the mammoth feat against back-to-back Saban coached Alabama teams. Amazingly following a loss, Saban’s teams win the grudge match by an average of two touchdowns and they do it 90 percent in rematches.
In a radio broadcast earlier this week, former Alabama center, Barrett Jones said that Coach Saban does not coach revenge, because focusing on revenge would take away from focusing on executing the things they need to do to win the game.
Ole Miss was ranked in the top ten for five consecutive weeks last year, and head coach Hugh Freeze plans to build on that. Last year Coach Freeze beat Arkansas and Vandy in back-to-back seasons and he plans to add Alabama to that list in his fourth season coaching the Ole Miss Sharks.
Home Advantage Gris-Gris
Western Division #18 Auburn at #13 LSU
The Gus Bus heads to Louisiana and the Auburn Tigers led by Head Coach Gus Malzahn will face off the Les Miles led LSU Tigers. Some believe that there’s voodoo in the bayou and the LSU gris-gris protects them from evil and brings them luck. Odd things happen in Death Valley like in 2005, the game was in overtime and Auburn’s potentially game-winning field goal hit uprights and bouncing out. Auburn Kicker John Vaughn missed five in Dealth Valley that night. Since 2005 Coach Miles record against Auburn is 7 – 3 with all three losses occurring in Auburn. Get the flip side of that coin? Les Miles has not lost a game to Auburn in Death Valley. The dark spell Death Valley has over Auburn pre-dates Miles and goes back to Coach Nick Saban; Auburn hasn’t won inside Tiger Stadium since 1999.
There has never been an upset in this game in the Les Miles era at LSU the past decade; the higher ranked team won the game.
Last year #5 Auburn Vs #15 LSU in Jordan-Hare, LSU scored 7 in the first quarter and the Auburn defense held them scoreless for the next three quarters for a final, 41 – 7.
Auburn Vs LSU under the tutelage of The Hat
|Oct. 4, 2014||Auburn, Ala.||#5 Auburn 41, #15 LSU 7|
|Sept. 21, 2013||Baton Rouge, La.||#6 LSU 35, Auburn 21|
|Sept. 22, 2012||Auburn||#2 LSU 12, Auburn 10|
|Oct. 22, 2011||Baton Rouge, La.||#1 LSU 45, #19 Auburn 10|
|Oct. 23, 2010||Auburn, Ala.||#5 Auburn 24, #6 LSU 17 *Cam Newton|
|Oct. 24, 2009||Baton Rouge, La.||#9 LSU 31, Auburn 10|
|Sept. 20, 2008||Auburn, Ala.||#6 LSU 26, #10 Auburn 21|
|Oct. 20, 2007||Baton Rouge, La.||#5 LSU 30, #18 Auburn 24|
|Sept 16,2006||Auburn, Ala.||#3 Auburn 7, #6 LSU 3|
|Oct. 22, 2005||Baton Rouge, La.||#7 LSU 20, #16 Auburn 17 (OT)|
Best Players Not Playing
There’s a pair of circumstances that could greatly affect the outcomes of both of these SEC matchups in the west. Ole Miss Offensive tackle, Laremy Tunsil thought to be a top five overall draft pick in the 2016 NFL draft, will likely not take the field in Bryant Denny. Tunsil is under NCAA investigation for impermissible benefits and agents and such.
Auburn Defensive Lineman no. 55, Carl Lawson sustained a hip injury in the first half of the season opener against Louisville and did not play in the second game, which went into overtime against Jacksonville State. Lawson is uncertain to play in Baton Rouge.
Gus Malzahn said during Wednesday’s SEC coaches teleconference.
“He’s been out there, (at practice) like I said. He’s kind of day to day, so we still haven’t made the decision.”
Keys to the SEC matchups in the West
Bryant – Denny, Tuscaloosa, AL
Nick Saban prefers a balanced attack on offense and so far the Tide team delivered, passing an average of 288 yards and rushing 229 per game. Ole Miss Defensive sharks only allowed 139 rushing yards on average and 163 per game passing.
Ole Miss’ offense passes an average of 358 and rushes 276. Alabama allows 208 passing and is crazy stingy on their opponents running game only allowing 63 yards per game on average. They held Wisconsin to 40 yards rushing.
Ole Miss will have to rely on their passing game to win.
Death Valley, Baton Rouge, LA
Auburn is balanced on their passing and running game, rushing for 177 and passing 185 yards per game on average. The LSU Tiger defense is pretty generous to their opponents’ desires to air the ball and allow 335 yards. That could be because no one so far has been able to run on LSU and they allow an amazingly low 43 yards per game. Auburn’s QB, Jeremy Johnson, who has been hampered with the interception monkey on his back throughout both of the first two competitions, is going to need to shed the monkey and connect with his receivers to win this game. If LSU is successful shutting down Auburn’s running game forcing Auburn to rely solely on the pass, this game could get out of hand for Auburn. More than one interception thrown to an LSU defender in the bayou and Auburn is swamped.
LSU relies on their running game to score points, rushing for 266 and only passing for 71 yards per game on average. Leonard Fournette had a career high 159 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the 21 – 19 win over Mississippi State last Saturday. If Auburn can find a way to stop Fournette, and force LSU to pass the ball, they can win the game.
It Matters, Better Believe It
For the last six years, either Alabama or Auburn dominated the SEC West with the winner of the Iron Bowl winning the SEC Championship and competing for a National Championship, last year the College Football Playoff. Both face big challenges this weekend to compete against strong SEC West teams with championship plans of their own.
Records may be broken.
Hearts may be broken.
It’s Southern football and it is important.
Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly wrote a rap song about himself and Al.com put it on a video. Say What?
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From our House Divided to You, Roll Tide and War Eagle!