Enjoy one of the best weeks of the season in the SEC and ACC.
GEORGIA AT SOUTH CAROLINA: For all the accolades that Georgia’s defense has received the numbers don’t back it up. The Bulldogs are the No. 10 ranked defensive team in the SEC. Only Arkansas’ defense (402 plays) has allowed more plays than Georgia (367 plays). Still, the addition of Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo is a huge boost for the Bulldog defense. The loss of receiver Michael Bennett means Georgia loses one of its best possession receivers. Bennett was injured during practice Tuesday.
Might South Carolina actually have the better defense? The Gamecocks had seven sacks in last Saturday night’s victory over Kentucky. They lead the SEC rankings in that category with 22 sacks. As a team, South Carolina is only 19 sacks away from the school record of 41 set in 2010.
LSU AT FLORIDA: The Tigers come into the Swamp this week unbeaten, but struggling. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger continues to make turnovers. The offensive line is trying to recover from the loss of left tackle Chris Faulk for the season. Also, the Tigers have just been plain bored with the first five foes on the schedule. Yet, LSU enters a brutal stretch on the schedule with the combined record of the next five opponents at 21-1: (UF 4-0, South Carolina. 5-0, Texas A&M 3-1, Alabama 5-0 and Mississippi State 4-0). LSU is trying to beat Florida for the third straight time, something the Tigers haven’t done since winning four straight from ’77-80. Mettenberger was sacked four times in the win over Towson. He has been sacked 11 times this season. A key in the game is Florida being able to run the ball. Last week, Towson gained 188 yards against the Tigers, who hadn’t allowed more than 90 in the first four games. Linebacker Jelani Jenkins is expected to return for the Gators from an injury.
ARKANSAS AT AUBURN: Two of the worst defenses in the SEC meet in this game. Arkansas has allowed the most passing yards – 1,747 – in the nation. Auburn receiver Quan Bray has been suspended for the game. The loser of this game is in for a difficult season. The Tigers will be trying to avoid their first 0-3 conference record since 1980. Arkansas hopes to miss its first five-game losing streak since 1997. Also, Auburn has lost four of its past five games when coming off a bye week.
MISSISSIPPI STATE AT KENTUCKY: What more can happen to poor Kentucky? Running back CoShik Williams is done for the year with a hip injury. This is after it was determined that quarterback Maxwell Smith is out indefinitely with an ankle injury on the second offensive play of the South Carolina game. True freshman Jalen Whitlow replaced Smith. Mississippi State is trying to reach the 5-0 mark for the first time since 1999.
TEXAS A&M AT OLE MISS: Freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel’s might just be the SEC freshman of the year. On Saturday, he set single-game school records for passing yards (453) and total offense (557), which is also an SEC record. Ole Miss will make this a game. The Rebels improved in their loss to Alabama. Hugh Freeze has done a nice job coaching this team. They are more physical. Ole Miss does need to find a better passing quarterback, however. Bo Wallace is not a great thrower.
VANDERBILT AT MISSOURI: The Commodores have scored only one touchdown in an SEC game. Who is going to be the starting quarterback for Vandy? Jordan Rodgers and Austyn Carta-Samuels have had their struggles. Five Tiger freshmen players have been suspended for the Vandy game after they were arrested on marijuana possession charges. The only one of the five who has played is heralded prospect Dorial Green-Beckham.
FSU AT NC STATE: FSU is not struggling on defense. The Noles are No. 3 in nation in total defense and No. 9 in total offense. NC State is No. 64 in total defense and No. 94 in pass defense. The Wolfpack allowed an ACC record 566 passing yards to Miami last week.
VIRGINIA TECH AT NORTH CAROLINA: Tech has already lost two games to Big East foes-Pitt and Cincinnati. Virginia Tech will play three of its next four games on the road. The Tar Heels need a win bad and they could get one here.
CLEMSON AT GEORGIA TECH: The Yellow Jackets better cover Clemson receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who caught 11 passes for a school-record 197 yards and a touchdown in the win last week over Boston College. The Tigers continue to prove that they can win without Sammy Watkins, who missed the game with a virus. Hopkins had his third 100-yard receiving game of the season.
DUKE HOSTS VIRGINIA: The Blue Devils got a nice road win last week against Wake Forest. Duke’s 4-1 start is its best since 1994, when they were 5-0 and went to a bowl game for the last time.
MIAMI VS NOTRE DAME (CHICAGO): Miami is the leader in the Coastal Division after last week’s NC State win, Miami has its first three-game winning streak since 2009 and its first 3-0 ACC start since 2004 — the first season in the conference. The question this week is can they move the ball on Notre Dame’s front seven?
Brent Beaird writes for collegesportsnotebook.com, lindyssports.com and Gator Bait magazine. He can be heard on 1010XL sports radio in Jacksonville, Florida. Brent can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @brentbeaird