Texas A&M beats Missouri 35-14

Missouri Tiger Head Coach Eli Drinkwitz reacts on the sidelines during a football game between the Missouri Tigers and the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021 on Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium in Columbia. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

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Ben Frederickson and Dave Matter explain how a wacky SEC season got here, with the Tigers having two shots at one bowl-game-securing win, and why beating Florida could be easier than winning on the road against Arkansas.

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Picks officially caught fire last week. We went 8-2 against the spread, nailed the scoring margins for six games, got Alabama’s point total on the money (59!) and predicted the exact score for Kentucky-Vanderbilt (34-17).

Let’s go for two weeks in a row.

But first …

STLTODAY SEC POWER RANKINGS

1. Georgia

2. Alabama

3. Ole Miss

4. Arkansas

5. Texas A&M

6. Mississippi State

7. Auburn

8. Tennessee

9. Kentucky

10. LSU

11. Missouri

12. South Carolina

13. Florida

14. Vanderbilt

SEC HONORS WATCH LIST

SEC player of the year/offensive player of the year: Alabama QB Bryce Young

In the running: 

Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral, Alabama WR Jameson Williams, Missouri RB Tyler Badie, Arkansas WR Treylon Burks

SEC defensive player of the year: Alabama OLB Will Anderson Jr.

In the running: Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis, Texas A&M DB Antonio Johnson, Georgia LB Nakobe Dean, Ole Miss DE Sam Williams

SEC newcomer of the year: Alabama WR Jameson Williams (Ohio State)

In the running: Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker (Virginia Tech), Ole Miss LB Chance Campbell (Maryland)

SEC coach of the year: Josh Heupel, Tennessee

In the running: Bryan Harsin, Auburn; Kirby Smart, Georgia


Florida (5-5, 2-5 SEC) at Missouri (5-5, 2-4 SEC)

Series: Tied, 5-5

Kickoff: 3 p.m., SEC Network

Line: Florida by 9

Matter’s pick: Eli Drinkwitz was hoping to greet the Gators with a snowstorm, but the forecast calls for sunny skies and temperatures in the low 60s. Instead, the Tigers will have to build on last week’s promising defensive performance and squeeze more out of the offense, whether it’s Connor Bazelak or Brady Cook at the controls. Tyler Badie could be in line for another big day: Florida’s last three SEC opponents have averaged 266 yards rushing — and none of those teams (LSU, Georgia, South Carolina) feature a back having a season like Badie, the SEC’s only Doak Walker Award semifinalist.

The key Saturday is Mizzou’s defensive front. The Tigers have to keep Emory Jones and/or Anthony Richardson contained in the pocket, force them into bad passes — they’ve combined for 15 interceptions — and avoid explosive plays.

Florida’s Dan Mullen might be coaching for his job. Seven years ago the Tigers did their part to end the Will Muschamp era in Gainesville, drilling the Gators at The Swamp. This one won’t be so one-sided, but these teams have been trending in opposite directions the last few weeks. Both coaches said they’ve buried last year’s halftime fracas, and while Drinkwitz had some zingers for Mullen in the offseason, he resisted taking any jabs this week. He’ll have the last laugh Saturday — as long as his defense tackles and his QB throws it to the right team. Missouri 37, Florida 34

No. 21 Arkansas (7-3, 3-3 SEC) at No. 2 Alabama (9-1, 5-1 SEC)

Series: Alabama leads, 21-8

Kickoff: 2:30 p.m., CBS

Line: Alabama by 20½

Matter’s pick: Barry Odom’s Arkansas defense won’t roll over, and the last time we saw the Tide in SEC action they struggled to put away LSU. Alabama could use some style points to enhance playoff stock, but expect the Hogs to stay within three TDs, even in Tuscaloosa. Alabama 34, Arkansas 20

Auburn (6-4, 3-3 SEC) at South Carolina (5-5, 2-5 SEC)

Series:  Auburn leads, 10-2-1

Kickoff: 6 p.m., ESPN

Line: Auburn by 7½

Matter’s pick: The Gamecocks came back to earth last week at Mizzou, and to make a bowl game they’ll have to upset Auburn or Clemson next week. Don’t count on it. Auburn lost quarterback Bo Nix, but the Tiger defense will look to bounce back from last week’s meltdown against Mississippi State. Auburn 28, South Carolina 20

Vanderbilt (2-8, 0-6 SEC) at No. 10 Ole Miss (8-2, 4-2 SEC)

Series:  Ole Miss leads, 51-40-2

Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. CT • SEC

Line: Ole Miss by 35½

Matter’s Pick: The Rebels get a tune-up for the Egg Bowl and should have no trouble against the Commodores, who are two losses away from going winless in SEC play for the sixth time in 20 years. Ole Miss 49, Vanderbilt 10

OUTSIDE THE SEC

No. 7 Michigan State at No. 5 Ohio State (-19): The Buckeyes, another team needing some playoff style points, have found another gear. Their potent passing game will officially end Sparty’s playoff dreams. Ohio State 41, Michigan State 17

No. 4 Oregon at No. 24 Utah (-3): A huge Pac-12 showdown with major playoff stakes for the Ducks. The Utes have won six straight and are scoring points at will. The Pac-12 will be rooting hard for Oregon, but … Utah 34, Oregon 28

Iowa State at Oklahoma (-3½): Two of the country’s most disappointing teams were supposed to be playing for first place in the Big 12. The Sooners will keep their faint playoff hopes alive another week. Oklahoma 31, Iowa State 24

Last week’s picks

Straight up: 8-2

Against the spread: 8-2

Season picks

Straight up: 102-35

Against the spread: 76-61

Dave Matter

@dave_Matter on Twitter

dmatter@post-dispatch.com

This article originally ran on stltoday.com.

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