Wally Hall's weekend predictions

By: Wally Hall
Published: Friday, October 16, 2020
A masked Alabama coach Nick Saban speaks with defensive back Josh Jobe (28) during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. Alabama won 63-48. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
A masked Alabama coach Nick Saban speaks with defensive back Josh Jobe (28) during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. Alabama won 63-48. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

First and foremost, a speedy recovery to Nick Saban and all of those who have covid-19.

The SEC got through three weeks, 21 games, before getting hit with the virus that has canceled two games this weekend and has Saban quarantined at home.

Getting that many games under their belt before Vanderbilt (scheduled to play at Missouri) and Florida (was hosting LSU) were hit with too many cases to field teams is pretty amazing.

Everyone knew games were going to be postponed. That’s why the SEC built in an extra week between the final game and the SEC Championship Game.

As far as Saban goes, the man went to work the day after knee surgery, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he showed up tomorrow with a face mask and face shield to lead Alabama against Georgia in what is surely the game of the day in college football.

He said he felt fine.

Regardless if he is standing there or not, if Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs win, then Smart will become the first former Saban assistant to beat the Alabama head coach who is currently 22-0 against former assistants.

This is Saban’s team whether he is directing them virtually — and you can bet your granny’s biscuit recipe he’ll have every electronic connection available — or on the field.

More on that when we get to this week’s picks.

By the way, it is much more difficult to pick winners when the SEC schools are just playing each other, and there are no rent-a-wins on the schedule.

Last week, yours truly was very average at picking, going 4-4, although it still feels like Arkansas should have won. That would have helped the record which stands 14-8 on the season.

Here are this week’s predictions:

Ole Miss at Arkansas

The Rebels have some issues this week with the coronavirus, and we won’t know exactly how many of the two-deep will be available until game time.

The Rebels have the No. 1 offense in the SEC but the No. 14 defense, which explains the 63-48 loss to Bama last week. Ole Miss is not a pass only team. It is second in the SEC in rushing, averaging 192 yards per game, and their season total of 140 carries is the most in the SEC.

The Razorbacks should be truly ticked off after getting cheating out of a win at Auburn, but the best thing is they seem to be improving each week. Feleipe Franks has been a huge difference-maker at quarterback. The Hogs must find a way to get more yards on the ground and get their first rushing touchdown. Arkansas 31-28

Georgia at Alabama

The Crimson Tide have the No. 2 offense in the SEC, but the Bulldogs have the No. 1 defense (and No. 2 in the country). The Dogs will need to slow Najee Harris — not sure anyone can stop him — and pressure Stetson Bennett. Bama has to be 100% focused to win this game and it can’t be if Saban isn’t there. Georgia 24-21

Auburn at South Carolina

Getting a win over No. 15 Auburn would be huge for Gamecock Coach Will Muschamp. This will be a mild upset. South Carolina 24-17

Kentucky at Tennessee

The Wildcats’ strength is stopping the run. The Vols’ strength is running the ball. Home-field advantage is the difference. Tennessee 21-17

Texas A&M at Mississippi State

Mike Leach had a meeting of the minds with his players this week, calling them out for not playing hard in a 24-2 loss to Kentucky. Since beating LSU 44-34, the Bulldogs have scored only 16 points in their last two games. The Aggies will still be relishing their win over Florida, so going with another mild upset in Starkville. Mississippi State 28-24

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