While there will be SEC football played this weekend, most SEC fans are already looking ahead to their rivalry games a week from now.
That’s because the SEC’s annual “cupcake” week is upon us — a week when most teams in the league take a second bye week, while technically showing up to their stadiums to play a game. (RELATED: SEC Week 11 Review: Tide, Dawgs Keep Rolling)
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the best games from the best conference for Week 12. There aren’t many.
Missouri vs. Tennessee
It’s a testament to just how bad the SEC’s Week 12 schedule is that this game was picked by CBS as their featured game of the week. But this is still a very big game for both programs.
Following a heartbreaking last-second loss to Kentucky at the end of October, the Tigers have responded with back to back wins over Florida and Vanderbilt and appear to be re-creating their November magic from a season ago. Meanwhile, the Vols currently sit at 5–5 and are looking to make a bowl game in head coach Jeremy Pruitt’s first season.
Many fans and pundits believed a league record of 0–8 was a possibility for the Vols this season, so if Pruitt can win one of his final two games against either Missouri or Vanderbilt, he would be worthy of consideration for SEC coach of the year. It will have to come next week because the Tigers are going to pull this one out in Knoxville.
Prediction: Missouri 34, Tennessee 28
Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt
The SEC’s annual cross-over rivalry between the Rebels and Commodores will take center-stage this Saturday, as the two will meet for a prime-time contest in Nashville. The Commodores enter the game at 4–6, needing wins in their next two home games over Ole Miss and Tennessee to make a bowl game for the second time in three seasons.
Meanwhile, Ole Miss has had a disappointing season. The Rebels enter the game at 5–5, losers of three straight games with nothing to play for down the stretch as they are banned from the postseason due to NCAA violations that took place under head coach Hugh Freeze. Vanderbilt will keep their bowl hopes alive while sending Ole Miss to their fourth straight loss.
Prediction: Vanderbilt 31, Ole Miss 27
UAB vs. Texas A&M
An under-the-radar game in College Station will take place this Saturday night. In just their second season since their program was shuttered, the University of Alabama in Birmingham currently sits at 9–1 and is ranked in the top 25 of the Coaches poll for the first time in history.
The Aggies have a pretty good team in Jimbo Fisher’s first season in College Station, but they sit at only 6-4 after letting winnable games against Mississippi State and Auburn get away. Can the Blazers pull the upset? This one will be close, but Fisher’s squad will pull away at the end.
Prediction: Texas A&M 27, UAB 17