Alabama-Georgia, Ole Miss-Florida highlight big week for SEC
Things to watch this week in the Southeastern Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 13 Alabama at No. 8 Georgia: It’s hard to imagine Alabama falling out of playoff contention in the first week of October, but a second loss this season certainly would put the Crimson Tide’s title hopes in se serious jeopardy. Georgia has a chance to solidify its status as a legitimate playoff contender while making a major statement for the beleaguered East Division if it can win this interdivisional rematch.
MATCHUP OF THE WEEK: No. 3 Mississippi’s receivers vs. No. 25 Florida’s secondary: The Ole Miss offense, which is averaging more than 54 points per game, is led by a talented group of five receivers who all stand at least 6-foot-2. Laquon Treadwell leads the Rebels with 22 catches while Quincy Adeboyejo has five touchdowns. Florida will counter with an athletic secondary led by cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III. Hargreaves leads the team with two interceptions.
NUMBERS GAME: Georgia’s Nick Chubb has rushed for at least 100 yards in 12 straight games, the longest active FBS streak and one shy of Herschel Walker’s school record. … Tennessee opponents are converting just 26.2 percent of their third-down situations but are 9 of 10 in fourth-down conversion attempts. … No. 9 LSU is outscoring teams 35-0 in the first quarter and 45-6 in the first half. … Georgia quarterback Greyson Lambert is 33 of 35 for 476 yards and five touchdowns over his last two games. He ranks second nationally in completion percentage and third in passing efficiency. … LSU’s Leonard Fournette is the nation’s leading rusher with 210.3 yards per game. LSU is about to face Eastern Michigan, which has the nation’s lowest-ranked run defense. The Eagles are allowing 373.3 yards rushing per game.
UPSET WATCH: Georgia is a two-point favorite over Alabama, which enters a game as an underdog for the first time since 2009. The last time it was an underdog, Alabama trounced Florida 32-13 in the 2009 SEC championship game. … Florida is a 7 1/2-point underdog against No. 3 Ole Miss. The higher-ranked team has lost three of the last four meetings between these two teams.
IMPACT PERFORMER: Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott has thrown 191 straight passes without an interception, which is the longest current streak in the nation and sixth longest in SEC history. Prescott completed 20 of 26 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns against the Aggies last season in Starkville and the 21st-ranked Bulldogs could use a similar performance when they travel to No. 14 Texas A&M on Saturday.
AP Sports Writers Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tennessee, and David Brandt in Jackson, Mississippi, contributed to this story.
AP College Football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org.