Alabama-Texas A&M; Florida-LSU meet in Top 25 SEC showdowns
Here are some things to watch in week seven of the Southeastern Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 10 Alabama at No. 9 Texas A&M. Alabama has appeared to right itself after a surprising home loss to Ole Miss on Sept. 19. Since then, Alabama has three straight convincing victories against Louisiana-Monroe, Georgia and Arkansas. Texas A&M – one of three remaining undefeated teams in the league – was pounded by Alabama 59-0 last season, but gets the Tide in College Station this time.
MATCHUP OF THE WEEK: LSU running back Leonard Fournette vs. Florida run defense: Fournette has rushed for 1,022 yards to lead the nation and is averaging 204.4 yards rushing per game. He’s the quickest player to reach 1,000 yards rushing in SEC history. Fournette faces his toughest test of the season Saturday against No. 8 Florida, which ranks 12th nationally in run defense and allows only 3.05 yards per carry.
NUMBERS GAME: South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier stepped down with 131 career wins in SEC competition (including five SEC championship game victories) to rank behind only Paul ”Bear” Bryant’s 159 SEC wins. … Saturday will mark the 61st time No. 13 Ole Miss has faced Memphis. Ole Miss has played Memphis more often than any other school that isn’t a current or former member of the SEC. … Florida is 6-0. Each of the five previous times Florida has started 6-0 since 1995, the Gators have gone on to win at least 11 games.
UPSET WATCH: There are a few intriguing matchups this weekend: South Carolina is a three-point favorite at home against Vanderbilt, but it’s hard to know how the Gamecocks will respond to Spurrier’s retirement. Ole Miss is a 10 1/2-point favorite on the road against Memphis even though the Tigers have won 12 straight games dating back to last season and are among the nation’s leaders in scoring.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Florida QB Treon Harris: Florida has been the SEC’s biggest surprise this season, but the Gators had played their best football since Will Grier had taken over as the starting quarterback. Now that Grier has been suspended for violating the NCAA’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, the Gators are relying on Harris to direct the offense. Harris started six games as a freshman last year and started Florida’s season opener this year, but he hasn’t thrown a pass since a Sept. 12 victory over East Carolina.
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.