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SEC Football Weekend Preview: Week 5 - Memories from 2008 are relevant this weekend

You should know your opponent as well as you know yourself. We’ll be previewing and reviewing the SEC weekend each week during the season so Gamecock fans can know what’s going on in the college football world around them.

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Missouri (3-1) vs. South Carolina (2-2)

Watch: 12:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Line: Missouri (-3)

It'll be a battle of true freshman in Columbia, MO on Saturday. Lorenzo Nunez makes his second start for the Gamecocks while Drew Lock will start in place of Matty Mauk, who was suspended earlier this week. Lock has played in brief stints this season, including a drive in last week's loss at Kentucky. LB Kentrell Brothers, MU's best overall player, is listed as questionable heading into the weekend after being carted off with an ankle injury in last week's game. Russell Hansbrough has been limited on the ground due to ankle injury, gaining just 11 yards on six carries last week. USC hopes Nunez's legs can take them as far as they did last week when he earned a 100-yard rushing game on the way to a much-needed win. South Carolina's defense, who's shut out three of their four opponents in the second half, will need to play well from start-to-finish to earn this road win. Prediction: Missouri 20, South Carolina 17

No. 8 Georgia (4-0) vs. No. 13 Alabama (3-1)

Watch: 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Line: Georgia (-2.5)

The last time Georgia and Alabama met in the regular season, it was one of the most anticipated match-ups in recent memory. Nick Saban's Alabama team was on the rise but were heading for a real test as they went between the hedges of Sanford Stadium. Led by Matthew Stafford and Knowshown Moreno, the 2008 Georgia team, ranked No. 3 in the country, was the favorite and a national title contender. The Tide were seven-point underdogs as Athens prepared to blackout Sanford Stadium. Saban's team burst out to a 31-0 lead and it was the signal that Saban's team was here and they were for real. Fast forward to today and Alabama is an underdog again in Athens but they are also an underdog for the first time in 73 games - since the 2009 SEC Championship against Florida. Alabama can play Georgia's style as the Bulldogs don't present the same schematic issues that Auburn, Ole Miss and Texas A&M possess. If Nick Chubb earns another 100-yard rushing performance, he'll tie Herschel Walker's school record of 13 consecutive games with at least 100 yards.  The game comes down to Jake Coker and Greyson Lambert. Which transfer QB can take care of the football and create a downfield passing game, that'll decide it. Prediction: Alabama 28, Georgia 27

Auburn (2-2) vs. San Jose State (2-2)

Watch: 4:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Line: Auburn (-20)

Sean White will again start for Auburn as they welcome San Jose State to the Plains. White put up solid numbers in last week's loss to Mississippi State but poor red zone offense and an inability to convert third downs hurt Auburn's chances in that game. Their 17-9 loss to the Bulldogs last Saturday marked the first time a Gus Malzahn offense failed to score a touchdown since Malzahn's Arkansas State team couldn't punch it in against Nebraska in 2012. That streak stood for 40 games. Muschamp's defense played well last week, holding Dak Prescott and MSU to 56 yards rushing. They've struggled with every team on their schedule through four games, will they finally win comfortably here? Prediction: Auburn 24, San Jose State 7

No. 25 Florida (4-0) vs. No. 3 Ole Miss (4-0)

Watch: 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Line: Ole Miss (-7.5)

We've already visited one memorable SEC game that took place on Sept. 27, 2008 so now let's visit another. This date was the last time Alabama played in Athens and it was also the last time Ole Miss traveled to Gainesville. Both home teams lost that day. The No. 4 Gators and star QB Tim Tebow were upset that day by the Rebels (leading to "The Promise" and a UF national title). Now the situation is reversed as the third-ranked Rebels enter The Swamp with national championship dreams. Ole Miss is coming off an unimpressive win over Vanderbilt where they were held well below their season average in points and total offense. The ‘Dores defense is no slouch so I don't think less of the Rebs but the Gators secondary will make Chad Kelly pay if he makes poor decisions. The best news from last weekend was that Laquon Treadwell played like his old self and against a beat up Vernon Hargreaves, his performance could be key for an Ole Miss escape. Will Grier was running for his life in last week's game against Tennessee and versus this Landshark defense, he can expect to do the same. If Florida wins this game, will the perception of the SEC East change? Prediction: Ole Miss 28, Florida 17

Tennessee (2-2) vs. Arkansas (1-3)

Watch: 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Line: Tennessee (-7)

Tennessee and Arkansas have suffered some serious heartbreak this season. Maybe more than any two teams in the country aside from Texas. What does that mean? There will be some reckless football on Saturday at Neyland Stadium. Both teams will be prepared to do whatever it takes to win so it should make for a glorious football game. Tennessee is the more talented team, especially without a healthy Keon Hatcher on the other side. Despite losses to Toledo and Texas Tech, the Razorbacks put up a good fight against Texas A&M last weekend. They blew a lead and lost in overtime for the second year in a row to the Aggies - that's gotta sting. Tennessee is the only team to blow two double-digit leads this season. Either Butch Jones or Brett Bielema should be well-prepared for hot seat talk when they enter the loser's press conference Saturday night. Prediction: Tennessee 21, Arkansas 14

No. 9 LSU (3-0) vs. Eastern Michigan (1-3)

Watch: 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Line: LSU (-45.5)

This game may not produce a Heisman moment but Leonard Fournette will need it to pad his stats as he continues to develop his Heisman resume. Eastern Michigan has allowed 6.7 yards per rush this season, a mark that ranks 126th nationally. Fournette has 631 rushing yards through three games, the most by an FBS rusher through three games in the last 15 years. Keep in mind - Fournette didn't get to run wild against McNeese State in the Tigers' opener because of a weather cancellation. He could have broken 1,000 rushing yards in this game if a storm hadn't swept through Baton Rouge a month ago. The Tigers should have Brandon Harris throw more passes in this game, preparing him for the moments ahead when they'll need him to throw to win. Prediction: LSU 49, Eastern Michigan 10

Middle Tennessee State (2-2) vs. Vanderbilt (1-3)

Watch: 7:00 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network
Line: Middle Tennessee State (-1.5)

Vanderbilt again hits the road after a respectable performance in Oxford versus the No. 3 Rebels. It was a ball game down there until Ole Miss blocked a punt in the third quarter and the momentum swung for good. The ‘Dores defense held the high-scoring Ole Miss offense in check, forcing them to settle for field goals in the red zone several times. The Vanderbilt defense is holding their FBS opponents to 172 yards below their season average. They've held all four of their opponents to season-lows in either total yards or points, sometimes both. The Vandy offense is the issue though, they haven't score more than 20 points against a Power-5 team in the last calendar year. For a second consecutive week they'll face an offense that wants to spread them out and throw the ball around. Vandy's defense will show up but can Johnny McCrary put enough on the scoreboard to win? Vanderbilt heads to nearby Murfreesboro to play a program that's been to as many bowl games as they have in the last 10 years. Prediction: Vanderbilt 21, Middle Tennessee State 20

No. 14 Texas A&M (4-0) vs. No. 23 Mississippi State (3-1)

Watch: 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Line: Texas A&M (-6.5)

Because of Alabama-Georgia and Florida-Ole Miss, this game is flying so far under the radar that I'm scared most fans don't even know it's happening. Christian Kirk is possibly my favorite player in the nation and most people haven't even gotten a chance to see him yet. Kirk hauled in two touchdowns, including the game-winner, against Arkansas last week and he's as explosive as you'll find. Dak Prescott is the best player in the history of a program and he's trying to put the team on his back to buck the media's preseason expectations. Kevin Sumlin has made A&M relevant and dangerous again but in big home games, he's left a lot on the table. Sumlin's Aggies are 8-4 on the road against ranked teams but they are 0-5 at home. A&M is clearly the superior team and should win but Mullen and Prescott have gone into foreign sites before and pulled off shockers. Prediction: Texas A&M 31, Mississippi State 20

Kentucky (3-1) vs. Eastern Kentucky (2-1)

Watch: 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Line: N/A

After two hard-fought weeks against Florida and Missouri, the Wildcats welcome instate Eastern Kentucky, an FCS program. Patrick Towles rebounded from a dismal performance against the Gators to lead UK to the program's first win over a ranked team since 2010 last weekend. EKU, also the Wildcats, boasts preseason All-American, and former UK running back, Dy'Shawn Mobley. A redshirt freshman defensive lineman from EKU passed away after a car accident last weekend so they'll enter the game with high emotion. While Towles will play, Mark Stoops told the media this week that former blue-chip recruit Drew Barker will make his debut under center. If Kentucky can beat EKU, they'll start 4-1 for the second consecutive year and that hasn't happened since 1976-77. Prediction: Kentucky 31, Eastern Kentucky 7