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SEC Football Weekend Preview: Week 8 - An SEC West Elimination Game

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At least one team will be eliminated from the SEC championship race after this weekend's slate of games.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas (2-4) vs. Auburn (4-2)

Watch: 12:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Line: Arkansas (-6.5)

If Auburn couldn't beat Kentucky coming off a bye week, their team was truly trash this season. But Gus Malzahn and his group found a way to win, pulling out a 30-27 road SEC win last Thursday night. The offense also had its best performance of the season as quarterback Sean White looked a little more dynamic than usual. The Tigers rushed for 152 yards and threw for 255 yards against a decent Wildcat defense. They hit the road again, looking to gain their second consecutive SEC road win as they face Arkansas on Saturday afternoon. The Razorbacks are coming off a bye week of their own after their 27-14 loss to Alabama two weeks ago. For the first time all season, the Arkansas ground game couldn't get going as they only gained 44 yards on the ground. Alex Collins and Co. should be fine against a bend-don't-break Auburn defense but Arkansas' secondary must stop giving up big plays for them to win this game. Prediction: Arkansas 28, Auburn 24

No. 8 Alabama (6-1) vs. Tennessee (3-3)

Watch: 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Line: Alabama (-15)

This doesn't look like vintage Alabama on paper, but they sure have played like it over the last month. The Tide have disposed of two top-10 teams on the road and have only trailed once in their last four games, a four-point deficit to Arkansas at halftime. They've won their last four games by a combined score of 140-47 and have forced 11 turnovers in the process, returning four of them for touchdowns. Safe to say it's not a good time to be walking into Bryant-Denny Stadium. Joshua Dobbs and Tennessee enter off a bye week, coming off their 38-31 comeback win over Georgia. Unfortunate that after this year's team gained some momentum, they were forced to sit for a week. Dobbs was incredible against the Bulldogs, accounting for over 400 yards of total offense by himself in the win. He'll need to have another Superman-esque performance if the Vols are to pull out the win. UT has lost 22 games in a row to ranked teams on the road and have lost eight consecutive meetings to the Tide by an average of 23.5 points. Prediction: Alabama 31, Tennessee 14

Vanderbilt (2-4) vs. Missouri (4-3)

Watch: 4:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Line: Missouri (-2.5)

Both of these teams are coming off truly ugly games. We last saw Missouri in perhaps the worst game of the SEC season as they lost 9-6 to Georgia last weekend. The Tigers only managed 164 yards of total offense in the loss. Vanderbilt committed five turnovers against the conference's worst defense in their loss to South Carolina last Saturday. Missouri has lost consecutive games for the first since 2012 and true freshman quarterback Drew Lock will make his fourth straight start while Maty Mauk continues to be suspended. Missouri's been competitive this year thanks to one of the best defenses in the country. Their backfield penetration is elite and they've held each opponent to 21 points or fewer this season. They lead the SEC and rank sixth nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 12.9 points per game. Vanderbilt has a stifling defense of their own as they have the conference's best third-down defense, holding opponents to a dismal 26.2 percent success rate on the critical down. Prediction: Missouri 14, Vanderbilt 7

No. 24 Ole Miss (5-2) vs. No. 15 Texas A&M (5-1)

Watch: 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Line: Ole Miss (-5)

The SEC's two best offenses were held in check last weekend, one by Memphis and one by Alabama. One is not like the other. The Rebels were successful through the air but gained just 40 rushing yards on 24 attempts and were horrid on third-downs against Memphis last week. A&M's offense and quarterback Kyle Allen likely have nightmares of the Tide but their defense wasn't much better, allowing 258 yards to Alabama on the ground. Ole Miss continues to be hobbled by injuries as defensive starters Robert Nkemdiche and Trae Elston are in the concussion protocol while starting center Robert Conyers is out for the year with a knee injury. The Rebels have All-American left tackle Laremy Tunsil back this week after sitting out seven games with NCAA issues. Head coach Hugh Freeze remarked this week that his return has put a pep in his team's step during practice. This is the biggest SEC game of the weekend as the loser is likely eliminated from the SEC championship hunt. Prediction: Ole Miss 35, Texas A&M 31

No. 5 LSU (6-0) vs. Western Kentucky (6-1)

Watch: 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Line: LSU (-16)

Western Kentucky has already disposed of one SEC team this season, although it was Vanderbilt. Quarteback Brandon Doughty led the nation with 49 touchdown passes last season. He's at it again as he has 24 already, third most in the country, and has the highest completion percentage in the nation. The Hilltoppers earned 11 votes in the AP Poll this week but they gave up 5.8 yards per rushing attempt against winless North Texas last week, a bad mark if you're trying to upset these Tigers. Leonard Fournette remains the leading Heisman candidate despite the momentum Florida State running back Dalvin Cook is building. Another night game in Baton Rouge leads most to believe it will be just another victory for this LSU team, but don't sleep on WKU's passing attack. They'll need to keep Doughty upright to have a chance. Prediction: LSU 38, Western Kentucky 24

Mississippi State (5-2) vs. Kentucky (4-2)

Watch: 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Line: Mississippi State (-12)

Dak Prescott continues his phenomenal collegiate career as last weekend he joined Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel as the only players in Southeastern Conference history with 50 touchdown passes and 30 rushing touchdowns. He already holds every major school passing record, but he'll need 97 yards on the ground this weekend to become the school's all-time leading rusher for a quarterback. The Bulldogs went on the road to Lexington as the No. 1 team in the country last season and the Wildcats hung with them for three quarters. Patrick Towles was brilliant in that game, passing for 390 yards, rushing for 76 and accounting for four touchdowns. UK might boast the most underrated pass-catching duo in the conference in Dorian Baker and Garrett Johnson. MSU's best cornerback, Will Redmond, a likely first-round NFL draft pick, tore his ACL last weekend. The Wildcats may now have an opportunity to exploit the Bulldog secondary. Since Dan Mullen arrived in Starkville in 2009, he has not lost to Kentucky. Prediction: Mississippi State 27, Kentucky 21