SEC Week 5 viewer's guide: Georgia's chance to make a statement


All games are on Saturday.

Noon ET

South Carolina at Missouri, SEC Network

This is the battle of true freshman quarterbacks. For South Carolina, Lorenzo Nuñez makes his second start and his first SEC start. For Missouri, who suspended quarterback Maty Mauk mid-week, it’s Drew Lock who makes his starting debut. Both teams are looking for their first conference win. The last two times these teams met, they provided thrillers: a 27-24 overtime win for South Carolina at Faurot Field in 2013, and last year Missouri went to Williams-Brice Stadium and swiped a 21-20 victory.

3:30 p.m. ET

No. 13 Alabama at No. 8 Georgia, CBS

All eyes on Athens. Can the Bulldogs break through, or will Alabama drop to 0-2 in conference play (an SEC record they haven’t had since 1990, according to ESPN Stats & Information). If you like running backs, this game is for you: Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Derrick Henry, Kenyan Drake. This game is a chance for Georgia and Mark Richt to make a statement or for Alabama to rebound from its home loss to Ole Miss. Either way, the result will have lasting repercussions.

4 p.m. ET

San José State at Auburn, SEC Network

Auburn could really use a win, regardless of the caliber of opponent, after dropping consecutive games to LSU and Mississippi State. New starting quarterback Sean White got his feet wet in last week’s loss to the Bulldogs but it wasn’t all that pretty. This game could be an opportunity for him to have some early success and build confidence.

7 p.m. ET

No. 3 Ole Miss at No. 25 Florida, ESPN

Each of these teams had some thrills in the first month of the season, Ole Miss with its big win at Alabama (which included a crazy tipped pass); Florida with its comeback win vs. Tennessee (including its huge fourth-and-14 touchdown). Florida’s defense will test Ole Miss’ offense, and Florida’s revamped offense will meet a challenge from the “Landsharks” on the Ole Miss D. Huge game in The Swamp.

Arkansas at Tennessee, ESPN2

Remember when we thought this game would be pitting two teams on the way up? Things haven’t gone as planned in Fayetteville or Knoxville, but both teams have a chance for redemption here. Arkansas is trying to end a three-game losing streak after a gut-wrenching overtime loss to Texas A&M; Tennessee wants to stay in the thick of the SEC East race (remember, one of the Vols’ losses was non-conference) by bouncing back from its heartbreaking loss to Florida with a home win over the Hogs. Both teams need this one in a big way.

Eastern Michigan at No. 9 LSU, ESPNU

Let’s not kid ourselves, folks tuning into this game are doing so to see Leonard Fournette. How much will he play? Will he even see a full half’s worth of work? How many yards will he compile against Eastern Michigan, a team that allowed 556 rushing yards last week to Army. Eastern Michigan is 0-12 all-time against AP Top 25 teams, according to ESPN Stats & Information. It has a thankless task on Saturday night in Death Valley. Good luck with that.

Vanderbilt at Middle Tennessee State, CBS Sports Network

Vanderbilt is the underdog in this game, but the Commodores put together an encouraging performance last week against Ole Miss, holding the Rebels to 37 fewer points and nearly 200 fewer yards than their season average. Middle Tennessee already played an SEC team this year (losing 37-10 to Alabama) and has won 10 of its last 11 home games.

7:30 p.m. ET

No. 21 Mississippi State at No. 14 Texas A&M, SEC Network

These teams were picked at the bottom of the West at SEC media days (Texas A&M sixth, Mississippi State seventh) but both are ranked and have only one loss between them (Mississippi State’s 21-19 loss to LSU). The man widely considered the SEC’s best quarterback coming into the season (Dak Prescott) and one of the better young quarterbacks in the league (Kyle Allen) will battle.

Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky, SEC Network+

Kentucky looks to build on its impressive 3-1 start in this non-conference in-state contest. One thing to watch is the Wildcats’ running backs: coach Mark Stoops said earlier this week that leading rusher Stanley Williams didn’t practice Monday or Tuesday for what Stoops called “personal matters.” It’s unclear if he’ll play; if not, Jojo Kemp will get the bulk of the work. Also, Stoops said he’ll have “zero tolerance” for trash talk or extracurricular activities in this game; players from each team were involved in off-field altercations in January.