Auburn, Al- There is arguably no division in College Football that is more competitive week in and week out than the SEC West, with three of the top seven teams in the nation being from it. Here is your weekend preview of the games taking place in the West.
To kick things off, (23)Texas A&M and Arkansas will face off at 11:00 AM CT inside AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas. A&M has won the last seven match ups against the Hogs with their biggest victory in the series being 58-10 in 2012.
The Aggies are coming off a home loss to Auburn 28-20. The loss was not all bad though. The bright spot being Kellen Mond who led a comeback attempt late in the game. He was 31-49 for 335 yards and two touchdowns. The concern on offense comes to the running game.
Texas A&M ran for only 56 yards that game. Now granted, this was against one of the best defenses in the nation with Auburn, but that will definitely be a point of attack needing improvement to win this game. Their defense gives up a solid 15.5 points per game so the defense will give them a good chance to win against an unstable Arkansas team.
Arkansas's biggest key will be their secondary, which probably is not a good thing considering they are facing Kellen Mond, Jhamon Ausbon, and Quartney Davis. This is the reason they lost to Ole Miss and San Jose State. In those games alone they allowed 602 yards through the air.
The key is simple for both teams. A&M needs to run the ball better and Arkansas has to keep Kellen Mond out of the air.
Ole Miss at (2)Alabama is the second SEC West game on Saturday with the 2:30 CT start on CBS. This series is completely lopsided with Alabama leading 50-10.
It is going to take a nearly perfect game for the Rebels to walk out of Bryant-Denny Stadium victorious. For Ole Miss, they have the task of stopping a Heisman candidate in Tua Tagovailoa and the nation's best wide receiving core that surrounds him. This task is definitely easier said than done.
While having their hands full on defense, they are going to have to find a weakness in this strong Bama defense. It is going to be up to Freshman quarterback Matt Corral to go into this hostile environment and take control of this offense. He has looked like a veteran early in his career by already throwing for 844 yards and four touchdowns in this young season.
This game might get ugly early, but it won't if Ole Miss can find a way to move the ball and make Tua run instead of throw.
The final West game Saturday is the night cap between Mississippi State and (7)Auburn. This game will probably be the most competitive in the SEC this weekend.
Auburn is coming off not only their second win in the state of Texas this year, but their second win against a top 20 opponent. The Tigers went into College Station and controlled the game from the start.
Mississippi State on the other hand also won their first conference game of the year last week at home against Kentucky 28-13. Garrett Shrader had to come into the game for the Bulldogs and threw for 17-22, 180 YDS, and 1 INT.
If you're an Auburn fan and you watched this game last year, you probably still have a bad taste in your mouth from it. That team did not exactly do what was needed to get a win in Starkville.
Biggest thing for State is continuing to let Kylin Hill do what he does and run the ball. They need to do this effectively against an Auburn defense who only allowed 56 rushing yards last week at Texas A&M.
As for Auburn, it is getting freshman quarterback Bo Nix comfortable with the deep ball and still with the rest of the offense. Nix missed three open receivers running long routes last week and if he can correct that, then it adds a whole new page to the playbook of Gus Malzahn.
With the running game of JaTarvious Whitlow and the offensive line seeming to hit stride, this could be yet another dangerous Auburn offense that we have seen in years past.
Keys: Mississippi State needs to break down Auburn's run defense all night and Auburn has to get the young arm of Nix fully accurate.