It’s hard to imagine an SEC that doesn’t include Les Miles and Mark Richt, but we might only be two games away from that happening. And both of those games are being played Saturday.
Miles will coach his LSU Tigers against Texas A&M in Baton Rouge, La. The Tigers have lost three straight after starting the season 7-0, and the power brokers in Louisiana are floating the idea that Miles is on the way out. The coach’s Wednesday night call-in show turned into an outpouring of support as several fans cried while talking to Miles.
Tears or not, the Tigers appear ready to boot Miles after 11 seasons and a winning percentage that surpasses what Nick Saban did at LSU. The Aggies, meanwhile, haven’t beaten a team with a winning record since Oct. 3. If they beat LSU, it could be the end of Miles on the bayou.
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Georgia (minus-4) at Georgia Tech, Noon
Likewise, Richt is coaching for his job against the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech is 3-8 this season, but can do enough to beat the Bulldogs if Georgia has one of its all-too-often bad days.
Louisville (minus-5 1/2) at Kentucky, Noon
The Wildcats beat South Carolina and Missouri in September. Those are their only two Power 5 wins this season, and Mark Stoops is 12-23 in three seasons at Kentucky. If he can’t turn the corner next year (or if the basketball team struggles this winter), Stoops may be in trouble.
Ohio State (minus-1) at Michigan, Noon
When the summer lines were released for this season’s big games, the Buckeyes were huge favorites. That’s down to a 1-point advantage after the Wolverines’ resurgence under Jim Harbaugh and Ohio State’s problems moving the ball.
Alabama (minus-14 1/2) at Auburn, 3:30 p.m.
All the Tigers have left to play for is ruining Alabama’s season. In Auburn, that’s plenty of motivation.
UCLA at Southern Cal (minus-3), 3:30 p.m.
The Bruins can punch their ticket to the Pac-12 title game with a win. The Trojans probably can take the interim tag off coach Clay Helton with a win.
Penn State at Michigan State (minus-10 1/2), 3:30 p.m.
What has happened to James Franklin? He won at Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt! And he can’t seem to get more than seven wins a season in Happy Valley, even with a quarterback many people think is a first-round NFL Draft pick.
Straight: Michigan State
ATS: Michigan State
Vanderbilt at Tennessee (minus-17), 4 p.m.
Derek Mason likely has bought himself some breathing room with the Commodores’ improvement down the stretch. The Volunteers seem to be turning into the team many fans thought they would be at the beginning of the season. Tennessee has won four straight.
Ole Miss (minus-1) at Mississippi State, 7:15 p.m.
The Egg Bowl could be Dan Mullen’s last game in Starkville. He’s 54-34 at Mississippi State and suddenly he’s being linked to just about every open head coaching position.
Straight: Ole Miss
ATS: Ole Miss
Florida State (minus-2 1/2) at Florida, 7:30 p.m.
The Gators are headed to a showdown with Alabama in the SEC Championship g game, but they’re coming off a narrow, overtime victory against Florida Atlantic. The Seminoles have one of the best running backs in the country in Dalvin Cook.
Straight: Florida State
ATS: Florida State
Notre Dame at Stanford (minus-3), 7:30 p.m.
The Irish need a win, and probably a big win, if they have any hope of jumping from sixth in the CFB standings to one of the top four spots.
Straight: Notre Dame
Oklahoma (minus-7) at Oklahoma State, 8 p.m.
Big 12 officials are big Sooners fans this week. If Oklahoma wins, it’s headed to the four-team playoff. If the Cowboys win, the Big 12 might get left out in the cold.