Week 5 marks the fist Saturday of the 2023 college football season that every SEC team will face a conference opponent. This is where the rubber starts to meet the road. And because we have to rank everything these days, here is all of this weekend’s SEC games ranked in order of watchability (putting my fandom aside, obviously). Primarily to me, that means I think it will be a close game, but national relevance also plays a factor (and sometimes potential for schadenfreude does too). LET’S DO IT!
1. Texas A&M (4-2) at Tennessee (4-1)
2:30 p.m., CBS
Line: Vols -3
Both teams already have a conference loss, but neither is technically out of the SEC race just yet (though Tennessee is the won who still controls their own destiny. Either way, one of these teams is gonna walk out with what they think is a quality win, while the other is going to feel like maybe their season is on the brink of disaster. Such is the life of a college football fan.
2. Missouri (5-1) at No. 24 Kentucky (5-1)
6:30 p.m., SEC Network
Line: BBN -2.5
Both teams are coming off a loss last week (Mizzou to LSU, Kentucky to Georgia), which means both are in wounded animal mode looking to get back on the right track. Should be a dog fight. Well, technically a cat fight.
3. Florida (4-2) at South Carolina (2-3)
2:30 p.m., SEC Network
Line: Cocks -2.5
Florida has the better record, but it’s the home team South Carolina that is a narrow favorite in this game. While Shane Beamer is a year ahead of Billy Napier in their SEC coaching tenures, I think both fanbases will likely view this game as a bit of a referendum. If Florida loses to a sub-.500 team, or if SC loses to fall to 2-4 and 1-3 in SEC play, I think the honeymoon in either place will effectively be over.
4. Auburn (3-2) at No. 22 LSU (4-2)
6 p.m. ESPN
Line: Geaux -11.5
Auburn has a good defense but a struggling offense. LSU as a good offense but a struggling defense. While the Bayou Bengals look like the superior team, the way these two teams match up could make it interesting. And LSU losing to Auburn to give Hugh Freeze his first SEC win on The Plains would indeed be hilarious.
5. Arkansas (2-4) at No. 11Alabama (5-1)
11 a.m., ESPN
Line: Tide -20
The Hogs have lost four straight, and there’s really no reason to think it won’t be five after Saturday. While they kept things closer than expected against LSU and Ole Miss, they don’t appear to be in a position to do the same to Alabama.
6. No. 1 Georgia (6-0) at Vanderbilt (2-5)
11 a.m., CBS
Line: Dawgs -31.5
Do we even need to play this game? Honestly.