UL-Monroe (3-2) at Kentucky (4-1, 2-1 SEC)
WHEN: 11 a.m. Saturday.
WHERE: Commonwealth Stadium (62,093), Lexington, Ky.
TV: SEC Network.
SERIES: Kentucky leads 3-1.
BETTING LINE: Kentucky -21.5.
STAT THAT MATTERS: Kentucky sophomore QB Patrick Towles has been dominant at home, completing 63.4 percent of his passes for 956 yards, four touchdowns and an interception.
NOTES: If someone during SEC media days would have predicated Mark Stoops’ Wildcats would have won two of its first three conference games, including one against South Carolina, he or she may have been called out as a lunatic. Suddenly, though, Kentucky is on everyone’s radar. Kentucky has received a surprising amount of production on both sides of the football, most notably its passing game. The Wildcats currently rank fourth in the SEC in passing yards, averaging 274 yards per game. More specifically, sophomore quarterback Patrick Towles continues to be a rising stud in the SEC East – he completed 20-of-29 pass attempts for 208 yards and a touchdown on Saturday against the Gamecocks. UL-Monroe surrenders 225.6 yards per game through the air, leaving another opportunity for Towles to shine this weekend.
No. 13 Georgia (4-1, 2-1 SEC) at No. 23 Missouri (4-1, 1-0 SEC)
WHEN: 11 a.m. Saturday.
WHERE: Memorial Stadium (71,168), Columbia, Mo.
SERIES: Georgia leads 2-1.
BETTING LINE: Georgia -3.
STAT THAT MATTERS: Missouri’s Maty Mauk and Georgia’s Hutson Mason are within four points of each other in passer rating in 2014. Mauk currently holds a 138.7 rating, while Mason has a 142.4 QB rating.
NOTES: When Georgia and Missouri battle on Saturday afternoon in Columbia, it will be a contest between two squads that are still adjusting to life with a new quarterback at the helm. It’s been a slow transition for both passing games. Both the Tigers and the Bulldogs rank at No. 9 and No. 12 in passing yards, respectively, as both squads have relied on the run game for production, especially Georgia. Considering Georgia and Missouri are both in the middle of the pack in passing defense, Saturday’s contest may come down to whether Hutson Mason or Maty Mauk can successfully carry his squad to victory.
No. 2 Auburn (5-0, 2-0 SEC) at No. 3 Miss. St. (5-0, 2-0 SEC)
WHEN: 2:40 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field (61,337), Starkville, Miss.
SERIES: Auburn leads 61-24-2.
BETTING LINE: Auburn -2.5.
STAT THAT MATTERS: Auburn’s rushing attack ranks No. 10 in the SEC on the road in 2014, averaging 2.8 yards per carry.
NOTES: Flip a coin to find which team is in a better position – Mississippi State enters Saturday’s SEC matchup after a dominating win against Texas A&M, while Auburn goes into week seven after a massacre against LSU at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Both offenses feature similar styles: the Bulldogs and Tigers both feature dual-threat quarterbacks (Dak Prescott and Nick Marshall) with one primary feature runner in the backfield (Josh Robinson and Cameron Artis-Payne). Defensively, both Mississippi State and Auburn possess two of the three best lines when it comes to stopping the run, allowing 98 and 100 yards on the ground per game, respectively. One advantage for the Bulldogs on Saturday night will be Auburn’s run struggles on the road, though, where they average only 128 yards per game.
Chattanooga (3-2) at Tennessee (2-3, 0-2 SEC)
WHEN: 3:00 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: Neyland Stadium (102,455), Knoxville, Tenn.
TV: SEC Network.
SERIES: Tennessee leads 37-2-2.
BETTING LINE: N/A.
STAT THAT MATTERS: Over the first five games of the 2014 season, opponents have only converted 18-of-73 third down attempts.
NOTES: There hasn’t been an abundance of bright spots in Knoxville, Tenn., in 2014, but the one consistent positive for the Volunteers has been its defense. In a conference that has taken on an offensive identity in recent seasons, Tennessee’s defense has been productive, ranking No. 6 in the SEC and allowing only 339.4 yards of total offense per game. It’s been even more effective on third downs. The Volunteers have only allowed opponents to convert 24.7 percent of their third down attempts, which is the most efficient rating in the conference. Last weekend in a 10-9 loss to Florida, the Gators converted only 9-of-20 third down conversion attempts against the Volunteers’ defense, and it allowed Georgia to convert only 1-of-10 third down tries the week before that.
No. 7 Alabama (4-1, 1-1 SEC) at Arkansas (3-2, 0-2 SEC)
WHEN: 5:00 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium (72,000), Fayetteville, Ark.
SERIES: Alabama leads 14-8.
BETTING LINE: Alabama -10.
STAT THAT MATTERS: Arkansas currently leads the SEC with 316.6 rushing yards per game, but Alabama has the best run defense in the conference, surrendering only 64 yards per game on the ground.
NOTES: It’s not often that Alabama football fans have to go into a weekend contest after suffering a loss only seven days prior. The Crimson Tide fell to No. 7 in the AP poll after suffering a loss to Ole Miss, and head coach Nick Saban will look to right the ship against Arkansas in Fayetteville. On the other side, Razorbacks’ coach Bret Bielema remains on the hunt for his first ever SEC win in his second season at Arkansas. History hasn’t been kind to the Razorbacks, though. Alabama heads into Saturday night’s contest on a seven-game winning streak against Arkansas, and all signs currently point to the Crimson Tide extending that number. Alabama’s defense currently ranks as the best in the conference, allowing only 264.8 total yards of offense per game. Arkansas’ No. 5 offense will certainly have its hands full.
Charleston Southern (5-0) at Vanderbilt (1-5, 0-4 SEC)
WHEN: 6:35 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: Vanderbilt Stadium (39,790), Nashville, Tenn.
TV: Fox Sports South.
SERIES: First time meeting.
BETTING LINE: N/A.
STAT THAT MATTERS: Vanderbilt quarterbacks have thrown three touchdowns compared to 10 interceptions this season.
NOTES: Another week, another loss for Derek Mason and the Commodores. Vanderbilt’s 2014 campaign continues to be a downward spiral after last Saturday’s blowout loss against Georgia. Just continue to take one look at the stat sheet, and it quickly becomes evident where the Commodores need improvement – everywhere. Vanderbilt currently ranks last in the SEC in total offense, averaging only 265.5 yards per game. It also ranks No. 12 in total defense, surrendering 420.3 yards of total offense per contest. Fortunately for Vanderbilt, it’s one victory this season came against out-of-conference opponent UMass, so week seven has the potential to be a victory against Charleston Southern.
No. 3 Ole Miss (5-0, 2-0 SEC) at No. 14 Texas A&M (5-1, 2-1 SEC)
WHEN: 8:00 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: Kyle Field (106,000), College Station, Texas.
SERIES: Texas A&M leads 6-0.
BETTING LINE: Texas A&M -2.
STAT THAT MATTERS: Ole Miss’ pass defense ranks No. 1 in the SEC, allowing only 152.4 yards per game through the air.
NOTES: Ole Miss and Texas A&M: two squads on opposite ends of the emotional spectrum following last weekend’s matchups. For Ole Miss, last Saturday was a euphoric victory as the Rebels held off the Crimson Tide in Oxford, Miss. Meanwhile, Texas A&M suffered a horrendous defeat against Mississippi State. One thing is for certain – both squads will look to pass the football on Saturday evening. Texas A&M and Ole Miss rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in total passing offense in 2014. Behind star quarterbacks Kenny Hill and Bo Wallace, both the Aggies and the Rebels have found success through the air with passer ratings of 160.1 and 162.9. That being said, Ole Miss brings the top pass defense in the conference into College Station, meaning Hill will have to shake off his poor performance against the Bulldogs if the Aggies wish to emerge victorious.