Last weekend, the ACC was in the spotlight for a top-10 showdown in Death Valley and top-20 tilt with Virginia Tech and North Carolina. This week, it’s the SEC’s turn as #2 Alabama hosts #3 Georgia in Tuscaloosa. That’s about as sexy as it’s going to get this weekend. But in the words of LC: Not so fast, my friend. There are still pretty intriguing matchups on down the echelon of college football on Saturday. Let’s take a look!

#15 Auburn (2-1) @ South Carolina (1-2)

Oct 10, 2020; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Bo Nix (10) rolls out to pass against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the fourth quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

I wanted to believe Auburn was going to a real factor this year but maybe I played too much in to the Bo Nix hype last season. The Tigers have been far from impressive to this point. They should have dropped last week’s game to Arkansas. They got their heads beat in by Georgia a couple of weeks ago and didn’t exactly turn heads in week one against Kentucky.

Luckily for the War Eagles, they play South Carolina on Saturday….or is it South Carolina that should be eager to kick it off this weekend? The Gamecocks are coming off the first win of the season after defeating Vanderbilt, 41-7. South Carolina has some pieces and while I think they are a pretty bad team right now overall from what I’ve seen I think– at their best or close to it–they can absolutely knock off Auburn this weekend.

Former Arkansas/SMU head coach Chad Morris isn’t exactly running up the score each week in his role as offensive coordinator at Auburn. The Bo Nix to Seth Williams combo is lethal but Carolina has some dudes on defense with linebacker Ernest Jones leading the way with 30 tackles and one sack.

I’ll lean towards Auburn on this one in a low-scoring affair. I just trust Auburn offensively a little more than I do South Carolina. But keep an eye for Kevin Harris. He’s a nice looking back and could be difference maker for SC.

#2 Alabama (3-0) vs #3 Georgia (3-0)

Oct 10, 2020; Oxford, MX, USA; Alabama head coach Nick Saban before the game against Mississippi at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kent Gidley via USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban going up against a former assistant? Top 5 showdown? SEC Championship and College Football Playoff hopes on the line? There will be bloodshed in Tuscaloosa. Alabama RB Najee Harris is making his presence felt in the Heisman race. He’s already rushed for 347 yards and 10 touchdowns. QB Mac Jones has been efficient so far: 66-of-83 passing for 1,101 passing yards and eight touchdowns. Three of those TD’s have been caught by Jaylen Waddle.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I don’t really trust Kirby Smart in big games or just in general as the head coach at Georgia. Until he proves otherwise (and we ALL know what that means), it’s becoming even more difficult to pick them. Stetson Bennett is growing on me but it’s still too early. This will be the ultimate test and measuring stick for Georgia.

Won’t be a full house but will still be loud nonetheless for Bennett’s first career road start. Welcome to big boy football, young man. A still pissed off Nick Saban from last week is likely to unleash the herd onto the Dawg Pound Saturday night.

It remains to be seen if he’ll even be allowed on the sidelines after testing positive for Covid-19. According to reports, Saban would need three negative test to rejoin the team in person and coach Saturday night. I think his presence at the game matters significantly. However, assuming Alabama players like Harris, Jones and Waddle are available to play and pass their test this week, give me Alabama.

#5 North Carolina (3-0) vs Florida State (1-3)

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and North Carolina coach Mack Brown meet after the Tigers’ 21-20 win at Chapel Hill in 2019. (Photo: Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY)

Mack Brown and the fifth Ranked Tar Heels….(Yes, the year is 2020, not 1997) square off against the Seminoles. I’ve only seen parts and pieces of both UNC and FSU but that box score and stat lines don’t lie.

The bad news out of FSU is that star WR Tamorrion Terry is expected to miss at least a few weeks as he undergoes a scope on his knee. That’s a huge loss for head coach Mike Norvell and an FSU squad looking for playmakers to step up. Not to mention it’s one less reliable option for freshman quarterback Jordan Travis.

I think UNC is good but I don’t think they are anywhere close to being a legit top five team and contender for the playoffs. This is a game where I’d pay close attention because to me it has trap game written all over it for the Tar Heels.

UNC should win but will they take care of business? My hunch is still a relatively confident yes because FSU is just that bad. HOWEVER, I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Seminoles pull it off. Charge it to college football, teams in the ACC coastal and 2020 overall.

Mississippi State (1-2) vs #11 Texas A&M (2-1)

Sep 26, 2020; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs quarterback K.J. Costello (3) celebrates with running back Kylin Hill (8) after a 44-34 win against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Bulldogs’ opening win over LSU was exciting but we now know that LSU–especially comparatively speaking from last season–is hot garbage. State hasn’t done much since and actually hasn’t won a game at all since the opener. The Bulldogs have dropped games to Arkansas (21-14) and Kentucky (24-2). That’s right….since scoring 44 against LSU, Mike Leach’s ‘Air Raid’ has been anything but explosive.

A&M is feeling itself a bit after giving Jimbo Fisher his best win since arriving in College Station. The Aggies are a blowout loss to Alabama away from being undefeated right now. This is one where I would be cautious if I was Texas A&M. State appears to not be as good as we might have thought in week one but nevertheless, truly bad teams don’t get lucky with 44 points. Give me Texas A&M but in a close one. Real close.

#18 Tennessee (2-1) vs Kentucky (1-2)

Dec 31, 2019; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops watches the extra point during the first quarter against the Virginia Tech Hokies at the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Which Tennessee teams shows up Saturday? The gritty one that won in Columbia in week one? Or the team that committed three turnovers and only accounted for 214 yards of total offense last week? Georgia’s defense passes the eye test defensively after that interesting week one showing against an improved Arkansas squad. So maybe I can grant Tennessee’s offense a little bit of grace on last weekend’s showing.

This is a game Tennessee should win in my opinion which is exactly why it would be so be the UT thing to do and lose. Through living in Tennessee and watching more Vol football the last five years than I ever imagined, I caught on quickly to what life is like as a UT fan. UK quarterback Terry Wilson comes up with a few big plays down the stretch with his legs and the Wildcats avenge last season’s 17-13 loss and possibly knock UT out of the top 25 in the process.

(I apologize to all my friends back in Vol Country)

The Hall Pass Pick’ Em Selections

#1 Clemson over Georgia Tech (Because, duh)

#4 Notre Dame over Louisville (See above)

#13 Miami over Pittsburgh (Canes bounce back from tough loss in Death Valley)

Boston College over # 23 Virginia Tech (No logic here other than not trusting Tech)

Arkansas over Ole Miss (Sam Pittman is putting in work, Ole Miss’ defense is trash)

West Virginia over Texas (Because Texas still ain’t back)

UCF over Memphis (Someone in the state of Florida has to be decent in football, right?)

UAB over Western Kentucky (Honestly, it was a toss up and my cousin graduated from UAB so….)

NC State over Duke (I love Chase Brice and Coach Cut but Duke is just bad. State is no powerhouse but they are a step ahead of the Blue Devils right now)

Liberty over Syracuse (Life after Eric Dungy continues to be a painful one for Dino Babers)