SEC

Better get ready for a high scoring, ugly Egg Bowl

Mississippi State running back Aeris Williams (27) hurdles Arkansas defender Josh Liddell during Saturday’s game in Starkville. Arkansas won 58-42.
Mississippi State running back Aeris Williams (27) hurdles Arkansas defender Josh Liddell during Saturday’s game in Starkville. Arkansas won 58-42. The Chronicle

The 2016 season hasn’t gone exactly as planned for Ole Miss or Mississippi State. That’s a bit of an understatement, isn’t it? The heated rivals have both woefully under performed compared to internal expectations — outsiders maybe are probably less surprised. The struggles almost add to the showdown in Oxford as the heated rivals still have plenty to play for Saturday. For Ole Miss, it’s a bowl berth and an extra 15 practices for QB-of-the-future Shea Patterson. As for the Bulldogs, a win Saturday likely keeps their rivals from a bowl game and would mark the team’s first win in the series since 2013’s overtime thriller.

Ole Miss opened as a 7 1/2-point favorite.

With Ole Miss (93) and MSU (105) among the nation’s worst scoring defenses, surrendering more than 32.1 points per game, Saturday could be one of the highest-scoring Egg Bowls in recent history.

Winners of the Week

Vanderbilt 38, Ole Miss 17: The Derek Mason era at Vanderbilt hasn’t had a lot of bright spots, but Saturday’s convincing win over the Rebels should certainly count – even if Ole Miss is a floundering opponent. While six wins will guarantee Vanderbilt its first bowl game since 2013, with their high APR, the ‘Dores may already have solidified a rare postseason berth.

Losers of the Week

Florida 16, LSU 10: Depending on your perspective, Florida could have easily been the Winner of the Week. From this reporter’s perspective, Ed Orgeron needed this game to legitimize his candidacy as Les Miles’ replacement. Instead, the Tigers had two turnovers, a bungled fumble and were unable to punch the ball into the end zone twice from the 1 to end the game. Unfortunately for Orgeron, there’s no Electoral College to help him out – he needs the popular vote of LSU’s decision makers to be the school’s next coach.

Star player

WR Tyrie Cleveland (Florida): Cleveland’s numbers as a whole (three receptions, 124 yards, one touchdown) may not jump off the stat sheet, but the freshman from Houston may have made the play of the weekend. With the Gators backed up in their own end, Cleveland caught a heave down the sideline from reserve QB Austin Appleby, shrugged off the LSU defensive back and raced for a touchdown to complete the 98-yard play.

Statistically speaking

205: Arkansas running back Rawleigh Williams III couldn’t be stopped Saturday by Mississippi State. The tough Arkansas sophomore racked up 205 yards and four touchdowns on just 16 carries to carry the Hogs past the Bulldogs.

Pollsters

Associated Press: No. 1 Alabama, No. 13 Florida, No. 16 Auburn, No. 22 Texas A&M, No. 24 Tennessee, No. 25 LSU. Receiving votes: Arkansas.

USA Today/Amway Coaches Poll: No. 1 Alabama, No. 13 Florida, No. 16 Auburn, No. 22 Texas A&M, No. 24 Tennessee. Receiving votes: LSU, Arkansas.

College Football Playoff: No. 1 Alabama, No. 15 Auburn, No. 16 LSU, No. 19 Tennessee, No. 23 Florida, No. 25 Texas A&M.

SEC Contenders

1. Alabama (11-0)

2. Florida (8-2)

3. Auburn (8-3)

Relegation Zone

12. South Carolina (6-5)

13. Vanderbilt (5-6)

14. Missouri (3-8)

Game to Watch

Auburn at Alabama, 2:30 p.m. (CBS): All eyes will be on Tuscaloosa, Alabama, as the Tide host perhaps the surprise of the SEC in Auburn. In a week full of rivalry games, this one is the juiciest. Alabama is riding a two-game winning streak against the Tigers and hasn’t lost the Iron Bowl at home since 2010.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

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