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SEC Banter: This week's conference slate could be sneakily entertaining
Florida-Tennessee football 2016
Florida's offense, left, and Tennessee's defense line up during the 2016 game in Knoxville, Tenn. - photo by Associated Press

After a thrilling second week of the 2017 college football campaign, Saturday’s SEC slate feels a bit more subdued.

But some sleeper matchups could deliver more excitement than you’d think, just like the 1989 action thriller, Road House — it came in a little under the radar.

Here are SEC Banter’s fearless Week 3 predictions. Think you can do better? Email your picks to before noon Saturday and, if you beat me, I’ll send you a free VHS edition of Road House and a six-pack of Coors longnecks (the “Banquet Beer”).

Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Texas A&M: Texas has had its share of Cajun visitors recently, with thousands of boat-owning volunteers from Louisiana dubbed the “Cajun Navy” helping rescue people during Hurricane Harvey. Even with a win over the Ragin’ Cajuns, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin’s seat is still-a-ragin’.

Prediction: Texas A&M 33, ULL 14

No. 23 Tennessee vs. No. 24 Florida: This annual early-season tilt pits two head coaches desperate for wins against each other. Florida has the edge in the Swamp and returns something like 45 players who were suspended for the Gators’ season-opening loss to Michigan.

Prediction: Florida 24, Tennessee 20

Mercer vs. No. 15 Auburn: Mercer enters this contest mighty mad after losing by one point to the Wofford Terriers last week. I’d be mad, too, if I lost to a team named the Terriers.  

Prediction: Auburn 48, Mercer 10

Purdue vs. Missouri: My brother-in-law is a devoted Mizzou fan who considered bringing his whole family to Columbia for a huge weekend of tailgating and football-focused, family fun.

Then he wisely reconsidered and realized household chores will be more entertaining than this one.

Prediction: Purdue 31, Missouri 14

Colorado State vs. No. 1 Alabama: Former Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo will harness his vast SEC experience to score a monumental upset in Tuscaloosa ... um, in Bizarro World.

Prediction: Alabama 38, Colorado State 10

No. 12 LSU vs. Mississippi State: LSU hasn’t yet played a worthy opponent, and the cowbells are clangin’ for a big upset in Starkville. The Tigers’ kicking game is suspect, and Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is a game-changer. It’ll an SEC West shakeup come Saturday night.

Prediction: Mississippi State 20, LSU 17

Samford vs. No. 13 Georgia: Not even the worst Chicago/South Bend hangover could result in a Georgia loss Saturday. Samford last week gave up 41 points to West Alabama, a school I didn’t even know existed (turns out it’s in Livingston, Alabama, just past the Sonic Drive-In).

Prediction: Georgia 55, Samford 7

No. 18 Kansas State vs. Vanderbilt: This could be a good one. The Commodores are scrappy, and Kansas State has faced two cupcakes at home. Vanderbilt gets it done in Nashville.

Prediction: Vanderbilt 27, Kansas State 26

Kentucky vs. South Carolina: Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp has his squad playing well, and speedster Deebo Samuel is a touchdown threat every time he touches the ball.

Prediction: South Carolina 35, Kentucky 17

Ole Miss vs. Cal: Those looking for a nightcap can catch this 10:30 p.m. kickoff from the liberal bastion of Berkeley, California. Ole Miss is following the time-honored tradition of those seeking to avoid life’s problems by fleeing to California, but there won’t be any California dreamin’ here.

Prediction: Cal 42, Ole Miss 28

Remember, you’ll win a free Road House VHS tape and a six-pack of Coors longnecks if your predictions are better than mine. Good luck!

Ben Prevost writes SEC Banter each week during the college football season. He can be reached at

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