LSU vs. Mississippi State, Georgia vs. South Carolina

By | September 16, 2023

On paper the program is not as exciting as last week’s. But these overlooked weekends are often when some of the season’s most shocking upsets emerge.

And with eight different ranked teams facing unranked opponents, at least one big upset seems likely.

Here’s what we’ll be keeping an eye on on Saturday (All times ET, odds from BetMGM):

Time: noon | TV: ESPN | Line: LSU -9.5 | Total: 54.5

LSU was ranked No. 5 to start the year, but fell short of a high-profile matchup with Florida State in Week 1. Now down to No. 14, LSU has a chance to start gaining confidence as SEC play begins. Mississippi State is in its first season under the leadership of Zach Arnett, who took over after the sudden death of Mike Leach. Arnett moved away from Leach’s famous Air Raid offense and turned the Bulldogs into a strong team. He has worked in two games with the Bulldogs starting 2-0. Now they will take a step forward in the competition and test the new offense against LSU.

Time: noon | TV: SECN | Line: State K -5.5 | Total: 48.5

Kansas State won the Big 12 and went to the Sugar Bowl last fall and is now off to a 2-0 start in 2023, the program’s fifth season under Chris Klieman. The K-State offense got off to a hot start behind the RB duo of DJ Giddens and Treshaun Ward, while QB Will Howard threw for 547 yards and five touchdowns with two rushing scores. K-State will face much tougher opposition this week as it heads on the road to face Missouri. Last year the Wildcats blew out Missouri 40-12 in Manhattan and the Tigers are looking for revenge. Missouri was nowhere near as dominant as K-State as the Tigers outscored South Dakota 35-10 in Week 1 before a rousing 23-19 win over Middle Tennessee last week.

Time: 3.30pm | TV: CBS | Line: UGA -27.5 | Total: 54.5

On the heels of back-to-back national titles, top-ranked Georgia flew under the radar for two weeks. Predictably, the Bulldogs knocked off UT Martin and Ball State, winning by a combined margin of 93-10. UGA had to deal with quite a few injuries early on. While WR Ladd McConkey’s status is still up in the air, Kirby Smart said RB Daijun Edwards is expected to return for the SEC opener against South Carolina. The Gamecocks have had a rough start to this season with an ugly loss to 31-17 against North Carolina. Last week, the Gamecocks trailed Furman 14-7 midway through the second quarter, but rallied to win 47-21. This is obviously a much tougher opponent for South Carolina.

Time: 5pm | TV: Peacock | Line: UW -16.5 | Total: 57.5

Last year, a ranked Michigan State team came to Seattle and lost to a then-downtrodden Washington team. The script has fundamentally changed this season as a top 10 Huskies team is heading to East Lansing to take on a Spartans team in turmoil. Michigan State, despite being off to a 2-0 start, saw coach Mel Tucker suspended last weekend after being accused of sexual harassment. With Tucker suspended, MSU secondary coach Harlon Barnett was promoted to interim head coach, and Mark Dantonio, MSU’s head coach from 2007 to 2019, returned to the staff. How will the Spartans cope without their coach?

No. 11 Tennessee in Florida

Time: 7.00pm | TV: ESPN | Line: UT -6.5 | Total: 58.5

Tennessee is looking to get back into the national conversation after a fantastic 11-win campaign in 2022. The Vols are off to a 2-0 start in 2023, but last weekend’s 30-13 win over Austin Peay was a bit disappointing. Joe Milton was solid in his first year as UT’s starting QB. How will Milton handle the most challenging SEC road environment he has faced in his career? Tennessee hasn’t won in Gainesville since 2003. Florida is 1-1 after losing to Utah in a mistake-filled mess earlier in the season. Can the Gators avoid those mistakes at home and pull off a big upset?

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