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Barnhart’s Five Burning Questions for Week 10

27 days ago
Tony Barnhart | SEC Network

Yes, friends, it is November.

No. 1 Georgia has already clinched the SEC East and a spot in the championship game on Dec. 4.

Five teams in the SEC West have two conference losses or fewer.

The first set of College Football Playoff rankings are out with Georgia and Alabama at No. 1 and No. 2. Seven of the Top 17 teams hail from the Southeastern Conference.

This is just another way of telling you that we’re going to have a November to remember.

Here are our Five Burning Questions to get the month started:

1. Auburn (6-2, 3-1 SEC) still has a path to the SEC championship game. Can the Tigers take the first big step by winning at Texas A&M?

Auburn has won four of its past five games, the only loss coming to No. 1 Georgia. It is clear that the Tigers are getting better. But are they good enough to handle a closing stretch that includes Texas A&M, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Alabama (at Jordan-Hare Stadium)?

Watch what quarterback Bo Nix and running back Tank Bigsby can get done on the ground at Kyle Field. Bigsby had 140 yards last week against Ole Miss while Nix scored two touchdowns running.

Remember that Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2) has the tiebreaker over Alabama if the Crimson Tide loses again. But lose this one and the Aggies are out.

2. Is JT Daniels going to play for Georgia against Missouri?

The No. 1 Bulldogs (8-0, 6-0) have gotten superb quarterback play from Stetson Bennett IV but the Georgia faithful want to know when they are going to see Daniels, who was the starter at the beginning of the season but has been out since the second game with an injury. Georgia didn’t need Daniels last week against Florida, but the question is whether the Bulldogs need him on Dec. 4 for the SEC championship game? Keep an eye on No. 18.

3. What will be the LSU mindset when the Tigers go to No. 2 Alabama?

Remember that the last time LSU visited Bryant-Denny Stadium the Tigers and quarterback Joe Burrow won 46-41 on the way to a 15-0 season and a national championship.

Normally, this game features two talented teams playing at a very high level.

But I just don’t know how motivated LSU will be to play this game. The Tigers are 4-4 and will struggle to make a bowl. Coach Ed Orgeron is leaving at the end of the season. A bunch of players, particularly in the secondary, are hurt and not available.

Alabama, conversely, is ranked No. 2 and needs to keeping winning games impressively as they pursue another trip to the CFP.

Does LSU have enough pride-or talent-to make it respectable?

Stay tuned.

4. Can Kentucky bounce back against an improving team from Tennessee?

Not that long ago Kentucky (6-2, 4-2) was 6-0 and playing No. 1 Georgia in Athens. The Wildcats lost that game 30-13 and then got a week off. Then they came out flat at Mississippi State and got embarrassed 31-17 with four turnovers and a complete inability to run the ball.

So the Wildcats need to get it turned around against Tennessee (4-4, 2-3) which has lost back-to-back games against Ole Miss (31-26) and Alabama (52-24).

If Kentucky beats Tennessee it has a good chance to go 10-2. It would be only the fourth 10-win season in school history.

5. Why is Mississippi State (5-3, 3-2) a team you don’t want to play right now?

The Bulldogs, who travel to Arkansas on Saturday, have won three of their last four games. And that run includes wins over Texas A&M (26-22) and Kentucky (31-17). Two of Mississippi State’s three losses have been to Memphis by two points (31-29) and to LSU by three points (28-25). The other loss was to No. 2 Alabama (49-9).

Mississippi State is playing well for two reasons.

Quarterback Will Rogers completed 36 of 39 passes for 344 yards and a touchdown against Kentucky. He leads the SEC in passing with 361.5 yards per game.

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