The SEC report

The 2019 SEC football preview: Aggies, LSU hope to challenge Alabama

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The 2020 SEC season shapes up as one of the more interesting in recent years. Alabama is loaded as usual, but Texas A&M and LSU could surprise in the West. Meanwhile, Georgia may be ready to make a run at the playoffs again from the other side. The Aggies open their season Thursday night against Texas State.

Are the Aggies poised for a jump?

Year 1 of the Jimbo Fisher era saw the Aggies go 9-4 against one of the toughest schedules. It does not get easier this year, with games against Clemson, Alabama, LSU and Georgia on the slate.

The Aggies will need further development from quarterback Kellen Mond, who completed less than 60 percent of his passes last season but showed a lot of flashes.

They will need to replace productive running back Trayveon Williams, but Mond should have plenty of options in the passing game, despite the loss of highly touted tight end Baylor Cupp to season-ending injury. The offensive line is solid, despite losing Erik McCoy. If Mond takes the next step, this could be a very productive offense.

On the other side of the ball, they lose some key elements, but they improved dramatically in Year 1 with DC Mike Elko calling the shots. They are loaded on defense again, and could easily improve despite losing several key contributors.

The bottom line: A&M might be better this season, but the record might not reflect that. An early upset of Clemson would vault them up the polls, but there will still be serious dragons to slay.

Big year for LSU?

Hopes are high in Baton Rouge that this might finally be a breakout year for the Tigers. Joe Burrow will be in his second season at quarterback, and if he can improve, the Tigers offense should be very good. He was not all that accurate last season, but did a good job protecting the football. Coming off their first 10-win season since 2013, expectations are through the roof. Offensively, they have four starters back on the offensive line, but that group was not great last year. Still, there is talent and they should improve.

On defense, the Tigers are loaded again, especially in the secondary. Freshman Derek Stingley is an intriguing cornerback.

The Tigers have a serious early test in Austin against Texas, and will have to find out a way to beat Alabama, which they have not done in the last eight matchups. Games against Florida and A&M loom as well, but the rest of the schedule is very manageable.

The bottom line: The Tigers should be very good again this year, and a dark horse playoff contender. But getting past Alabama will not be easy.

The rest of the West 

Alabama will once again be favored to win the West, the conference and make the playoffs. Auburn is in a key year for Gus Malzahn and will be starting a true freshman at quarterback, so it is hard to know what to expect. Mississippi State could be a dark horse, but will need a new quarterback. Not much is expected of Ole Miss, and Arkansas appears to have a long way to go under second year head coach Chad Morris.

Eastbound and down

Georgia is the clear favorite in the East, although much is expected of Dan Mullen's Florida Gators, who looked shaky in an opening-week win over Miami, but they should improve. Missouri is a potential dark horse, but the rest of the division looks like also-rans.

The bottom line

Once again it looks like Alabama and Georgia, but Florida, A&M and LSU are all contenders.

Key games to watch

Aug. 31: Auburn vs, Oregon

Sept. 7: A&M at Clemson

Sept. 7: LSU at Texas

Sept. 21: Notre Dame at Georgia

Oct. 5: Auburn at Florida

Oct. 12: Alabama at A&M

Oct. 12: Florida at LSU

Nov. 2: Florida vs. Georgia

Nov. 9: LSU at Alabama

Nov. 23: A&M at Georgia

Nov. 30: Alabama at Auburn

Nov. 30: A&M at LSU



5 players to watch

1. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama: The "tank for Tua" strategy might not be a thing in the NFL after all this year, but the 'Bama QB could raise his stock quite a bit.

2. D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia: The Bulldogs seem to have great backs every year, and Swift fits right in. Could be a dark horse Heisman contender.

3. Kellen Mond, QB, A&M: For the Aggies to take a jump, Mond will have to do so as well. He has shown incredible flashes, but has been inconsistent. With a second year working with Fisher, a breakout could easily happen.

4. Grant Delpit, DB, LSU: Delpit is an absolute monster who will be an anchor on what should be a very good defense. He plays multiple positions and is one of the most exciting players in college football.

5. C.J. Henderson, DB, Florida: The Gators defense will be the key to their success, and a lockdown corner like Henderson is critical. If they are going to make noise this year, Henderson will be a big reason. He struggled badly with tackling in week 0, but a lot of players did. He can and should improve.

No. 1 Baylor Bears and No. 10 LSU Tigers extend their winning streak as conference play continues.

College Basketball Report: Week 11

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TEXAS LONGHORNS (12-6), (2-4)

Last week: (1-2): W - Oklahoma State 74-64, L - Kansas 66-57, L - West Virginia 97-59

This week: Saturday vs. LSU

The start of the Big 12 Conference has not been kind to the Texas Longhorns with a below .500 record. After recording a 12-point victory over the Oklahoma State Cowboys, the Longhorns dropped back-to-back games against the Kansas Jayhawks and the West Virginia Mountaineers.

The 38-point loss to the Mountaineers proved to be the Longhorns' worst performance of the season, as UT allowed West Virginia to shoot 51.4% from the floor, 42.9% from behind the arc and trail 45-20 heading into the halftime break.


With one game on the schedule, the Longhorns will look to bounce back in a home match against the hot LSU Tigers.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (8-8), (2-3)

Last week: (0-2): L - LSU 89-85, L - South Carolina 81-67

This week: Tuesday vs. Missouri, Saturday vs. Oklahoma State

The Texas A&M Aggies hit a rough patch last week and are currently riding a two-game losing streak heading into their match against the Missouri Tigers on Tuesday, before taking on the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday.

The Aggies dropped a heartbreak overtime loss in a game against the LSU Tigers, where they fought their way back from 10 down at the half. Unfortunately, A&M could not carry over their second-half surge against the Gamecocks, as South Carolina shot 48.3 % from the floor, 53.3 % from 3-point range.

Senior forward Josh Nebo led the Aggies in scoring both games averaging 19.0 points and 2.5 blocks per game.

Houston Cougars (12-4), (2-1)

Last week: (2-0): W - SMU 77-62, W- Wichita State 65-54

This week: Thursday vs. UConn, Sunday vs. USF

Winners of eight out of their last nine games, the Houston Cougars swept through their opponents picking up wins against the SMU Mustangs and the Wichita State Shockers.

In the win against No. 16 Wichita State, the Cougars had one of their best defensive performances of the season, as Houston recorded nine blocks and held the Shockers to 32.2% shoot from the field, and 20% from behind the arc. Following the win, the Cougars will come into Thursday showdown against UConn tied with Wichita State atop of the American Athletic Conference.

RICE OWLS (9-11), (1-6)

Last week: (0-3): L - Louisiana Tech 72-56, L- Southern Miss 81-68, L - North Texas 79-59

This week: Thursday vs. UTEP, Saturday vs. UTSA

Loser of seven of their last eight games, the Rice Owls are currently riding a three-game losing streak after a winless week.

The Owls suffered a blowout defeat in all three games, losing by an average margin of 16 points, with their worst coming at the hands of North Texas on Monday. Up next, Rice will look to end their worst skid of the season on Thursday in a CUSA showdown against UTEP.

BAYLOR BEARS (16-1), (6-0)

Last week: (3-0): W - Iowa State 68-55, W - Oklahoma State 75-68, W - Oklahoma 61-57

This week: Saturday vs. Florida

While improving their national rank to No. 1, the Baylor Bears extended their conference play winning streak to six with wins against Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma over the past week.

In the win against Oklahoma, Macio Teague led the Bears to a close win with 16 points and three steals. Following their overall 15th straight victory, the Bears will put their winning streak on the line against Florida on Saturday.

TCU HORNED FROGS (12-5), (3-2)

Last week: (0-2): L - West Virginia 81-49, L - Oklahoma 83-63

This week: Tuesday vs Texas Tech, Saturday vs Arkansas

After riding a four-game winning streak, the TCU Horned Frogs dropped two consecutive conference games in a loss against West Virginia and Oklahoma last week. In both games, the Horned Frogs lost by an average margin of 26 points, which indicates their two worst two-game stretch of the season.

Up next, TCU will look to return to their winning ways against the No. 18 Texas Tech Red Raiders on Tuesday, before taking on the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (12-5), (3-2)

Last week: (2-0): W - Kansas State 77-63, W - Arkansas 72-52

This week: Tuesday vs TCU, Saturday vs Kentucky

After dropping two of their first three conference games, the No. 16 Texas Tech Red Raiders had a prefect week picking up wins against the Kansas State Wildcats and Iowa State Cyclone.

Against Iowa State, the Red Raiders finished the game shooting 54.3% from the floor and connecting on nine 3-point field goals in the win. Sophomore guard Kyler Edwards registered a career-high five 3-pointers and finished with 22 points inside the United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas.

Up next, Tech will look to extend their winning streak against the TCU Horned Frogs on Tuesday.

SMU MUSTANGS (13-4), (3-2)

Last week (1-1): L - Houston 71-62, W - Temple 68-52

This week: Wednesday vs ECU, Saturday vs Memphis

The SMU Mustangs opened the week dropping their second straight game in a loss to in-state rival, the Houston Cougars. In the loss, the Mustangs did not have an answer for Houston's Fabian White Jr., as the junior forward recorded 17 points and 10 rebounds in the win.

Following the loss in Houston, SMU returned to their winning ways in a home victory over the Temple Owls, a game in which Tyson Jolly had one of his best performances of the season with 25 points and 14 rebounds, two steals and a block in the win.
The Mustang will stay home for an AAC showdown against ECU on Wednesday before traveling to Memphis to take on the Memphis Tigers on Saturday.

LSU TIGERS (13-4), (5-0)

Last week (2-0): W - Texas A&M 89-85, W - Ole Miss 80-76

This week: Tuesday vs Florida, Saturday vs Texas

No. 10 LSU Tigers continued their hot start in conference play and extended their winning streak to six last week.

Both games went down to the wire as the Tigers needed an additional five minutes to pull off a win against the Aggies, a game where LSU nearly blew a 10 point lead at the half. Five players scored in double-digits for LSU with Trendon Watford and Skylar Mays each scoring 19 points apiece.

The Tigers will return home on Tuesday for a match against Florida before a Big-12 showdown against the Texas Longhorns on Saturday.

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