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2010 SEC Fearless Picks - Oct. 2, (LSU-Ten.)
Tennessee QB Matt Simms
Tennessee QB Matt Simms
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 29, 2010


Fearless Predictions for every SEC game, Oct. 2, Part 2


2010 SEC Fearless Predictions

Week 5 ... Oct. 2, Part 2

SEC 
East | Florida | Georgia | Kentucky | South Carolina | Tennessee | Vanderbilt 
West Alabama | Arkansas | Auburn | LSU | Ole Miss | Miss State

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SEC Fearless Predictions
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CFN SEC Predictions: SU:32-3   ATS: 14-18

- Oct. 2 (Florida at Alabama)

Alcorn State (3-0) at Mississippi State (2-2) Oct. 2, 12:00, ESPN3.com

Here’s The Deal … Just when it seemed like Mississippi State’s season was falling into the abyss after two straight SEC losses to Auburn and LSU, a tight 24-12 win over Georgia might have changed everything around. While the Bulldogs aren’t going to win the SEC title, they have a good young nucleus of players and just enough talent across the board to be a tough battle for all the big boys left on the schedule. With road dates at Florida and Alabama ahead, along with tough conference games against Kentucky, Arkansas, and at Ole Miss, MSU can be forgiven if it gets a week off against a SWAC school. Alcorn State has already matched last year’s win total after a 41-21 win over Alabama State, and while it’ll be a player in the conference title chase, it’s going to have to spend a week taking its lumps before diving back into the SWAC against Texas Southern.
Why Alcorn State Might Win: The offense is fun and the defense forces a slew of mistakes. Sophomore Gabriel Nash has been solid on the ground so far, while Brandon Bridge is a dangerous dual-threat playmaker who has just enough skill to keep the ASU attack moving if MSU isn’t fully focused. While turnovers are a problem, giving the ball away eight times so far, the defense is a takeaway machine with eight picks and five fumble recoveries in just three games. There’s a chance that several good Bulldog drives go for naught if ball security becomes a problem.
Why Mississippi State Might Win: The ASU secondary has struggled so far. While not exactly facing a who’s who of passing games, the Braves haven’t improved enough after a rough 2009 when the defense allowed over 32 points per game. MSU can win this by running the ball 50 times, but games like this are for sharpening up, and the passing game could still use some tuning despite a strong performance from Chris Relf last week. MSU has to open up the attack a bit more, and it should be able to this week.
What To Watch Out For: Relf is known for being more of a runner than a passer, but against Georgia he did a little of everything right completing 9-of-14 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns, while running for 109 yards. Tyler Russell is the star of the future, and possibly the very near future, but as long as Relf isn’t making mistakes and is able to keep the turnovers down and the efficiency up, he’ll lead the attack. In a game like this, he needs to use the live reps to complete more throws down the field.
What Will Happen: Alcorn State should be able to come up with just enough offense to keep the score from getting too out of hand, but the defense is about to be steamrolled over. MSU might be ready for a letdown and it can still win this without a problem. It just might take 20 minutes or so.
CFN Prediction: Mississippi State 41 … Alcorn State 13 … 5Dimes.com Line: No Line
Must See Rating: Katy Perry on Sesame Street - 5 … Eastbound & Down - 1 … 1
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Tennessee (2-2) at LSU (4-0) Oct. 2, 3:30, CBS

Here’s The Deal … There was a time not all that long ago when this matchup would’ve stopped the world. The two battled for the 2007 SEC Championship with LSU pulling out a 21-14 win, and the Tigers screwed up the Vols 2001 national title hopes with a win in the SEC title game, but UT has won two of the last three regular season games. This year, LSU is in the national championship chase, whether it plays like it or not, and if the team is any good, it should win this game in a walk. Tennessee isn’t Tennessee. Derek Dooley’s team is struggling to find its niche after getting obliterated by Oregon, whacked by Florida, and pushed in double overtime by UAB. With four road trips in the next five games, it’s possible things get a whole bunch worse before they get better, but a win in Baton Rouge would change things around in a big hurry before going to Georgia. LSU hasn’t been impressive, but it keeps on winning with a 2-0 SEC record and a solid win over a West Virginia team that will probably win the Big East. However, the passing game is a disaster and there’s just enough inconsistency that could lead to a shocking upset, but the defense is just good enough to win in a blowout if the Vols play like they did last week.
Why Tennessee Might Win: There’s bad, there’s miserable, and there’s the LSU passing game. Despite owning one of the most talented receiving corps in college football, with a stable full of pro prospects, LSU continues to be awful throwing the ball averaging just 110 yards per game while ranking 113th in the nation in passing efficiency. To say things aren’t clicking is being kind, with the Tiger quarterbacks, mostly Jordan Jefferson, combining to complete just 45-of-81 throws for 440 yards and two touchdowns with four interceptions. One of Tennessee’s biggest weaknesses, the pass rush that has generated just three sacks so far, won’t be exposed considering Jefferson can’t get the ball downfield anyway.
Why LSU Might Win: There’s bad, there’s miserable, and there’s Tennessee on third downs. Nevada leads the nation converting 63% of its third down chances, while 40% is the norm. Only nine teams are converting fewer than 30% of their chances, and just two are under 20%. San Jose State is one, and Tennessee is the other converting a mere 18.97% of third down tries. 11-of-58 chances. Meanwhile, the LSU defense has been terrific on third downs allowing teams to convert just 27.6% of their chances. In other words, Tennessee isn’t likely to go on any long drives against a defense that’s doing a fantastic job of getting into the backfield and being disruptive and has been a rock against the run. If Tennessee can’t run the ball, it doesn’t have a shot.
What To Watch Out For: Tennessee, do … not … kick … to … Patrick Peterson. The LSU superstar corner has had a nice year so far on defense, making two highlight reel picks against Mississippi State, but he has been the biggest difference maker on two key punt returns scoring against both North Carolina and West Virginia in six point victories. Along with several other problems, punting has been a problem for the Vols ranking 103rd in the nation in punt return yards allowed giving up 16 yards per pop and a score. Offensively, Tennessee has to hope RB Tauren Poole can come back healthy after suffering a deep thigh bruise, and if he can’t produce, it might be David Oku or bust or else Matt Simms and the passing attack will have to try to pull off the upset.
What Will Happen: LSU doesn’t win pretty, but it wins. Tennessee doesn’t have nearly enough pop on offense to take advantage of all the chances the mediocre LSU offense will provide, but it’ll hang around for three quarters before the final score gets slightly out of hand.
CFN Prediction: LSU 27 … Tennessee 10 … 5Dimes.com Line: LSU -16
Must See Rating: Katy Perry on Sesame Street - 5 … Eastbound & Down - 1 … 2.5
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Georgia (1-3) at Colorado (2-1) Oct. 2, 7:00, FSN

Here’s The Deal … The absolute last thing Georgia needs right now is a road trip to Colorado. The Buffs might not be all that great, but they’ve had two weeks off since bombing away on Hawaii and could use a nice home victory before diving into Big 12 play against Missouri. Georgia could use a win against anyone. The Dawgs have enough talent to play with anyone in the country, but they can’t find any consistency on offense and the defense has been a stunning disappointment on a three game SEC losing streak. They got run over by South Carolina, bombed on by Arkansas, and simply outplayed by Mississippi State, but things get easier next week with Tennessee and Vanderbilt coming to Athens. With a win in Boulder, Georgia will likely be 4-3 going into the road game a Kentucky and the season will have turned around. With a loss, the Mark Richt era could be on life support. Even with Georgia being so bad, this would be a tremendous win for Dan Hawkins; though it wouldn’t prove that Colorado is back. If nothing else, these are two desperate teams looking to make a statement of some sort, and while it might not be the most beautifully played game of the weekend, it should be entertaining.
Why Georgia Might Win: For an offense that’s struggling as much as Georgia’s is, the more easy opportunities, the better. Colorado has had a devil of a time hanging on to the ball, giving it up eight times in three games including four turnovers against Hawaii. Combine that with penalties, lots and lots of penalties (ranking 115th in the nation with 9.33 per game), and CU will screw up just enough to give the Dawgs a few breaks. At some point, the Bulldog defense is going to start playing up to its talent level and will utilize all the speed and athleticism up front to make big things happen in the backfield. There haven’t been nearly enough sacks, but that could change this week against a Buff offensive front that’s getting quarterback Tyler Hansen hit early and often.
Why Colorado Might Win: For all of its issues and inconsistencies, the Colorado offense is keeping the chains moving. The two offenses are equally mediocre, but the Buffs can at least connect on third downs on a regular basis converting a rock-solid 51% of their chances. Georgia hasn’t been able to consistently throw the ball a lick so far this year, but the running game won’t pick up the slack against a Colorado defensive front that held Shane Vereen and the Cal ground attack under wraps and is allowing a mere 72 rushing yards per outing. Playing Hawaii helps the stats a wee bit, but the Colorado defensive front has been excellent.
What To Watch Out For: Alright, A.J., now let’s see if you really were the difference. Superstar Georgia WR A.J. Green was suspended for the first four games of the season after selling a game jersey, and the team’s offensive woes have been blamed on not having its top playmaker to work with. While it’s not quite right to assume Green would’ve meant a 3-1 start instead of 1-3, there’s no question that his presence and ability opens things up for the rest of the attack while providing QB Aaron Murray with someone who can catch the ball. Colorado, of course, knows that Green is going to try to make a statement right away, and it’ll be up to Jimmy Smith to keep that from happening. Smith might not be the top ten pro prospect that Green is, but he’s a probable first rounder, at the very least a top 50 pick, with a terrific combination of skills. At 6-2 and 210 pounds with 4.4 speed, he has the size and the wheels to match up well with Green, and if he dominates the matchup, at least when he’s on him, he’ll make himself a ton of money while moving up several charts.
What Will Happen: Georgia has the better team, but Colorado is rest with two weeks to prepare. As bad as the Buffs have been over the last few years, they’re solid at home, for the most part, beating Oklahoma in 2007, a strong West Virginia team in 2008, and Texas A&M last year. Georgia’s problems go beyond Green, and the season will sink further into the abyss as the Buffs play surprisingly well in a close win.
CFN Prediction: Colorado 23 … Georgia 19 … 5Dimes.com Line: Georgia -5
Must See Rating: Katy Perry on Sesame Street - 5 … Eastbound & Down - 1 … 3
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- Oct. 2 (Florida at Alabama)