2010 SEC Fearless Picks - (Arkansas-Auburn)
Auburn QB Cam Newton
Auburn QB Cam Newton
Posted Oct 14, 2010

Fearless Predictions for every SEC game, Oct. 16, Week 7

2010 SEC Fearless Predictions

Week 7 ... Oct. 16 Games

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

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- Oct. 9 | Oct. 2 | Sept. 25 | Sept. 18 | Sept. 11 | Sept. 4

- Oct. 16, Part 2 (Ole Miss-Alabama) 

CFN SEC Predictions: SU: 43-6   ATS: 18-27


Arkansas (4-1) at Auburn (6-0) Oct. 16, 3:30, CBS

Here's The Deal … And now there's a crack in the door. Let's be honest here and get past all the rhetoric; Alabama just doesn't look that great. Oh sure, this is a fantastic team, but it's not the be-all-end-all many made it out to be at the beginning of the year. The running game was stopped by South Carolina last week, and the team as a whole was shaky in the near-miss against Arkansas. There's a good chance that wasn't Bama's last gaffe, and Arkansas and Auburn have to keep winning, with the Tigers getting a chance in the regular-season finale, to keep hanging around to hopefully be there in the end. For the Hogs, the SEC season is basically over with a loss, but for Auburn, the spotlight is on for even more than just the West.

With next week's LSU showdown in Jordan-Hare, and eight of the first 11 games at home, with only Ole Miss to go before the date with Bama, the Tigers have as manageable a schedule as can be asked for. Considering Georgia stinks and the Rebels are inconsistent, if Auburn can get through the next two weeks with wins, it'll almost certainly be 11-0 with the national title on the plate before going to Tuscaloosa. The defense is hardly playing at a championship level, but the offense, helped by a Heisman-caliber season from Cam Newton, has been fantastic, physical, and clutch. It'll have to be playing at a higher level to get past the high-powered Hogs.

Arkansas has won three of the last four games in the series, and while it pushed Alabama in a loss and got past Texas A&M and won at Georgia, this has been a good year, but not a great one … yet. Ryan Mallett is a special passer who can win games by himself, but for all the talent on offense and the solid production so far on defense, it would be nice to get a signature win to get everyone fired up. Georgia and Texas A&M are mediocre, but Auburn isn't, and a win, with Ole Miss and Vanderbilt up next before going to South Carolina, would change around the SEC season and would be a program-changer.

Why Arkansas Might Win: Auburn's run defense … good. Auburn's pass defense … not good. There's decent pressure generated from the front to get pressure on the passer, but the secondary has given up too many yards, allowing 305 yards and three touchdowns to South Carolina's Stephen Garcia and Connor Shaw, and allowing Kentucky's Mike Hartline completed 23-of-28 passes for 220 yards and a score. No, the Tiger defensive backs haven't been totally miserable, but they have yet to face an elite quarterback like Mallett and they're about to get pressed. Defensively, Arkansas has done a fantastic job of getting into the backfield on a regular basis and has the potential to get to Cam Newton before he can get started. How do you stop the Auburn ground game? Stop it behind the line, and the Hogs are fourth in the nation in sacks and 15th in tackles for loss.
Why Auburn Might Win: Arkansas has played one team that can run, Alabama, and Mark Ingram ripped off 157 yards and two scores and Trent Richardson ran for 85. Texas A&M's Christine Michael had ran for an effective 79 yards last week. Arkansas might be great at getting into the backfield, but it has to deal with the red-hot three-headed monster of Newton, Onterrio McCalebb, and Michael Dyer, who can combine forces to keep the chains moving and keep Mallett off the field. The Tigers aren't just about running the ball with Newton ranking second in the nation in passing efficiency, taking advantage of the single coverage with the safeties cheating up way too much to worrying about the run. Defensively, Auburn should be able to generate decent pressure on Mallett, who'll force throws that aren't there when rushed. Alabama had to manufacture pressure, and it worked. Georgia couldn't get to him, and Texas A&M didn't get to him nearly enough.
What To Watch Out For: After spending last year as a key back up and a spot starter, 6-5, 298-pound junior Nick Fairley is now dominating on the inside of the Auburn defensive front. While he's not necessarily built for the position, he's an athletic interior pass rusher who was dominant at the JUCO level and is putting together a special, All-America caliber season with five sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. He destroyed Clemson and was solid last week against Kentucky, and if he can get a push up the gut and make Mallett move, Arkansas will be in trouble.
What Will Happen: Mallett threw for 274 yards and two touchdowns with an interception last year in the Hogs' win over Auburn. If he does that again, they'll lose. The Tiger running game will overcome a big day from Mallett, but it's going to be a fight until the final drive. Mallett will have the ball in his hands with a chance to march for the win, but his final throw into the end zone will get batted away.
CFN Prediction: Auburn 26 … Arkansas 20 … Line: Auburn -4
Must See Rating: Jackass 3D – 5 … The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town -1 … 4
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Vanderbilt (2-3) at Georgia (2-4) Oct. 16, 12:00, ESPN3

Here's The Deal … Georgia couldn't get off to a more disastrous start, but a blowout win over Tennessee gave everyone a chance to take a deep breath before continuing on with the easy part of the slate. Kentucky isn't bad, and Vanderbilt has played relatively well, but the next two weeks, combined with Tennessee last week, is when the record has to be padded to try to salvage the season before dealing with Florida in Jacksonville and a road trip at Auburn. This is the Dawgs' last SEC home game of the year, and they can't blow the layup. However, Vanderbilt has been just good enough to possibly come up with an upset if everything works right and if Georgia is flat. Considering the Dawgs lost to South Carolina, they're realistically out of the SEC title chase, but as insane as this might sound, in a year when the East stinks, Vandy will be in the thick of things if it can win. That might be dreaming ridiculously big considering how mediocre the team is, but a win this week would suddenly make next week's game against South Carolina a topic of conversation.
Why Vanderbilt Might Win: Vandy can't stop the run, but Georgia doesn't have a ground game. Along with a slew of injuries that have decimated the depth, Georgia suffered another setback when spot-starter Caleb King was arrested after not appearing in court on an excessive speeding ticket. While he wasn't special, his loss along with Carlton Thomas's hamstring injury makes an already mediocre Georgia running game that much worse. Washaun Ealey is supposed to be good, but he only has 246 yards on the year and one score; and he's the team's leading rusher. Vandy hasn't played anyone who can throw the ball overhand, but being 15th in the nation in pass defense is still solid for midway through the year.
Why Georgia Might Win: If the Georgia pass rush was going to get rolling, this would be the week. Partly because QB Larry Smith is mobile, and partly because the line stinks, Vandy has allowed 14 sacks in the first five games and hasn't done nearly enough to provide the time to let the passing game work. On the plus side, the Commodore offense is balanced, but it's only averaging 172 rushing yards and 179 passing yards per game. It won't take too many points for Georgia to put this away, and after generating 4.5 sacks last week, the defensive front has to dominate from the start.
What To Watch Out For: This would be a great game for Vandy to take advantage of Georgia's running back problems, but the defensive front suffered another set of injuries. Already pick thin at tackle depth, T.J. Greenstone is still trying to get back from an ankle problem that kept him out of the last two games. However, there isn't a lot of hope that he'll be on the field, and the same goes for leading tackler Chris Marve, who missed the Eastern Michigan game with a torn up knee, and while he underwent surgery and will be back (it wasn't a torn ACL), he's doubtful for this week. Ealey has to take advantage. He ran for 71 yards on 13 carries last week, but he hasn't come up with a breakout game so far with 87 yards against Arkansas his one big performance. It's time to see if he can be a workhorse.
What Will Happen: It's not going to be a repeat of the Tennessee game, but Georgia isn't going to take this game for granted and will come out roaring. The defensive front will get into the backfield early and often and will pressure Larry Smith into a slew of misfires. The Commodore offense will sputter in the first half and won't be able to catch up.
CFN Prediction: Georgia 30 … Vanderbilt 17 … Line: Georgia -16
Must See Rating: Jackass 3D – 5 … The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town -1 … 2
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South Carolina (4-1) at Kentucky (3-3) Oct. 16, 6:00, ESPN2

Here's The Deal … At the immediate moment, it's South Carolina's SEC, and everyone else is playing in it. Oh sure, the Gamecocks lost to Auburn, but they beat the King of the Mountain and now they have everyone buzzing. But with the spotlight comes pressure, and as good as the win over Alabama might have been, all the fun can come back to earth with a mighty clunk if they can't get by UK. The Wildcats are 0-for-10 since a 30-10 win in 1999 against the Gamecocks, but they might have their best chance yet with an efficient and effective offense, and just enough of a defense to get by. While they're on a three game losing streak, with all three in SEC play, they played well in losses to Auburn and Ole Miss (but got drilled by Florida). If they can catch USC patting itself on the back after last week, there might be a good chance at an upset against a very good team, but a very flawed team. With Georgia, Mississippi State, Charleston Southern, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee to close out the year, it wouldn't be crazy if UK closes out strong.
Why South Carolina Might Win: UK hasn't stopped anyone's running game. The D couldn't stop Louisville's Bilal Powell or Western Kentucky's Bobby Rainey, it gave up five rushing touchdowns to Florida (thank you, Trey Burton), and Ole Miss and Auburn rolled with ease. Over the last three games, all in SEC play, the Cats have been rolled over for 12 rushing touchdowns, and also gave up three passing scores to Ole Miss and 210 yards through the air to Auburn. The Cats are last in the SEC against the run, and Marcus Lattimore and the South Carolina ground game should be able to take advantage.
Why Kentucky Might Win: Get bombing. The South Carolina secondary had problems with injuries and suspensions early on, and the pass defense is still a problem allowing an SEC worst 255 yards per game. All of a sudden, Alabama's Greg McElroy became Drew Brees, hitting 27-of 35 passes for 315 yards and two scores, with a few of his misses coming in late desperation mode. Of the three picks on the year, USC has taken away two against Furman and a grand total of one, in the opener against Southern Miss, against the FBS teams. The one loss came when Auburn rolled for 334 yards on the ground, but in this game, Mike Hartline and the ultra-efficient UK passing game needs to get hot early. Hartline has come up with a strong start to the year with nine touchdown passes and three picks, completing 66% of his throws. He completed 23-of-28 passes against Auburn, but he'll have to be even better this week.
What To Watch Out For: Derrick Locke, one of the nation's top all-around backs and Kentucky's key to the ground game, is hurting with a shoulder problem. That means sophomore Donald Russell, a strong runner with excellent balance, needs to become a playmaker and he could be used as a workhorse. While he's not a speedster, he has the type of skills and the toughness to potentially handle the ball 20+ times a game while being a factor around the goal line, and after running for 32 yards on nine carries last week, he's ready to do more.
What Will Happen: Once again, Kentucky will come close, but with no cigar. South Carolina won't be razor-sharp, but it'll come up with enough offensive balance to overcome two big Stephen Garcia mistakes to pull away late for a tough win. Lattimore will be the key with 125 yards and two scores.
CFN Prediction: South Carolina 34 … Kentucky 27 … Line: South Carolina -5
Must See Rating: Jackass 3D – 5 … The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town -1 … 3
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- Oct. 16, Part 2 (Ole Miss-Alabama)