2010 SEC Fearless Picks - Nov 13 USC-Florida
South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia
South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia
Posted Nov 10, 2010

It's the week Gamecock fans have been waiting for. Can Stephen Garcia and South Carolina buck history and finally, FINALLY get over the hump and win the East? Check out the CFN SEC Fearless Predictions.

2010 SEC Fearless Predictions

Week 11 ... Nov. 13 Games

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

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- Nov. 13, Part 2 (Mississippi State-Alabama) 

CFN SEC Predictions: SU: 62-11   ATS: 28-37


South Carolina (6-3) at Florida (6-3) Nov. 13, 7:15, ESPN

Here's The Deal … Despite all the problems, all the down moments, all the adversity, all the rebuilding, and all the struggles this year, Florida can go play in its third straight SEC title game and its fourth in five years with a home win over South Carolina. Red hot after sputtering over a three game stretch, bottoming out in a 10-7 home loss to Mississippi State, the offense has found itself in wins over Georgia and Vanderbilt, while the defense has been opportunistic and strong when it has absolutely needed to be. This is hardly a vintage Gator team, but it's fighting, it's pushing, and it's one win away from getting a shot at the Sugar. But South Carolina is going for history.

The definition of an also-ran, South Carolina is as close as it has ever been to finally getting a chance at the title, but it's going to have to buck history. The Gamecocks have lost 18 of their last 19 games against the Gators going back to 1939, and they're coming off their biggest clunker of a game all year getting destroyed at home by Arkansas 41-20. The game didn't matter, though, since this is the one that'll decide the East title, and it'll take a strong, physical effort from the offensive front and a far better defensive effort than it showed late against Kentucky and over the last two weeks. Inconsistent, the team showed its potential against Alabama, but it needs to find that same magic one more time. Long-suffering USC fans are desperately hoping that Steve Spurrier can create a little bit of magic in his old stomping grounds and get the school's first win in Gainesville since a 21-13 win in 1917.

Why South Carolina Might Win: The Gator defensive front can be powered on by anyone who commits to it. Alabama didn't run wild in the 31-6, but it was effective for 170 yards before it stopped trying in the second half. LSU wasn't great on the ground, but it did enough to open things up for the woeful passing game, and Mississippi State rumbled for 212 yards. Florida has had problems with mobile quarterbacks, USF's B.J. Daniels and MSU's Chris Relf, and while Stephen Garcia isn't going to run wild, he'll take off from time to time to take the pressure off of Marcus Lattimore, who needs to have the biggest game of his great freshman season. The South Carolina offense might not be special, but it needs to own this game and get Lattimore into a lather to pull off the upset. On defense, USC leads the SEC against the run allowing 105 yards per game, but …
Why Florida Might Win: … that might be a mirage. Arkansas RB Knile Davis rumbled through the Gamecock front seven for 110 yards and three touchdowns last week and the Auburn spread didn't have an issue (but it doesn't have a problem against anyone). The USC run defense stoned Alabama and has been great at times, but it's going to have to be far better than it was last week or else the suddenly-strong Gator spread is going to rumble. All the parts are back after injuries and suspension were a problem early in the year, and now the combination is working as Jordan Reed ran for 84 yards, Trey Burton rumbled for 30, and the offense dominated Vanderbilt. Against Georgia, Burton ran for 110 yards and two touchdowns and the combination of Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey was effective. There are several parts to the puzzle that the South Carolina defensive front will have to contain, however …
What To Watch Out For: This is John Brantley's time to shine. No one can replace Tim Tebow, and the pressure was on from the start for the one-time superstar recruit, but he struggled with his consistency and the offense didn't exactly flow when he was trying to wing it all over the yard. But now the pressure is off. With tight end/receiver/quarterback Jordan Reed taking on a bigger role, and Burton running well whenever he gets his chance, the pressure has been off Brantley, and he needs to take advantage of a struggling and banged up South Carolina secondary that's been getting picked clean. He doesn't have to force anything, but he has to keep pressing the ball deep just to challenge the Gamecock corners. For South Carolina, Garcia has to keep the mistakes to a minimum. He has thrown seven interceptions in the last five games, and while it's fine to take a few chances, he can't take too many. Against the Gators, he has to get on the move early just to show he can. He ran for 54 yards against Arkansas and has to do a little bit to take the pressure off Lattimore. If he wants to be a South Carolina legend, this is his chance.
What Will Happen: Florida isn't back to being Florida by any stretch and the South Carolina defensive front will keep the game close throughout. However, the Gators have enough weapons to throw several different options at the USC D and will get the passing game going just enough against the rough secondary to balance out the attack. The Florida defense will load up to stop Lattimore, and Garcia won't come through.
CFN Prediction: Florida 27 … South Carolina 17 … Line: Florida -6.5
Must See Rating: The Best That Never Was: The Marcus Dupree Story – 5 … Conan -1 … 5
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Ole Miss (4-5) at Tennessee (3-6) Nov. 13, 12:00, CBS

Here's The Deal … Really? Ole Miss vs. Tennessee is the battle for the No. 12 spot in the 12-team SEC? Tennessee has yet to win an SEC game, while Ole Miss has a win over Kentucky but inexplicably lost at home to Vanderbilt. It's do-or-die time for each team in the hunt for a bowl, with no margin for error as the Rebels have to close out at LSU and Mississippi State, and they're not going to win those two games if they're not good enough to beat the struggling Vols. Tennessee broke a rough four-game losing streak with a 50-14 win over Memphis, and now the hope is that the emergence of QB Tyler Bray is enough to rally the season to three more wins and a bowl. With winnable games against Vanderbilt and Kentucky to close, it's all right there to close strong, but this week is going to be a fight. When your best win is a double-overtime nailbiter against UAB, nothing is for certain. Tennessee doesn't have an offense, Ole Miss doesn't have a defense, and each team is trying to find something that works to build on for next year.
Why Ole Miss Might Win: Ole Miss should be able to run the ball without much of a problem. The Tennessee defensive front doesn't generate a pass rush, but it's not bad at getting into the backfield. However, it's not a brick wall against the run when teams commit to it, and Ole Miss will do just that as the combination of Brandon Bolden and Enrique Davis are just good enough to carry the offense all game long. It shouldn't take too many points to win, and the two backs who each went over 100 yards last week against Louisiana-Lafayette will work in a rotation to control the clock and the game. Ole Miss held on to the ball for 36:48 last week, and it should win the time of possession battle. The bigger problem for the Vols is the miserable pass protection. Bray isn't going to get any time against the fearsome Ole Miss pass rush.
Why Tennessee Might Win: It hasn't mattered much that the Rebel defensive front gets into the backfield on a regular basis; the secondary still gets killed. Anyone who can throw, does, with the Rebels allowing 200 passing yards or more to everyone but Vanderbilt, who ran for 227 yards, and Louisiana-Lafayette, who's Louisiana-Lafayette. Bray might take his share of pops, but he should be able to connect on his share of big plays when he's able to get rid of the ball.
What To Watch Out For: If Masoli can't come back from the concussion he suffered last week, Nathan Stanley goes back to being under center. He started off well against Jacksonville State completing 6-of-10 passes for 133 yards and three touchdowns in the loss, and he gave way to Masoli and didn't do much until last week when he stepped in and completed 6-of-14 passes for 108 yards. The sophomore has the upside and the potential to be a star with 6-5, 215-pound size, decent mobility, and a live arm. Also looking to be the star of his program is Tyler Bray, who threw for 325 yards and five scores against Memphis. The rest of the season is on him; he has to bomb away to give the Vols a shot to close strong and get to a bowl.
What Will Happen: Expect lots of passing. Both quarterbacks will come up with nice games, but Ole Miss will get more out of the ground game with the combination of Bolden and Davis doing enough to overcome some key interceptions thrown by Stanley. It'll be close late, and the Rebels will hold on coming up with a stop on Tennessee's final drive.
CFN Prediction: Ole Miss 31 … Tennessee 27 … Line: Tennessee -1
Must See Rating: The Best That Never Was: The Marcus Dupree Story – 5 … Conan -1 … 2.5
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Vanderbilt (2-7) at Kentucky (5-5) Nov. 13, 12:21, GamePlan

Here's The Deal … There are some games that teams have to have to make a season work. Kentucky can't blow the home game against Vanderbilt. The Wildcats are a fourth down play against South Carolina away from being winless in conference play, but three wins to start the season, with victories over two of the worst teams in the country, Western Kentucky and Akron, to go along with last week's win over Charleston Southern to form a base needed to be in a position to go bowling. Now it's time to make the putt. Vanderbilt is banged up, beaten, and getting blasted, not coming close in SEC play over the last month getting blown out by Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas and Florida by a combined score of 168 to 35. The offense is making a bid to become the worst in college football, the defense has been destroyed over the last two games, and nothing is working. However, with home games against bad Tennessee and Wake Forest squads to close, there's a chance the last few weeks could turn out to be a nice boost into the offseason.
Why Vanderbilt Might Win: Vanderbilt has to be +3 in turnovers to have any sort of a chance. The Commodore defense doesn't force a ton of takeaways, but it's aggressive enough into the backfield to pressure UK QB Mike Hartline and the chances will be there to take the ball away. The Wildcats have turned the ball over 16 times so far with major problems over the last three games with four turnovers against both Georgia and Mississippi State and two against Charleston Southern. Vandy isn't exactly stingy, but if it can somehow come up with a few big plays on defense, and the offense can take advantage of every chance, UK might press.
Why Kentucky Might Win: Vanderbilt didn't have an offense before, and now it REALLY doesn't have an attack with all the running backs hurt and now passing game to rely on. The offensive line wasn't paving the way for yards anyway, and now the offense will be totally reliant on Larry Smith throwing and throwing some more. The problem with that is the Kentucky pass defense that's tenth in the nation allowing just 165 yards per game. It's not a great secondary, but UK's problem has been the run defense, and that won't be exposed this week. Offensively, if Kentucky can get in the end zone twice in the first half, the game might be over.
What To Watch Out For: Who's going to run the ball for the Commodores? Warren Norman is out for the year with a wrist injury, Zac Stacy was knocked out of the Florida game with a concussion, and backup Wesley Tate has an ankle injury. That means senior Kennard Reeves will likely be the main man, and he might have to carry the attack. He's a shifty back with good enough power to get through the line when needed. For Kentucky, Derrick Locke is still hurting with a shoulder injury, and the offense needs another good game from 5-11, 208-pound Donald Russell, a tough between-the-tackles back who ran for 110 yards and two scores against Charleston Southern, and CoShik Williams, who ran 13 times for 95 yards and three scores.
What Will Happen: Vanderbilt doesn't have anything on offense. Kentucky will need a quarter to wake up, and then it'll get ugly. The Commodores won't have any answers.
CFN Prediction: Kentucky 38 … Vanderbilt 16 … Line: Kentucky -14
Must See Rating: The Best That Never Was: The Marcus Dupree Story – 5 … Conan -1 … 2
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Georgia (5-5) at Auburn (10-0) Nov. 13, CBS, 3:30

Here's The Deal … Cam Newton, Cam Newton, Cam Newton, Cam Newton, Cam Newton. Auburn might be on the verge of representing the SEC West in the title game with a win over Georgia, and it might be pushing for a possible national championship, but everything has been pushed to the backburner thanks to the controversy swirling around Newton. Whether any of it is real or not, it's a distraction to the nth degree and it has been the main topic around a program that should be enjoying one of its greatest seasons ever. On the field, Auburn keeps on humming with an unstoppable rushing attack, the peerless, historic play from Newton, and just enough defense to not be completely and totally miserable. This is a flawed team in many ways, but with the way the offense is working, and with No. 2 playing as well as he is, it's going to take a special effort from Georgia to pull off the shocker.

Georgia has won the last four games in the series and six of the last eight, but none of the wins would be bigger than getting one this week. The Dawgs have been an extreme disappointment, but a bad season could quickly make a turn with a win this week and with a victory over rival Georgia Tech to close. The team got back on track after the heartbreaking overtime loss to Florida with a 55-7 light scrimmage against Idaho State, and with all the pressure off, this could be the right time to play up to the potential.

Why Georgia Might Win: The run defense has had its problems at times, but it's still allowing just 106 yards per game. For all of Georgia's problems this year, the defense has been decent with the secondary doing a decent job against the quarterbacks not named Ryan Mallett, and with just enough toughness on the front to hold up against power running teams. Most importantly in a game like this, the offense is starting to hum. The Dawgs have put up 41 points or more in four of the last five games, and it rolled well against Florida when Aaron Murray wasn't giving away interceptions. The Auburn defense is strong up front and should stone the Georgia ground game, but the secondary could get picked clean if Murray gets into a groove. Tyler Wilson and Ryan Mallett combined for 428 yards and five scores, the South Carolina quarterbacks combined for 305 yards, and the Arkansas State quarterbacks threw for 323. Murray is hot, and this has to be the game where it all comes together for him.
Why Auburn Might Win: Yeah, Georgia is 13th in the nation and second in the SEC against the run, but there haven't been a lot of games against top running teams. Florida was able to rumble with its revamped, patched together spread offense against the Dawg D, and Colorado was able to run without a problem. Marcus Lattimore introduced himself to the world with 182 yards and two scores in South Carolina's win. No one's stopping the Auburn running game with too many weapons, too much explosion, and too much power. The scary thing is that the ground game is getting better as the season has gone on, running for 300 yards or more in the last five games highlighted by the special 440-yard day against LSU. Georgia will have to commit the safeties to cheat up to spy on Newton, and that's when the haymakers come. Auburn is second in the nation in passing efficiency, and the deep passes will be there.
What To Watch Out For: Justin Houston, you have to be the best player on the field. The Georgia pass rusher has been good so far; not dominant, but good. He leads the SEC with nine sacks and is second with 16.5 tackles for loss, but he hasn't come up with a signature game yet, other than possibly his terrific performance against Kentucky, steadily producing all year long. This is a game where he has to make some money, because if he can get into the backfield on a regular basis and can slow down the Auburn running game before it gets started, the rest of the athletic defensive front should be able to clean things up. He has to sit on No. 2's head over and over again, and he has to be turned loose. This is where he has to be a disruptive force.
What Will Happen: Every national title team has one game that turns out to be the nothing-is-going-quite-right landmine that needs to be sidestepped. Alabama had the Tennessee game last year, and Florida had the Ole Miss game two years ago (and got past that loss). This year, Auburn is going to have Georgia. A.J. Green is going to go nuts, cementing himself as a must-have top ten draft pick when he comes out, and it'll be another growing up moment for Murray. But the Auburn offense will come up with a tough late drive, Wes Byrum will connect on a clutch field goal, and the Tiger D will hold as everyone breathes a sigh of relief.
CFN Prediction: Auburn 34 … Georgia 31 … Line: Auburn -8.5
Must See Rating: The Best That Never Was: The Marcus Dupree Story – 5 … Conan -1 … 4.5
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- Nov. 13, Part 2 (Mississippi State-Alabama)