2010 SEC Fearless Picks - Nov 27 Ole Miss-MSU
Mississippi State QB Chris Relf
Mississippi State QB Chris Relf
Posted Nov 24, 2010

Fearless Predictions for every SEC Game, Nov. 27, Part 2

2010 SEC Fearless Predictions

Week 13 ... Nov. 27, Part 2

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

- More College Football Picks (and NFL, too) 

- Nov. 26 (Auburn-Alabama) | Nov. 27 (LSU-Arkansas) 

Mississippi State (7-4) vs. Ole Miss (4-7) Nov. 27, 7:00, ESPNU

Here's The Deal … It's a rivalry game that's all about the rivalry. There aren't any bowl bids at stake, no one's job is on the line, and there aren't any conference races to worry about. Mississippi State is going to a bowl, Ole Miss isn't, and all that matters is state pride and bragging rights. But will the game be any good? The last two Egg Bowls have been blowouts, six of the last eight, and seven of the last ten have been decided by double digits, usually with the team with the better record winning in a walk. But that didn't happen last year. Ole Miss was on a roll with three straight wins, but its hope for a ten-win season was blown out of the water in a 41-27 thumping. That game has sparked a run of eight wins in the last 12 games for the Bulldogs, while Ole Miss hasn't been able to find any sort of a groove this year starting out with a loss to Jacksonville State, which, if the double overtime loss had gone the other way, would've meant that this game would've been a fight for bowl eligibility. Each team is struggling with the Rebels losing two straight, getting obliterated by Tennessee before losing a tough shootout against LSU, while Mississippi State has also lost two straight including a double overtime home battle to Arkansas. A win for Ole Miss makes the offseason far easier and brings a little momentum, while MSU can keep a resurgent 2010 going with a good performance.
Why Mississippi State Might Win: Ole Miss has way too many problems with turnovers. 101st in the nation in turnover margin, The Rebels have been on a roll with five turnovers against Tennessee two weeks ago and three last week against LSU. Meanwhile, the secondary has only picked off five passes on the year. MSU doesn't have an explosive offense, relying on a strong running game and sound defense, and it feasts on mistakes. Just as Arkansas, who had last week's game won in a walk before having to fight through a few key errors. MSU should be able to grind out the clock and control the game by being bruising up front, and while the Ole Miss ground game is strong, the MSU run defense, for the most part, has been tough all year.
Why Ole Miss Might Win: Except for last week. Arkansas RB Knile Davis pounded his way for close to 200 yards, and Ole Miss should be able to use the combination of Jeremiah Masoli and Brandon Bolden to run for over 200. The Rebels have been on a tear on the ground, running for 12 scores in the last four games with 236 yards coming last week against the fantastic LSU run defense. The Rebel run defense has only allowed more that 200 rushing yards three times. Auburn and LSU are a combined 21-1, and Vanderbilt came up with a special day on the ground. MSU is 0-3 when it runs for under 160 yards, and 7-0 when running for more.
What To Watch Out For: MSU junior quarterback Chris Relf came announced his arrival in last year's Egg Bowl, running for 131 yards and a touchdown and completing 3-of-5 passes for 43 yards and two scores in the win. He had been decent at times throughout this year, splitting time with Tyler Russell, and then he came up with the best game of his career running 31 times for 103 yards and a score and completing 20-of-30 passes for 224 yards against the Hogs. He doesn't have to carry the offense against the Rebels, but it would help to have a second straight strong performance.
What Will Happen: The home team has won six straight in the series, and inspired in the final game of the year, Ole Miss will continue the trend. The run defense will do just enough to get by, while Jeremiah Masoli will finish off his football life with a bang, running for 75 yards and throwing for 200 as the Rebels close out with one of its strongest performances of the year. However, it'll be a bit too late.
CFN Prediction: Ole Miss 38 … Mississippi State 34 … Line: Mississippi State -3
Must See Rating: True Grit – 5 … Dennis Miller: The Big Speech -1 … 3
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South Carolina (8-3) at Clemson (6-5) Nov. 27, 7:00 ET, ESPN2

Here's The Deal … One of the more underrated rivalries around, the annual Palmetto Bowl is South Carolina's biggest sporting event, with enough electricity and intensity to light up half the state. The interesting twist, of course, is that for the first time ever, it'll precede South Carolina's appearance in the SEC Championship game. The Gamecocks won the East two weeks ago with a rout of Florida in the Swamp, and followed it up with a complete dismantling of Troy, 69-24. With Auburn up next in Atlanta, it'll be interesting to see how Steve Spurrier manages the unique circumstances. Clemson no longer needs this game for bowl-eligibility, which was achieved in Winston-Salem last Saturday. However, it could use the morale boost in an otherwise disappointing year. The Tigers were never able to piggyback off last season's success, repeatedly losing close games just when it looked as if they were prepared to get on a roll.
Why South Carolina Might Win: Everything is clicking for the Gamecocks at a most opportune time in the season. The defense has regrouped from the Arkansas loss earlier in the month, ranking third nationally in sacks, and the offense has put up 163 points in the four games since RB Marcus Lattimore returned to the lineup. The true freshman makes everyone around him better, including QB Stephen Garcia and his premier target, WR Alshon Jeffery. If South Carolina remains hot offensively, Clemson won't be able to keep pace. The Tigers have been laboring all year with an offense that's getting little from the passing attack, and has been kept under 20 points in three of the last four games.
Why Clemson Might Win: As has been the case all season, hope in Death Valley comes from a defense that's been stout throughout, keeping the last six opponents to no more than 16 points and one offensive touchdown. It all begins with DE Da'Quan Bowers, who's racked up 24 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks, making quarterbacks miserable and teammates around him better. He'll get plenty of help up front from tackles Jarvis Jenkins and Brandon Thompson. If they can pressure Garcia, he's still prone to forcing passes and making game-changing mistakes. Clemson also has an active collection of defensive backs, like DeAndre McDaniel, Rashard Hall, and Marcus Gilchrist, who'll force the action in order to limit Lattimore's running room.
What To Watch Out For: After splitting time with Clifton Geathers as a freshman, DE Devin Taylor is making the most of his expanded role this season. Quickly becoming one of the SEC's best pass rushers as a sophomore, he's collected a team-high 12 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. At 6-7 and 250 pounds, he also has the long wingspan needed to obstruct the passer's vision, deflecting nine passes so far this season.
What Will Happen: All signs point to a very close game that isn't decided until the waning minutes. Clemson will have a little more motivation than South Carolina, and the defense can keep it in every game. However, it's difficult to have much faith in Tiger QB Kyle Parker, especially in a tight game. When drives matter most in the fourth quarter, the Gamecocks will keep the sticks moving, softening the defense with Lattimore and play-action passes.
CFN Prediction: South Carolina 23 … Clemson 17 … Line: South Carolina -3
Must See Rating: True Grit – 5 … Dennis Miller: The Big Speech -1 … 3.5
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Wake Forest (2-9) at Vanderbilt (2-9) Nov. 27, 7:30 ET

Here's The Deal … Well, the good news is that one of these downtrodden programs is going to take a victory into the offseason. The loser, however, will be saddled with a 10-loss season until spring ball begins. Wake Forest is in a bad place these days, sinking to a low point of the Jim Grobe era. After showing glimpses in the first two games, the Demon Deacons have lost their last nine, failing to make much progress along the way. Vanderbilt's winless streak is not quite as long, though dropping six in-a-row is hardly a moral victory. The Commodores did beat Ole Miss on the road back on Sept. 18, which is sure to stand out as the high point of Robbie Caldwell's first season as the head coach.
Why Wake Forest Might Win: For a change, the feeble Demon Deacons won't be asked to do much scoring in order for the team to finally win a game. Vanderbilt averages only 17 points a game, a number bloated by a 52-point outburst versus Eastern Michigan. Wake Forest can settle down and work the offense, running Josh Harris and not asking too much of inexperienced QB Tanner Price. It ought to also find a way to get the ball in the hands of receivers Devon Brown and Chris Givens, two of the better playmakers in the program.
Why Vanderbilt Might Win: The best unit in Nashville on Saturday? That'd probably be the Commodore defense, which is not quite as bad as the numbers indicate. Yeah, it's bowed to the likes of Arkansas and Florida, but Wake Forest doesn't have anywhere near the talent of those two schools. Vandy is actually seventh nationally in tackles for loss, which will cause problems for a leaky Deacon offensive line. It'll create a consistent push, getting support from each level of the D, including DT Rob Lohr, Chris Marve, and S Sean Richardson. As a whole, this is an underrated group that'll rise up with a chance to face lighter competition for a change.
What To Watch Out For: Everyone runs the ball on Wake Forest, which ought to put a smile on the face of those penned up Vanderbilt backs. The Commodores are 11th in rushing in the SEC, but on this evening, they'll look all-star caliber. With Zac Stacy and Warren Norman injured, the beneficiary is likely to be little-used senior Kennard Reeves, who's picked up 165 yards over the last two games.
What Will Happen: Neither team will erupt offensively, and the Vanderbilt defense will actually spin a heroic effort. The Commodores will win the battle at the line of scrimmage, forcing the action and flushing Price out of the pocket. On offense, they'll do just enough to out score the Deacons, getting a touchdown run and a touchdown pass from QB Larry Smith.
CFN Prediction: Vanderbilt 26 … Wake Forest 14 … Line: Vanderbilt -6
Must See Rating: True Grit – 5 … Dennis Miller: The Big Speech -1 … 2
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Georgia Tech (6-5) at Georgia (5-6) Nov. 27, 7:45 ET, ESPN2

Here's The Deal … Not since 1996 have Georgia and Georgia Tech met with a combined record of .500 or worse. Still, it's Georgia and Georgia Tech, so neither program will have any problem getting up for this one. The Bulldogs, who've won 8-of-9 in this series under Mark Richt, have the most at stake. The only thing that could make this calamitous season in Athens even worse would be missing the postseason for the first time in 14 years, which will happen if the Dawgs don't win Saturday night. The Yellow Jackets are in the bowl scene, but barely, needing last weekend's 30-20 defeat of Duke to become eligible. It's been a far cry from a year ago for Tech, which won the 2009 ACC title, but has just a single win over a quality opponent this season.
Why Georgia Tech Might Win: Why else? The running game out of the triple-option set. Even after losing star QB Joshua Nesbitt to injury, the Yellow Jackets remain the top rushing team in the nation, averaging 319 yards a game and nearly 5.7 yards a carry. Tevin Washington has filled in nicely behind center, and B-back Anthony Allen is playing as if he wants a Senior Bowl invite. The Georgia defense has been unusually shaky this fall, tackling poorly and giving up at least 31 points in each of its last three SEC games.
Why Georgia Might Win: Ever since WR A.J. Green returned from a suspension, the Bulldogs have been the next best thing to Auburn and Arkansas in an SEC offense. QB Aaron Murray is banged up pretty good, but he expects to play and build on strong debut, throwing three touchdown passes in each of the last three games. He's really started coming into his own, getting a better for the pocket and throwing with nice zip on his passes. Out of the backfield, Washaun Ealey and Caleb King have been quiet, but that's had more to do with a lack of reps than anything else. Well-rested, both will put a dent in a Georgia Tech defense that's soft on the interior.
What To Watch Out For: While it's sort of gotten lost in a bad season for the program, Georgia's Justin Houston has discretely made a seamless transition from defensive end to outside linebacker. As a hybrid, who does his best work rushing the passer, he has 17.5 tackles for loss and an SEC-high 10 sacks. Against the run-heavy Yellow Jackets, however, he'll have to shift his focus and play with a little more disciplined, reading the flow of the play and reacting accordingly.
What Will Happen: Georgia has played much better in the second half of the season, even if more talented teams from Florida and Auburn served as roadblocks. With a chance to reach .500 on the backs of a rival, the Bulldogs will be fired up to finish this regular season on a high note. Even at less than 100%, Murray will lead the way against a quality Georgia Tech secondary, firing a pair of touchdown passes to Green, who's probably playing his final game between the hedges.
CFN Prediction: Georgia 34 … Georgia Tech 21 … Line: Georgia -12.5
Must See Rating: True Grit – 5 … Dennis Miller: The Big Speech -1 … 3
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- Nov. 26 (Auburn-Alabama) | Nov. 27 (LSU-Arkansas)