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Mitchell: SEC Week 5 Preview & TV Times
UGA's Todd Gurley
UGA's Todd Gurley
Posted Sep 28, 2012

There are several intriguing team and individual storylines in Week 5. Increase your SEC football IQ with CFN's lead SEC Columnist, Russ Mitchell.

By Russ Mitchell
Follow me @russmitchellcfb

Four teams taking the week off cuts back on the number of potential good games, and that’s certainly the case in Week 5. Only Tennessee traveling to Georgia has the ring of a prize fight, and even that might be more Don King than Muhammad Ali. Still, there are some interesting storylines to be found within the jabs and hooks of Week 5.

On the SEC year, I’m 39-6 Straight Up and 23-17 ATS. All times Eastern.

Missouri at UCF | 12:00; FSN. In their first two SEC games, the Tigers have been outscored by 62 points. But it’s worse than that… Absent their last minute 75 yard drive against Carolina’s backups’ backups, the Tigers failed to gain a hundred yards either rushing or passing last Saturday. Missouri is a team scrambling for an a drowning man looking for a life jacket. Fortunately for the Tigers, that life jacket comes this week in the form of the UCF Knights. UCF ranks in the top five of most Conference USA statistical categories, however Conference USA is a far cry from UGA and South Carolina. For a second consecutive week it’s a long trip, and UCF’s defense is indeed opportunistic…but Missouri’s quarterback James Franklin will look like his old Big 12 self undressing a relatively weak Knights’ secondary. Missouri 28, UCF 21

Arkansas at Texas A&M | 12:21; SEC Network. When asked this Wednesday what the problem was with the Razorbacks’ defense, Arkansas head coach John L. Smith replied, “Our ability to defend the run and the pass.” Smith was jesting, but his humor might be lost on many of those in Fayetteville. Arkansas is dead last in the SEC in (i) pass defense, (ii) pass efficiency defense, (iii) scoring defense, (iv) total defense and (v) turnover margin. Add rushing offense in there for good measure. Dead. Last. Meanwhile, TAMU’s offense looks to be picking up where Kevin Sumlin left off at Houston. At home, with the 12th Man looking on, Aggies’ freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel should have a field day with this Arkansas "defense". TAMU 41, Arkansas 21

Tennessee at #5 Georgia | 3:30; CBS. Tennessee’s run defense has so far failed defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri in his first season at the helm. It continues to give up yards in big chunks. Don’t look now, but here comes freshman sensation Todd Gurley, he of the “I like big chunks of yards” denomination of the church of college football. Interestingly, UGA’s defense has also been average in run defense – all the more surprising given they’ve been up in games such that you’d think opposing teams have been forced to throw more to catch up – suppressing the number of carries UGA has faced. Not that we yet have confidence yet in Tennessee’s rushing offense; it may be better than 2010-11, but let’s see 100 yards against an SEC defense. Last year at home against Georgia, the Vols ran backwards for negative 21 net rushing yards. Tyler Bray will be the best quarterback on the field Saturday, and he’ll get his 300+ yards. But he doesn’t play run defense. UGA 38, Tennessee 21

#6 South Carolina at Kentucky | 7:00; ESPN2. Kentucky’s sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith returns after missing the Florida game with a bum wing, and now he’ll face the SEC’s second best team at pressuring the quarterback. Actually, Kentucky’s offensive line has been surprisingly good protecting its quarterback – all the more noteworthy given they’ve largely been a passing team this year, and been down in games enough that opposing defenses could pin their ears back and make a beeline at the QB. The Gamecocks' last SEC East loss came on this field in 2010, when tailback Marcus Lattimore went down at the start of the third quarter with Carolina up 28-0. That final was 31-28. This year if he goes down, the Gamecocks benefit by not having Stephen Garcia. Call it addition by subtraction. Carolina’s pass defense remains highly suspect, and Smith has been a prodigious passer… Still, SC is playing football at a higher level than Kentucky. The Gamecocks also have better coaching and a deeper bench. Carolina 35, Kentucky 9

Towson at #3 LSU | 7:00; ESPNU. Although Towson has a much better defense than most folks realize, including the #1 Pass Defense in the FCS, this is a light scrimmage for LSU. We note the Tigers lost starting tailback Alfred Blue for the year (likely) in the rent-a-win vs. Idaho two weeks ago, and even LSU is running out of bodies to spare. LSU must use this time to get its juggled offensive line firing as a cohesive unit. When LSU’s OL suffered injuries in 2011, Les Miles filled those holes with redshirt seniors who had starting SEC experience. Guys like Will Blackwell and T-Bob Hebert. This year he has talent and size, but the second line isn’t nearly as experienced. Additionally, against faster defensive ends the Tigers will likely have to keep a tight end in for the rest of the season to help LT Josh Dworaczyk, who’s replaced the SEC’s best left tackle in Chris Faulk who's out for the season. Don’t be surprised if the 6-6, 315 pound true freshman OT Vadal Alexander sees material time in this Towson “game”. LSU 49, Towson 0

Ole Miss at #1 Alabama | 9:15; ESPN. If you haven’t had the chance yet to watch Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace, this might not be the game to start. Under new head coach Hugh Freeze, the Rebels’ offense has been downright explosive...led by one of the best JUCO transfers in the nation, Wallace. Ole Miss has three wins so far on the season, but Texas would still be scoring in Oxford if not for the clock running out. Ole Miss will score 7…maybe 10. But they gave up 66 to the Longhorns at home and Bama’s offense is even better. Plus this game’s in Tuscaloosa. Plus Wallace in banged up. Plus the Ole Miss defensive line looks downright skinny. OK, I'll stop. Alabama 45, Ole Miss 10

Russ Mitchell is CFN's lead SEC Columnist. Follow Russ for SEC and CFB analysis @russmitchellcfb

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