SEC Fearless Predictions - Week 2
Posted Sep 7, 2006

Preview and predictions for the week two Big East games.

East  Florida | Georgia | Kentucky | South Carolina | Tennessee | Vanderbilt 
West Alabama | Arkansas | Auburn | LSU | Ole Miss | Miss State
- Part SEC Predictions: Week One

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week Two, Part 2

SEC Game of the Week

Georgia (1-0) at South Carolina (1-0)  7:45 pm EST ESPN Saturday, September 9th
Why to watch: South Carolina got its SEC feet wet last week with a 15-0 win at Mississippi State in an occasionally ugly defensive slugfest. Now the Gamecocks have a chance to make some noise in the East race against defending SEC champion, Georgia, fresh off a 48-12 squeaker over Western Kentucky. It's not a stretch to suggest that the loser could be out of the conference title hunt, or at least will be in huge trouble, with Florida, Tennessee, and several other big conference battles ahead. The Dawgs have relatively smooth sailing for a few weeks after this until the showdown with Tennessee in early October, while the Gamecocks get two weeks off against Wofford and Florida Atlantic before dealing with Auburn.   These two battled in an interesting 17-15 Bulldog win early last season. 
Why Georgia might win: Where's the Gamecock offense? Mississippi State's defense might be solid, but the USC attack should've produced far more than 274 yards and one trick-play touchdown. Georgia's defense should be able to generate consistent pressure on Blake Mitchell with Quentin Moses and company almost certain to crank out at least three sacks. If the Gamecock running game can't be more effective than it was last week to take the pressure off Mitchell, it'll likely be a long night.
Why South Carolina might win: ... It's not like the Georgia offense was clicking on ally cylinders against WKU. If the Dawgs couldn't gain 300 yards n the Hilltoppers, how will it go more against an athletic USC defense that found a little bit of confidence last week? The offensive line has to be far more consistent and there needs to be more big plays from something other than the punt return game. It's never a positive when there's the pressure of a quarterback controversy to deal with, and the Bulldogs will have issues if starter Joe Tereshinski starts to struggle. Will he be looking over his shoulder at hard-charging freshman Matthew Stafford or good-looking backup Joe Cox? It might not be Tereshinski's fault if the passing game isn't clicking because ...
Who to watch: ... the Georgia receiving corps is far from being a finished product. The Dawgs' leading receiver last week was Thomas Brown, a running back, with three catches for 20 yards. Top target Mo Massaquoi only had one catch for two yards and was demoted to second string, as was Kenneth Harris after the two had issues with route running and dropped passes. A.J. Bryant and Mario Raley will get the call to start with Massaquoi getting some time in three-wide sets.
What will happen: The Dawg defense will outplay the USC D with just enough pressure in the backfield to come away with a tight, hard-fought win.
CFN Prediction
: Georgia 20 ... South Carolina 13
... Line: Georgia -3
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Fashion House) ... 4

Ole Miss (1-0) at Missouri (1-0)  12:30 pm EST  Saturday, September 9th
Why to watch: While this won't get much in the way of national attention, this should be one of the more interesting games of the day with the pride of two power conferences on the line. The knock on Missouri under head coach Gary Pinkel has been the program's inability to get through the non-conference schedule unscathed. With New Mexico and Ohio ahead, Ole Miss is the most likely obstacle between the Tigers and a 4-0 start. Considering the way Colorado played in its opener, 5-0 is possible before dealing with Texas Tech. Ole Miss is coming off a good win over Memphis last Sunday. Beating Missouri would easily be the biggest victory in the young Ed Orgeron era and would serve notice that this really will be a dangerous team for the rest of the year.
Why Ole Miss might win: Brent Schaeffer and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Ole Miss went from having one of the nation's worst offenses to having a 1-2 punch good enough to beat most teams thanks to the transfer of Schaeffer from Tennessee and Green-Ellis from Indiana. The former Hoosier ran for 127 yards and two touchdowns against Memphis, while Schaeffer managed the game extremely well making the key plays when needed and keeping the Tiger defense on its heels with is mobility. Missouri still doesn't know quite how good it is after barely breaking a sweat against Murray State, but this Ole Miss team will be as physical as anyone MU will play all year.
Why Missouri might win: The Tigers have a huge advantage up front. The MU offensive line is among the best in the Big 12 with four returning starters from last year including a few All-Big 12 talents. Ole Miss has big problems on the defensive front four with injuries to top ends Chris Bowers and Paria Jerry forcing the coaching staff to scramble to find productive bodies to fill in all along the line. If the Memphis offensive line could shove around the Rebels, the Missouri starting five should have a field day.
Who to watch: Missouri could be the big sleeper in the Big 12 title hunt if QB Chase Daniel keeps improving. He had his way with the Murray State secondary throwing for 320 yards and five touchdowns, and he has to be just as effective this week if the Rebel defensive line really is as troubled as Orgeron is saying it is. Memphis QB Martin Hankins was able to complete 21 of 27 passes on the Ole Miss secondary; Daniel has to be licking his chops.
What will happen: These are two decent teams that should play a hard-hitting, entertaining game. Mizzouri will win on the lines, so Missouri will win on the scoreboard.
CFN Prediction
: Missouri 31 ... Ole Miss 17
... Line: Missouri -8
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Fashion House) ...
Final Score: 

Auburn (1-0) at Mississippi State (0-1)  12:30pm EST GamePlan Saturday, September 9th
Why to watch: The SEC season kicked off last week for Mississippi State with a rough 15-0 loss to South Carolina. Now the SEC West battle begins as the Bulldogs look to come up with the first really big win of the Sylvester Croom era and ruin Auburn's national title dreams before they can begin. The Tigers didn't get any national play for a dominating 40-14 win over a Washington State team that's going to be as explosive as any in the Pac 10 as the season goes on. Everything clicked with 484 yards of total offense, great special teams play, and a strong performance by the defense. Now, Tommy Tuberville's bunch have to sidestep a possible landmine and avoid looking ahead to the likely SEC West title game next week against LSU.
Why Auburn might win: Pressure. Washington State QB Alex Brnik is a decent veteran with a good deep arm and a nice command of the Cougar offense. He didn't get any time to work against Auburn because he spent half the game on his back. The Tigers generated five sacks and constantly got into the Wazzu backfield. MSU gave up five sacks to South Carolina. Uh oh.
Why Mississippi State might win: ... Other SEC fans would happily debate this, but no defense is likely to slug Auburn in the mouth harder than Miss State.  LB Quinton Culberson and crew continue to be weighed down by a non-existent offense yet continue to produce. This group is always in the backfield, always coming up with the big hit, and always aggressive. Expect Auburn star RB Kenny Irons to be a marked man meaning the game might be in the hands of QB Brandon Cox. If he's under pressure, he'll make mistakes.
Who to watch: Welcome to the official kickoff of the Tray Rutland era at Mississippi State. After starting quarterback Michael Henig broke his collarbone late in the first half against the Gamecocks, Rutland was thrown into the fire and struggled completing 6 of 15 passes for 63 yards and two interceptions. However, the 221-pound redshirt freshman has great speed, a nice arm, and is considered the future of the program. He'll take more than his share of lumps against Auburn, but it'll all be part of a maturation progress that Bulldog fans hope will eventually pay off in a big way.
What will happen: More cowbell! More cowbell! The Tigers will win because MSU can't score, but they'll know they were in a fight.
CFN Prediction
: Auburn 27 ... Mississippi State 9
... Line: Auburn -20.5
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Fashion House) ... 2.5

Vanderbilt (0-1) at Alabama (1-0)  3:30 pm EST GamePlan Saturday, September 9th
Why to watch: Tide fans are still trying to collect their breath after surviving the Hawaii offense in a thrilling 25-17 win. The easy first part of the schedule continues with the second of four straight games against teams that didn't go to a bowl last year, and Bama could use an easy win just to know that everything's working right as it still tries to overcome some major personnel losses. Vanderbilt isn't the same Vanderbilt without QB Jay Cutler, but it gave Michigan a harder time than expected in a 27-7 loss in Ann Arbor. Dropped passes and missed opportunities proved costly, but the defense was able to keep the team in the game until midway through the second half.
Why Vanderbilt might win: While the Alabama offense was able to crank out 378 yards against Hawaii, it was hardly efficient and it couldn't close. Settling for too many field goals, the offense rarely came up the key play needed to finish off drives, and it struggled late when the Warriors were making their run. Vandy's defense isn't going to keep many offensive coordinators awake at night, but it's better than Hawaii's. If Bama had problems getting the ground game going against the UH front, life could be much harder this week.
Why Alabama might win: The Vanderbilt offense just isn't there. Hawaii will end up finishing in the top three in the nation in total yards with one of college football's most devastating attacks, yet it was only able to hang 17 on the Tide. Vanderbilt's offense will look minor league by comparison. Forget about any semblance of a running game against the Tide front seven, so it'll be up to QB Chris Nickson to try to win the game. That's a plus for the Tide.
Who to watch: Where was Ken Darby? The star Alabama running back ran for a mere 25 yards on 16 carries against the porous Hawaii defense. Credit Warrior defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville for doing everything possible to stop running game and to force QB John Parker Wilson to win the game, but the biggest problem was a hip pointer suffered in the first quarter that limited Darby the rest of the way. After a week of sulking about his performance, look for Darby to come back roaring against a Vandy D that was ripped up last week by Mike Hart and the Michigan running game.
What will happen: You know what you're going to get out of an Alabama game. Underwhelming offense, tough defense, and a Tide win.
CFN Prediction
: Alabama 27 ... Vanderbilt 10
... Line: Alabama -15.5
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Fashion House) ... 2.5

UCF (1-0) at Florida (1-0)  6 pm EST GamePlan Saturday, September 9th
Why to watch: Throw out week one of the college football season. With no preseason games to use as tune-ups, it's hard to come up with a definitive stance on a team after one game. Game two is when things have to start to hum, and that goes for both UCF and Florida as they inch closer to more important dates in the near future. The bar has been set higher for the Golden Knights after making a surprise appearance in the Conference USA title game. With South Florida next week before what could be the East Division title game against Southern Miss, George O'Leary's club needs to see just how good it really is. It'll get its chance against one of the elite of the elite as Florida  With the SEC East showdown against Tennessee next week, the Gators just want to get this one over with as soon as possible, and look as sharp as it can along the way.
Why UCF might win: Florida had few problems with Southern Miss after getting down 7-0, but the running game was still non-existent meaning the Golden Knights should be able to fully focus on stopping Chris Leak and the Gator passing game. That's certainly easier said than done, but UCF's strength is in its young, talented secondary that will eventually grow into one of the best unnoticed groups in the nations, but ...
Why Florida might win: ... it's not there yet. In last week's 25-16 win over Villanova, UCF gave up way too many big plays allowing 241 yards of Wildcat passing offense. Leak should be able to dink and dunk to death on the UCF pass defense, and then he'll hit the home run. If Villanova can bomb deep on the Golden Knights, then Florida, with its speed, should be able to go ballistic.
Who to watch: Will Florida be able to generate any sort of a pass rush? The supposedly fearsome Gator defensive line didn't generate nearly enough pressure against Southern Miss, but that was partially due to the absence of tackles Steven Harris and Marcus Thomas. The two will play and need to use this game to get back into game-shape before dealing with the Vols next week.
What will happen: Florida will connect on at least four big pass plays to open up a tight game in the second half.
CFN Prediction
Florida 31 ... UCF 10 ... Line: Florida -22.5
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Fashion House) ... 2.5

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week Two, Part 2