SEC Fearless Predictions - Week 3, Part 2
Posted Sep 13, 2006

Preview and predictions for the week two SEC games including Florida vs. Tennessee

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

How are the picks so far? SU: 19-1 ... ATS: 9-8-1

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week Three

Tulane (0-1) at Mississippi State (0-2) 12 pm EST Saturday, September 16th
Why to watch: First team to double digits gets a win and a door prize.  Will Mississippi State score its first points of 2006?  Oh, the drama of Bulldog football.  In its defense, Mississippi State has opened with South Carolina and Auburn, and lost starting quarterback Michael Henig to a broken collarbone early in the opener.  The Green Wave represents a chance for young QB Tray Rutland to get reps without facing constant pressure and for the Bulldogs to pick up a much-needed victory.  Tulane’s first game was hardly refrigerator material, either.  The Green Wave got outgained 621 yards to 224 in an embarrassing loss to Houston that was actually worse than the 45-7 final score.           
Why Tulane might win: If you can’t score, you can’t win, and Mississippi State is stuck on a goose egg for 2006.  The Bulldogs are dead last in total offense and are breaking in a freshman quarterback that’s clearly been pressed into action well before he's ready.  If Tulane QB Lester Ricard can hook up with Preston Brown for a couple of big pass plays, the pressure to once again play from behind could be too much for the inept Bulldog offense to handle.             
Why Mississippi State might win: It’s going to get lost in an otherwise horrid season, but Mississippi State can play defense.  It's a talented, senior-dominated crew doing a yeoman’s work by holding South Carolina and Auburn to just 49 points considering there's been no help whatsoever from the offense.  In last week’s loss to the Tigers, Heisman contender Kenny Irons could only manage 69 yards rushing on 21 carries.                   
Who to watch: DT Deljuan Robinson has stepped up and asserted himself as the leader of the Mississippi State defensive line.  Against Auburn, he was literally unblockable racking up seven tackles and five tackles for loss in a monstrous one-man performance.  He alone could blow up the Tulane offense.      
What will happen: Give this win to the Mississippi State defense and PK Adam Carlson, who’ll break the Bulldog drought with a first-half field goal.
CFN Prediction:
Miss State 19 ... Tulane 7 ... Line: Miss State -10.5
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Dancing with the Stars) ... 1.5 

(1-1) at South Carolina (1-1) 7 pm EST GamePlan Saturday, September 16th
Why to watch: South Carolina is taking a two-week break playing Wofford and Florida Atlantic before getting back into SEC play against Auburn to close out a four-game homestand. On a 13-game winning streak against the Terriers, the Gamecocks should be able to work out most of their problems on offense  and finally get the passing game going. Wofford is coming off a 41-38 loss to South Carolina, but it has a good enough offense to put up a little bit of a fight. USC is coming off a rough home outing losing to Georgia 18-0.
Why Wofford might win: The Terriers have a fantastic rushing game that's cranked out 568 yards in its fist two games of the year with 335 of them coming in last week's loss. South Carolina's run defense has been nothing special, and it took a big hit losing DT Marque Hall for the season. Can the Terriers control the game by cranking out 200 yards? It's possible.
Why South Carolina might win: The Terriers have a one-dimensional offense, so if the Gamecocks can take away a little bit of the ground game, it'll be over. Wofford needs good field position, and that should be a problem with USC punter Ryan Succop blasting the air out of the ball over the first two games averaging 46 yards per boot. This will get ugly in a hurry if Wofford has to start throwing.
Who to watch: South Carolina has only scored one touchdown so far, and it came on a fluky, trick play against Mississippi State. With the ground game going nowhere so far and the offensive line doing its best to get QB Blake Mitchell killed, the coaching staff is looking to shuffle things around. Is Steve Spurrier simply trying to light a fire, or is he serious about changing around the entire offense? Mitchell has been decent now he has been suspended after being arrested following a bar fight. That means freshman Chris Smelley, who completed seven of 11 passes against Georgia, is now the main man for the foreseeable future and with a nice, easy game to get used to the gig.
What will happen: Spurrier will be much happier for about ten minutes after the game, and then he'll dismiss this as a win over Wofford.
CFN Prediction
: South Carolina 45 ... Wofford 10
... Line: No Line
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Dancing with the Stars) ... 1 

UL Monroe
(1-1) at Alabama (2-0) 7 pm EST GamePlan Saturday, September 16th
Why to watch: What appeared to be a throwaway game when the schedules first came out now appears to be a dangerous beartrap for the Tide. Alabama struggled to hang on against mediocre Hawaii and Vanderbilt with little offense and little of the killer D that dominated in 2005. UL Monroe is a in a big rebuilding modes after coming within a game of winning the Sun Belt title, but it has played well over the first two games beating Alcorn State 24-6 and coming this close shocking Kansas in a 21-19 loss. The Warhawks start Sun Belt play next week, while the Tide has to deal with road trips to Arkansas and Florida.
Why UL Monroe might win: Where's the Alabama running game? Granted, star back Ken Darby has been dinged up, but that's no excuse for only gaining 259 yards on Hawaii and Vanderbilt while averaging a mere 3.4 yards per carry. Before playing the Hogs and Gators, the Bama coaching staff will want to start to establish the ground game to see if it works, but that could be a slight problem against a ULM run D that came up with a not-that-bad performance against Kansas. The Warhawk defense has forced seven turnovers so far and could come up with a few takeaways to stay in the game.
Why Alabama might win: ULM can all but forget about moving the ball on the ground against the Tide D. Thanks to QB Kinsmon Lancaster, the lack of a running game hasn't proven to be that big a deal so far, but Alcorn State and Kansas aren't Alabama. The Tide might not be a scoring machine, but it won't have to be against a Warhawk offense that has a nightmare of a time putting points on the board. A few early scores should put the game away.
Who to watch: Lancaster has All-Sun Belt potential and the talent to give the Tide defense just enough of a problem to keep things interesting. The sophomore's athleticism and running skills were never a question, but he has proven to be a shockingly effective passer throwing for 377 yards and three touchdowns against Kansas. He did a great job of spreading the ball around and needs to use all his receivers to keep the Tide secondary on its toes.
What will happen: Alabama's offense will finally break out, within reason. ULM will turn the ball over four times and lose control of the game early on.
CFN Prediction
Alabama 34 ... UL Monroe 10 ... Line: Alabama -24.5
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Dancing with the Stars) ... 1.5 

Florida (2-0) at Tennessee (2-0) 8 pm EST CBS Saturday, September 16th
Why to watch: Tennessee appeared to be back to being Tennessee after a dominating 35-18 shocker over California, and then the team reverted back to its flaky 2005 self by coming within a missed two-point conversion of possibly losing Air Force. Call is a lookahead game, call it a tough outing against a quirky Falcon offense that had an extra week to prepare, call it a red-flag that signaled that things might not be all back full for Phil Fulmer's club. All doubts can be erased with a win over a Florida team with national title talent on both sides of the ball to go along with, arguably, the nation's nastiest schedule. Not only do the Gators have to go to Knoxville, but they have travel to Auburn, Florida State, and play Georgia in Jacksonville to go along with home dates with Alabama and LSU. On the flip side, Tennessee has to go on the road to face Georgia, but it gets LSU and Alabama at home. In other words, Florida probably as to win this game to stay alive in the SEC title race, while the Vols can likely suffer a loss and still be in the hunt. This is the chance for Florida head man Urban Meyer to take a huge step in the respect department among SEC coaches, while Fulmer can quickly go from hot seat to hot coach with a win. These two teams are loaded with enough talent to keep the NFL stocked for years with speed, skill, and stars on both sides of the ball.
Why Florida might win: It's been a long, hard road, but Florida has finally found some semblance of offensive balance. Cal could throw on Tennessee, but couldn't run. Air Force ran amok on the Vols, but didn't throw. Florida will be able to do a little bit of both thanks to the suddenly effective combination of DeShawn Wynn and Kestahn Moore. The more these two can produce, the better QB Chris Leak will be and the less he'll have to press. The senior Heisman candidate has been fantastic completing 68% of his passes for 600 yards and seven touchdowns with two interceptions, and he's throwing better on the run than he did over his first three seasons. He has seen it all in SEC play and won't be the slightest bit unnerved by the magnitude of this game.
Why Tennessee might win: Much of QB Erik Ainge's newfound success has been credited to the tutoring from offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe, but the main reason for the improvement has been time; he's getting four days to throw. The Vols have yet to allow a sack this season while Florida's defensive line has been one of the mysteries of the first two games. There's too much talent on the Florida front four to come up with no sacks so far. The linebackers have generated the mere two sacks in two games, and this isn't likely to be the game things suddenly change.
Who to watch: Ainge hasn't just been better than last year, he has turned into a superstar leading the nation in passing efficiency. Of course, it helps when you can throw a short pass to Robert Meachem and let him roll for long gains. There hasn't been a better receiver in America over the first two games than the junior Vol with five catches for 182 yards and two touchdowns against Cal and eight grabs for 115 yards and two scores against Air Force. For Florida, Dallas Baker and Andre Caldwell have been Leak's main targets. but all the buzz has been about freshman sensation Percy Harvin after his 58-yard touchdown against UCF. He's a do-it-all game-breaker with the home run hitting speed to be a dangerous runner as well as a frightening number three receiver.
What will happen: Each team will throw their share of haymakers, but Florida will have a bit more overall offensive success along with a little more production from special teams. Tennessee will drive deep into Florida territory late in the game, but the Gator defense will come through with the stop.
CFN Prediction
: Florida 24 ... Tennessee 20
... Line: Florida -3.5
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Dancing with the Stars) ... 5 

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week Three