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SEC Fearless Predictions , Week 8

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 13, 2006


Preview and predictions for the week eight SEC games


SEC
East  Florida | Georgia | Kentucky | South Carolina | Tennessee | Vanderbilt 
West Alabama | Arkansas | Auburn | LSU | Ole Miss | Miss State
- Part SEC Predictions: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5
Week 6 | Week 7

How are the picks so far? SU: 49-10 ... ATS: 28-23-1

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 8, Part 2
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SEC Game of the Week

Alabama (5-2) at Tennessee (5-1)  3:30 PM EST CBS Saturday October 21st
Why to Watch: Alabama has a rivalry with everyone in the SEC, but the battle with Tennessee is old-school SEC that die-hard fans get into as much as any of the newer rivalries created by the SEC divisions. Tennessee is saying all the right things about not caring about a disrespectful 11th in the initial BCS rankings, but it's all about looking impressive from here on out with the SEC championship back on the radar after Florida lost to Auburn last week. The Vols had last week off after the thrilling, somewhat bizarre 51-33 win over Georgia, and now begins a four-week stretch against the Tide, at South Carolina, LSU, and at Arkansas, which will make or break all dreams of a big, BCS caliber season. Alabama is still in the hunt for the West title despite losses to Arkansas and Florida, but there's no margin for error now. An upset over Tennessee would likely mean an 8-2 start with a depleted FIU team and Mississippi State to follow. This hasn't been the strongest of Tide teams having problems with Ole Miss last week, but there's just enough explosion on offense, and talent on defense, to have a good shot of keeping this close. Last year, Alabama won 6-3 thanks to a miraculous finish helped by a Tennessee fumble out of the end zone and a last second Jamie Christensen field goal.
Why Alabama Might Win: The overtime win over Ole Miss might not have been pretty, but it did mark the official return of RB Ken Darby, who showed a little bit of pop with his best game of the season rushing for 162 yards. If he's able to find a little bit of running room against an average Tennessee run defense, that will allow for John Parker Wilson and D.J. Hall to do their thing in the passing game providing the most balance UT has seen since the season-opener against California. Few teams are better in turnover margin than the Tide with 17 takeaways so far and only nine turnovers. Bama must win this battle to have a shot.  
Why Tennessee Might Win: Erik Ainge, the SEC's most efficient quarterback, should be able to pick the Tide secondary clean. While the Vol offensive line is a bit banged up, it's done a great job so far in pass protection and should be able give Ainge all day to throw considering Bama hasn't been able to generate a steady pass rush all season long.  Statistically, the Tide pass defense is ranked 16th in the nation, but it got lit up by Hawaii's Colt Brennan and had problems with Florida's Chris Leak. If Brent Schaeffer of Ole Miss could complete 13 of 20 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown, Ainge should be able to go ballistic.
Who to Watch: The SEC's two best receivers will be on display with Alabama's D.J. Hall and Tennessee's Robert Meachem each locks for All-SEC honors and possible All-America recognition. Hall has been fantastic over the last four games going over 100 yards in each with 23 catches for 504 yards and three touchdowns over that span. Meachem has been nothing short of sensational as Ainge's main target averaging 19.9 yards per catch with six scores and three 100-yard days along with a 98-yard performance against Georgia.
What Will Happen: Phil Fulmer is 10-3 against Alabama and will get his 11th with several big plays from the passing game and a nice, but not sensational day from the D. This will be closer than many Vol fans might like.
CFN Prediction
: Tennessee 26 ... Alabama 17 ... Line: Tennessee -12
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Knights of Prosperity) ... 4

Ole Miss (2-5) at Arkansas (5-1)  12:30 PM EST GamePlan Saturday October 21st
Why to Watch: All of a sudden, this seemingly throwaway game when the season started becomes one SEC fans will keep a close eye on. Arkansas is now the hunted with a 3-0 SEC start and as the only team in the West that controls its own destiny. Winners of five straight after the season-opening loss to USC, the Hogs are riding high thanks to one of the nation's best ground games and an improving defense. Ole Miss has lost five of its last six, but it's starting to play better with a win over Vanderbilt two weeks ago and a way-closer-than-expected overtime loss to Alabama. Chances of a bowl game are all but shot with LSU and Auburn still to play, but the Rebels can get within range with a big upset.
Why Ole Miss Might Win: Brent Schaeffer might be finally starting to play as expected. While the Ole Miss quarterback isn't setting the world on fire, he had a nice game against Alabama completing 13 of 20 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown with showing off a little bit of his running skill for the first time in weeks. Arkansas doesn't force a lot of mistakes, and QB Mitch Mustain will probably be good for at least one interception, so if the Rebels can capitalize on every opportunity, they might be able to pull off the shocker. One slight problem ...
Why Arkansas Might Win: ... Ole Miss can't stop the run. The linebackers are playing well, but the line has been a big issue getting pushed around in the running game and not generating any pressure in the backfield. Alabama's Ken Darby, who had struggled all season long, ran wild on the Rebels. Arkansas should dominate up front opening things up for the backs to crank out yards in huge chunks.
Who to Watch: Two of the nation's best linebackers will be in this game as Patrick Willis of Ole Miss, with 73 tackles and 23 in the last two games, and Sam Olajubutu of Arkansas will each be a big key. Since the line is having so many problems, it'll be up to him to keep short gains from turning into back-breaking home runs. Olajubutu has been the heart and soul of the Hog defense with his leadership and steady play making him the one everything revolves around. He's not the tackling machine that Willis is, but he'll play a big role in keeping Schaeffer in the backfield.
What Will Happen: Ole Miss is playing well enough to give the Hogs a push, but the Arkansas running game will control things from the start.
CFN Prediction
: Arkansas 27 ... Ole Miss 13 ... Line: Arkansas -17
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Knights of Prosperity) ... 3

Mississippi State (2-5) at Georgia (5-2) 1 PM EST Saturday October 21st
Why to Watch: Normally, this might appear to be a yawner, no need to watch SEC blowout game, but after Georgia's unimaginable gaffe at home to Vanderbilt last week, anything seems possible. The Georgia version of the Bulldogs have been shaky all season long against D-I teams and are on a two-game losing streak with the date with Florida coming up next week. The offense hasn't been consistent, the defense hasn't been solid enough, and the panic sirens are going off. Expect a total meltdown from the Dawg fans if Georgia loses to an MSU team that hasn't been close against teams with a pulse. The Bulldogs had no problem with Jacksonville State last week, but it's only win of slight substance this year was in overtime over UAB. They've lost 16 of its last 17 SEC games and hasn't beaten Georgia since 1974 and hasn't won in Athens since 1956.
Why Mississippi State Might Win: Georgia's offense is struggling way too much. The scoring offense stats are misleading since the Dawg defense and special teams are making things look cosmetically better. The passing attack continues to stink, and with Thomas Brown out, the running game has fewer options to work with. As long as MSU limits turnovers and doesn't allow any big plays from the great Georgia kick return game, it should be able to keep things close up until the end. Fortunately for Georgia ...
Why Georgia Might Win: ... MSU's offense is far worse. This week should be when the Dawg D makes things right after having problems in the last two losses. Even against Jacksonville State, MSUs couldn't get any efficient play from the passing game with Mike Henig only completing 11 of 25 passes, while the running game only averaged 3.7 yards per carry. The Georgia defense has had to carry the team, and for the most part, it's done a good job. Watch for the Georgia secondary to jump all over the MSU receivers and force the visiting Bulldogs to win on the ground.
Who to Watch: Georgia lost Thomas Brown, who regained his starting spot last week only to suffer a season-ending knee injury, meaning Kregg Lumpkin and Danny Ware have to do more to carry the offense. Matthew Stafford has been put back at starting quarterback after an efficient 9-of-11 game coming off the bench against Vanderbilt. Joe Tereshinski wasn't all that bad, but he didn't provide any spark since returning from an ankle injury. Will the coaching staff ride out the low points with its freshman franchise passer, or will Tereshinski be put in at the first sign of problems? The situation has to be settled once and for all before dealing with the Gators next week.
What Will Happen: The Bulldogs will win.
CFN Prediction
: Georgia 31... Mississippi State 10 ... Line: Georgia -17.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Knights of Prosperity) ... 2.5

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 8, Part 2
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