SEC Fearless Predictions, Nov. 4
Posted Nov 2, 2006

Preview and predictions for the week Ten SEC games

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 | Week 8 | Week 9

How are the picks so far? SU: 62-10 ... ATS: 37-27-1

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 10, Part 2
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SEC Game of the Week

LSU (6-2) at Tennessee (7-1) 3:30 PM EST CBS Saturday November 4th
Why to Watch: Call this the SEC's ultimate "prove it" game. Tennessee has won five straight since losing to Florida and is starting to get the "best team in the SEC" tag by some, but it hasn't put together a full sixty minutes over the last three SEC games and could use an impressive win to pull up a chair and be involved in the national title hunt. LSU has beaten up on the weak and sad, but is 0-2 against the good teams on the schedule losing to both Auburn and Florida. Still needing plenty of help to be in the SEC title hunt, the Tigers have to pull off a win to avoid getting knocked out. These are two of the nation's top heavyweights, and they should play like it in what's almost certain to be a classic, like last year's 30-27 Volunteer win that ended up being LSU's only loss before the SEC title game. The Vols have won five of the last seven meetings.
Why LSU Might Win: Will Tennessee's offense be able to find any consistency against the nation's number one defense? With little running game and QB Erik Ainge hobbling on an ankle injury, the Vol offense should have problems cranking out any long, drawn out drives and might have to rely on the big play. That's always dangerous. LSU lost to Florida because it kept screwing up and it bit on a Tim Tebow fake for a long score; the Gator offense didn't exactly move the ball. Auburn's offense went almost nowhere in the 7-3 win gaining just 182 yards. Don't expect fireworks from the Vol attack.
Why Tennessee Might Win: Oh sure, running the ball is easy for LSU against Fresno State and Kentucky, but in the big two games, the Tigers went absolutely nowhere. The Tennessee defense should be able to keep the Tiger ground game to under 150 yards and put the game in the hands of QB JaMarcus Russell. Fair or not, there's still a question whether or not the junior can carry the offense when everything's on his shoulders. He threw three picks in the loss to Florida and had a shaky final drive in the loss to Auburn. He was clutch in the 2005 opener at Arizona State and was able to come up with the win at Alabama with a sharp performance, but they jury is still out on whether or not he's a big-game superstar away from home. He can prove all doubters wrong with a win against Tennessee, but he'll have to do it against a Vol secondary that's starting to make more and more big plays.
Who to Watch: So how healthy is Ainge? He practiced this week and threw it around a bit, but the ankle is far from 100%. Redshirt freshman Jonathan Crompton will be at the ready considering the LSU pass rush could take Ainge out with one ill-placed sack. Crompton doesn't have the room to free-lance or check out of plays like Ainge does, but he's starting to get more and more work with the first team and might have to be more than just along for the ride if he comes in. He's far more mobile than Ainge, especially a gimpy Ainge, and could be a wild-card.
What Will Happen: The teams that screws up the most will lose. You'd figure that'd be LSU on the road, but watch for the Tennessee offense to struggle just enough, and LSU's defense to create just enough big plays, to pull off the tough road win.
CFN Prediction
: LSU 14 ... Tennessee 10 .. Line: LSU -1.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Running with Scissors) ... 4.5

Florida (7-1) at Vanderbilt (4-5)  12:30 PM EST GamePlan Saturday November 4th
Why to Watch: Florida has the SEC East title wrapped up if it just get by Vanderbilt this week and South Carolina next week, but the road might not be all that easy if last year was any indication when South Carolina beat the Gators and Jay Cutler and the Commodores did everything but pull out the miracle in a 49-42 classic. Vandy got back in the hunt for a bowl bid winning two of its last three games and now needs to win two of its final three to get a 13th game. The offense has picked up, while the defense has been solid at times. Florida needs style points. In range for the coveted number two BCS slot, it has to win the hearts and minds of the voters while finishing out strong. A close call against the Commodores might as well be a loss in the beauty contest.
Why Florida Might Win: Offense, offense, offense ... that's all anyone wants to talk about when it comes to Florida, but it's the defense that's carrying the team into range of an SEC title with an active defensive front that's kicking it in with ten sacks in the last two games. Even though Vanderbilt's offensive line is solid, it's not going to be able to keep QB Chris Nickson completely clean if there's no threat of a running game to keep the linebackers honest. If Nickson's under pressure and starts making mistakes, the opportunistic Gator secondary will come up with the game-changing plays needed to make this a rout.
Why Vanderbilt Might Win: Letdown. How can Florida not be a bit relaxed after facing Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Georgia and with Captain Visor and South Carolina coming up next week? Outside of its own practices against Tim Tebow, Florida has yet to face a quarterback with Nickson's scrambling ability. If he's somehow able to keep the chains moving and the solid secondary is able for force Florida to turn into a running team, the Commodores just might be able to keep this close into the fourth quarter.
Who to Watch: While Tebow has been a shot in the arm for the Gator offense throughout the year, the question has to be asked: is his presence hurting the overall production and continuity of the offense? While head coach Urban Meyer has taken the blame for the offense not exploding, the problem has been the competition. The Gators are playing good teams. Now we'll see what Leak does against an average D. Chris Leak has certainly been fine and efficient, but while he threw for 199 yards against Tennessee, he has yet to, technically, throw for more than 200 yards against a team with a pulse and hasn't thrown for more than 174 yards in the last four games. He's also throwing picks with one in every game except the win over Alabama.
What Will Happen: Florida's defense will make life miserable for Nickson. Florida's offense still won't put up the stratospheric numbers expected, but it'll be efficient in the second half and won't make the big mistakes to lose the game.
CFN Prediction
: Florida 28 ... Vanderbilt 14 .. Line: Florida -16
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Running with Scissors) ... 2.5

Mississippi State (2-7) at Alabama (6-3)  12:30 PM EST GamePlan Saturday November 4th
Why to Watch: Alabama became bowl eligible last week with the layup over a depleted FIU team, but with LSU and Auburn coming up, it could use another win to move up in the SEC pecking order. Even though Mississippi State hasn't won an SEC game and has only beaten UAB in overtime and Jacksonville State, it's been playing relatively well over the last few weeks losing to Georgia and Kentucky by three points each. The Bulldogs have lost the last five games against the Tide.
Why Mississippi State Might Win: Michael Henig. All of a sudden, the guy who couldn't hit water if his was standing at the bottom of the sea has turned into the best Bulldog passer in years throwing for 234 yards against Georgia and 384 yards and three touchdowns against Kentucky. Alabama's stats against the pass are great overall, but the secondary was bombed by the teams that could actually throw, like Tennessee, Florida and Hawaii. Everyone else on the slate runs the ball. If Henig keeps up the pace, he should be able to keep the MSU offense moving, however ...
Why Alabama Might Win: ... the sophomore has also thrown seven picked in the last four games. With no running game whatsoever, Henig will have to press and force his passes to keep the Bulldogs in the game, and Bama's secondary should be licking their chops as there will be at least three passes that are in prime pick-six position, and at least three others that'll be thrown into double and triple coverages. Alabama's biggest advantage is that ...
Who to Watch: ... MSU is quickly running out of players. The already lousy running game took a dip downward with Brandon Thornton and Arnil Stallworth, along with fullback Casey Rogers, out for the year with knee injuries. Anthony Dixon is the team's leading rusher and has four touchdown runs in his last two games, but he's not a 100-yard back quite yet and he's hardly 100% with shoulder problems likely to keep him from being a 25-carry back. On the plus side, he's one of the team's most talented players and should eventually be the focal point of the offense.
What Will Happen: Alabama will do its usual thing getting the win without looking all that impressive. MSU will turn it over five times with the Tide taking advantage of almost all of them.
CFN Prediction
: Alabama 26 ... Mississippi State 10 .. Line: Alabama -15
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Running with Scissors) ... 2

Georgia (6-3) at Kentucky (4-4)  1 PM EST Saturday November 4th
Why to Watch: Can Kentucky really finish ahead of Georgia in the SEC race? With the Dawgs struggling all season long and with the Wildcats showing just enough pop to be dangerous, it could happen. Georgia is coming off a loss to Florida making it three defeats in the last four weeks, with a close shave against Mississippi State thrown into the mix, while UK has Vanderbilt, UL Monroe and Tennessee left to play needing to win two of the final four to get to a bowl. With Auburn and Georgia Tech ahead, along with a bowl game, the possibility of the team's first losing season since 1996, the last time the Cats beat the Dawgs, is very real if Mark Richt's bunch can't come up with a win in Lexington. 
Why Georgia Might Win: If Georgia was ever going to get its dead passing game on track, this would be the game. The Kentucky secondary made Mississippi State's Michael Henig look like Peyton Manning and has been bombed on all season long by even the pedestrian of passing attacks. On the other side of the ball, Bulldog defensive ends Quentin Moses and Charles Johnson had to be licking their chops when watching film this week. UK's offensive line has been awful in pass protection.
Why Kentucky Might Win: Georgia might be just on the verge of suffering a 2005 Tennessee-like meltdown. The team hasn't played well and is coming off what would've been a season-changing win over Florida. If UK can hit on a few big early plays and get the crowd into the game, the momentum might be enough to overcome any comeback attempt that the Dawgs are ill-equipped to make. What changes momentum? Turnovers, and Georgia has provided plenty of them with 12 interceptions and ten fumbles on the year.
Who to Watch: Georgia's Martrez Milner is a 6-4, 240-pound pro prospect with receiver speed and skills in the body of a tight end. And now he's the team's number two tight end after having problems hanging on to the ball. While he's the team's co-leader in receptions, he killed the Dawgs with critical drops late against Florida and will now be replaced by sophomore Tripp Chandler. That's not to say Milner will be completely out of the mix, and the quicker he's back to form, the better. The Georgia passing game desperately needs him, or someone, to be a playmaker.
What Will Happen: Kentucky isn't that good, and it struggled way too much in the win over Mississippi State, but Georgia is ripe to be tagged. If UK is +2 in turnover margin, it'll win the game. If Georgia hangs on to the ball, it'll come out with the W. Since UK is 14th in the nation in turnover margin and Georgia is 96th ...
CFN Prediction
: Kentucky 27 ... Georgia 21 .. Line: Georgia -6.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Running with Scissors) ... 3

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 10, Part 2
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