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SEC Fearless Predictions, Nov. 18

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 15, 2006


Preview and predictions for the week Twelve 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 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11

How are the picks so far? SU: 68-11 ... ATS: 41-29-1

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 12, Part 2
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SEC Game of the Week

Auburn (9-2) at Alabama (6-5) 3:30 PM EST CBS Saturday November 18th
Why to Watch: Michawho vs. Ohio what? While the rest of the free world will be watching some other rivalry game, all of Alabama, at least those who weren't able to get a ticket, will be fully focused on one of the few sporting events that occupies daily discussion for a full 365 days out of the year around some parts. Auburn has won four straight in the series, but even in a brutal rivalry like this, might be a bit down after seeing its national title hopes get blown out of the water with a horrendous performance in last week's 37-15 loss to Georgia. Alabama is looking for its first halfway decent win since beating Hawaii in the opener and could use a boost to keep the Mike Shula era on track. His job isn't in any sort of jeopardy, but a loss would turn up the pressure this off-season; coaches who drop four in a row to the Tigers don't last long around Tuscaloosa. Losers of two straight, including an inexcusable gaffe against Mississippi State, the Tide desperately needs this win to move up in the SEC bowl pecking order. Fine, watch the Wolverine and Buckeyes and TiVo this for later. (Note to the PA announcer at the game: warn the fans before announcing the Michigan-OSU score. Someone out there will try to do the impossible and go all day without finding out who won.)
Why Auburn Might Win: Alabama's offense, specifically the running game, has decided to take the last few games off. Inconsistent all season long, the ground game has been ineffective over the last four weeks gaining just 339 yards including mediocre days against FIU and Mississippi State. This is a one-dimensional team that has a hard time with good pass rushers. If the Tiger line is motivated and finds the groove it got into against Florida a few weeks ago, it could be a long day for the Tide attack. However ...
Why Alabama Might Win: ... the Tiger defense made Georgia QB Matthew Stafford look like Matt Hasselbeck. If there isn't consistent pressure, Bama QB John Parker Wilson should be able to pick the slightly overrated Auburn secondary clean for at least 250 yards. On the other side of the ball, it's not like the Auburn offense is doing anything lately. Basically, the Tigers played one whale of a defensive game against LSU, were breathtaking in the second half against Florida, and have been totally mediocre against everyone else.
Who to Watch: Four for 12, 35 yards, one touchdown, four interceptions. That's not the line a starting quarterback for a national title hopeful should have this late in the season, but that's what Auburn's Brandon Cox came up with in a stinker against Georgia. While he's been fine yardage-wise all year, he hasn't made the receivers around him better and has gotten into a nasty habit of forcing throws that aren't there. Speaking of disappointments, this is the last chance for Alabama RB Ken Darby to break out of a season long funk. He's averaging 4.2 yards per carry, but he has yet to run for a score and got into the end zone for the first time last week against LSU on a catch. With only 108 yards in two games against Auburn, he needs to be a key factor to take the heat off the passing game.
What Will Happen: Auburn's not going to clunk two games in a row. The offense will be a little crisper and just effective enough to overcome the emotion of the Alabama home crowd and two big catches from D.J. Hall..
CFN Prediction
: Auburn 20 ... Alabama 13  ...  Line: Auburn -3
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Bachelor: Rome) ... 3.5

Western Carolina (2-8) at Florida (9-1)  12 PM EST GamePlan Saturday November 18th
Why to Watch: Florida is in the thick of the national title hunt, but it needs to start playing like a national title contender to get anyone excited about seeing it go against Ohio State or Michigan. 9-1 is 9-1, but the loss to Auburn doesn't quite look as forgivable as it did a few weeks ago and lackluster wins over Georgia, Vanderbilt and South Carolina have inspired a collective yawn. That can change in a big hurry if Urban Meyer's club can use this light scrimmage over a bad Western Carolina team to get the offense on track for Florida State and the SEC title game, Florida might be more than just the only viable option to play in the national championship, it might play like it deserves to be there. WCU has lost eight straight scoring just 16 points over the last three games.
Why Western Carolina Might Win: It won't, but this is the team's season-ender and it should play with the same fire the Gators will reserve for the SEC championship. The only way this stays under a 40-point loss is if the Gators aren't into it and starts turning the ball over. If the Florida offense isn't crisp, the Catamounts could keep this close for a half.
Why Florida Might Win: Oh yeah, the defense. While everyone keeps talking about the mediocre Gator offense that's only consistency is its inconsistency, the defense has been terrific. Western Carolina will be lucky to be in the positive on rushing yards and doesn't have nearly enough pop in the passing game to make any sort of a dent. The Catamount defense won't generate a lick of pressure meaning ...
Who to Watch: ... this has to be the game Chris Leak plays like a national title caliber passer. Interceptions have been a problem throwing at least one in every game except the win over Alabama and threw three against Vanderbilt. Will this be the game when Tim Tebow gets work in stretches? The Gators should be in control from the beginning, so if they want to see what The Legend can do getting to do running the offense for a half, here's the chance.
What Will Happen: Enjoy seeing what the Gator backups look like.
CFN Prediction
: Florida 45 ... Western Carolina 0  ...  Line: No Line
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Bachelor: Rome) ... 1

Tennessee (7-3) at Vanderbilt (4-7)  12:30 PM EST GamePlan Saturday November 18th
Why to Watch: It's the season finale for a spunky Vanderbilt team that saw its bowl dreams go up in smoke with a close loss to Florida and a 38-26 clunker against Kentucky. Beating Tennessee for a second straight year would be a nice door prize. The Vols lost their last two games against LSU and Arkansas partly due to Erik Ainge's ankle injury and partly because the run defense got steamrolled over. Needing two more wins to be in contention for one of the SEC's top bowls, Tennessee, who hasn't lost at Vanderbilt since 1982, needs to get back on track or the Music City might be calling.
Why Tennessee Might Win: With Ainge likely back under center, it's going to be raining footballs on the awful Vanderbilt secondary. It was below average al season long, and then it came up with its two worst performances of the year giving up 298 yards to Florida and 446 to Kentucky. The Commodores don't have the corners to handle Tennessee's receiver speed one on one, and the safeties aren't strong enough to provide adequate help on the deep passes. Three words that'll be said a lot during this game ... yards, after, catch.
Why Vanderbilt Might Win: LSU had a hard time consistently running on anyone and it was able to crank out 231 yards Tennessee, while Arkansas ran for 259 (but the Hogs are going nuts on everyone). The secondary hasn't exactly been a prize, either, giving up seven touchdown passes in the last three games. In other words, the Volunteer defense is slipping. The Commodore offense is just starting to hit its stride, even though it might be a bit too late, so if it can generate a few turnovers and keep the Volunteers from dominating with their passing game, this might be close because ...
Who to Watch: ... Chris Nickson has caught fire. The sophomore quarterback is one of the SEC's rising stars after bombing away for an average of 331 yards a game (thanks to a 446-yard performance against Kentucky) over the last three with five touchdowns. He hadn't hit the 200-yard mark over his first eight games, and then things started to click. Sophomore WR Earl Bennett has had a lot to do with that catching 24 passes for 377 yards and two scores in his last two games. For Tennessee, the ground game gets a big boost with the return of LaMarcus Coker from a knee injury.
What Will Happen: Tennessee's offense will crank out huge yards on three big plays early to put it away. WR Robert Meachem will finish with over 200 yards.
CFN Prediction
: Tennessee 34 ... Vanderbilt 24 ...  Line: Tennessee -8.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Bachelor: Rome) ... 2.5

Middle Tennessee (7-3) at South Carolina (5-5)  12:30 PM EST GamePlan Saturday November 18th
Why to Watch: Trrrrraaaapppppp. South Carolina has spent an emotional few weeks losing heartbreakers to Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida with loads of fanfare and media attention around each game. The hard-luck Gamecocks have lost four games by a touchdown or less, and after the circus that was Steve Spurrier's return to Gainesville, they have to try to get back the intensity and not look ahead to the showdown against rival Clemson next week. Middle Tennessee is just decent enough to pull off the shocker with one of the Sun Belt's best defenses. At 6-0 in conference play and with seven wins, the Blue Raiders are this close to a bowl bid. They'll be more than a speed bump for USC.
Why Middle Tennessee Might Win: No way, no how will the Gamecocks be mentally in this. They just can't be with a letdown way overdue after so many intense games. Middle Tennessee's running game has been fantastic over the last few weeks, while South Carolina has been pushed around a little bit on the defensive front by Arkansas and Florida. Fine, so the Blue Raider offensive line isn't SEC-worthy, but it's playing well.
Why South Carolina Might Win: Middle Tennessee has played three good teams this year, Maryland, Oklahoma and Louisville, and lost by a total of 127 to 27. The secondary wasn't even close to being effective in any of the three games, and was thrown on by the two Sun Belt teams that can throw, Florida Atlantic and UL Monroe. All Blake Mitchell and the USC passing game has to be is efficient and the offense will move at will. On defense, the front line should be camped out in the Blue Raider backfield.
Who to Watch: Fans of good linebacker play will enjoy this. SEC fans know all about Jasper Brinkley, who'll soon be making lots of money at the next level. A rock against the run, the junior should easily make double-digit stops against Eugene Gross and the Blue Raider ground game. For Middle Tennessee, senior J.K. Sabb is way overdue for a great game. While he leads the team in tackles, he hasn't been nearly the same disruptive force he was over the first half of the season when he was a fixture in opposing backfields. It'll be up to him to be the main man against the USC running attack.
What Will Happen: Middle Tennessee will provide a push early, and then Sidney Rice will take over with two big touchdown catches in the second half.
CFN Prediction
: South Carolina 31 ... Middle Tennessee 17  ...  Line: South Carolina -15.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Bachelor: Rome) ... 2

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 12, Part 2
| Get Tickets for These Games