SEC Fearless Predictions, Sept. 29
Alabama QB John Parker Wilson
Alabama QB John Parker Wilson
Posted Sep 26, 2007

Previews and Predictions for the Week 5 SEC Games.

East  Florida | Georgia | Kentucky | South Carolina | Tennessee | Vanderbilt 
West Alabama | Arkansas | Auburn | LSU | Ole Miss | Miss State

SEC Fearless Predictions Sept. 1Sept. 8 | Sept. 15Sept. 29 
Oct. 6Oct. 13 | Oct. 20Oct. 27 | Nov. 3Nov. 10 | Nov. 17Nov. 24Dec. 1 

How are the picks so far? SU: 30-5 ... ATS: 19-8-1

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week Five, Part 2

SEC Game of the Week

Auburn (2-2) at Florida (4-0)   8:00 PM ESPN
Why to watch: What many thought might be a preview of the SEC title game, now appears to be a battle for survival, with Auburn needing to win to stay in the SEC race, and Florida needing to win to stay in the national title hunt. All Auburn has to do is turn around its quickly dying season by beating the defending national champions in a place where they haven't lost in its last 18 games. All Auburn has to do is beat a team on an 11-game winning streak, with as much athleticism and raw talent as anyone in America. All Auburn has to do is overcome the revenge factor, being the only team to beat the Gators last year. All Auburn has to do is quiet down an increasingly nervous fan base that's desperately looking for a big win. Auburn is coming off an ugly 2-2 homestand, but rolled late to beat New Mexico State 55-20 last week to get a little bit of momentum going. Meanwhile, there might be chinks in the Florida armor, as Ole Miss made last week's game in Oxford interesting in the 30-24 Gator win.
Why Auburn might win: Florida, for all its talent and athleticism up front, hasn't done much to get into the backfield so far. With only seven sacks so far, and just 21 tackles for loss, the defense isn't applying nearly enough consistent pressure. QB Brandon Cox, who'll get the start, needs as much time as possible to operate. While he won't bomb away for 500 yards, he needs to show he can make quick decisions and keep the chains moving, and if he gets time, he'll be far more effective. That's the offense. For all of Auburn's issues, the defense has been fantastic, and it should give Tim Tebow more problems than he's had all year.
Why Florida might win: Can Cox actually get the job done? The New Mexico State game aside, Cox threw two interceptions in each of his first three games this year, bottoming out with a wildly ineffective 4 of 10 performance against Mississippi State. At the moment, the Tigers are a one-dimensional running team, and while Florida might not be doing much to get into the backfield, it has been terrific at stopping the run. Ole Miss star BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for just 37 yards, and Tennessee only netted 37 yards. Auburn's not going to be able to tear off many big runs, if any.
Who to watch: Is Andre Caldwell ready to play? Florida's best pure receiver has been out with a banged up knee, and while he's a gametime decision, don't look for the Gators to worry too much if he's not able to get back in the mix right away. Sophomore Percy Harvin, known more as a bolt-of-lightning runner so far in his career, turned into a dangerous target last week against Ole Miss with 11 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. For the first time, he became more than just a player to be unleashed on occasion, and now, even if Caldwell comes back, Auburn has to treat him as a number one receiver.
What will happen: Florida is a completely different animal at home, and its defense will turn things up a few notches against the Tiger offense. Auburn's defense will keep this from being brutally ugly.
CFN Prediction: Florida 31 ... Auburn 16 ... Line: Florida -18.5
Must See Rating: (5 Ken Burns' The War - 1 The Big Bang Theory) ... 3.5

SEC Saturday, Sept. 29

LSU (4-0) at Tulane (1-2)   12:00 PM ESPN2
Why to watch: After beating ranked opponents in two of the last three weeks, LSU gets a chance to exhale at the expense of Tulane, a familiar face from just a short trip down I-10.  The Tigers remained firmly in the national championship hunt with last week’s defeat of South Carolina, giving future opponents something to think about with a little special teams trickery and a complimentary role for backup QB Ryan Perrilloux.  The sophomore should get plenty of reps in this weekend’s probable blowout, providing LSU fans with another good look at their likely starting quarterback for 2008 and 2009.  The Tigers will enjoy their tour of the Superdome on Saturday, in the hopes of making a return engagement on Jan. 7.  For Tulane, this week’s game is a lottery ticket, a one-in-a-million shot of beating one of the game’s superpowers.  The Green Wave’s feature attraction is RB Matt Forte, a future pro who ran for a school-record 303 yards and five scores in last week’s win over Southeastern Louisiana.
Why LSU might win: Anthony Scelfo’s task in his first game as the Tulane starting quarterback? Go out and move the ball on a top-ranked Tiger D that’s allowing 161 yards and five points a game.  If the Green Wave had any semblance of a passing attack to keep LSU from focusing on Forte, it would have a considerably better chance of reaching double digits on Saturday.  However, Tulane has been abysmal through the air, forcing Toledo to bench Scott Elliott in favor of the inexperienced Scelfo.      
Why Tulane might win: In an otherwise frightening situation, Scelfo can take solace in the fact that his offensive line has permitted just a single sack in three games.  If given time to throw, he has a live arm and a couple of quality pass-catchers in Jeremy Williams and Casey Robottom.  As good as LSU has been so far this season, its offense hasn’t been otherworldly, which could spare the Green Wave the indignity of getting lit up for a few strokes under par.
Who to watch
: It’ll be interesting to see how Les Miles and Gary Crowton use Perrilloux now that the sophomore has proved he can be a valuable change-of-pace to Matt Flynn and a reliable starter in a pinch.  With Flynn still nursing a sore ankle and the game likely to be out of hand by intermission, Perrilloux should get two useful quarters of work to hone his skills and get more comfortable running the LSU offense.
 What will happen: Miles’ agenda for this weekend will be simple: Jump out to an early lead, avoid injuries, and start preparing for next week’s mega tilt with Florida.
CFN Prediction: LSU 49 … Tulane 0 .. Line: LSU -40
Must See Rating: (5 Ken Burns' The War - 1 The Big Bang Theory) ... 1.5

Mississippi State
(3-1) at South Carolina (3-1)    12:30 PM GamePlan

Why to watch: Alright Miss State; let's see what you've got. Going for its first four-game winning streak since 1999, the Bulldogs have been hot with a nice win over Auburn and two layups against Tulane and Gardner-Webb to put them on the map for the first time in a long time. South Carolina has to try to gear it up after the nationally televised spotlight date at LSU, and 28-16 loss. The was expected, and it did nothing to ruin SEC title hopes, bit it meant there's little to no margin for error the rest of the way. The USC offense hasn't exactly taken off, so this could turn into a defensive slugfest that goes a full four quarters.
Why Mississippi State might win: Matchup-wise, South Carolina is almost perfect for the Bulldogs. There's no pass rush to take advantage of the porous MSU offensive line, the run defense is mediocre, and takes a lethal hit by losing Jasper Brinkley for the season. The Gamecocks are trotting out a relatively inexperienced passer in redshirt freshman Chris Smelley, and they don't have an explosive attack that can put up point in bunches. This should stay close throughout.
Why South Carolina might win: MSU remains as one dimensional as it gets. South Carolina's secondary is playing extremely well and has no fear whatsoever of getting hurt through the air. Everyone can jump in to the box to stop Anthony Dixon and the running game, while the balance of the USC offense, at least relative to MSU, should be able to keep the chains moving a bit.
Who to watch: While most of the attention will be paid to Smelley, who's stepping in for an ineffective Blake Mitchell, MSU will hope to keep getting production out of its quarterback rotation. Josh Riddell and Wesley Carroll will play this week, even though Riddell was the better of the two against Gardner-Webb. Carroll is more of a runner, while Riddell cranked out a few big plays through the air. The coaching staff will stick with the hot hand.
What will happen: Don't expect much in the way of fireworks. The two teams are strangely alike, but South Carolina is better on both sides of the ball. The defense will outslug MSU's.
CFN Prediction: South Carolina 19 ... Mississippi State 13 ... Line: South Carolina -14
Must See Rating: (5 Ken Burns' The War - 1 The Big Bang Theory) ... 2.5

Ole Miss
(1-3) at Georgia (3-1)   1:00 PM

Why to watch: The best win of the Ed Orgeron era at Ole Miss has been against ... Vanderbilt? Memphis? Last weeks' 30-24 loss to Florida was probably the team's most impressive performance in a few years, and now it's looking to jump-start its season by taking advantage of a young, emerging Georgia team that's still basking in the glow of an overtime win at Alabama. With dates away from Athens against Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Florida over the next three weeks, the Dawgs can't afford to be upset. With a three-game homestand, and Louisiana Tech up after this, a shocker over the Bulldogs could mean a bowl bid is still possible for the Rebels. Georgia has won seven straight in the series, with Ole Miss last winning in 1996.
Why Ole Miss might win: It's not like Georgia's offense is consistent. It doesn't move the ball all game long, and will bog down at times if one aspect isn't working. The Dawgs do a fantastic job of taking advantage of momentum swings, and is still trying to work on several areas including the receiving corps and line. The Rebels have been hurt so far by mobile quarterbacks, and that's not Matthew Stafford. However ...
Why Georgia might win: The Rebel defense is having a nightmare of a time against the pass. Everyone's getting fat on the Ole Miss back seven, with mediocre linebackers unable to stop the midrange passes, and corners that aren't coming up with nearly enough stops. The Rebel offensive line hasn't done much to keep the quarterbacks clean, while the defensive line likely won't pressure Stafford too often.
Who to watch: After weeks of playing around with the quarterback situation, Ole Miss appears to have finally settled on Seth Adams, who threw for 305 yards and three scores against Missouri, and chucked it for 302 yards and a score against Florida. His emergence has been a boon for junior Mike Wallace, who has four touchdown catches in his last three games, including a 77-yard strike against Florida. He has to shine for the Rebels to have a shot.
What will happen: Georgia is always great on the road, and mystifyingly iffy at home. There won't be a problem this week, as the defense will shut down RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and the offense will get just enough balance to get by.
CFN Prediction: Georgia 30 ... Ole Miss 16... Line: Georgia -15
Must See Rating: (5 Ken Burns' The War - 1 The Big Bang Theory) ... 2.5

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week Five, Part 2


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