SEC Fearless Predictions, Oct. 27
Mississippi State QB Wesley Carroll
Mississippi State QB Wesley Carroll
Posted Oct 24, 2007

Previews and Predictions for the Week 9 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. 22 | Sept. 29 
Oct. 6Oct. 13 | Oct. 20Nov. 3Nov. 10 | Nov. 17Nov. 24Dec. 1 

How are the picks so far? SU: 52-11 ... ATS: 33-21-1

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 9, Part 2

SEC Game of the Week

Florida (5-2) vs. Georgia (5-2) (in Jacksonville)  3:30  CBS
Why to watch
: In one of the wildest years ever for the SEC East, every game means more than ever, and every battle between superpower, league championship-caliber teams becomes that much more intense. Florida has won eight of the last nine in the Cocktail-don't-call-it-a-Cocktail Party series and is back in the hunt for a second straight title after the thrilling 45-37 win over Kentucky. Still spotless against the East this year, the Gators still have to deal with a road trip to South Carolina, but gets Vandy at home next week. The offense has been effective, if not diverse, the defense has been spotty, and Tim Tebow has been terrific. However, a loss to the Dawgs would end SEC title and BCS at-large hopes. Georgia is the wild-card in the race, with a young team just good enough to potentially beat anyone in the league, and just inefficient enough to lose badly if things don't start out the right way. After getting its doors blown off at Tennessee, Georgia came up with a decent road win at Vandy. After this, it's three straight home dates, including battles with Auburn and Kentucky, so a win could set the tone for a big final month. The last five Cocktail Parties (oh let's just call it what it is) have each been decided by a touchdown or less.
Why Florida might win: Can Georgia handle the physical Gator offensive line? Florida has never been thought of as a power team, but that's what it's turned into as the season has gone on, partly because Tebow is the lone rushing weapon and he's not exactly Devin Hester as far stopping and starting on a dime, and partly because the line has been terrific. Florida's line has allowed just five sacks so far while paving the way close to 200 yards of rushing offense despite being as one-dimensional as it gets. The Georgia defensive line has been fine at times, but it doesn't do enough to get into the backfield and hasn't had to deal with an O line like this yet.
Why Georgia might win: The Florida secondary is beatable. Georgia might not have a receiving corps, and Matthew Stafford isn't Andre Woodson quite yet throwing the ball, but the Gators have been bombed on by the good (Kentucky for 415 yards and five touchdowns), the bad (Ole Miss for 310 yards and two scores), and everyone in between, with the exception of LSU, who spent all its time pounding away with the running game. It's not like Georgia is Texas Tech, but it's been able to throw for around 200 yards per game and has been, for the most part, effective when it's had to be. When pushed, Stafford and the passing game should be able to get the Dawgs back in the game if Florida gets up early.
Who to watch: It's time to start putting Tebow in the Heisman mix as more than just a guy who's running the Florida offense. How has he handled being the main man so far now that Chris Leak is gone? He leads the nation in passing efficiency with 17 touchdown passes and three interceptions, has run for ten scores, with at least one in every game, and is ninth in the SEC in rushing. He's done it all for the Gators, and it's starting to take its toll with a hurt shoulder and several other bumps and bruises from getting pounded on for seven games.
What will happen: Georgia's not ready to win a big game like this. Florida has several question marks and is hardly unbeatable, but the lines will control the momentum, while the running game will power its way to a win. However, Stafford will have a huge afternoon and will make it interesting late.
CFN Prediction: Florida 24 ... Georgia 17... Line: Florida -8.5
Must See Rating: (5
America's Most Smartest Model - 1 Marie Osmond on DTWS) ... 4.5

SEC Saturday, Oct. 27

Mississippi State (4-4) at Kentucky (6-2) 12:30  GamePlan
Why to watch
: In this wild and crazy season, Kentucky remains in the thick of the SEC title chase despite losing to Florida and South Carolina. Several things have to happen for the Wildcats to win the East, but with four conference games left, including dates with Georgia and Tennessee, they have a chance, at the very least, to get really, really close. Mississippi State is still within range of bowl eligibility with Alabama, at Arkansas and Ole Miss to follow. Coming off a blasting by West Virginia, the Bulldogs have to take advantage of what should be a mentally tired UK team coming off a brutal three-game stretch against South Carolina, LSU and Florida. This has been a relatively dead-even series over the years, but Kentucky has won four of the last five.
Why Mississippi State might win: Kentucky can be run on, and since that's all MSU doesn't relatively well, it's a good fit. The Bulldog O line should be able to pound away against a decent, but not rock-solid UK defensive front that makes plenty of plays, but not enough of them up on the line. UK has given up two 300-yard rushing days and was pounded on by LSU for 261 yards and Florida for 171. After a physical last few weeks, UK should be a bit worn down. If MSU can keep it relatively close, it might be able to drive well late.
Why Kentucky might win: It could be as simple as Mississippi State not being able to outscore Kentucky. The Wildcats are averaging 42 points per game with a balanced offense that's doing a little of everything right. It's not like LSU and Florida are known for soft defenses, and UK put up 80 points on the two. MSU has yet to score 42 points this season while continuing to struggle to get passing production. Wesley Carroll has had his moments, but MSU is next-to-last in America in passing efficiency.
Who to watch: Kentucky has offensive weapons to spare, but it'll be without a few key parts. Top back Rafael Little continues to be out with a lingering thigh injury, while backup Tony Dixon is hobbling on a sprained ankle and leading receiver Keenan Burton might be sidelined with a sprained knee. All of a sudden, the UK running game could come down to freshman Derrick Locke and sophomore Alfonso Smith, who have been productive in limited roles. MSU hasn't been able to stop the run, so don't expect UK to avoid the ground game just because things are thin.
What will happen: Kentucky will hardly be at its sharpest, but it won't have to be. MSU will run the ball well enough to keep Andre Woodson off the field for stretches, but it won't be able to do it often enough.
CFN Prediction: Kentucky 40 ... Mississippi State 23 ... Line: Kentucky -13.5
Must See Rating: (5
America's Most Smartest Model - 1 Marie Osmond on DTWS) ... 2

South Carolina
(6-2) at Tennessee (4-3) 7:45 ESPN
Why to watch
: Everyone's in the SEC East race from top to bottom, with five teams with two losses and Vanderbilt with three. Call this an elimination game, and call this a chance for each to make amends after seeing their seasons take an ugly turn for different reasons. Losing to Alabama on the road isn't anything to get too upset about, but the Vols got blasted 41-17 to get the fan base grumbling again. All can be right with the world with a second straight win over South Carolina as they begin a nice four-game homestand before finishing up at Kentucky. For the Gamecocks, everything was set up perfectly having gotten LSU out of the way and with nice East wins over Georgia and Kentucky, but they blew the home date against Vanderbilt with an ugly 17-6 loss. Now there's a chance for the dream season to go into the tank with road games against Tennessee and Arkansas before facing Florida and Clemson. The tension will be high in what should be one of the most intense battles of the weekend.
Why South Carolina might win: Tennessee's defense has been inconsistent to say the least, and it's all due to the problems on the defensive line. The Vols aren't generating any pressure and aren't making any plays in the backfield, and it proved costly last week against the Tide, as John Parker Wilson was able to sit back, relax, and bomb away for 363 yards and three touchdowns. South Carolina's biggest issue has been pass protection, and now, for the first time in weeks, the quarterbacks should get a little bit of time to operate.
Why Tennessee might win: If Tennessee can somehow get up early, it should be in great shape. This isn't an explosive South Carolina team, needing big plays from the defense and for the offense to take advantage of every opportunity. This isn't the type of offense that can crank out 45 points or keep up in a shootout, so if Tennessee can find the hot streak that blitzkrieged Georgia a few weeks ago, the Gamecocks probably won't have an answer. South Carolina might have the nation's top ranked pass defense, but that's partly because everyone's running the ball. The occasionally hot Vol ground game should roll because of ...
Who to watch: ... junior Arian Foster, who has taken over as an explosive playmaker who's making the offense go. He has six rushing touchdowns in the last four games with 98 yards against Georgia, 139 against Mississippi State, and 91 against Alabama. Now known for being a big-play back, at least compared to other Vol options, he's been a pleasant surprise. The big question will be the South Carolina quarterback situation, with Chris Smelley and Blake Mitchell each in the mix for the starting job, and even third-stinger Tommy Beecher is being considered as an option. Smelley is most talented option of the trio, but Spurrier will look for any sort of spark he can find.
What will happen: It won't be a repeat of the Georgia game, but Tennessee will play at another level now that it's back at home. It'll get up early, but will have a few rough moments as USC will air it out better than it has in weeks.
CFN Prediction: Tennessee 27 ... South Carolina 23... Line: Tennessee -3
Must See Rating: (5
America's Most Smartest Model - 1 Marie Osmond on DTWS) ... 4

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 9, Part 2


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