SEC Fearless Predictions, Nov. 3
Alabama head coach Nick Saban
Alabama head coach Nick Saban
Posted Aug 28, 2007

The SEC is still wide open going into November, but the division races have taken a bit of a back seat to the coaching focus in the week's biggest game. Can Nick Saban lead Alabama past his old program, LSU, and take control of the West? Check out the previews, analysis and predictions for all the Week 10 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. 20Oct. 27 | Nov. 10 | Nov. 17Nov. 24Dec. 1 

How are the picks so far? SU: 56-13 ... ATS: 37-22-2

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 10, Part 2

SEC Game of the Week

LSU (7-1) at Alabama (6-2)   5:00 PM  CBS
Why to watch
: It's Nick Saban against his old program, it's LSU getting back on the field after an alleged bar fight involving backup QB Ryan Perrilloux and LB Derrick Odom, and oh yeah, and there are the SEC West and national title implications. LSU remains No. 3 in the BCS ranking as it sits and waits for Ohio State and/or Boston College to screw up, but it about more than that. With an unbeaten Arizona State still out there, Oregon starting to get more respect, and a slew of other teams in the mix, LSU doesn't just have to win, it has to win impressively. Style points might be the furthest thing from LSU's mind as it has to deal with an Alabama team able to take control of the West with a win. Beat LSU, and it'll take just one more SEC win for the Tide to play for the championship. LSU has won the last four in the series and six of the last seven. Alabama hasn't beaten the Tigers at home since 1999.
Why LSU might win: Can Bama keep John Parker Wilson upright? The Tide offensive line has been great at times, but it's given up its share of sacks and has gotten Wilson battered around a little bit. Ole Miss, particularly Greg Hardy, was able to do whatever it wanted when it came to getting into the backfield, and LSU should have similar success. Defensively, Bama has faced two teams, Arkansas and Houston, that can run. The Hogs rumbled for 301 yards and two touchdowns, and the Cougars got a 100-yard day out of Anthony Alridge. Even though LSU can run, with the second best ground attack in the SEC, it'll have a few issues since ...
Why Alabama might win: ... Perrilloux isn't going to play thanks to team-imposed suspension. He might just be a backup, but he's a dimension the Tide would rather not have to deal with. LSU, for all its hype and statistics, haven't been as strong defensively as the numbers appear. Kentucky was the first balances offense the Tigers faced, and it was able to crank out 375 yards and the win. Auburn only got 296 yards, but its average attack was able to move when it had to. Alabama has been fine when its back has been against the wall, coming through clutch on both sides of the ball in several close wins. As long as there's a bit of offensive balance, and as long as the turnovers are kept to a bare minimum, the Tide is good enough to pull this off.
Who to watch: Saban and Miles. The coaches have played down the obvious storyline this week, but it hasn't worked out well with both campuses and both teams buzzing. Saban has said all the right things and isn't playing up the importance of facing his old program any more than this just being a really big game, but that's simply not true. A win over LSU wouldn't just bring Bama to the doorstep of winning the West, it would show that in just one year, Saban has shifted the West's balance of power away from LSU; the Tide will only be getting better. For Miles, this is a must-win if only to keep the still uncertain fan base believing that he's the man who can lead the program to a national title like Saban did. Woe to anyone who criticizes Miles, the LSU fans will rally, but he's constantly having to prove himself. Beating Saban should go a long way to cementing him as a championship-worthy coach.
What will happen: It'll be a dead-even game for about 50 minutes, and then LSU's running game will start to pound away and take over. And then the Tide passing game will wake up. After struggling all game long, Bama's receivers will start to beat the LSU corners late and take the lead. LSU will have one final chance, and unlike the Auburn game, won't come through.
CFN Prediction: Alabama 23 ... LSU 20 ... Line: LSU -7.5
Must See Rating: (5
Heidi Klum on Victoria's Secret Fashion Show - 1 Heidi Klum on Oprah) ... 4.5

SEC Saturday, November 3rd

Vanderbilt (5-3) at Florida (5-3)  12:30 PM  GamePlan
Why to watch
: If there was an award for the team that gave Florida the most trouble the last two years without actually accomplishing anything, Vanderbilt would win in a landslide. The Commodores gave the 2006 national title team all it could handle in a 25-19 Gator win. Florida needed extra time to get by Jay Cutler and the boys in a 49-32 classic in 2005. This year, Vandy still has slim dreams of winning the East with the Gators, Kentucky and Tennessee yet to play, but more realistic is a shot a the program's first bowl game since 1982, which might all but be assured with a win in The Swamp. Florida is beaten up, battered and bruised, but even after getting blasted by Georgia last week, it can still win the East by winning out and getting Bulldog losses to Kentucky and Auburn. The Gators have lost three of their last four games, and with a trip to South Carolina next week, could potentially go on an epic slide if they can't take care of business. Vandy is 0 for its last 16 against Florida, with the last win coming in 1988. The last win at Florida came in 1945 in a 7-0 barnburner.
Why Vanderbilt might win: The Florida offensive line got ripped apart by Georgia last week, and could be in big trouble against the aggressive Commodore defensive front. Vandy leads the SEC in sacks and should be able to sell out to get to Tim Tebow and keep him from getting the passing game going. Tebow was held to -15 rushing yards last week on 13 carries, even though he ran for two scores, and while he's been ultra-efficient throwing the ball, he has to get time and he has to be healthy. He's playing through a banged up shoulder that limited the Florida play-calling against the Bulldogs. Florida needs Tebow to run to win, and that's not going to be easy.
Why Florida might win: Florida's secondary has had major problems all year long, but the run defense has been tight. Vandy might have receiver weapons, but they don't get the ball nearly enough in one of the SEC's most inefficient passing games. To have any shot at winning, the Commodores have to get the ground game cranking, and it needs to force a ton of Florida mistakes, and while they've been consistent on the ground, they haven't been explosive. Florida can hit the home run against Vandy, but Vandy can't hit the home run on Florida.
Who to watch: Yes, the Commodores will have to run the ball well to get its offense working, but it'll be very, very tempting to open up the passing attack against a suspect Gator secondary. That means the SEC's all-time leader in receptions, Earl Bennett, will need extra attention. 19 of Bennett's 215 career catches have come against Florida, highlighted by a brilliant 13-catch, 157-yard, one touchdown day in last year's loss. As good as the junior has been this year, he only has one touchdown since scoring three in the season-opening win over Richmond, and hasn't scored in four weeks.
What will happen: Florida is beaten up, battered and down after the SEC title shot has basically gone bye-bye in the last few weeks. Once again, Vanderbilt will push the rock to the top of the mountain, but won't be able to get it over. Gator all-around star Percy Harvin will make sure of that with two huge plays that'll change the momentum of the game late.
CFN Prediction: Florida 31 ... Vanderbilt 20 ... Line: Florida -16.5
Must See Rating: (5
Heidi Klum on Victoria's Secret Fashion Show - 1 Heidi Klum on Oprah) ... 2.5

(6-2) at Georgia (6-2)   1:00 PM   
Why to watch
: Looking for a possible letdown upset of the week? Everything is set up perfectly for Georgia to be a victim against a hot Troy team in a big-time sandwich game. The Bulldogs are coming off a controversial statement-game win over Florida to be one of the leaders in the SEC title chase, and it has Auburn and Kentucky at home over the next few weeks to deal with. While it'll be easy to look past a team from the Sun Belt, especially one that lost to Arkansas by 20 and Florida by 28, this isn't just any non-BCS team. Troy showed against Oklahoma State that it can play, with a stunning 41-23 win setting the tone for a six-game winning streak on the way to a likely second straight Sun Belt championship. This is a veteran team with the make-up to pull off the shocker.
Why Troy might win: The defense is standing on its head. Fine, so UL Monroe, Florida International, North Texas and Arkansas State aren't LSU, Florida, Texas and Arkansas, but the Trojan defense has still be impressive over the last month, holding those four Sun Belt teams to just 30 total points with seven points or fewer being scored in three of those games. The run defense hasn't allowed a thing, but the real key has been the pass rush, getting 9.5 sacks against North Texas and five against Arkansas State. However ...
Why Georgia might win: ... Georgia's offensive line has done a great job of keeping Matthew Stafford clean. This is a young O line that's spent the year improving and working the kinks out, and it came up with a strong pass protection performance two weeks ago against a Vanderbilt defense that leads the league in sacks. Troy has to be perfect, and it won't be. The offense has lost six fumbles in the past two weeks and has given way five interceptions.
Who to watch: Georgia has its new rushing star. Redshirt freshman Knowshon Moreno was having a nice year in the rotation, and then he got his chance to take over the offense against Vanderbilt with 157 yards. He tore up the Florida defense for 188 yards and three scores on a workmanlike 33 carries, which showed his toughness, but was also a problem going into the back stretch. While he's a power back when running between the tackles, he's not a huge battering ram and could get worn down a bit. Georgia needs him for the SEC race, so the hope is to spread the ball around and keep him fresh.
What will happen: Troy's defense will keep this from getting out of hand, while QB Omar Haugabook will basically do what Tim Tebow couldn't last week. In the end, turnovers will be the problem with a great effort being wasted thanks to four giveaways.
CFN Prediction: Georgia 23 ... Troy 17 ... Line: Georgia -16.5
Must See Rating: (5
Heidi Klum on Victoria's Secret Fashion Show - 1 Heidi Klum on Oprah) ... 2

Northwestern State
(3-5) at Ole Miss (2-7)  
2:00 PM  
Why to watch
: Ole Miss gets a desperately needed break from its awful season with three straight losses and an 0-6 SEC record. After scoring just 11 points in the past two weeks in losses to Arkansas and Auburn, the Rebels desperately need something to make themselves feel better before the coming storm of LSU next week. Northwestern State has a good running offense, with a funky attack that has the ability to crank out 300-yard rushing games. However, the Demons didn't exactly get the offense working against the one FBS team it faced, Texas Tech, in a 75-7 loss.
Why Northwestern State might win: NSU likes to run the ball, and Ole Miss hasn't stopped anyone's running game. The Demons aren't going to power the ball on the Rebel defensive front, but they could make plays on the outside and tear off a few big runs if Byron Lawrence and Germayne Edward can get in space. Over the last two weeks, Arkansas ran for 293 yards on the Rebels and Auburn tore off 231. Getting at least 250 is a must for NSU.
Why Ole Miss might win: It doesn't matter who the quarterback is, he'll have time. The Ole Miss O line has had a nightmare of a time in pass protection, but that won't be a problem against a NSU defensive front that's generating no pressure whatsoever against mediocre FCS teams. That's partly due to a scheme that forces the linemen to try to help out the linebackers against the run first and foremost, but it's also partly due to a lack of talent when it comes to getting to the quarterback. If Ole Miss doesn't get an efficient passing day this week, it'll never happen.
Who to watch: Ole Miss sophomore Greg Hardy had established himself as one of the SEC's premier pass rushers with eight sacks, and then he screwed up and got himself suspended for violating team rules. His absence has meant senior Viciente DeLoach has had to step up and become a regular producer, and while he's not Hardy, he wasn't bad against Auburn making six tackles. He's always had the quickness to go along with good size, and now he has to put it all together over the final few weeks.
What will happen: Ole Miss will take out plenty of frustrations in what'll be its last win of the year.
CFN Prediction: Ole Miss 45 ... Northwestern State 10 ... Line: No Line
Must See Rating: (5
Heidi Klum on Victoria's Secret Fashion Show - 1 Heidi Klum on Oprah) ... 1

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 10, Part 2


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