SEC Fearless Predictions, Sept. 15, Part 2
Posted Sep 12, 2007

Previews and Predictions for the Week 3 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. 22 | Sept. 29 
Oct. 6Oct. 13 | Oct. 20Oct. 27 | Nov. 3Nov. 10 | Nov. 17Nov. 24Dec. 1 

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week Three, Part 1

SEC Saturday, Sept. 15

South Carolina State (1-1) at South Carolina (2-0)  7:00 PM GamePlan
Why to Watch:
 While the world will gloss over this game as an easy blowout for South Carolina, it's a game of historic and symbolic significance, as it's the first time the two programs have ever faced each other. The historically black South Carolina State will get its first shot at the big boys just a few miles down the road. On the field, the Gamecocks get a breather after a 16-12 win at Georgia that made an SEC East statement. With a trip to LSU next week, and a chance to make some thunderous national noise, SCSU will be used to as a scrimmage to make everything is working well. The Bulldogs lost to Air Force 34-3 in the season opener before beating Bethune-Cookman 24-13.
Why South Carolina State Might Win: Talk about your letdowns, after beating Georgia and with LSU ahead, you'll have to forgive everyone around the USC program if the bags are already packed for Baton Rouge. Considering how much the offense struggled in the first two weeks, that could be a major mistake. Another big problem is a Gamecock run defense that's allowing 190 yards per game. The Bulldogs don't throw, but they can certainly run.
Why South Carolina Might Win: SCSU won't be able to throw for more than 100 yards on the Gamecock secondary, so as long as the front seven is actually trying, it should be able to tee off. How bad are things for the Bulldog passing game? The pass protection has been non-existent, which has caused the quarterbacks to scramble, which has added up to 178 passing yards combined in the first two weeks.
Who to Watch: If South Carolina has any dreams of beating LSU, it needs Blake Mitchell and the passing game to be able to open things up more than they were able to against Georgia. Mitchell was fine at controlling the tempo and making the short to midrange throws, but 20 of 31 for 174 yards isn't going to cut it next week. Even at the expense of appearances, USC has to throw and keep throwing just to get Mitchell, who was suspended for the season opener, more live reps.
What Will Happen: South Carolina will need about 20 minutes to wake up, and then it'll be over by halftime.
CFN Prediction: South Carolina 38 ... South Carolina State 0
... Line: No Line
Must See Rating: (5 Britney at the VMAs - 1 Big Shots) ... 1

Ole Miss (1-1) at Vanderbilt (1-1)
 7:00 PM GamePlan
Why to Watch:
 It's only September 15th, but a bowl game is on the line for the winner. Actually, to be more accurate, the loser will probably be eliminated from post-season possibilities with the meat of the SEC schedule ahead for each. Ole Miss got by Memphis in the opener before getting blown past by Missouri, but there have been positive signs thanks to an improved offense and the best passing game the program has seen since Eli Manning was slinging it around. Vanderbilt has had high hopes coming into the year, thanks to a talented offense and a slew of veterans on both sides of the ball, but the excitement crashed with a resounding thud last week in the 24-10 loss to Alabama. The Commodores can't afford to give away home games, especially to a mediocre team like Ole Miss. The Rebels can't afford to give away losses, period. If nothing else, this should be close. Seven of the last eight games between the two have been decided by a touchdown or less.
Why Ole Miss Might Win: For the first time in years, Ole Miss can keep pace with a passing game that should be able to keep the Vandy safeties off of the line. The more room for BenJarvus Green-Ellis to rumble, the better. The senior took his game to another level last week against Missouri, running for 226 yards and a touchdown on a workmanlike 33 carries. The Commodore run defense got shoved around by Alabama last week and is sure to key on Green-Ellis from the start. Ole Miss QB Seth Adams will see plenty of single coverage to exploit.
Why Vanderbilt Might Win: The Ole Miss secondary hasn't decided to start the season. Memphis QB Martin Hankins bombed away for 343 yards and a touchdown, while Missouri's Chase Daniel threw for 330 yards and five touchdowns. To be fair, the Rebels did a great job of picking off Hankins, forcing four turnovers, but they should have a nightmare of a time with Earl Bennett, who was held in check by Bama last week but should be a lock for 100 yards. The junior caught ten passes for 179 yards last year, but he might have a hard time matching that again since ...
Who to Watch: .... Vandy starting QB Chris Nickson is questionable, at best, after suffering a hamstring injury against Alabama. Sophomore Mackenzi Adams has all the tools to eventually become a great one, but he needs plenty of seasoning before he'll be consistent. In limited action so far, he's completed 13 of 24 passes for 108 yards and a score, while rushing for 44 yards against Richmond. If he struggles, and assuming Nickson isn't ready, the offense could be turned over to Richard Kovalcheck, the Arizona transfer who has the best arm of the bunch.
What Will Happen: The Vanderbilt pass defense will keep Adam from having a huge day. While Green-Ellis will get his yards, he won't be able to control the tempo enough to overcome the Vandy passing game. Bennett will go for 150 yards with a late score proving to be the difference.
CFN Prediction: Vanderbilt 26 ... Ole Miss 20
... Line: Vanderbilt -5
Must See Rating: (5 Britney at the VMAs - 1 Big Shots) ... 2

Louisville (2-0) at Kentucky (2-0)
 7:30 PM ESPN Classic
Why to watch: This has a chance to be a classic, even if the only three-pointers will be kicked on grass instead of shot behind an arc.  Better known for their indoor rivalry, the Cardinals and Wildcats meet with as much anticipation as this game has had in years, and on a national scale, it takes on far more significance than anything the two have done on the hardwood in a long time.  While Louisville has won seven of the last eight in the series, most convincingly, Kentucky believes it’s narrowed the gap, and is poised for a breakthrough.  After last season’s 5-1 finish and an Andre Woodson-led offense that’s scored at least 50 points in each of this year’s first two games, this is a confident, loaded team that should be able to keep up in a shootout.  Considering Louisville’s Brian Brohm is being touted as the number one quarterback prospect for next year’s NFL draft, and Woodson is considered No. 1A, this could be an all-timer of a matchup that’ll be replayed for years to come. Expect about 800 passing yards between the two teams, close to 100 points, and big play after big play after big play in a game that could define the rivalry and the direction of the two programs.
Why Louisville might win: The competition hasn’t been stout, but the Cardinal offense has been downright silly through two weeks.  Louisville is averaging almost 700 yards and 65 points a game, moving the ball as if it’s on a constant power play.  Brohm has been red-hot, completing 68% of his passes for 77 yards and nine touchdowns and no interceptions in two games. Adding balance has been RB Anthony Allen, who’s coming off a school-record 275 yards rushing in the win over Middle Tennessee.  Although Kentucky is an obvious upgrade in competition for the Cards, it doesn’t have enough elite defenders to slow down this locomotive once it gets rolling.
Why Kentucky might win: The Louisville defense got exposed in a huge way by the Blue Raiders.  This was the same Middle Tennessee that was impotent a week earlier in a loss to Florida Atlantic.  The Cardinals allowed 42 points and 555 yards, most of which came when the game was still competitive.  If the poor tackling and breakdowns in coverage aren’t addressed immediately by Mike Cassity, Woodson and his sidekicks, WR Keenan Burton, RB Rafael Little, and TE Jacob Tamme, will score early and often. UK has one of the few teams in the nation with the firepower to match Brohm and company yard for yard.
Who to watch: Where in the name of Elvis Dumervil has Peanut Whitehead been? Louisville’s sophomore defensive end with the massive upside and quick first step has been absent so far this fall.  On a unit that has just one sack in 2007 and must pressure Woodson, it’s incumbent upon Whitehead and linemate Maurice Mitchell to begin making some noise off the edge this weekend. On the flip side, Louisville has yet to give up a sack. If UK can’t get to Brohm, a 400-yard passing day will be a near lock.                      
What will happen: All of the ingredients are in place for this Saturday’s game in Lexington to be a memorable one.  In a slugfest that’ll be highlighted by fireworks, the quarterback that has the ball last will win.  Brohm will have the ball last, bolstering his Heisman brag sheet.
CFN Prediction: Louisville 52 ... Kentucky 40 ... Line: Louisville -7.5
Must See Rating: (5 Britney at the VMAs - 1 Big Shots) ...4.5

Middle Tennessee (0-2) at LSU (2-0)
8:00 PM GamePlan
Why to Watch:
 What appeared to be a brutally ugly mismatch before the season began has now turned into a brutally ugly mismatch with a little bit of intrigue after Middle Tennessee's offense cranked out 555 yards of total offense and 42 points on Louisville last week. Meanwhile, LSU spent last Saturday night making its claim for the top spot in the rankings after stomping on Virginia Tech 48-7. With South Carolina up next, the Tigers might suffer a little bit of a mental letdown, but with all the parts working, it might not matter. For Middle Tennessee, anything less than a 40-point blowout will be a success. Next week, Western Kentucky will look like it's running in sand compared to what the Blue Raiders are about to deal with.
Why Middle Tennessee Might Win: Alright, so how did the offense work so well against Louisville? It was able to get its running backs in space and they took off for a few really, really big plays. DeMarco McNair took a short pass 78 yards for a touchdown, Phillip Tanner ran for a 79 yard score, and the ground game ended up averaging 10.3 yards per crack. Make no mistake about it; Louisville can run, and MT still came up with the home runs. If LSU has a few mental breakdowns, and misses a few tackles, it could be shocked at how speedy the Blue Raider skill players are.
Why LSU Might Win: Yeah, Middle Tennessee put up some huge numbers against Louisville, but it only scored seven points in the second half once the Cardinals decided to tackle and chose to mentally check into the game. On the other side of the ball, Middle Tennessee's run defense has been shockingly awful. Considering there's actually a few NFL prospects on the front wall, Florida Atlantic shouldn't have been able to run for 216 yards. Louisville's Anthony Allen cranked out 7.9 yards per carry on a 275-yard, two touchdown day. LSU will want to work on its passing, but it'll hang the ball off 55 times and go home with a blowout win.
Who to Watch: For those Tiger fans waiting to see Ryan Perrilloux under center for more than just garbage time, this should be your chance. Starting QB Matt Flynn missed a little practice time with a dinged up ankle, and while it's nothing remotely serious, it might be just enough to get his butt on the bench the second the game gets out of hand. Perrilloux has completed seven of eight passes for 105 yards and three touchdowns, and has run for 33 yards and a score, in limited action.
What Will Happen: Middle Tennessee will try to air it out and will look for every opportunity to take some chances. LSU will get more than its share of turnovers on the way to a cakewalk of a win. The reserves will play most of the second half.
CFN Prediction: LSU 48 ... Middle Tennessee 10
... Line: LSU -41
Must See Rating: (5 Britney at the VMAs - 1 Big Shots) ... 1.5 


SEC Fearless Predictions, Week Three, Part 1


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