SEC Fearless Predictions, Sept. 22, Part 2
Posted Sep 19, 2007

Previews and Predictions for the Week 4 SEC Games, Part 2

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: 24-4 ... ATS: 15-6-1

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week Four, Part 1

SEC Saturday, Sept. 22

Gardner-Webb (1-1) at Mississippi State (2-1)  7:00 PM
Why to Watch: 2000 was the last time Mississippi State started off 3-1, and after a huge 19-14 upset at Auburn, that's what Sylvester Croom's bunch is looking at before getting back into SEC play against South Carolina. Gardner-Webb started off its season with a 36-14 loss at Ohio, but rebounded nicely to roll past Jacksonville 27-6. The Runnin' Bulldogs have never faced an SEC team, and have a great shot at catching the MSU version of the Bulldogs napping. MSU lost to D-IAA Maine in 2004 in an SEC sandwich game, but this is a different, far better team.
Why Gardner-Webb Might Win: GWU's nickname is a misnomer considering the offense likes to wing it around. This is a veteran team with a nice passer in junior David Campbell, who might be the best quarterback in the game. He's a consistent playmaker who is almost certain to throw for at least 200 yards, even against a strong MSU secondary. Sophomore David Montgomery is just fast enough to add a home-run element to the rushing mix, scoring from 29 and 74 yards out last week. In other words, there are just enough playmakers to make the Bulldog D work a little.
Why Mississippi State Might Win: Field position should be in MSU's favor if the punting game has anything to do with it. Blake McAdams might not be an all-star, but he's had a decent start to the season thanks to good play from the coverage unit. GWU's punting game has been abysmal so far, averaging just 24.25 yards per kick. Defensively, MSU should be able to get into the backfield whenever it wants to against a GWU line that hasn't been able to protect the passer so far.
Who to Watch: And the Mississippi State quarterback is ... ? The offense suffered a huge blow when Michael Henig broke his hand against Auburn. While he'll be back at some point this year, now the passing game, which was already a sore spot ranking last in the nation in efficiency, has to rely on either true freshman Wesley Carroll or JUCO transfer Josh Riddell. Riddell isn't all that huge, but he throws big and can get the ball deep. However, this appears to be the more mobile Carroll's gig for the time being .
What Will Happen: The Bulldogs will win.
CFN Prediction: Mississippi State 31 ... Gardner-Webb 10
... Line: No Line
Must See Rating: (5 Curb Your Enthusiasm - 1 Kid Nation) ...

Arkansas State (1-1) at Tennessee (1-2)  7:00 PM GamePlan
Why to Watch: Arkansas State is 0-18 against BCS conference teams since 2000, but this might be the best Indian team in several years, while Tennessee is teetering on the brink of total mediocrity after getting blown out by California and Florida, and beating Southern Miss, in a 1-2 start. The Vols haven't started 1-3 since 1994, but if they're licking their wounds after the 59-20 loss to the Gators, and looking ahead to the huge game against Georgia in two weeks, this could be interesting. Texas might not be Texas at the moment, but ASU still deserves credit for making it a game in Austin, losing 21-13, and then beat SMU last week. Now we'll get to see what kind of team Tennessee is. If it's playing up to its capabilities, it wins this game in a walk. If it struggles, or heaven forbid, loses, the calls for Phil Fulmer's head will only get louder.
Why Arkansas State Might Win: This hasn't been the typical Tennessee defense lately. It stuffed Southern Miss for 90 rushing yards, but Florida ran for 255 yards and four touchdowns, and Cal tore off 230 yards and two scores. RB Reggie Arnold is coming off a 156-yard day against SMU, but the real problem for the Vols will be QB Corey Leonard. A strong dual threat quarterback who threw for 259 against Texas and 266 against SMU, he should roll for at least 250 against the struggling Vol secondary, and he'll keep everyone on their heels when he takes off.
Why Tennessee Might Win: The ASU lines are way overmatched. The offensive line struggles in pass protection, partially do to Corey Leonard's running, while the defensive front doesn't do much to get into the backfield. Considering the Vols have allowed just two sacks so far Erik Ainge should have ten days to throw. Despite allowing two punt returns for touchdowns, the Vols have a huge special teams edge and should come up with a few big returns.
Who to Watch: ASU has gotten some good play out of its receiving corps, but it needs Arnold and Leonard to run well to have any shot of pulling off the upset. Now is the time for the Tennessee linebacking corps to shine, after having a rough time doing much of anything against Florida. Jerod Mayo is a top talent who needs to start generating more big plays and make more stops against the run. Rico McCoy has been steady, but unspectacular, as has Ryan Karl. It's not a stretch to suggest that the improved play of this trio is the key to whether or not the season turns around.
What Will Happen: Does Arkansas State have enough in the bag to pull off the upset? Offensively, yes, and it'll keep pace with the Vols for a while, but the defense won't be able to handle the Tennessee running game that'll take over in the second half.
CFN Prediction: Tennessee 34 ... Arkansas State 21
... Line: Tennessee -18.5
Must See Rating: (5 Curb Your Enthusiasm - 1 Kid Nation) ... 2.5

Georgia (2-1) at Alabama (3-0)  7:45 PM ESPN
Why to Watch: This has gone from being an interesting interdivisional matchup to a litmus test for both programs. After losing to South Carolina two weeks ago, Georgia can all but excuse itself from the rest of the SEC season with a loss. The season is half full approach sees winnable games against Ole Miss, Tennessee and Vanderbilt over the next three weeks, but the Dawgs can't be afford to be 0-2 in conference play if they have any prayer of winning the East. Alabama made a statement with its thrilling, gut-check 41-38 win over Arkansas, needing a heart-stopping late scoring drive to avoid a second-half collapse. A Tide win could officially signal its arrival as a legitimate SEC title threat, and could mean a huge start to the year with a down Florida State up next, followed up with Houston, Ole Miss, and a home game against Tennessee before facing LSU. Basically, if Bama wins this game, it'll probably be favored in every game the rest of the year other than the date with LSU version of the Tigers. The two teams have only played twice since 1995, with Georgia winning both times.
Why Georgia Might Win: Georgia lost to South Carolina for a variety of reason, but was hurt mostly offensively by the lack of consistent pass protection. Matthew Stafford was sacked three times and had to hurry on several other occasions. The young O line, with four new starters, might not have too many problems with a Bama defensive front that hasn't generated much of a pass rush so far. This might be an aggressive Tide defense, but it's not playing as well as South Carolina's. On the other side of the line, the Dawgs have been terrific at getting into the backfield and should be able to generate a little bit of pressure on Bama QB John Parker Wilson.
Why Alabama Might Win: The Tide offensive line is playing extremely well. It's still a work in progress, but it's done a great job for the running game so far and, for the most part, has kept Wilson upright. Arkansas had to get creative late in the game to get into the backfield, and Wilson did a fantastic job of hanging tough under the pressure and delivering the ball. At the moment, the Tide skill players are more effective than Georgia's, and have shown far more explosion and pop. Unlike Arkansas, Georgia might not have the ability to make a comeback unless the Tide make a ton of mistakes.
Who to Watch: If Georgia's receiving corps was ever going to show up, this needs to be the game. Average so far, and lousy against South Carolina, the Bulldog targets, outside of Sean Bailey, haven't done enough to scare anyone. Mikey Henderson has been good for a couple of long grabs per game, and Mo Massaquoi had his best game of the season last week, but Alabama has a huge edge in the receiver matchup. D.J. Hall cemented himself as one of the SEC's elite playmakers with a six-catch, 172-yard, two touchdown day against Arkansas, while Matt Caddell came through with a nine catch, 91-yard day with the winning touchdown. The Tide passing game took two games to get going, but now it should be rolling because of these two.
What Will Happen: Who's better on the road than Georgia under Mark Richt? The Dawgs have won ten of their last 11 in true road dates (not counting neutral site games), and they always seem to come up with a big performance when least expected. It'll take something out of the ordinary, like a defensive touchdown or a punt return for a score, but Georgia will get it on the way to the tough victory.
CFN Prediction: Georgia 23 ... Alabama 20
... Line: Alabama -3.5
Must See Rating: (5 Curb Your Enthusiasm - 1 Kid Nation) ... 4

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week Four, Part 1



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