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SEC Fearless Predictions, Oct. 6, Part 2

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 3, 2007


Previews and Predictions for the Week 6 SEC Games, Part 2


SEC
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. 13 | Oct. 20Oct. 27 | Nov. 3Nov. 10 | Nov. 17Nov. 24Dec. 1 

How are the picks so far? SU: 36-7 ... ATS: 23-12-1

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 6, Part 1

SEC Saturday, Oct. 6
Louisiana Tech (1-3) at Ole Miss (1-4)  2:00 PM ET 
Why to Watch:
 Both teams are in desperate need of a win, with Ole Miss coming in on a four-game losing streak, and Louisiana Tech dropping three in a row. The Rebels have played well at times, pushing Florida in a 30-24 loss, and horrible at others, getting ripped open by Georgia 45-17, but this game starts a three-game homestand with Alabama and Arkansas coming to Oxford in the next two weeks. If there's going to be any sort of a run at a decent season, it has to start now. For Tech, this marks the first SEC game under head man Derek Dooley, son of legendary Georgia head coach Vince Dooley. 0-2 in WAC play, the Bulldogs could use a confidence boost before having to deal with New Mexico State and Boise State.
Why Louisiana Tech Might Win:
Everyone's getting fat running the ball on the Rebel defense. The front line is getting penetration into the backfield and making several nice plays behind the line, but it's also allowing way too many runners to get into the secondary. Georgia's Thomas Brown and Knowshon Moreno had a blast last week, combining for 270 yards and four touchdowns. Ole Miss has allowed 11 rushing scores over the last three weeks, and Tech, who's struggled recently to get the ground game working, should be able to add to the total.
Why Ole Miss Might Win: You can't win if you can't score, and while Ole Miss isn't exactly lighting things up, Tech has been positively stagnant after scoring 44 in a loss to Hawaii. Nothing seemed to work against Fresno State, despite outgaining the Bulldogs, and there was no hope against Cal. The offense averages a mere 307 yards per game, and it has yet to face an elite-level defense.
Who to Watch: Considering each team's offensive struggles, little things like the punting game could make all the difference. That's where Tech has a huge advantage, with punter Chris Keagle averaging 43.7 yards per kick. Ole Miss simply can't go on too many long drives and win. Helping the Tech field position battle is punt returner Philip Beck, who's averaging 19.38 yards per return, and Weldon Brown, who's averaging a whopping 31.5 yards per kickoff return.
What Will Happen: Welcome to the BenJarvus Green-Ellis show. Ole Miss will run him, run him and run him some more, eating up plenty of clock on the way to a grinding win.
CFN Prediction: Ole Miss 27 ... Louisiana Tech 13 ... Line: Ole Miss -13
Must See Rating: (5 Paris on Letterman - 1 Singing Bee) ... 2

UAB
(1-3) at Mississippi State (3-2)  2:30 PM ET
Why to watch: Although Mississippi State’s three-game winning streak came to an end in Columbia last Saturday, the program continues to take baby steps in Sylvester Croom’s fourth season in Starkville.  If the Bulldogs are going to maintain their slim hopes for a sixth win and bowl eligibility, they’ve got to dispose of UAB, the last team they’ll be favored to beat until Ole Miss visits in the Egg Bowl on Nov. 23.  At the rate quarterbacks are going down, the team might also want to begin formulating a Plan C and D at the position.  Starter Michael Henig has a broken hand and his backup, Josh Riddell, tore knee ligaments last week, leaving Croom with a pair of freshmen on this week’s two deep.  While it’s going to be a painfully long year at UAB, rookie head coach Neil Callaway likes where his team is headed, and appreciates the effort his young kids are putting forth.  Since getting blown out by Michigan State in the opener, the Blazers have lost to Florida State by 10, shut out Alcorn State, and lost to Tulsa by eight.  Considering the turnover from last year, things could be much worse.
Why UAB might win: There’s no quit in the Blazers, something that’s been evident over the last three weeks.  The running game has shown signs of life in each of the last two games, and assuming they’re healthy, QBs Sam Hunt and Joseph Webb are a pair of dual-threats that can make plays against the Mississippi State defense.  With third-stringer Wesley Carroll taking snaps for the Bulldogs, Callaway’s defense can focus all of its attention on stopping RB Anthony Dixon without giving a second thought to the passing game.
Why Mississippi State might win: Even without the support of a passing attack, Dixon should find running room against a leaky UAB defense that’s giving up 236 yards a game on the ground.  He’s a horse that’s already run for 434 yards and six touchdowns, and has the size to wear down the opposition in the second half.  In the three games the Blazers have played against FBS opponents, they’ve allowed over 900 yards on the ground, a flashing red flag heading into this week’s game.
Who to watch: A Blazer offensive line that’s allowing its quarterbacks to be treated like piƱatas this season will get to know Bulldog DE Titus Brown real early in Saturday’s game.  A relentless pass rusher off the edge, Brown has eight tackles for loss and an SEC-high six sacks, numbers that are going to increase with UAB in town.
What will happen: If the Mississippi State line does its job, Dixon will score a couple of times and surpass his career high of 131 yards rushing established earlier this year.  In moral victories, UAB will move to 4-1.  In the real world, however, the Blazers will slip to 1-4.
CFN Prediction: Mississippi State 31 ... UAB 16 ... Line: Mississippi State -19
Must See Rating: (5 Paris on Letterman - 1 Singing Bee) ... 1.5

UT Chattanooga
(1-3) at Arkansas (2-2)  3:00 PM ET GamePlan
Why to Watch:
 Now that everyone around the Arkansas program feels better about themselves with a 66-7 blasting of North Texas, a light scrimmage against UT Chattanooga should help work more of the kinks out, and rest everyone up, before dealing with Auburn in an attempt to avoid an 0-3 SEC start. The lamb for the slaughter is a Moc team coming off a 41-16 drubbing from Citadel, but the lone win on the year came against a decent Georgia Southern team. This is an aggressive team, but it's not very good.
Why UT Chattanooga Might Win:
The only chance to keep this from being a laugher after about three series is if the defense makes steady progress at getting into the backfield. The Mocs sell out to make plays behind the line, making 39 tackles for loss on the year, meaning Arkansas will have a few third and long situations. However ...
Why Arkansas Might Win: The Mocs make plays behind the line by sending the linebackers. Joseph Thornton and Steven Mills are masters at blitzing, but they can't do that against an Arkansas running game that needs one step past the line of scrimmage to hit a home run from anywhere on the field. To put this into perspective, you have to have a really, really bad run defense to be third in the FCS nation in tackles for loss, yet still give up 276 rushing yards per game.
Who to Watch: Why do big teams schedule a game like this? For the easy win, while making a ton by getting the fans to pay to watch the debacle, but also to work on a few things. For Arkansas to have any shot of turning things around in SEC play, the passing game can't be as poor as it's been. Most teams would take it easy in a game like this by running, but Arkansas has to do the opposite and let Casey Dick throw as much as possible. He tossed three touchdown passes against North Texas, but he only completed 12 of 21 passes. He's a veteran, but he could use as many live reps as possible.
What Will Happen: If Arkansas wanted to get Darren McFadden 500 rushing yards, it could. The big guys will get a rest early on.
CFN Prediction: Arkansas 58 ... UT Chattanooga 0 ... Line: No Line
Must See Rating: (5 Paris on Letterman - 1 Singing Bee) ... 1

Houston
(2-2) at Alabama (3-2)  3:00 PM ET GamePlan
Why to watch: After going through a three-game gauntlet of Arkansas, Georgia, and Florida State, Alabama gets a relative break with a visit this week from Houston.  The Tide quickly raised expectations after beating the Hogs in the final seconds, but has settled back closer to reality with tight losses to the Dawgs and the ‘Noles.  ‘Bama will try to use this week’s visit from the Cougars to work on its most pressing issues, namely the play of QB John Parker Wilson and problems with the defense and special teams, before resuming SEC play next week.  Houston continues to be tough to read in its first season after the graduation of franchise QB Kevin Kolb.  Although his replacements, Case Keenum and Blake Joseph, have flashed potential, the defense has had too many lapses, and last week’s excruciating 37-35 home loss to East Carolina could come back to haunt the defending Conference USA champs.
Why Houston might win: The Cougars have enough weapons in its complex offense to put a dent in an Alabama defense that’s at least a year away from being up to Nick Saban’s usual standards.  The Tide has soft spots on the interior, and has allowed seven touchdown passes over the last three games.  Houston will counter with Anthony Alridge, one of the fastest backs in the country, and an improving passing game that averages 281 yards through the air and features standout receiver Donnie Avery.  Keenum hurt his hand last week, but is expected to play on Saturday. If he can’t go, there’s minimal drop-off to Joseph, who went 24-of-29 for 250 yards and two touchdowns out of the bullpen versus East Carolina.
Why Alabama might win: The Houston defense had trouble throughout September stopping opponents, such as Alabama, that can move the chains on the ground or through the air.  The Cougars allowed an average of 34 points in games with Oregon, Colorado State, and East Carolina, only having success when it traveled to lowly Tulane.  Look for a rebound from Wilson, who’ll make good use of WR D.J. Hall, and a fourth career 100-yard day from freshman RB Terry Grant.  If Houston can’t cut down on its turnovers and special teams blunders, the Tide will roll all afternoon.
Who to watch: Alabama LBs Rolando McClain and Ezekial Knight have been two of the bright spots on a defense that’s been just slightly above average.  The team’s top two tacklers, respectively, display great lateral quickness and a knack for making plays behind the line of scrimmage.  McClain and Knight will be keeping a close watch on Alridge to be sure Houston homerun hitter stays in the park.
What will happen: While Houston will move the ball, Alabama will be able to answer with a diverse offense that’ll keep the Cougars defense guessing.  Grant will upstage Alridge with 125 yards rushing and a couple of mad dashes to the end zone.

CFN Prediction: Alabama 36 ... Houston 23 ... Line: Alabama -11
Must See Rating: (5 Paris on Letterman - 1 Singing Bee) ... 2.5

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 6, Part 1

   

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