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SEC Fearless Predictions, Nov. 10, Part 2

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 7, 2007


Previews and Predictions for the Week 11 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. 6Oct. 13 | Oct. 20Oct. 27 | Nov. 3Nov. 17Nov. 24Dec. 1 

How are the picks so far? SU: 62-14 ... ATS: 40-24-2

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 11, Part 1

SEC Saturday, November 10th

Arkansas (6-3) at Tennessee (6-3)  12:30 PM  GamePlan
Why to watch
: These two plays some interesting battles. While the two team have only played 15 times, with Tennessee winning 12, the first was in 1907 with a 14-2 win. Mostly a high scoring series, defined by the Clint Stoener fumble game in 1998 that Tennessee pulled out with a miracle to keep its national title season alive, things changed last year when Darren McFadden ran for 193 yards in a 31-14 romp. Fast forward to this year, and McFadden was having a good, but not jaw-dropping year, Arkansas had become an afterthought after early losses to Alabama and Kentucky, and the season appeared to be going nowhere. And then came last week, when McFadden ripped up South Carolina for 321 yards and a touchdown, Felix Jones ran for 166 yards and three scores, and the Hogs blasted their way to 542 yards and four touchdowns. Still out of the SEC race, they can still make a ton of noise over the final three weeks, and can be huge spoilers playing LSU in two weeks, and Tennessee this week. The Vols control their own destiny in the East, owning the tie-breaker against Georgia and with games against Vanderbilt and Kentucky after this week.
Why Arkansas might win: Tennessee is mediocre against the run. Uh oh. The Vols haven't played their typical strong run defense with major problems against decent running backs. Arkansas State's Reggie Arnold cranked out yards in chunks, rolling for 130 yards and a touchdown, Cal's Justin Forsett ran for 156 yards and a score, Mississippi State's Anthony Dixon ran for 108, UL Lafayette's Tyrell Fenroy rolled for 113 and a score, and South Carolina's Cory Boyd ran for 160 yards and a touchdown. The UT defensive tackles will have a nightmare of a time against the strong Arkansas interior that should give McFadden and Jones several big cutback lanes. It'll be a stunner if both don't hit the century mark. However ...
Why Tennessee might win: ... Cal was the only team with a 100-yard rusher to actually beat the Vols. The Arkansas offensive line might dominate the Tennessee D line, but the Tennessee O line could control the game. Arkansas has played two good teams that can throw, South Carolina and Kentucky, and got ripped up by both. This is a good secondary, but it's beatable by a decent quarterback who gets time. That won't be a problem for Erik Ainge, who has only been sacked three times and is making almost all the right decisions to keep the passing game moving. This is a balanced Volunteer attack that should be able to control the clock and keep the Hog running game on the sidelines.
Who to watch: Darren McFadden might be college football's best player, or a close second behind LSU DT Glenn Dorsey, and he might end up being the top pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, if and when he chooses to leave early, but running mate Felix Jones has been even more dangerous when he gets his chance. After his big day against South Carolina, he's over the 1,000-yard mark for the second year in a row with 11 touchdowns, and two more on kickoff returns. Most impressive are his yards per carry averaging 9.27 every time he touches the ball. Don't be shocked if he starts getting talked about as a possible top 20 pick if he chooses to bolt early.
What will happen: Tennessee will pile up big yards with Ainge having a huge day, but the lack of a solid run defense will be the downfall. The Volunteer linebackers will be looking a No. 5 and No. 25 pulling away all game long.
CFN Prediction: Arkansas 30 ... Tennessee 27 ... Line: PICK
Must See Rating: (5
Seinfeld: Season 9 - 1 Bee Movie) ... 4

Alabama
(6-3) at Mississippi State (5-4) 
12:30 PM  GamePlan
Why to watch
: Go back 53 weeks ago. Mike Shula was putting together a nice season at Alabama, starting off the year 6-3 with two losses by a total of four points and the other to eventual national champion Florida. While not a stellar campaign, it wasn't bad in what was considered a rebuilding year. And then came a visit from Mississippi State. The Bulldogs ripped off a shocking 24-16 win to set off a four-game losing streak, the end of the Shula era, and a wild ride that kept on rolling with last week's thrilling 41-34 loss to LSU. Oh sure, it was a loss, and Nick Saban won't allow anyone to call if a moral victory, but it was a loss that still gave the reloading program a major boost of respect from across the country. MSU has had two weeks off to prepare after blowing out Kentucky 31-14 to get in a position to go bowling for the first time since the famous 2000 Independence Bowl win over Texas A&M in the snow. After this week, the Bulldogs have to go to Arkansas before finishing with Ole Miss.
Why Alabama might win: MSU was able to beat Kentucky by coming in under the radar. After all, the Wildcats had come off a rough three game stretch against South Carolina, LSU and Florida. MSU will have Alabama's full attention this week after what happened last year, and after the win against UK. The Bulldog offense needs to run well to win, but that could be a problem against a Bama defensive front that's gotten better and better as the season has rolled on, holding LSU to 87 yards last week and Tennessee to 103 the week before. MSU is 5-0 when running for 165 yards or more, and 0-4 when held under. Bama has only allowed more than 165 rushing yards once this year in the win over Arkansas.
Why Mississippi State might win: MSU is playing some killer defense. The scoring defense might not be the best, but that's more of a function of the offense sputtering against a few top teams and putting the D in a bad position time and again. Despite lacking a regular pass rush, the secondary has been ball-hawking, and the defensive front has been a brick wall against everyone's running game but West Virginia's. Coming off the emotional loss to LSU, Alabama can say it's prepared for a battle, but realistically, it might be asking a lot to gear up the intensity needed for a rested and ready MSU D.
Who to watch: Ever since being thrown into the full-time role, MSU freshman QB Wesley Carroll has been more effective than the coaching staff could've ever dreamed. He's getting plenty of protection, but he's also doing a surprisingly good job of getting rid of the ball in a hurry while keeping the mistakes to a minimum. He has yet to throw an interception in 137 pass attempts, while throwing four touchdown passes. If he can go two more passes without giving it away, he'll own the NCAA record, currently held by Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy, for the most passes without a pick by a freshman. His job against the aggressive Tide secondary will be to not turn the ball over, keep the chains moving, and get just enough on a few early deep throws to easy the pressure against Anthony Dixon and the MSU ground game.
What will happen: Don't expect offensive fireworks with the two defenses dominating. Carroll will set the record for most attempts without a pick by a freshman, but will end up turning it over a few times and Bama's offense will take full advantage.
CFN Prediction: Alabama 23 ... Mississippi State 17  ... Line: Alabama -4.5
Must See Rating: (5
Seinfeld: Season 9 - 1 Bee Movie) ... 3

Louisiana Tech (4-5) at LSU (8-1)    8:00 p.m. GamePlan
Why to Watch: The Tigers are now ranked second in the BCS standings, and that means two things. First, win out, and it’s on to the national title, so every game is vital, even a seemingly unimportant contest against an in-state non-conference opponent. However, a little slip, and that means a close win against Tech, and Oregon will start to get more consideration. Second, since so many teams that have been ranked second this year have lost (Boston College fell just last week), there is the chance some sort of jinx exists at the position, and Louisiana Tech could be waiting to take advantage of it. Don’t laugh. The Bulldogs took Texas A&M to overtime earlier this year and have won two straight. Granted, they aren’t in LSU’s class and wouldn’t fare so well with a steady diet of SEC opposition, but any time one of the state’s smaller schools gets a shot at the big cheese, it approaches the contest with a crusade-like intensity.
Why Louisiana Tech Might Win: During its modest winning streak, the Bulldogs have benefited from a solid running game, led by Patrick Jackson and Daniel Porter. Jackson rushed for 101 yards and two scores in the win over Utah State and added 155 and a TD vs. Idaho, while Porter has gained 314 yards and scored four times in the last three LTU games. They are strong complements to QB Zac Champion, who has displayed efficiency this week and was strong against the Vandals, throwing for 227 yards. The Bulldogs excel on defense at stopping the run and are ranked 21st nationally in that category. They also have a plus-six turnover figure and no doubt took notice of LSU quarterback Matt Flynn’s three interceptions last week against Alabama. Flynn must also worry about linebacker Chris Pugh, who has 6.5 sacks this year and spends a lot of time in enemy backfields.
Why LSU Might Win: The Bulldogs can run it, all right, but the Tigers are fourth in the nation against the run and boast a front wall that might be the nation’s best, beginning with All-Americas Glenn Dorsey and Kirston Pittman, who piles up the tackles behind the line. And though Champion has been solid, he hasn’t faced a secondary like LSU’s, which features standout safety Craig Steltz and shutdown corner Chevis Jackson. If LTU expects to stymie the LSU ground game, it had better be ready for a fight, because the combination of tailback Jacob Hester between the tackles and quarterback Ryan Perriloux (back from a one-game suspension) on draws and choice option plays is tough to beat. Flynn did throw three picks against Alabama, but he also had 353 yards and three touchdowns. The final problem posed by the Tigers is coach Les Miles’ continued desire to go for it on fourth down, which puts great pressure on opponents who are hoping that a three-and-out is good enough to get back the ball.
Who to Watch: This should be a game for the LSU running game. In what should be a blowout, the Tigers will want to get its running game rolling early, and that should mean more from Keiland Williams, who’s been an afterthought for most of the year and has only five carries in the last three games. Sophomore Charles Scott should also get some more work, having yet to find the end zone since scoring twice against Kentucky three weeks ago. The more these two get involved down the stretch, the more dangerous LSU will be.
What Will Happen: Forget about the jinx. LSU rolls past the overmatched Bulldogs and takes another step toward the BCS title game.
CFN Prediction
: LSU 44 … Louisiana Tech 6 ... Line: Louisiana Tech -36
Must See Rating: (5 Seinfeld: Season 9 - 1 Bee Movie) ...  1.5

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 11, Part 1