SEC Fearless Predictions, Sept. 6
Florida RB Brandon James
Florida RB Brandon James
Posted Aug 6, 2008

The SEC spotlight will once again be on a non-conference battle as Brandon James and Florida have to deal with an up-and-coming Miami team on Saturday night. Check out all the Previews and Predictions for the Week 2 SEC Games.

- SEC Fearless Predictions Week One

East  Florida | Georgia | Kentucky | South Carolina | Tennessee | Vanderbilt 
West Alabama | Arkansas | Auburn | LSU | Ole Miss | Miss State

How are the picks so far? SU: 8-4 ... ATS: 2-7

- SEC Fearless Predictions, Week Two, Part 2

SEC Game of the Week

Miami (1-0) at Florida (1-0)  8:00 EST, ESPN
Why to watch: It sounds good in theory. It's Miami and Florida, two college football superpowers squaring off for the first time since a 27-10 Hurricane win in the 2005 Peach Bowl. In fact, the Hurricanes have won the last six games between the two going back to a 1985 35-23 Gator win in that season's opener. This year, Florida has the talent and the make-up to make a run for the national title, while Miami is looking to come up with its biggest win since blowing out a nasty Virginia Tech team in 2005. The Hurricanes certainly looked like the Hurricanes of old in the 52-7 season opening win over Charleston Southern, and with a young team full of top recruits and upgraded athletes, the time might be now for head coach Randy Shannon to turn the superpower around. But that only happens with a win in the Swamp. Considering how mediocre the ACC is this year, the Hurricanes could run the table and win the ACC tile, but if they get blown out by the Gators, the season will be a bit hollow. For Florida, after laying waste to Hawaii in a 56-10 pounding, the season begins now with a high-profile two-game stretch against Miami this week and at Tennessee next week. Win those two, and then it becomes a three game season for the national title: LSU, Georgia, SEC Championship game. The time is now for Florida to officially declare its candidacy for the office of National Champion of 2008, and a big win would get the campaign started in a big way.
Why Miami might win: Alabama 34 ... Clemson 10. It's amazing what a little new blood can do to a team. Miami has some major holes and is hardly a complete team, but it has a new batch of really young, really good players who have provided a renewed sense of energy and fire. While it'll take more than than to beat a team as good as Florida, the athletes are in place to hang with the Gators for a full 60 minutes. And then there's the injury issue. Florida gets back star LB Brandon Spikes and WR Percy Harvin from foot problems, but are they really ready and at 100%? The depth has been hit hard by a variety of injuries, tight end Aaron Hernandez, who took over when Cornelius Ingram went down for the year, has been out for some bizarre reason, RB Emmanuel Moody has an ankle problem, and projected starting defensive tackle Torrey Davis is out because he can't seem to find the classroom.
Why Florida might win: Yeah, Miami has a new group of great young players coming into town, but while it's fun to see what 21 true freshmen can do against Charleston Southern, it's another issue to deal with a tough, veteran group like the Gators. Florida's supposed weaknesses were strengths against Hawaii. The pass defense was suffocating and deadly, coming up with four interceptions and one pick six while keeping the Hawaii passing game out of the end zone until the final two minutes of garbage time. The questionable running game plowed for 255 yards without Mr. Tebow doing a lion's share of the work. In other words, if the Hawaii game was any indication, everything is humming and September just started.
Who to watch
: True freshman Jacory Harris had a great first game completing 16 of 26 passes for 190 pounds and a touchdown, and ran three times for 22 yards and a touchdown. Thanks Jacory, but not it's Robert's turn. Superstar prospect, redshirt freshman Robert Marve, was suspended for the season opener with his last time on the field in the 2005 Florida state 4A title game over Jacksonville Nease and its decent quarterback, Tim Tebow. While Harris will still see action, the time is now for Marve to become a new star on the scene.  
What will happen: It's not quite time. Miami will get really good, really fast, but it's not going to happen in Gainesville. There will be a few good moments for the Hurricanes, but the Gator offense will be steady and productive from start to finish.
CFN Prediction: Florida 34 ... Miami 17 ... Line: Florida -21.5
Must See Rating: (5 Entourage premiere - 1 One Tree Hill premiere) … 4
- Click here to receive ATS Consultants FREE selections 

Thursday, September 4

South Carolina (1-0) vs. Vanderbilt (1-0)  8:30 EST, ESPN
Why to watch: Oh sure, Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee (even after the loss to UCLA) are the big boys in the SEC East, and Kentucky showed against Louisville that it appears to be a player again in the race, but South Carolina came up with one of the first weekend's most dominant performances with a 34-0 win over NC State. This is supposed to be the best Gamecock team Steve Spurrier has fielded, and at least defensively, is showed as the Wolfpack offense was held to a mere 138 yards with just 49 coming through the air. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt ran past a good Miami University team in Oxford with an impressive 34-13 win. Last season, South Carolina was red-hot starting the season out 6-1 going into the date with the Commodores. A 17-6 loss later, Spurrier's bunch suddenly lost its mojo and didn't win another game. Considering all the big SEC guns left on each team's slate, it's not a stretch to call this a SEC elimination game.
Why South Carolina might win: Defense, defense, defense. Vandy QB Chris Nickson was decent throwing last week, completing nine of 16 passes for 91 yards and a touchdown, but it's a whole new world this week. The Gamecocks held the three NC State quarterbacks to a combined 5-of-20 passing day for 49 yards with two interceptions. The secondary is the team's biggest strength, and if the defensive front can keep Nickson under wraps and limit the Commodore running game, it could be a long day for the Vandy offense.
Why Vanderbilt might win: South Carolina's secondary might be a strength, but the Vanderbilt defensive backs might be the best in the SEC. At the very least, this is a ball-hawking group that pounces on every mistake. South Carolina quarterbacks are prone to giving away interceptions, having major problems in off-season practices when it came to ball security, and the problems carried over into the season opener with four interceptions thrown against the Wolfpack. However ...
Who to watch
: The picks were thrown by Tommy Beecher, who got knocked out of the game. In came Chris Smelley, who completed all five of his throws with a touchdown pass. With Beecher having problems with his shoulder, Smelley was tabbed as the starter with Stephen Garcia the No. 2 man and Beecher an emergency option, if he's able to suit up at all. The team is desperate to find a calm, cool, consistent passer, and Smelley will have the chance to make the job his on a permanent basis.            
What will happen: Defense. Expect six turnovers between the two teams and problems moving the ball on a consistent basis. The South Carolina defense will be better than the Vanderbilt defense, while the Gamecock offense will come up with a bit more balance and production in the second half.
CFN Prediction: South Carolina 23 ... Vanderbilt 10 ... Line: South Carolina -7.5
Must See Rating: (5 Entourage premiere - 1 One Tree Hill premiere) … 2.5
- Click here to receive ATS Consultants FREE selections 
Saturday, September 6

Southern Miss (1-0) at Auburn (1-0)  12:30 EST, GamePlan
Why to watch: The Larry Fedora era got off to a rousing start at Southern Miss as the Golden Eagles destroyed UL Lafayette 51-21 with 633 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, the Tony Franklin era got off to a rousing start at Auburn as the new offensive coordinator's attack ripped off 406 yards of total offense in a 34-0 win over UL Monroe. Now that the two teams have dispensed with the Sun Belt, they'll play an important game for each team. The Tigers kick off SEC play next week against Mississippi State and face LSU in two weeks. Any and all bugs have to be worked out of the system by then. Meanwhile, Southern Miss can make a huge splash for itself, as well as for Conference USA, if everything works out perfectly and Damion Fletcher and the boys can pull off the upset. Outside of Boise State, there isn't a team on the schedule for the Golden Eagles to worry about until a mid-November date at UCF.
Why Southern Miss might win: Auburn can't throw the ball. At least, its passing game is still suspect with the running game used to get the offense moving. The Tigers have been able to get away with a mediocre passing attack for the last few years, and while the Golden Eagles have a strong secondary, All-America LB Gerald McRath and the boys should be able to focus all of their attention on stopping the run. While that might sound good in theory ...
Why Auburn might win: USM got run over last week. It was a 30-point win, but giving up 263 yards on the ground isn't a plus. While running the ball is all UL Lafayette can do, the Golden Eagle defense still had a few problems early on and failed to generate any push in the backfield. Auburn's offensive line is among the best in America and should be able to dominate from the start. When the Tigers do try to throw the ball, the quarterback won't have much of a problem. What is an issue is ...
Who to watch
: ... who the starting quarterback will actually be. Kodi Burns is the better overall threat for the running aspect of the spread offense, but Chris Todd is the better passer. Burns suffered a major cut on his leg against ULM in the third quarter, and now Todd has been named the starter, for this week, at least, after completing nine of 18 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown with an interception.  Burns completed four of nine passes for 15 yards, but he ran for 69 yards. For Southern Miss, all eyes will be on Fletcher, who tore off 232 yards and two touchdowns on just 21 carries against ULL.     
What will happen: Each defense will dominate for the first 20 minutes or so, and then the Auburn offensive line will take over. The Tiger offense might not be pretty, but it'll look far better than a USM attack that'll do next to nothing in the passing game.
CFN Prediction: Auburn 26 ... Southern Miss 7 ... Line: Auburn -18.5
Must See Rating: (5 Entourage premiere - 1 One Tree Hill premiere) … 2.5
- Click here to receive ATS Consultants FREE selections 

Central Michigan (1-0) vs. Georgia (1-0)  3:30 EST
Why to watch: Apparently the world didn't thing much of Georgia's 45-21 opening day scrimmage over Georgia Southern. The Bulldogs went from No. 1 to 2 in the rankings, with USC moving into the top spot, but it's not that big a deal. When you play in the SEC, you make your own ranking by winning the big games. Central Michigan is trying to make a big splash for itself as it looks to beat a BCS conference team for the first time since 1992 (beating Michigan State in East Lansing). The Chippewas might be the two-time defending MAC champions, but the defense is still suspect after a brutal 2007, and non-BCS conference teams tend to have issues in Athens. Georgia hasn't lost to a non-BCS conference team since a 1996 hiccup against Southern Miss, but with road showdowns against South Carolina and Arizona State ahead, followed up by dates against Alabama and Tennessee, the Bulldogs could be guilty of looking ahead a bit.
Why Central Michigan might win: The spread has to work. It didn't when Florida tried it on the Bulldogs last year, and there's too much speed and athleticism in the defensive front seven to try working wide, but CMU has run one of the nation's most potent attacks over the last few seasons, and few quarterbacks are better than Dan LeFevour. He's a talented veteran who isn't going to panic under the pressure, and he has the weapons and experience around him to keep the offense moving.
Why Georgia might win: The Central Michigan defensive line doesn't have a prayer. The CMU offense can matchup well with the Georgia attack when it comes to sheer firepower, but when Georgia wants to crank out a ten-play, clock-eating drive, it should be able to do it whenever it needs to. QB Matthew Stafford had an ultra-efficient outing against Georgia Southern, and he'll get all the time he needs against the Chippewas.
Who to watch
: It's Corey Irvin's show now in the middle of the Georgia defensive line. With the loss of star tackle Jeff Owens for the year to a knee injury, Irvin has to become a rock in the middle. He had a great first game with six tackles and a sack against Georgia Southern, and the quicker he can settle into his expanded role, the more formidable the Bulldog defense will be over the next month.            
What will happen: LeFevour will have nowhere to go for about a half, Georgia will take a decent-sized lead, and then the run will come. Just when the Bulldog defense lets down for a moment, LeFevour will crank out two nice scoring drives to make thins interesting, and then Georgia will gat all mad again for not being No. 1 anymore.
CFN Prediction: Georgia 38 ... Central Michigan 10... Line: Georgia -21.5
Must See Rating: (5 Entourage premiere - 1 One Tree Hill premiere) … 2.5
- Click here to receive ATS Consultants FREE selections 

Ole Miss (1-0) at Wake Forest (1-0)  3:30 EST, ABC
Why to watch: After opening with solid, one-sided wins, Ole Miss and Wake Forest will fight to stay perfect while improving their national profile. The Demon Deacons were dominant in their 41-13 victory over Baylor, getting three touchdown passes from Riley Skinner along with a typically sound effort from the defense. After Clemson lost badly to Alabama, Wake has a chance to carry an ACC banner that’s tattered and looking for a school that can exceed forecasts. In Houston Nutt’s debut in Oxford, the Rebels had no problems with Memphis, winning 41-24 in a series that has typically been much closer. The game also marked the debuts of QB Jevan Snead and the new Wild Rebel formation, both of which helped spur Ole Miss to their biggest offensive output against an FBS opponent in five years.
Why Ole Miss might win: All of a sudden, the offense, a liability in the offseason, is showing the potential of being a team strength. Snead isn’t all the way there, but he does give the Rebels their best passer since Eli Manning graduated. The new formation, which lines up skill position players to receive a direct snap, has brought out the talents of shifty Dexter McCluster and freshmen back Brandon Bolden. With so much beef on the offensive line, Ole Miss has considerable upside on offense.
Why Wake Forest might win: Ole Miss survived Memphis without defensive linemen Peria Jerry and Greg Hardy, but it won’t be as fortunate in Winston-Salem. The Rebs allowed 453 yards and 28 first downs to a Tiger team breaking in a new backfield. The Deacons aren’t exactly explosive, but they can methodically pick a team apart with the low-risk passing of Skinner and the running of Josh Adams and Brandon Pendergrass.
Who to watch: Wake Forest TE Ben Wooster has kept his offseason momentum going strong, catching six passes for 90 yards and a touchdown in the opener. He’s the type of player who can stretch a defense, while giving Skinner a big, sure-handed target down the middle of the field.
What will happen: All of a sudden, Wake Forest is inching closer to being the favorite in the ACC. The Deacons are balanced on offense, opportunistic on defense, and perennially well-coached. As good as Ole Miss looked in Week 1, it’s not quite ready to knock off a program of Wake’s caliber on the road.                 

CFN Prediction: Wake Forest 34 ... Ole Miss 20 ... Line: Wake Forest -8.5
Must See Rating: (5 Entourage premiere - 1 One Tree Hill premiere) … 2.5
- Click here to receive ATS Consultants FREE selections 

- SEC Fearless Predictions, Week Two, Part 2