SEC Fearless Predictions, Sept. 20, Part 2
Vanderbilt QB Chris Nickson
Vanderbilt QB Chris Nickson
Posted Aug 6, 2008

Previews and Predictions for the Week 4 SEC, Part 2

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

- SEC Fearless Predictions Aug. 30 | Sept. 6 | Sept. 13

How are the picks so far? SU: 24-5 ... ATS: 10-12

- SEC Fearless Predictions, Week Four, Part 1

Saturday, Sept. 20

Vanderbilt (3-0) at Ole Miss (2-1), 7 EST 
Why to watch: Is it finally time for Vanderbilt to break through under head coach Bobby Johnson and get to a bowl game? With a 24-17 win over South Carolina a few weeks ago, the Commodores have put themselves in a great position to make plenty of SEC East noise, but they have to win all the winnable games on the slate. This is one of them. Ole Miss also needs every victory it can get against teams its own size. The Rebels are opening the SEC season with a must-win before going on the road to face Florida to kick off a run of three SEC road games in the next four. Each team has a fun, exciting quarterback, a pumped up coaching staff, and a whole bunch of hope for a strong year. Call this a defining game for the SEC’s mid-section.
Why Vanderbilt might win: Turnovers. The Commodores need to win the turnover battle to pull off the win. This is a bad matchup for them, the strengths don’t match up well, so being at least +2 in turnovers is a must. Vandy forces turnovers, Ole Miss doesn’t. This is an aggressive defense that’s going to have to make the big plays. It’s certainly going to try.
Why Ole Miss might win: Vanderbilt wins with a strong pass rush and a great running game. Ole Miss has been great against the run so far and has only allowed one sack so far. The Rebel defensive front will try to contain Commodore QB Chris Nickson with speed on the outside, but South Carolina tried that, too. There will also have to be a steady push from the middle, while offensively, the more time QB Jevan Snead gets, the better. There are big plays there to be had with a half-second extra to throw, and while the Vandy secondary might be among the best in the SEC, it has allowed plenty of passing yards in the first three games.
Who to watch: Ole Miss is getting one of its biggest stars back just in time for the start of the SEC season. Greg Hardy, 2007’s leading SEC sacker, has missed the first few games of the season after breaking his foot in August. He’s still not quite 100%, but he’s practicing and he should see enough action to get his feet wet.
What will happen: This could be the SEC’s most entertaining game this weekend. Vanderbilt will get its rushing yards, but Ole Miss will do a better job of controlling the clock with a strong game from the offensive line. The Rebel balance will be the difference.
CFN Prediction: Ole Miss 23 … Vanderbilt 20 ... Line: Ole Miss -6.5
Must See Rating: (5 Dr. 90210 - 1 Biggest Loser: Families) … 2.5
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Wofford (2-0) at South Carolina (1-2), 7 EST GamePlan
Why to watch: This is a dangerous game for South Carolina. It could be argued that the Gamecocks are roughly two plays away from being 3-0 and 2-0 in SEC play, and they’re coming off a heartbreaking loss to Georgia after screwing up deep in Bulldog territory in key moments. Wofford has the best running game among FBS teams, and the defense is just good enough to annoy a Gamecock offense that’s struggling to produce on a consistent basis. If South Carolina is trying, it’ll win, but this is letdown alert time.
Why Wofford might win: South Carolina doesn’t have a consistent enough offense to rely on game in and game out. The Terriers have allowed just 91 rushing yards in two games and has an aggressive, attacking defense that’s great at getting into the backfield. South Carolina can’t protect its quarterbacks, and Wofford should be able to generate enough pressure to force a few mistakes. The Gamecocks are always good for two turnovers a game.
Why South Carolina might win: South Carolina’s defense is great, as in first in the nation in pass defense and ninth overall great. Wofford averages 400 rushing yards per game with a variety of players getting involved, but there’s no passing game whatsoever. The South Carolina linebacking corps is good enough to shut down the Terrier ground game for long stretches.
Who to watch: Junior TE Jared Cook had a nice 2007 with 30 catches for 421 yards and three touchdowns, he showed this off-season that he has the potential to do far more for the attack, and he showed the potential to be a good pro prospect. After catching eight passes for 111 yards against Vanderbilt, he made three catches for 68 yards against Georgia with a few catches in key moments. With star Kenny McKinley still hurting, the more Cook can do, the better.
What will happen: South Carolina will go through the motions and will be pushed into the third quarter, and then the offense will wake up and go on two long scoring drives to avoid the embarrassment.
CFN Prediction: South Carolina 31 … Wofford 10 ... Line: No Line
Must See Rating: (5 Dr. 90210 - 1 Biggest Loser: Families) … 1.5
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Georgia (3-0) at Arizona State (2-1), 8:00 EST ABC
Why to watch: Last weekend might not have been great for Georgia or Arizona State, but each will get its shot to get back in the national title picture in a big hurry. Yes, ASU can still be in the hunt for the BCS Championship over the next four games with a brutal slate against Georgia, at Cal, at USC, and Oregon. Win those four, get the national respect, be in the driver’s seat for the national title … it’s just that easy. Of course, there was that overtime loss to UNLV last weekend to trip up the Sun Devil momentum, and of course it’s asking way too much to win the next four games, but for the program to take the next step under head coach Dennis Erickson, it needs to prove it can win a home game like this one against a national title favorite. For Georgia, winning impressively at ASU might not carry too much weight after the Sun Devils’ loss to the Rebels, but it’s a national spotlight game and chance to make a statement. It doesn’t matter what anyone else does, if Georgia goes unbeaten, it’s playing for the national title. However, after struggling to get by South Carolina in a 14-7 war, and with Alabama and Tennessee up next, the time is now to show everyone that USC shouldn’t be handed the crystal trophy quite yet.
Why Georgia might win: The Bulldogs should have way too much offensive balance for ASU to handle. The Sun Devil defense struggled generating any pressure on UNLV QB Omar Clayton last week, and has been way too inconsistent against the run. The Georgia attack might not be crisp, but it can win any way needed. Knowshon Moreno can carry the offense for stretches, like he did against South Carolina, and Matthew Stafford is a fearless passer who doesn’t make too many big mistakes. ASU will have to be perfect to pull this off, and it won’t be. The D isn’t great at taking the ball away, and the offense bogs down a bit too much.
Why Arizona State might win: The Georgia defensive line isn’t playing like the killer it should be. Generating a steady pass rush has been a problem, and there have been way too many problems in the secondary. Granted, most of the passing yards came when Georgia Southern and Central Michigan were trying to come back, but when the quarterback isn’t getting hit on a regular basis, the secondary is going to struggle. ASU has the firepower to keep up any pace.
Who to watch: The Arizona State linebacking corps might start finding people in the stands to play. The depth has been gutted by injuries and suspensions, and now the man in the middle, Gerald Munns, will have to try to fight through a banged up hand. That means Mike Nixon will once again have to play a big role in the middle, while the rest of the linebackers have to play far better than they did last week against UNLV’s spread attack.
What will happen: Arizona State will get out to an early lead, but there are too many injuries and too many issues to hold off a top team like Georgia. The Bulldogs are hurting, too, but they’ll still be able to pound the ball, play good defense, and get the occasional big play from Moreno.
CFN Prediction: Georgia 34 … Arizona State 23 ... Line: Georgia -7  
Must See Rating: (5 Hole in the Wall - 1 First Blood) … 4
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- SEC Fearless Predictions, Week Four, Part 1