SEC Fearless Predictions, Sept. 27, Part 2
Kentucky WR Dicky Lyons
Kentucky WR Dicky Lyons
Posted Sep 24, 2008

Previews and Predictions for the Week 5 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 | Sept. 20

How are the picks so far? SU: 29-7 ... ATS: 13-15

- SEC Fearless Predictions, Week Five

Saturday, Sept. 27

Western Kentucky (2-2) at Kentucky (3-0), 7:00 EST GamePlan
Why to watch: Kentucky has had two weeks off to bask in the glow of a 3-0 start highlighted by a great defense and a erratic offense. With a trip to Alabama next week to kick off its SEC season, this is a game for the offense to start working. In a role-reversal from last year, the UK defense is carrying an attack averaging 337 yards per game. WKU is coming off a blowout win over Murray State, but has lost to Indiana and Alabama by a combined score of 72-20. The future Sun Belt member goes to Virginia Tech next week.
Why Western Kentucky might win: The Hilltoppers get their star back. The offense was just fine last week with David Wolke at the helm in the 50-9 win over Murray State, and while he’ll still play a role, the offense needs K.J. Black back. Black suffered a dislocated shoulder in the win over Eastern Kentucky, but when he’s right, he’s the team’s most dangerous rushing option.
Why Kentucky might win: WKU only came up with 158 yards against Alabama and 282 yards against Indiana. The running game went nowhere in those two games and it’s not likely to get rolling this week against a UK run defense allowing 50 yards per outing. WKU isn’t getting anything out of its running backs.
Who to watch: The Kentucky defense will be without two of its key cogs, MLB Micah Johnson and DT Ricky Lumpkin. Each has a high-ankle sprain suffered against Middle Tennessee, and while they might not be needed this week, Johnson, the team’s leading tackler, has to be healthy once SEC play starts. Fortunately for UK, Braxton Kelly is a natural inside linebacker and will move back to the middle to take over for Johnson.
What will happen: Kentucky’s offense will remain an issue, but the defense will keep this from being a battle.
CFN Prediction
: Kentucky 31 … Western Kentucky 13 ... Line: No Line
Must See Rating: (5 Debate No. 1 - 1 The 2008 Primetime Emmys) … 1.5
- Click here to receive ATS Consultants FREE selections

UAB (1-3) at South Carolina (2-2), 7:00 EST
Why to watch: Where would South Carolina be without the play of Ellis Johnson’s defense? It would not be a pretty sight. The Gamecocks barely got by Wofford a week ago, needing a late touchdown to finally put the game out of reach. As bad as the quarterbacks have been playing in Columbia, it might be time to hand the ball to Stephen Garcia, the impish redshirt freshman who’s been hailed as the savior ever since signing a letter-of-intent. UAB got a well-deserved break from a rugged early-season schedule, pounding Alabama State for its first win of the season. Unlike this week’s host, the Blazers have a quarterback to build around for the next two seasons. Junior Joe Webb leads the team with 401 yards rushing and has thrown two touchdown passes in three of the first four games.
Why UAB might win: South Carolina showed last week that regardless of the opponent, it’s vulnerable when it can’t punch in touchdowns. The offense moved the chains, but struggled to score. Wofford had no business being in that game in the fourth quarter, but it was, which gives hope to the Blazers. UAB comes in battle-tested, having played Tulsa, Florida Atlantic, and Tennessee, and confident after winning for the first time. Led by S Will Dunbar and LB Joe Henderson, the defense has a chance against a Gamecock offense that lacks playmakers and has reached the end zone just four times in the last three games.
Why South Carolina might win: In Columbia, it’s all about the defense these days. The Gamecocks have the nation’s top-rated pass defense, allowing just 96 yards a game and a single touchdown pass in four games. UAB has a one-dimensional offense, which South Carolina will have no problems containing. The way CB Captain Munnerlyn, LB Jasper Brinkley, and the rest of the defense are performing, Webb alone won’t be enough to put a dent in this group. In fact, label it a minor upset if the Blazer offense produces more than 10 points Saturday night.
Who to watch: Whether he’s in the huddle or on the sidelines, all eyes in Williams-Brice Stadium will be on Garcia. While it’s not exactly fair or rationale, many Gamecock fans believe he’ll solve most of the offense’s woes. Whether it’s Garcia or Chris Smelley at the controls, he’ll benefit from improved play out of receivers Moe Brown and Dion Lecorn. Neither has really lit it up since Kenny McKinley went down with a hamstring injury.
What will happen: Although UAB plays with a no-quit demeanor, its inability to move the ball on the South Carolina D will foil any possibility for a signature upset. Garcia will play, as expected, but will fail to walk on water, as some Gamecock fans had hoped. Even so, it'll be a relatively easy win.
CFN Prediction
: South Carolina 24 … UAB 9 ... Line: South Carolina -24.5
Must See Rating: (5 Debate No. 1 - 1 The 2008 Primetime Emmys) … 2
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Mississippi State (1-3) at LSU (3-0), 7:30 EST, ESPN2
Why to watch: Mississippi State hasn’t just had problems with LSU in recent years; it hasn’t been even close. The Bulldogs lost to the Tigers 45-38 in 2000, and have been blasted over the last six years in the seven-game losing streak. MSU doesn’t just need to pull off the upset to stop this bad run, but it needs a win to kick-start its season. There was the win over SE Louisiana, and that’s it. Louisiana Tech, Auburn and Georgia Tech beat MSU by a combined score of 63 to 23, and the offense has gone into the tank over the last two games. Meanwhile, LSU has to avoid a letdown after its tremendous 26-21 come-from-behind win over Auburn. While that win was a big step to winning the SEC West, is was just part one of a nasty schedule with a trip to Florida coming up next in two weeks with South Carolina to follow.
Why Mississippi State might win: This is the ultimate sandwich game. How can LSU keep its focus and fire with Florida up next and with Auburn just barely in the rear-view mirror? The LSU passing game took off with Jarrett Lee waking up in the second half in time to lead the way to a win, but with Andrew Hatch still getting over a concussion, MSU has a chance to prepare fully for Lee. MSU has problems, but the pass defense isn’t one of them. However ...
Why LSU might win: The run defense got gashed by Georgia Tech last week with the Yellow Jackets ripping off 438 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Auburn only managed three points in its win over MSU, but it cranked out a tough 161 yards. The LSU offensive line is playing well enough to dominate the battle up front to open the holes for …
Who to watch: LSU RB Charles Scott. The junior got a few carries here and there last year, rushing for 324 yards and five touchdowns, but he has been the offensive star so far this year rushing for over 100 yards in each of the first three games with four touchdowns. He didn’t score against Auburn, but he ran for a solid 132 yards on 21 carries. With Lee still getting his feet wet, the more Scott can do, the better.
What will happen: Mississippi State won’t come up with two defensive clunkers in a row. The secondary will give Lee major problems, but the run defense won’t hold up in the second half as LSU pulls away with a power running game. Don’t expect anything fancy from LSU. Run the ball, rely on the defense, repeat.
CFN Prediction
: LSU 27 … Mississippi State 6 ... Line: LSU -24.5
Must See Rating: (5 Debate No. 1 - 1 The 2008 Primetime Emmys) … 3
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- SEC Fearless Predictions, Week Five