SEC Fearless Predictions, Oct. 4
Posted Sep 1, 2008

Kentucky? The world is falling all over itself to love Alabama, but the Tide might have a battle on its hands against a Kentucky team that leads the nation in scoring defense and has enough offense, helped by Alfonso Smith, to get by. Check out the Previews and Predictions for the Week 6 SEC Games.

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
- Sept. 27

How are the picks so far? SU: 34-9 ... ATS: 17-17

- SEC Fearless Predictions, Week Six, Part 2

SEC Game of the Week

Kentucky (4-0) at Alabama (5-0), 3:30 EST, CBS
Why to watch: Could this be a preview of the SEC title game? Fine, so that’s getting wayyyyy ahead of the game, but no one ever imagined a few weeks ago that this would be one of the SEC’s marquee games between two unbeaten teams. Alabama hasn’t just gone 5-0, it’s been amazing in doing it getting out 31-0 at Georgia before holding off the Bulldogs for a 41-30 win. Supposedly a year away from being special, the timetable has been moved up and national title expectations have kicked in.

Kentucky hasn’t been anything special on offense after losing all the stars from last year’s team, but the defense has become special allowing three points or fewer in three of the four games. Last year’s win over eventual national champion LSU was big, but a win this week would be even more important. With winnable home games against South Carolina and Arkansas to follow, the Cats would likely be 7-0 going into the road trip to Florida, and would likely be ranked in the top five, if they can pull off the upset.

This is supposed to be the easy portion of the Bama schedule facing UK this week and hosting Ole Miss next week before going to Tennessee. Obviously, things have now changed as the Tide will have to prove to be up to the challenge against the emerging teams.

Why Kentucky might win: Sheer hubris. As much as Alabama head coach Nick Saban can talk about getting his players ready and as much as everyone can say they’re in the right frame of mind, they just whacked Georgia at Georgia like it was Utah State. There’s bound to be a letdown. On the field, Bama’s fantastic offensive line will get tested even more than it was against Georgia with the aggressive UK defensive front certain to manufacture ways of getting into the backfield. Bama QB John Parker Wilson has hardly been touched so far. That’ll change on Saturday.
Why Alabama might win: It’s not like the Kentucky offense is blowing anyone’s doors off. The Wildcats are doing enough to get by thanks a relatively light schedule, a decent running game, and efficient passing. No one has pushed the UK offensive line yet, but Alabama’s defensive front four should speed up the passing game a bit and force Mike Hartline to step up his reads and his decision making. While Hartline is growing into a nice player to build around, he’s still a sophomore going into a super-charged environment against an ultra-confident defense.
Who to watch: Glen Coffee has yet to be hailed as any sort of SEC superstar, but the junior has been one of the key focal points of the Alabama offense. He’s not tremendously fast and he might not be very flashy, but he has rushed for a solid 490 yards and three touchdowns and is coming off a workhorse 23-carry, 86-yard, one score day against Georgia. Alabama wants to establish the run first, and it’ll lead off with Coffee to set up Wilson and the passing game.
What will happen
: Kentucky’s defense will be solid enough in the first half to get the fired up Tide crowd grumbling, but there won’t be enough from Hartline and the offense to take advantage of any opportunities. Alabama will look mortal, and Kentucky will be the reason.
CFN Prediction
: Alabama 20 … Kentucky 14 ... Line: Alabama -16.5
Must See Rating: (5 Palin vs. Biden - 1 Beverly Hills Chihuahua) … 4
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Saturday, October 4

Florida (3-1) at Arkansas (2-2), 12:30 EST, GamePlan
Why to watch: This was supposed to be the time when Florida could stretch its legs a bit and build up a nice, fat record to tune-up and prepare for LSU and Georgia. However, the offense struggled with its consistency over the first part of the season and the defense collapsed on one big play against Ole Miss to turn the season around. Florida was plagued by missed opportunities, a blocked field goal, and a fourth down stuff to lose to the Rebels 31-30, and while the national title dream isn’t gone, there’s no more margin for error. The Gators have to win out to play for the national title. Arkansas, on the other hand, has to pull off a win for survival. Awful over the first four games of the year, the Hogs barely got by Western Illinois and UL Monroe by a total of five points, and then got blasted by Texas and Alabama by a combined score of 101 to 24. The hits just keep on coming for Bobby Petrino’s rebuilding crew, facing Auburn in Jordan-Hare next week.  
Why Florida might win: Florida might be a bit beaten up on the defensive line, but if it was ever going to get the pass rush going, this would be the game to do it. The injured and retooling Arkansas front five has allowed more sacks than anyone in America while struggling to consistently get the running game going. Florida has been terrific at taking the ball away, and if there’s consistent pressure into the Ole Miss backfield, the interceptions will be there for the taking.
Why Arkansas might win: Florida isn’t exactly humming on all cylinders. If the Gators play a sharp, tight game, Arkansas doesn’t have a prayer. But Florida has yet to come up with a solid 60-minute game, evidenced last week with a few key misfires on late passes and a breakdown in coverage to allow the go-ahead home run touchdown to Shay Hodge. Arkansas will have to keep bombing away. There will be mistakes and there will be a few ugly series, but the Hogs have to go with their strength, and at the moment, that’s throwing the ball as much as possible.
Who to watch: The Florida offensive line is suddenly becoming a big of an issue with several backups already hurt and with starting guard Jim Tartt’s shoulder expected to be an ongoing problem. Combined with Marcus Gilbert’s ankle injury, and all of a sudden, the Gators could be vulnerable in the interior.
What will happen
: Arkansas will turn the ball over five times and Florida will mix it up a bit more than it has in the last few weeks. It’ll take just over a half, but the Gators will find a way back into its SEC title-caliber groove on two key drives that’ll blow the game open.
CFN Prediction
: Florida 45 … Arkansas 17 ... Line: Florida -24.5
Must See Rating: (5 Palin vs. Biden - 1 Beverly Hills Chihuahua) … 2.5
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South Carolina (3-2) at Ole Miss (3-2), 2:00 EST, GamePlan
Why to watch: The midsection of the SEC pecking order will shake out a bit between two teams and two programs seemingly going in opposite directions. Ole Miss is coming off a stunning 31-30 win at Florida thanks to a huge pass play from Jevan Snead to Shay Hodge and a few key plays late from the defensive line. Now the expectations have been set high with the potential to be a key player in the SEC race as the season goes on with a trip to Alabama up next after hosting the Gamecocks, South Carolina has been decidedly mediocre despite playing four of its first five games at home. The defense has been excellent, but the offense has wavered between being ineffective at best to a disaster at worst. This is supposed to be the easy part of the SEC schedule with trips to Ole Miss this week and Kentucky next week, but with LSU, Tennessee and Florida still left on the slate, the wins have to start coming now.  
Why South Carolina might win: The defense has done the best it can in a bad situation. No, there haven’t been a slew of offensive juggernauts to deal with, with the possible exception of Georgia, yet the Gamecocks have been tremendous at getting offenses off the field. The Ole Miss offense has worked tremendously well so far, but USC should be able to take away one phase. The secondary should be able to handle the average Rebel receivers, while the linebackers are talented enough to keep Dexter McCluster and the Wild Rebel ground game in check.
Why Ole Miss might win: South Carolina is one of the few teams that can find ways to come up with more turnovers and more mistakes than Ole Miss. The Gamecocks haven’t found an interception it didn’t try to throw, pitching 11 so far, and while the defense has been great, it’s not the type of group that forces takeaways in bunches. The biggest problem for USC is on the offensive line. It’s been miserable so far, while the Rebels are getting healthier and better on the defensive front.
Who to watch: While Stephen Garcia hasn’t officially been named the South Carolina starting quarterback, Stephen Garcia is the South Carolina starting quarterback. At the very least, he’s considered the savior for an erratic passing game that needs a boost. Garcia is the most mobile of the options running for 86 yards and a touchdown last week against UAB, while completing 13-of-20 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown with an interception.
What will happen
: Ole Miss is two plays away from being 5-0, and now it has the confidence that it can play with anyone in the SEC. South Carolina might be a mess on offense, but it’s getting RB Mike Davis back and star receiver Kenny McKinley might give it a go. This should be a terrific game with several big momentum swings, but Ole Miss will win the battle on the defensive front to force three interceptions that’ll change the game.
CFN Prediction
: Ole Miss 23 … South Carolina 17 ... Line: Ole Miss -2.5
Must See Rating: (5 Palin vs. Biden - 1 Beverly Hills Chihuahua) … 3.5
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- SEC Fearless Predictions, Week Six, Part 2