SEC Fearless Predictions, Oct. 4, Part 2
Vanderbilt CB D.J. Moore
Vanderbilt CB D.J. Moore
Posted Oct 1, 2008

Previews and Predictions for the Week 6 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
- Sept. 27

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

- SEC Fearless Predictions, Week Six

Saturday, October 4

Auburn (4-1) at Vanderbilt (4-0), 6 EST, ESPN
Why to watch: You don’t believe in Vanderbilt. SEC elitists don’t believe in Vanderbilt. The oddsmakers and “investing” public doesn’t believe in Vanderbilt. And why should they? This is Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt. The yearly assumed win on everyone’s SEC schedule. Vanderbilt. The football program that hasn’t been 5-0 since 1941 and hasn’t been 6-0 since 1928, when it was part of the Southern conference. Vanderbilt. The leader on top of the SEC East standings and the division’s lone unbeaten team. Beating South Carolina and Ole Miss in tough, tight games perked up a little bit of interest, but beating Auburn would take things to a whole other level.

Auburn has been every bit as good as advertised on defense. The line has been tremendous, the secondary has been stellar, and the special teams have been a major plus. The offense, well, the defense has been fantastic. The Tiger attack has sputtered and coughed its way to a 4-1 record with little from the passing game and an inconsistent running game thanks to a banged up group of running backs. It might seem crazy to call a road game at Vanderbilt a chance to make a statement, but after slogging its way through a 14-12 win over Tennessee and less-than-stellar offensive showings against LSU and in the 3-2 win over Mississippi State, the Tigers have to prove they belong in the SEC title discussion with a win over a jacked up SEC team in its park.

Why Auburn might win: 1955. That’s the last time Vanderbilt beat Auburn, winning 25-13 in the Gator Bowl. The Tigers have won 13 straight in the series. Fine, so the past doesn’t mean anything. What does matter is the Tiger defensive front against the Vanderbilt running game. The Commodores don’t/aren’t able to throw the ball consistently and have to rely on the running of QB Chris Nickson (who’s best from a shoulder injury) and RB Jared Hawkins to carry the mediocre offense. The Commodores aren’t going to go on long, drawn out marches on this Auburn defense. They’re going to need several breaks and a few key turnovers, which should come because …
Why Vanderbilt might win: … the Commodores lead the nation in turnover margin forcing 10 turnovers and only losing five fumbles. The Vandy quarterbacks have yet to throw an interception, while Auburn has had a bit of a problem holding on to the ball with 11 turnovers on the year. Auburn’s offense isn’t going to suddenly explode for 50 points, and if it gets behind and has to start throwing, there will be problems.
Who to watch: The Commodores give up a ton of passing yards, but they make up for it by coming up with the big plays when needed and forcing plenty of mistakes. Junior D.J. Moore not only is a leader in the secondary, he’s the nation’s leading punt returner averaging 29 yards per try. Meanwhile, senior Reshard Langford is considered one of the nation’s top NFL safety prospects and is living up to his hype making 25 tackles with two interceptions. Meanwhile, junior Ryan Hamilton is coming off an epic day against Ole Miss making six tackles, picking off three passes, taking one 79 yards for a touchdown, made a goal line tackle, and recovered a fumble.
What will happen
: It’s not going to be pretty. Auburn’s offense isn’t going to find itself this week, but the defensive front will do just enough to keep the Vandy offense from cranking out more than 200 yards. The Tigers will get in two good scoring drives and that’ll be enough to put the game away.
CFN Prediction
: Auburn 20 … Vanderbilt 7 ... Line: Auburn -4.5
Must See Rating: (5 Palin vs. Biden - 1 Beverly Hills Chihuahua) … 4
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Northern Illinois (2-2) at Tennessee (1-3), 7 EST, GamePlan
Why to watch: The bad: Tennessee has stunk it up offensively over the past few weeks and is on an ugly 1-3 start. The good: two of the losses came to Florida and Auburn, there’s no shame there. The really bad: Next week’s game is at Georgia. The Vols have to come up with a few answered for their offensive woes in a real hurry with teams like Georgia, Alabama, still to deal with, and while a big win over Northern Illinois won’t get the SEC title talk going, it would allow everyone around the program to exhale. NIU is coming off one of its most complete performances in years beating Eastern Michigan 37-0 on the road. The Eagles never got deep into Huskie territory and were dominated on both sides of the ball. New head coach Jerry Kill has changed things around in a hurry, and even though the Huskies are 2-2, they’re better than that. They had Minnesota, who has turned out to be pretty good, dead-to-rights before the Gopher’s came up with a key fourth down conversion on offense and two big plays in the end zone on defense to stop a late Huskie drive. NIU came up just short in a 29-26 loss at Western Michigan. 
Why Northern Illinois might win: The defense has started to come together at just the right time. Yeah, beating up Indiana State and Eastern Michigan isn’t deserving of much more than a yawn, but the Huskies allowed just three points in those two games. The line is terrific at getting into the backfield. The last thing the struggling Tennessee passing game needs right now is to be under any sort of pressure. Tennessee, meet Brandon Bice and Larry English. They have a reservation for two in your backfield.
Why Tennessee might win: Oh yeah, the defense. So much has been made about the Tennessee offense that the great start from the defense has been glossed over. The line play hasn’t been dominant, but the secondary has been special at times and the defense, as a whole has only allowed 258 yards per game. NIU’s offense hasn’t played anyone who can remotely play defense, but the O line has struggled in pass protection. This will be the game for the Tennessee pass rush to break out.
Who to watch: And the starting Tennessee quarterback will be … ? Jonathan Crompton hasn’t gotten the offense moving, and while he hasn’t lost his job entirely, he’s on double secret probation as Nick Stephens will see playing time if he doesn’t take over the starting job. Stephens is a tall, thin passer who has a live arm and excellent upside, but he needs work. He’ll get it this week, while Crompton, who has rightly or wrongly been blamed by many for the offense’s problems, hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in the three losses, and completed just 8-of-23 passes for 67 yards against Auburn.
What will happen
: Tennessee’s offense won’t explode, but it’ll do enough to get by. Meanwhile, the Volunteer defensive line will control the game from the start.
CFN Prediction
: Tennessee 38 … Northern Illinois 13 ... Line: Tennessee -16
Must See Rating: (5 Palin vs. Biden - 1 Beverly Hills Chihuahua) … 2
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- SEC Fearless Predictions, Week Six