SEC Fearless Predictions, Oct. 11
LSU LB Darry Beckwith
LSU LB Darry Beckwith
Posted Oct 7, 2008

LSU vs. Florida takes a backseat to no one. The battle of the last two national champions could either end the Gator national title dreams or launch them, while LSU is looking to show it deserves to be ranked No. 1. Check out the Previews and Predictions for the Week 7 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 | Oct. 4

How are the picks so far? SU: 32-9 ... ATS: 15-18

- SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 7, Oct. 11, Part 2

SEC Game of the Week

LSU (4-0) at Florida (4-1), 8:00 EST CBS
Why to watch: The showdown between the last two national champions could also be a battle for the 2008 national title. It’s that big, but it’s bigger for Florida. It’s this simple; if Florida wins out, it’ll play in the BCS Championship game. The SEC champion, even with one loss, will trump everyone in the pecking order unless Penn State and the Big 12 champion each finish unbeaten. LSU could lose this game and still defend its title by winning out, but a win could clear the path to the No. 2 spot in the rankings with a road trip to South Carolina next week before playing five straight home games.

LSU has already been tested once on the road with a 26-21 late win over Auburn, and with a great set of lines, a tough run defense, and a nasty ground game, this might be almost as complete a team as last year’s national champion, even if the quarterback situation isn’t quite as strong. Meanwhile, Florida is still trying to find itself. The defense has been great, the return game has been elite, and the offense hasn’t been bad. However, Tim Tebow has yet to be Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin hasn’t been 100%, but the offense still has a breathtaking stockpile of speed, athleticism and talent that has yet to be unleashed. At least that’s what Gator fans are hoping for. The shocking loss to Ole Miss a few weeks ago can all but be erased with a win this week.
Why LSU might win: The lines could control the game. The Tiger offensive front has been dominant, paving the way for 207 rushing yards per game while giving the new quarterbacks time to get their feet wet. Florida’s defensive line has played better than originally expected, but it has yet to be smacked in the mouth. Tennessee tried to run the ball, but the Gators loaded up to stop the run and dared Jonathan Crompton to win the game. LSU should be more effective throwing the ball, and should force the Florida back seven to honor the passing attack. That means the future NFL starters on the LSU offensive front should be able to pound away.
Why Florida might win
: The Gators have been dominant when they don’t screw up. They’ve turned the ball over four times this year with three of the fumbles coming in the loss to Ole Miss. That means there’s been a mere one turnover in the other four games. Meanwhile, LSU, with all of its talent, aggressiveness and athleticism, has only forced three turnovers. In a game as tight as this one should be, a few mistakes here and there could be the difference.
Who to watch: What’s wrong with Tim Tebow? That’s the question surrounding the reigning Heisman winner after a relatively pedestrian start to the season, at least compared to last year. However, the plan is working. Last year, he was a more effective power runner and took more shots. While that meant bigger yards, he wore down as the season went on and he struggled in the fourth quarters of games. This year, he’s not taking the same big shots, at least there haven’t been as many huge hits, and while his stats might not be overwhelming, he has only thrown one pick with eight touchdown passes. Is this the game Tebow unleashes the fastball and becomes the offense again? Maybe not, but this is the type of game he has to win to show that he’s not all about the stats. He lost to LSU last year. He lost to Auburn, Georgia, and Michigan, too. He needs this win on the résumé.
What will happen
: While this has taken a bit of a back seat to Texas vs. Oklahoma on the hype scale, this will quickly take on the look and the feel of a national title-caliber game. These two superpower are going to let it all loose, and each will have its big moments. While Florida has a huge quarterback advantage, the LSU lines will control the game just enough to allow the Tigers to pull off yet another heart-stopping win in the Les Miles era.
CFN Prediction
: LSU 26 … Florida 24 ... Line: Florida -4
Must See Rating: (5 The Girls Next Door: Season 5 - 1  2008 Chicago Cub Playoff Highlights) … 5
- Click here to receive ATS Consultants FREE selections

Saturday, October 11

South Carolina (4-2) at Kentucky (4-1), 12:30 EST GamePlan
Why to watch: This is a better matchup than you think. While all the SEC East attention is either going to Vanderbilt or to the woes of Tennessee, these two teams are good enough to start getting a little more love. South Carolina has very quietly come up with three straight wins after losing to Vanderbilt and Georgia in battles that easily could’ve gone either way. Granted, beating Wofford and UAB isn’t any big deal, but getting Ole Miss in Oxford, a week after the Rebels beat Florida, might have righted the ship. Meanwhile, Kentucky gave Alabama everything it could handle last week in a 17-14 loss. The offense sparked up late, while the defense held tough allowing just 10 offensive points. The winner is still in the hunt for the SEC title, in a dark-horse sort of way, while the loser still has work to do to get one of the lower-tier SEC bowls.
Why South Carolina might win: If Kentucky was looking to get its offense on track, it’ll have to wait until the Arkansas game next week. South Carolina’s defense has flown under the radar, but it’s played as well as any in the country allowing just 245 yards per game. No, the secondary hasn’t played anyone outside of Georgia who can throw the forward pass, but it still deserves credit for giving up just 128 yards per game. Kentucky’s offense blew up on Norfolk State and Western Kentucky, and it’s done next to nothing against anyone else.
Why Kentucky might win
: South Carolina’s defense has been good, but Kentucky’s has been better. The D has given up just three touchdowns all year with two coming against Middle Tennessee. The secondary has been fantastic against Louisville’s Hunter Cantwell, Alabama’s John Parker Wilson, and everyone else. There’s a slew of next-level talent in several key spots, as evidenced by ...
Who to watch: … the play of the Wildcat defensive line. There was a reason for the array of holding calls against the tremendous Alabama offensive line last week. Jeremy Jarmon, Corey Peters and Myron Pryor will all spend time in NFL camps, and their play has allowed the UK linebackers to tee off. Johnny Williams and Braxton Kelly have been deadly getting into the backfield.
What will happen
: The South Carolina offensive line is having way too many problems in pass protection to handle the tremendous Kentucky pass rush. Neither offense will be special, but Kentucky will get the one key play needed at home to give the Gamecocks yet another heartbreaking loss.
CFN Prediction
: Kentucky 17 … South Carolina 13 ... Line: South Carolina -1
Must See Rating: (5 The Girls Next Door: Season 5 - 1  2008 Chicago Cub Playoff Highlights) … 3.5
- Click here to receive ATS Consultants FREE selections
Vanderbilt (5-0) at Mississippi State (1-4), 2:30 EST GamePlan
Why to watch: Vanderbilt really is leading the SEC East race as the super-division’s only unbeaten team. Beating South Carolina was nice and winning at Ole Miss opened a few eyes, but beating Auburn when everyone was watching put the program on the map. This is far from a perfect team. The offense stinks, the terrific secondary gives up a few too many yards, and the team is too reliant on getting the right break at the right time, but you don’t go 3-0 in the SEC unless you’re legit. On the other side, Mississippi State, last year’s surprise team from the SEC, has gone back to being an also-ran having yet to beat an FBS team. On the plus side, the Bulldogs have gotten Auburn and LSU out of the way, but there was also a loss to Louisiana Tech to open the season. On a three-game losing streak, MSU desperately needs this win to get bowl hopes back on track. Outside of a road trip to Alabama, at least as it looks at the moment, there isn’t a team left on the schedule that MSU won’t have a puncher’s chance at beating.
Why Vanderbilt might win: Mississippi State’s offense hasn’t just been erratic; it’s been non-existent for long stretches. The attack needed the ground attack to control games against the better teams, and it hasn’t happened. Meanwhile, the defensive front has been surprisingly soft against the run. For MSU to win, it needs to force turnovers and feed off the momentum, like it was able to do last year, and like Vanderbilt is doing this season.
Why Mississippi State might win
: Talk about doing it with smoke and mirrors, Vanderbilt has the SEC’s worst offense, ranked 116th in passing, and has won all three of its SEC games by the skin of its teeth. So how is it happening? Turnovers. Vandy leads the nation in turnover margin, while the running game has been fantastic. MSU isn’t forcing the turnovers like it did last year, but that doesn’t mean the aggressive defense can’t come up with a big performance. It stuffed Auburn’s offense in the now-epic 3-2 loss, and for the most part, the defense has been fine. The margin for error is slim for the Commodores, and if the running game isn’t quite working and if the turnovers aren’t coming, MSU has a fighting shot. Forget about any Commodore passing yards.
Who to watch: And the Vanderbilt quarterback will be … ? Chris Nickson has been the steady leader for the offense with his legs more than his arm, but it was Mackenzi Adams who was the spark plug in the win over Auburn after Nickson was knocked out with a shoulder injury. Nickson is fine and able to play, but it might be hard to justify sitting Adams after he completed 13-of-23 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns, while leading the team with 54 rushing yards. They will both likely play.  
What will happen
: Will the collar start to get tight now for Vanderbilt? Traditionally, the Commodores choke up when they get close to bowl eligibility, and this game smells like a trap. Mississippi State has the defense able to come up with the turnovers needed to end the Commodore run, but the Bulldog offense will go nowhere fast once again. The team that wins the turnover margin will win.
CFN Prediction
: Vanderbilt 17 … Mississippi State 12 ... Line: Vanderbilt -2
Must See Rating: (5 The Girls Next Door: Season 5 - 1  2008 Chicago Cub Playoff Highlights) … 3
- Click here to receive ATS Consultants FREE selections

Tennessee (2-3) at Georgia (4-1), 3:30 EST CBS
Why to watch: Oh yeah, Tennessee at Georgia. This was supposed to be one of the biggest games of the college football season, last year’s Tennessee shocking win ended up keeping Georgia out of the SEC championship, and possibly, the BCS Championship Game, but the Vols have yet to show up this year and Georgia is coming off a stunning home loss to Alabama. While at 0-2 with a loss to Florida, things might appear to be bleak, but the race could change in a big hurry if the Gators lose to LSU this week and, potentially, to Georgia. Of course, that’s getting way ahead of the game; Tennessee has to figure out how to win.

The Vols haven’t just been struggling, they’ve been awful. The offense has been miserable, coming off a 13-9 win over Northern Illinois, while the defense hasn’t been able to pick up the slack. However, the potential is there for a quick turnaround if the passing game starts to perk up. For Georgia, the national title is still there for the taking by winning out and getting one loss from the Big 12 champion and/or Penn State. The Dawgs have been good overall, but they’ve been underwhelming at times on offense and not national title-good on defense. There isn’t a breather the rest of the way for Georgia, and as crazy as this might sound, considering the emergence of Vanderbilt and Kentucky, Tennessee might be the easiest game left on the slate.
Why Tennessee might win: The Georgia secondary has been stunningly soft. It can be dinked and dunked on, and as the Alabama game showed, it can go through stretches when it can be beaten deep. Tennessee needs to at least give it a shot to loosen things up, or its talented running back corps won’t have room to breathe. On the other side, the defense has been fine. Georgia’s passing game likely won’t be able to blow up against one of the nation’s most talented secondaries.
Why Georgia might win
: 35-14. Georgia has been waiting a year for this game. Last year, the Vols came out roaring and stunned Georgia in a win that propelled them to the SEC title game. Bulldog fans were waiting for Tennessee to slip along the way, but that never happened. Now the hope is for this to be payback time. The Volunteer offense has been miserable, and it’s not going to suddenly find itself this week. The one thing Tennessee can do relatively well is run the ball, and that’s not going to happen against a Georgia defensive front that gave up 129 yards and four touchdowns to Alabama’s running game, and that’s been about it. Central Michigan’s spread gained 59 yards. South Carolina gained 18. Arizona State ran 19 times and netted a mere four yards.
Who to watch: For a team having major problems moving the ball, Tennessee has to win the field position battle. It hasn’t helped that the Vols have one of the nation’s worst punting game, netting a mere 29 yards per try. The punt coverage team has been partly to blame, but punter Chad Cunningham hasn’t been great. Enter Britton Colquitt, the All-America punter who was suspended for the first half of the year after getting nailed with a DUI. He’s back this week, and he needs to control the game by keeping the Dawgs pinned deep.
What will happen
: Georgia won’t come out roaring, but it’ll be effective on its first few drives and Tennessee won’t have an answer. The Vols can’t win if they have to play catch-up, especially considering they’re trying to get their quarterback situation settled.
CFN Prediction
: Georgia 27 … Tennessee 10 ... Line: Georgia -13
Must See Rating: (5 The Girls Next Door: Season 5 - 1  2008 Chicago Cub Playoff Highlights) … 3
- Click here to receive ATS Consultants FREE selections

Arkansas (2-3) at Auburn (4-2), 5:00 EST GamePlan
Why to watch: These are trying times for two of the SEC West’s best programs over the last few seasons. The problems at Arkansas can be forgiven. It’s the first year under head coach Bobby Petrino and he’s rehabbing the entire program. On a three-game losing streak, the Hogs have struggled, to be nice about it, losing to Alabama, Texas and Florida by a combined score of 149 to 31. There’s time to turn things around and get to a bowl with at least four winnable games left on the slate, but coming up with a road win over a wounded Auburn would be a huge kickstart to the Petrino era. The world isn’t as forgiving on the other side as Auburn canned offensive coordinator Tony Franklin just six games into the season. Nevermind that the pieces aren’t quite there to run a proper spread offense, especially at quarterback, and that the Tigers have played against some really, really good defenses, Franklin, apparently, didn’t mesh. If you’re Auburn, you don’t lose to Vanderbilt, even a 5-0 Vanderbilt, without someone taking the fall. This is a big risk for a 4-2 team that could still win the West with a few big breaks.
Why Arkansas might win: Oh great, now what is the Auburn offense going to do? It was averaging a paltry 309 yards and 19 points per game before, and now, in the midst of the meat of the SEC season, and with a trio to West Virginia coming up, the Tigers are going to keep the offense but without the teacher. It’s not like the offense is suddenly going to be special. The Arkansas defense that’s had such a nightmare of a time over the last few weeks should get a week off.
Why Auburn might win
: The Arkansas offense is about to hit a brick wall. This is a bad game for the Hogs. The offensive line is the worst in America in pass protection, the turnovers are flowing, and the defense isn’t coming up with the stops needed to keep the team in games. Auburn’s defense is great at getting into the backfield, while the emerging secondary has the potential to come up with at least three interceptions.
Who to watch: While all eyes will be on the Auburn coaching staff to see how things are going to be moved around, the quarterback situation remains in flux. Franklin and head coach Tommy Tuberville apparently never saw eye-to-eye on the quarterback situation and how they were progressing, or weren’t progressing. The two options, passer Chris Todd and runner Kodi Burns, are getting equal practice reps, and each will be expected to see time. Todd is currently the No. 1 guy, but that could quickly change.
What will happen
: Auburn will go basic, and it’ll work. There will be more vanilla running plays, more power running, and very little passing. The Tiger defense will come up with four takeaways and six sacks.
CFN Prediction
: Auburn 26 … Arkansas 10 ... Line: Auburn -19
Must See Rating: (5 The Girls Next Door: Season 5 - 1  2008 Chicago Cub Playoff Highlights) … 3
- Click here to receive ATS Consultants FREE selections

- SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 7, Oct. 11, Part 2