SEC Fearless Predictions, Oct. 18, Part 2
Mississippi State QB Tyson Lee
Mississippi State QB Tyson Lee
Posted Oct 13, 2008

Previews and Predictions for the Week 8 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 | Oct. 4 | Oct. 11

How are the picks so far? SU: 33-13 ... ATS: 16-22

- SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 8, Oct. 18

Saturday, October 18

Mississippi State (2-4) at Tennessee (2-4), 7:00 EST, GamePlan
Why to watch: It’s a battle of the bottom feeders as Tennessee, who’s 0-3 in SEC play and at the bottom of the East standings, tries to turn its season around against a Mississippi State team tied with Arkansas and Ole Miss at the bottom of the West. However, the Bulldogs are coming off a nice win over Vanderbilt, while the Vols got nothing from the lifeless offense yet again in a 26-14 loss to Georgia. The 1998 SEC title game this is not. The loser is out of the bowl hunt, each still has too much work to do to win four of their final five games. Tennessee has to deal with Alabama next week and has road games against South Carolina and Vanderbilt, but it should be able to win three more games. MSU has to play Alabama, too, but the rest of the slate if very manageable. Basically, the winner this week should have a decent second half of the year, while the loser will have some major issues to deal with, especially if it’s Tennessee.
Why Mississippi State might win: The Tennessee passing game wasn’t doing anything before, and now it’s really going to struggle against the nation’s third best pass defense. MSU is allowing just 138 yards per game through the air, and while the secondary hasn’t dealt with anyone who knows how to throw a forward pass, with the possible exception of LSU, there really is talent in the defensive backfield. Tennessee’s passing game, one of the least efficient in America, isn’t going to suddenly turn into Texas Tech.
Why Tennessee might win: If you want to look thin, hang out with fat people. If you want to look like you’re good on offense, play a team that can’t move the ball. Mississippi State’s offense is one of the scant few in America playing worse than Tennessee’s. The Bulldog passing game won’t be going anywhere on a fantastic Vol secondary, while the running game should have a tough time cranking out any long drives. For all of Tennessee’s problems, the defense is relatively blameless. Outside of a strange collapse at UCLA, the D has done its part despite getting little to no help from the offense.
Who to watch: No pressure, Nick Stephens. The Tennessee season, and the career of head coach Phil Fulmer probably rests on what you’re able to do over the next few weeks. The sophomore was given the starting job over an ineffective Jonathan Crompton, but he has failed to do much as he’s completing fewer than half of his throws with three touchdown passes, no interceptions, and no threat of taking off to run. Even with his issues, he threw for 208 yards against Georgia on just 13 completions.  He has to be a calm, cool customer against the swarming Bulldog D.
What will happen: It’s not going to be a work of art, but Tennessee will take it. In yet another defensive battle, the Vol defense will be a little better than the MSU D, while the MSU O will be just a wee bit more inept than Tennessee’s.
CFN Prediction: Tennessee 17 … Mississippi State 13 … Line: Tennessee -8
Must See Rating: (5 The Real Housewives of Atlanta – 1 Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew) … 2.5
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LSU (4-1) at South Carolina (5-2), 8:00 EST, ESPN
Why to watch: Very, very quietly, South Carolina has gone on a nice four-game winning streak with seven-point wins over Ole Miss and Kentucky to get back into the SEC race. In fact, every Gamecock SEC game has been decided by a touchdown. While Steve Spurrier doesn’t have a really good win on the 2008 résumé, he has a killer defense that’s stopping everyone’s passing game cold and a three-game home-stand that will define the season. LSU saw its season crash with a resounding thud last week as Florida ripped up the defending national champion 51-21. The once invincible defense couldn’t stop Percy Harvin, Tim Tebow and the Gator attack, while the offense all of a sudden became mediocre. Even so, the national title is still on the radar as long as the Tigers win out. With Georgia and Alabama still to deal with, there can’t be a slip to a team like South Carolina. Five home games follow before the season ender against Arkansas, so the potential is there to make plenty of noise over the next month.
Why LSU might win: The LSU defensive line has been a major disappointment over the last few weeks as the pass rush has been mediocre and there hasn’t been any push into the backfield. That could all change this week as South Carolina’s offensive line has struggled from the start of the season, and it isn’t getting night and day better. LSU’s big problem has been turnovers, but South Carolina is one of the few teams in the country with bigger turnover-margin issues
Why South Carolina might win: What happened to the LSU defense? The struggles on the line have trickled down into the back seven as the secondary holds the distinction of being one of the few in college football to actually allow passing yards to Auburn. It’s also one of the only defenses to allow rushing yards to Florida, giving up 265 last week and three scores. South Carolina might not have a juggernaut of an offense, but it’ll move the ball from time to time when needed. At least it’ll do it through the air.
Who to watch: Now who’ll be the South Carolina quarterback? Chris Smelley was tremendous in the win over Ole Miss, stunk it up against Kentucky and was benched for Stephen Garcia, who was fantastic in the win over UAB before getting replaced by Smelley before the Rebel game. Got that? Neither do the USC quarterbacks who keep rotating in and out. Garcia brings more mobility to the position and is the future of the program, but he has to prove he can be a steady leader. One bad quarterback and he’ll get the hook, too.
What will happen: It’s not going to be a pretty game. The South Carolina crowd will be sky-high and the defenses will be rocking early, but it’ll come down to turnovers. Each team will commit a few of them, but LSU will screw up a little less than South Carolina will.
CFN Prediction: LSU 27 … South Carolina 20 … Line: LSU -3.5
Must See Rating: (5 The Real Housewives of Atlanta – 1 Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew) … 4
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- SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 8, Oct. 18