SEC Fearless Predictions, Nov. 8
LSU RB Charles Scott
LSU RB Charles Scott
Posted Nov 4, 2008

Alabama has moved up to No. 1 in the BCS rankings, and while the rivalry game against Auburn will be a battle, there's one really nasty test left before the SEC title game: LSU. Can Charles Scott and the Tigers ruin the Tide's dream season? Check out the breakdowns and analysis in the Week 11 SEC Fearless Predictions.

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 | Oct. 18 | Oct. 25 | Nov. 1

How are the picks so far? SU: 48-17 ... ATS: 23-34

- SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 10, Nov. 8, Part 2 (Fla vs. Vandy)

SEC Game of the Week

Alabama (9-0) at LSU (6-2), 3:30 EST CBS
Why to watch: This Alabama’s chance to close the deal and take yet another huge step towards a dream season. With a win, the Tide would lock up the SEC West and would be off to likely play Florida for the SEC title. But there’s more on the minds of the Crimson Tide, even if head coach Nick Saban is doing everything possible to temper expectations.

Ranked No. 1 in the BCS rankings, Alabama has the clear path to the national title if it can just wins out, but beating LSU in Death Valley is hardly a sure-thing. Mississippi State and the rivalry game against Auburn are going to be tough, defensive battles, but anyone with a legitimate shot at winning the national title has to put those two home games away without much of a problem. This week is the big hurdle, even if LSU is having some major problems.

This isn’t the same LSU team that won the national title last year, with consistency problems on offense and a suddenly porous defense that gave up 51 points to Florida and 52 to Georgia. The Tigers are still in the SEC title race, but they need to win this week, they’d need to beat Ole Miss and Arkansas, and they’d need another Alabama loss to play for the SEC title. This has been a good enough team to get by the average, but it has yet to make a statement of any sort. Beating Alabama would change all of that.

Why Alabama might win: LSU isn’t getting good enough play out of the quarterbacks to win a game of this magnitude. Jarrett Lee has been fine, but nothing special, and Andrew Hatch is out with a leg injury. Alabama isn’t giving up anything on the ground, so if Lee isn’t special, LSU doesn’t have a shot to pull this off. Overall, this isn’t a tight enough LSU team to beat Alabama without a lot of takeaways. The Tide doesn’t make a slew of big mistakes and the defense has been tight as a drum outside of a foot-off-the-gas second half against Georgia. If Alabama plays its game, and LSU plays its game, it’ll be tough for the Tide to lose.
Why LSU might win: If LSU can force Alabama to throw, the score should be kept relatively low. John Parker Wilson has come up with the big pass time and again, but he hasn’t had to throw to win. LSU’s run defense isn’t as good as last year’s, it was ripped up by Florida and Georgia on the ground, but it hasn’t allowed more than 72 yards against anyone else. The speed in the linebacking corps has the potential to overcome the power of the Tide ground attack; the big runs should be kept to a minimum.  
Who to watch: Alabama should be able to win if RB Glen Coffee doesn’t have a big game, but LSU can’t win unless Charles Scott has a huge day. He ran for 144 yards and two touchdowns against Georgia, but he was held to 35 yards by Florida and he struggled to get to 61 yards and two touchdowns against South Carolina. He’s the steadying force that takes the heat off of Lee and the passing game, and he’s overdue for a workhorse game with close to 30 carries. He needs to keep the Bama offense off the field, and he needs to tear off a big run or two to keep the Tide safeties honest.
What will happen: Alabama will have to deal with its harshest environment yet. It’ll start out pounding the ball, and it’ll keep pounding away to win a tough, hard-hitting game.
CFN Prediction: Alabama 24 … LSU 17 ... Line: Alabama -3.5
Must See Rating: (5 The Non-Stop Election Coverage – 1 The Non-Stop Election Analysis) … 4.5
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Saturday, November 8

Georgia (7-2) at Kentucky (6-3), 12:30 EST GamePlan
Why to watch: Georgia will look to pick itself up off the map after getting humbled by Florida 49-10. While this might not be the dream season the Bulldogs were hoping for, an at-large BCS game is still in play by winning out and hoping for some stumbles along the way by Alabama and/or Florida. There have been injury issues on both sides of the ball, but the biggest problem has been defensive breakdowns, especially in the secondary, while the offense isn’t as good as the stats might suggest. Kentucky pulled out a tight 14-13 win over Mississippi State to become bowl eligible, and now it’s going for a good 13th game. The Wildcats haven’t been consistent, and the offense has had major problems, but the defense, when healthy, has occasionally been dominant and should provide a strong test for a wounded and down Georgia.
Why Georgia might win: The UK offense has been awful against the FBS teams. The Wildcats scored 79 points against Norfolk State and Western Kentucky, and a mere 117 points in the other seven games. This is an equally mediocre offense both running and throwing the ball, and there isn’t nearly enough of a passing attack to get back in the game if the Georgia offense puts up big points on the board early on.
Why Kentucky might win: The Kentucky defensive front should get to Matthew Stafford. The Georgia offensive front has been able to fight through injuries and has been more than just decent throughout the season, but it showed its wear a bit against Florida. Stafford got beaten up and banged around a bit too much, and Kentucky should keep up the brutality with a defensive front four that’s as good as any in the SEC. The secondary is good enough to make Georgia one dimensional running the ball.
Who to watch: Kentucky will need big performances and a few picks from top defensive backs Marcus McClinton and Trevard Lindley. McClinton, a senior, has made 38 tackles on the year with four interceptions, and while he has been good with the ball in the air, his strength has been against the run. Lindley is the special playmaker in the secondary, and while he’s not the hitter McClinton is, he’s a shut-down defender who has fought through injuries to be great when the ball is in the air. These two will have to combine to stop Georgia freshman WR A.J. Green and keep the Bulldog passing game under wraps.
What will happen: Kentucky has the defense to keep the down Bulldogs in check, but it doesn’t have the offense to overcome a few touchdown runs from Knowshown Moreno. Georgia won’t be razor-sharp, but it won’t have to be.
CFN Prediction: Georgia 23 … Kentucky 10 ... Line: Georgia -10.5
Must See Rating: (5 The Non-Stop Election Coverage – 1 The Non-Stop Election Analysis) … 3
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Arkansas (4-5) at South Carolina (6-3), 1 EST GamePlan
Why to watch: South Carolina still has an outside shot at winning the SEC East, but some big breaks need to happen, and there have to be wins over Florida next week and Arkansas this week. Very quietly, the Gamecocks have been able to put together a nice year after winning five of their last six games, The offense continues to be a work in progress, but the defense has done just enough to get by. Arkansas is coming off a nice win over Tulsa, the first loss of the year for the Golden Hurricane, and needs to win two of its last three games to go bowling. With a road trip to Mississippi State up next and with LSU still to deal with, a win this week could be a must to get a 13th game. The Hogs have ridden the legs of Michael Smith and have played steady, if not dominant defense, to stay alive. Their last four games have been decided by a total of 13 points, while South Carolina has played five games this year decided by a touchdown. This should be close.
Why Arkansas might win: South Carolina has one of the few offensive lines in America that has as hard a time protecting the quarterback as Arkansas does. The Hogs don’t have a dominant pass rush, but they have a good enough one to make life difficult for Gamecock QB Stephen Garcia, who might not be all that mobile playing on a banged up knee. The Arkansas special teams aren’t special, but the punting game is just good enough to keep the South Carolina offense pinned deep. The Gamecocks aren’t equipped to go on long, drawn out drives.
Why South Carolina might win: Michael Smith might be a special back, he leads the SEC in rushing yards per game, but the Arkansas offense mainly works when it’s throwing the ball. That plays into the Gamecock strength. Even though star QB Captain Munnerlyn has had problems with a stomach virus, the USC secondary is nasty. Arkansas will have to try to run the ball early, but the pass protection is mediocre and the passing attack isn’t consistent enough to penetrate the brick wall of a Gamecock defensive backfield.
Who to watch: Arkansas QB Casey Dick and the Arkansas passing game has deferred a bit to Smith and the ground game throughout the second half of the season, but Dick came to life against Tulsa with 385 yards and a touchdown with an interception. It was his third 300-yard passing day on the year, and the Hogs won all three times. He’s unlikely to go over 300 against the South Carolina secondary that allows 144 yards per game, but he needs to be effective and efficient.
What will happen: It’ll be a tight, defensive battle with South Carolina coming through because it has the tighter, better defense.
CFN Prediction: South Carolina 24 … Arkansas 17 ... Line: South Carolina -10
Must See Rating: (5 The Non-Stop Election Coverage – 1 The Non-Stop Election Analysis) … 3
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- SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 10, Nov. 8, Part 2 (Fla vs. Vandy)