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SEC Fearless Predictions, Nov. 15, Part 2
Kentucky QB Randall Cobb
Kentucky QB Randall Cobb
Posted Nov 13, 2008

Previews and Predictions for the Week 12 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 | Oct. 18 | Oct. 25 | Nov. 1 | Nov. 8

How are the picks so far? SU: 53-18 ... ATS: 26-36

- SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 11, Nov. 15

Saturday, November 15

Mississippi State (3-6) at Alabama (10-0), 7:45 EST ESPN
Why to watch: Before 1996, Alabama had beaten Mississippi State 37 times in 38 games, but over the last 12 years, it’s been a dead-even 6-6 series with the Bulldogs winning the last two. The one blip on the slate before ’96 came in 1980 when the Tide was 7-0 before losing in a 6-3 slugfest. That was a better MSU team than this one, but it’s still decent enough to pull off the upset if the defense is on. With winnable games against Arkansas and Ole Miss to close, if MSU wins this week, it’ll have a shot at going bowling. That’s a huge “if” considering the offense has been abysmal, and considering how good Alabama is. The Tide just has to hold serve over the next three games to play for the national title. Style points don’t matter; all Bama has to do is win this week, get past Auburn in two weeks, and beat Florida. After surviving LSU in overtime last week, was that the last big test before facing the Gators? The Bulldogs will try to provide another big push.
Why Mississippi State might win: The defense really is good. Alabama lives on the running game but it puts games away through the air. This isn’t a high-octane air attack, but it comes through when it has to. MSU has to make sure Bama doesn’t get the passing game going. With the nation’s second best pass defense, the Bulldogs have been able to keep most games from getting out of hand. Granted, the secondary hasn’t faced a who’s who of quarterbacks, the SEC West isn’t the Big 12 South, but the D is just good enough to make this interesting if Bama isn’t sharp.
Why Alabama might win: MSU just doesn’t score. It has had its moments against Middle Tennessee and even LSU, but for the most part, when the opposing defense is focused, the Bulldogs don’t produce. Alabama’s defensive front isn’t going to allow the MSU running game to do much of anything up the middle, and the secondary is keeping the big plays under wraps. Good passing teams can dink and dunk a bit on the Tide, but Mississippi State isn’t a good passing team. The Tide pass rush should be keeping the pressure on all game long against the mediocre O line.
Who to watch: Alabama safety Rashad Johnson has taken his game to another level. An all-star last year, he’s the leader and star on a defense that has several leaders and stars, with 62 tackles, most of them solo, and five interceptions over the last four games including three last week against LSU. While he’s a good hitter, that’s not his game. He’s mostly about being always around the ball and always making big plays when needed. Against MSU, he has to come up big against the run.
What will happen: Alabama might not be fully-focused with LSU in the rearview mirror and Auburn up next, but it’ll get the job done at home with a solid defensive performance and just enough offense to get by. MSU isn’t going to get enough offense to help out the D.
CFN Prediction: Alabama 27 … Mississippi State 10 ... Line: Alabama -19.5
Must See Rating: (5 Quantum Of Solace – 1 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa) … 3
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Vanderbilt (5-4) at Kentucky (6-4)
Why to watch: Thanks to Tennessee, this isn’t a battle for the SEC East cellar between the two programs used to being swept aside by the big boys. Kentucky is going bowling, doing a great job of retooling just enough on offense to help out its tremendous, but banged up, defense. The Wildcats became bowl eligible two weeks ago with a tough 14-13 win over Mississippi State, and then last week they lost a heartbreaking shootout to Georgia. They can play with just about anyone, anyone other than Florida, with three of the losses coming by seven points or fewer, including a 17-14 battle at Alabama. Vanderbilt has been in a holding pattern … again. So close to a bowl game over the last few years, the Commodores haven’t been able to hit the six-win mark under head coach Bobby Johnson, and this year, they’ve gone four straight games without being able to get over the hump. With Tennessee and Wake Forest to follow, there’s still time, but the longer it takes to get to six wins, the bigger the albatross becomes around the program’s neck.
Why Vanderbilt might win: Kentucky remains banged up, very banged up, on defense. When everyone is healthy, UK has one of the best Ds in the SEC, but at the moment, top lineman Myron Pryor is still struggling through an ankle injury, LB Micah Johnson has been sick, and star corner Trevard Lindley is trying to fight through a knee injury. The struggling Vanderbilt offense needs all the help it can get.
Why Kentucky might win: Vanderbilt remains consistently lousy on offense. Nothing’s working, even in garbage time of blowouts. There’s no passing game, the ground game struggles when the quarterbacks aren’t on the move, and the points aren’t coming. The team has scored 14 points in four of the last five games, and the fifth game was a 10-7 loss to Duke. The Kentucky offense proved last week that it can get hot for stretches thanks to ...
Who to watch: … freshman QB Randall Cobb. Injuries have hit the UK offense hard, too. Needing playmakers, the offense has leaned on Cobb, who has put the offense on his back over the last few weeks as both a runner and a passer. He tore off 82 yards and three touchdowns against Georgia last week, but it was his one interception thrown late in the game that proved to be the killer. Even in defeat, he showed that he’s the talent the program can build around for the next three years, but first, he has to finish out this season hot.
What will happen: Vanderbilt will have to wait another week to try to get that sixth win. It won’t be a thing of beauty, but the Kentucky defense will do just enough to overcome three turnovers from Cobb and the offense.
CFN Prediction: Kentucky 20 … Vanderbilt 14 ... Line: Kentucky -4.5
Must See Rating: (5 Quantum Of Solace – 1 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa) … 2.5
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(6-3) at LSU (6-3), 8 EST GamePlan
Why to watch: This isn’t exactly where LSU thought it’d be at this point. The national title dreams have long been dashed, and the SEC title hopes were picked off in overtime last week in a tough loss to Alabama. The defense has struggled and the offense is looking for some consistency. However, as disappointing as the season has been, there’s still a chance for a ten-win season and a New Year’s Day bowl game by beating Troy this week followed up by dates with Ole Miss and Arkansas. Troy is just looking to get through this week alive before the team’s most important game of the year. Next week is the equivalent of the Sun Belt title with the showdown against UL Lafayette, followed up by another tough date with Arkansas State. Both games are at home and both will make or break the Troy season, but a win over LSU would be truly special. Troy has pulled off wins over name teams in the past, but to do it in Death Valley might change the program.
Why Troy might win: LSU is having problems turning the ball over. While there have only been two lost fumbles, Jarrett Lee and the passing game have been throwing picks including eight in the last three games. Troy doesn’t have the horses to beat LSU straight up, but it has a phenomenal pass rush that should get to Lee just enough to force him to make a few mistakes. The Trojan defense leads the nation in tackles for loss and it third in sacks.
Why LSU might win: As good as the Troy defensive front has been, it can be pounded on. Ohio State, without Beanie Wells at the time, was able to come up with 170 yards on the ground. While that’s not a field day, it was enough to get by in the win. Oklahoma State’s phenomenal offensive line paved the way for 358 rushing yards and four scores. LSU’s offensive line is just as good and it should be able to open up some decent holes for Charles Scott, who’s averaging 109 rushing yards per game.
Who to watch: Can Jarrett Lee play, or is he just young and trying to fight through the growing pains? The redshirt freshman has a good arm and nice touch, as shown by a perfectly thrown touchdown pass to Demetrius Byrd last week against Alabama. He has also been decent in the clutch; at least he was until last week when he was picked off in the end zone in overtime. Worst of all in the four-pick game, the coaching staff had to hide him, doing whatever it could to keep him from having to throw the ball. The last three games, and the bowl, will be vital in his development.
What will happen: LSU will go through the motions to get the win. Troy’s defense will keep it from getting out of hand, but Scott will roll for 125 yards and Lee will keep his mistakes to a minimum.
CFN Prediction: LSU 34 … Troy 13 ... Line: LSU -19.5
Must See Rating: (5 Quantum Of Solace – 1 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa) … 2.5
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- SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 11, Nov. 15