SEC Fearless Predictions, Nov. 22
LSU QB Jarrett Lee
LSU QB Jarrett Lee
Posted Nov 20, 2008

Call this the pecking order week for the stunningly mediocre SEC. The title game has been set, Georgia will end up getting the No. 3 bowl slot, and now it's up to everyone else to shake things out. Can Jarrett Lee play well enough to get LSU by an upstart Ole Miss? Check out the Previews and Predictions for the Week 13 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 | Oct. 11 | Oct. 18 | Oct. 25 | Nov. 1 | Nov. 8 | Nov. 15

How are the picks so far? SU: 58-17 ... ATS: 26-42

SEC Game of the Week

Ole Miss (6-4) at LSU (7-3), 3:30 EST, GamePlan
Why to watch: Is it really possible that Ole Miss can finish second in the West? Partly because the SEC stinks this year, er, uh, is down, and partly because Ole Miss is playing well, Houston Nutt has his team going to a bowl and with dreams of a very, very respectable nine-win season. To get there, his Rebels have to beat the Tigers for the first time since 2001. LSU has been quirky and weird, but it’s still winning. Who gets down 31-3 to Troy? A 30-point fourth quarter saved the day against the Trojans. The team was good enough to take Alabama to overtime, but it was blown out by Georgia and Florida. It’s been this simple: LSU has beaten everyone but the good teams. Ole Miss is a good team, and it might make the crossover to great if it wins this week.
Why Ole Miss might win: This isn’t the LSU defense of last year by a long shot. There’s talent, especially up front, but the Tigers were ripped apart last week by the Troy spread attack and it could have problems this week if Jevan Snead gets moving. The Rebel quarterback isn’t really a runner by design, but he’s mobile and has been great over the last few games of quickly getting the ball into the hands of his playmakers. The Ole Miss lines are almost as good as the LSU lines.
Why LSU might win: The Ole Miss secondary can be beaten. No one in the SEC, outside of Florida and Georgia, throws particularly well. Ole Miss has done a phenomenal job against the run this year, and it’s going to key on Charles Scott from the start, but the LSU receivers should be able to do whatever they want to as long as Jarrett Lee is getting them the ball (and not giving it to the Rebels). Yards after the catch will be the key. Lee has to get the ball to his guys on the move, and if he can, there should be several big plays. However …
Who to watch: … that’s much, much easier said than done. Lee has had his moments, but he has been an interception machine, throwing 15 on the year and nine in the last four games. The coaching staff tried to throw Jordan Jefferson into the mix last week, and while he ran well, his passing made Lee look like Peyton Manning. Lee does have talent, but does LSU have time to develop it? That’ll be one of the big keys over the final few games. One interesting thing to note, LSU is 0-3 when Lee throws two or more interceptions, and 7-0 when he doesn’t.
What will happen: Ole Miss has the lines, the defense, and the make-up to pull off the upset, but Lee will be just good enough to get by while the receivers will make things happen against the Rebel secondary.
CFN Prediction: LSU 29 … Ole Miss 20 ... Line: LSU -5
Must See Rating: (5 Valkyrie – 1 Paris Hilton’s My New BFF) … 3
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Saturday, November 22

Tennessee (3-7) at Vanderbilt (6-4), 12:30 EST, GamePlan
Why to watch: Vanderbilt did it. After years of coming so close to getting over the bowl eligibility hump, it actually did it with a tough win over Kentucky to get to the magical six win mark. While everything from here on will be gravy, a win over Tennessee would be nice, even if this isn’t Tennessee at the moment. The Vols have two games left in the Phil Fulmer era, closing out with Kentucky next week, and now the question will be whether or not the team shows up over the final few games. It hasn’t done much over the previous three games, scoring a grand total of 22 points on the three game losing streak, but the defense has been fine. There’s a chance to get out of the East basement with two straight wins, but that’ll be little consolation after a dismal season.
Why Tennessee might win: Vanderbilt is getting creative, but points have still been hard to come by. Kentucky’s defense is a shadow of its former self with injuries proving to be a big problem; a healthy UK D wouldn’t have allowed 31 points. Tennessee’s defense has the secondary to be ready, unlike the Wildcats, if and when star Commodore DB D.J. Moore sees time on offense again. This isn’t likely to be a shootout, and there’s a chance the Vandy O goes absolutely nowhere if the Tennessee defense is inspired.
Why Vanderbilt might win: Will Tennessee be inspired? There’s pride, and then there’s trying to just get things over with because there’s not much left to play for. Next week will be Senior Day for the Vols, the bowl hopes are gone, and the team is coming off a lifeless loss to Wyoming. Yes, that Wyoming. Vanderbilt could play looser and without the pressure it had over the last month as it tried to get the sixth win. The defense is more than good enough to stuff the awful UT offense cold, while the secondary should have a field day against the inefficient Vol passing attack.
Who to watch: The two best defensive backs in America might be playing in this game. At least, two of the best (with Alabama’s Rashad Johnson and USC’s Taylor Mays belonging in the discussion this season). D.J. Moore and Tennessee’s Eric Berry are tied for the nation’s lead in interceptions with six on the year. Moore caught two first quarter touchdown passes on the first two grabs of his career last week, and he picked off two throws. Meanwhile, Berry is doing just about everything defensively for the Vols. He’s a premier run stopping DB and is a top ball hawker. It’ll be his job to make sure the Vandy running game doesn’t break off any big runs, while Moore might not be seen; Tennessee will never throw his way.
What will happen: Tennessee might be playing poorly, but it has had two weeks off to regroup and while the game is in Nashville, going on the road right now should be a plus. This won’t be a pretty game with the Vol defense doing a bit more than the Commodore D.
CFN Prediction: Tennessee 17 … Vanderbilt 14... Line: Vanderbilt -3
Must See Rating: (5 Valkyrie – 1 Paris Hilton’s My New BFF) … 2.5
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Citadel (4-7) at Florida (9-1), 1:30 EST, GamePlan
Why to watch: As if Florida needs a tune-up game, it’s getting a chance to stretch out its legs a bit more and to get the backups some meaningful work before dealing with the two-game run that’ll decide whether or not the team is going to its second national title game in three years. This is the hottest team in the nation right now winning its last six games by a combined score of 299 to 63 since the gag against Ole Miss. Citadel has played one FBS team this season, Clemson, and lost 45-17. It beat Chattanooga last week, but lost the previous six games.
Why Citadel might win: Florida could send its first two units to Tallahassee to prepare in advance for Florida State. The only way the Bulldogs keep this within 50 is if its passing game is on early. It’s not a bad air attack, it’s efficient, and the punting game isn’t bad. These could be the first time in a while that the Gators don’t have a whopping special teams advantage. Andre Roberts is an elite punt returner.
Why Florida might win: The first teamers will actually play. It shouldn’t take more than two drives to put this away. Citadel’s secondary gets burned deep, short, and everywhere in between, while the run defense gives up 170 yards per game. To put everything into perspective, Clemson cranked out 252 rushing yards and five scores, and threw for 273 yards and a score.
Who to watch: Is this the last home game for Tim Tebow? He’s going to be contemplating leaving early for the NFL, but he’ll likely be back for next year. He’s fully focused on the task at hand and isn’t dealing with the idea of leaving yet, but he’s starting to get asked more and more about it. It’ll be more of an issue in a few weeks than it appears to be at the moment. However, this will be the last game in Gainesville for All-America linebacker Brandon Spikes, a finalist for the Nagurski Award. He’s a mortal lock to skip his senior season and go pro along with star receiver Percy Harvin.
What will happen: The Florida players are still talking about the Ole Miss loss. They appear to be locked in and they aren’t taking any chances at this point. Uh oh.
CFN Prediction: Florida 56 … Citadel 0 ... Line: No Line
Must See Rating: (5 Valkyrie – 1 Paris Hilton’s My New BFF) … 1
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Arkansas (4-6) at Mississippi State (3-7), 2:30 EST
Why to watch: The bowls will take whatever they can get from the SEC, so if Arkansas can beat Mississippi State this week and LSU next week, it’ll get a 13th game somewhere. The Hogs got a nice win over Tulsa two weeks ago and have been playing better despite losing three of their last four games. The Kentucky and Ole Miss losses were by a total of three points, while last week’s loss to South Carolina was a decent 34-21 battle. Meanwhile, Mississippi State played a good first half, but lost to Alabama 32-7 to end all bowl hopes. The defense, as usual, has been solid, but the offense has had problems scoring on a consistent basis.
Why Arkansas might win: Again, MSU just doesn’t score. It’s been a problem all season long. The Bulldogs are 116th in the nation in scoring averaging just 15.2 points per game, and that’s with a 31-point day against Middle Tennessee. The Arkansas offensive line has been abysmal in pass protection, but for all the good things MSU has done defensively, it hasn’t generated much of a pass rush. The MSU O line is one of the few in America playing as poorly as the Arkansas front five.
Why Mississippi State might win: It’s not like the Arkansas offense is lighting up the scoreboard. It’s been fine, but it’s been consistently average putting up around 25 points per game over the last five weeks. Michael Smith is a tremendous back, but he’s banged up and he’s all the Hogs have running the ball. MSU has the nation’s No. 2 pass defense and is likely to come up with at least two big interceptions.
Who to watch: It’s not that Tyson Lee has been all that bad for the Mississippi State offense, it’s just that he’s not leading the way to scores. The junior quarterback has just five touchdown passes and four interceptions, but three of those picks came in one game (Tennessee) and he has three touchdown passes in his last two games. He’s mobile, but he’s not a runner, meaning Wesley Carroll will likely see more playing time in an attempt to cross up the Arkansas defense. The MSU O needs something, anything to get moving.
What will happen: Mississippi State’s defense will control the game from the start. The Arkansas offense will outgain the Bulldogs, but three turnovers will prove costly; MSU will capitalize on every mistake.
CFN Prediction: Mississippi State 23 … Arkansas 20 ... Line: Mississippi State -1
Must See Rating: (5 Valkyrie – 1 Paris Hilton’s My New BFF) … 2
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