2009 SEC Fearless Predictions - Week 5
LSU DT Al Woods
LSU DT Al Woods
Posted Sep 30, 2009

It's Prove It time in the SEC. Al Woods and the LSU Tigers have been just good enough to get to No. 4 in the rankings, but they haven't been stellar. A win at Georgia could change everything, while Auburn has to go on the road for the first time to face Tennessee. Check out the SEC Fearless Predictions for Week 5.

2009 SEC Fearless Predictions

Week 5 ... Oct. 3 Games

East | Florida | Georgia | Kentucky | South Carolina | Tennessee | Vanderbilt 
West Alabama | Arkansas | Auburn | LSU | Ole Miss | Miss State
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Game of the Week

LSU (4-0) at Georgia (3-1), 3:30 EST, Saturday, October 3, CBS

Why to watch: LSU has worked its way up to No. 4 in the nation, but that's almost by default and name recognition. The team hasn't played all that well and needed a goal line stand to escape an upset at Mississippi State. Is this the latest high-profile team to take a major hit? It has certainly been playing like it, but with a win at Georgia, the stage would be set for the biggest game of the year so far when Florida comes to Death Valley next week. For Georgia, it has been a shaky run so far, needing odd shootouts to beat South Carolina and Arkansas and needing a late field goal to get by Arizona State, but the team is finding ways to win. It's a wildly inconsistent Dawg team, but for good and bad, it's able to pull production from various places after losing the opening day game at Oklahoma State. With two road games up next followed up with the Florida party, taking advantage of a home game like this is a must.
Why LSU might win: The Georgia defense has gone bye-bye. The Dawg lines can challenge LSU's for the most disappointing in the conference with no rushing production, little pass rush, and not nearly enough big plays coming against the run. LSU's offense hasn't clicked yet, but the passing game has been efficient and the offense has scored when it has absolutely had to. The biggest key will be turnovers. LSU, after spending last year pitching the ball to the other team as a habit, has only lost three turnovers this season and is fifth in turnover margin. Georgia is 115th in the nation in turnover margin having only taken the ball away three times.
Why Georgia might win: The LSU offense has gone bye-bye. For all the supposed NFL talent and all the great recruiting classes, it's not happening. The running game has been stunningly poor, the passing game, while efficient, hasn't been coming up with big numbers to put games away, and the O has basically gone through the motions while hoping for the defense to take care of getting the wins. Georgia's offense has shown far more spark and has been far more productive once it gets on a roll, and LSU hasn't shown the same type of explosion despite playing against four teams that likely won't go bowling.
Who to watch: It's NFL wide receiver scouting time. LSU senior Brandon LaFell is on everyone's short list of top pro prospects, and he's considered a sure-thing first rounder, but he's just now playing like it. He has scores two touchdowns in each of the last two games with six grabs for 101 yards and two touchdowns in the win over MSU. LaFell is good, but Georgia's A.J. Green has been better. The sophomore has caught 25 passes for 428 yards and four scores, catching seven passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns against Arkansas and eight grabs for 153 yards and a score against Arizona State, and he also came up with a key blocked field goal. The two offenses will revolve around these two, and it's not a stretch to say the one who has the better game will get the win.
What will happen: Another top five team will bite the dust, but not without a fight. The Tigers will stay alive by converting two turnovers into points, but the offense won't be consistent enough and the defense will give up two late scoring drives for a thrilling Bulldog win.
CFN Prediction: Georgia 24 … LSU 20 ... Line: Georgia -3
Must See Rating: (Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami 5 … The Jay Leno Show 1) … 4
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Alabama (4-0) at Kentucky (2-1), 12:20 EST, Saturday, October 3, ESPN GamePlan

Why to watch: Another week, and another national title contender rolls into Lexington. Last week it was Florida who came to Kentucky, and left with a blowout win, and this week it's a rock-solid Alabama squad that has won its last three games by a combined score of 118 to 28. The Tide was supposed to be tested and pushed by Arkansas last week, but the pass defense put the clamps down on Ryan Mallett and the Hogs offense in a 35-7 blowout that wasn't even that close. The key will be focus with the SEC West showdown at Ole Miss next week, while Kentucky is in trouble with road games at South Carolina and Auburn to follow. The Cats played the Tide tough last year in a 17-14 loss, but they haven't come up with a win in the series since 1997. Before that, the previous win, and only other win, came in a 6-0 barnburner … in 1922.
Why Alabama might win: No one's playing better. There isn't anyone area that the Tide isn't playing at a high level, with Greg McElroy showing off the passing game last week to complement a ground attack that's steamrolling over everything in its path. For Kentucky to win this game, it'll take a total team meltdown from Alabama including a -3 turnover margin, and it'll take the Wildcats to suddenly figure out how to stop the run. Florida was able to crank out 362 yards last week, and Louisville ran for 133 the week before. Alabama's ground attack is better.
Why Kentucky might win:… The lookahead factor has to kick in. Alabama played at such a high level over the first part of the season that it's overdue for a bit of a clunker. The UK pass defense has been terrific so far, and while the numbers are helped by playing Miami University and Louisville, it did a decent job against Tim Tebow and the Gator attack, too. There will be more of a pass rush from the Wildcat front four than the Tide has seen since the win over Virginia Tech, while the offensive line might be the best that Bama will have dealt with so far if …
Who to watch: … UK can field a complete front five. Starting right tackle Justin Jeffries suffered and Achilles tendon injury, while starting left guard Christian Johnson is a likely no-go with a rib problem. The last thing the Wildcat offense needs is to deal with Terrence Cody and the Alabama defensive line with green linemen like sophomore Jake Lanefski on the inside and junior Brad Durham on the out.
What will happen: Kentucky will be better than it was against Florida, and it won't matter. The Tide defense will control the game from the start, while the 1-2 rushing punch of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson will combine for 200 yards.
CFN Prediction: Alabama 31 … Kentucky 10 ... Line: Alabama -16
Must See Rating: (Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami 5 … The Jay Leno Show 1) … 2.5
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Ole Miss (2-1) at Vanderbilt (2-2), 7:00 EST, Saturday, October 3, ESPNU

Why to watch: Alright, Ole Miss, it's time to show up. The Rebels have yet to show why they were the hot new team coming into the season, sputtering and coughing on offense to ruin a great first three games from the defense. Now it's time to get everything put together on both sides of the ball and not only get a win in the SEC, but to be ready for next week's home showdown against Alabama. If the Rebels can get through this, they have six home games in the next seven with a chance to make everyone forget about the 16-10 clunker in Columbia last week when South Carolina's defense held firm late. For Vanderbilt, who's coming off a layup at Rice, the SEC season is all but over after starting out 0-2 with losses to LSU and Mississippi State, but the team is good enough to finish around .500 and get back to a bowl game. A win over a good team, and Ole Miss is a very good team, would be nice after the way the conference season has started out (losing to LSU and Mississippi State by a combined score of 38-12).
Why Ole Miss might win: The defense really has played well. Memphis and SE Louisiana can't play, but the Rebels were able to stuff an emerging South Carolina offense and shut it down cold in the fourth quarter. Vanderbilt's offense was a disaster in the two SEC games, amassing just 210 yards of total offense against LSU and 157 against Mississippi State, and it's not going to do much more against an Ole Miss defensive front that will load up against the run and will hound Commodore QB Larry Smith all game long. Vandy needs takeaways to win, and while the Rebel D has forced nine turnovers ...
Why Vanderbilt might win:… the offense has given it away six times in the three games. Ole Miss had major problems slowing down Eric Norwood and the South Carolina pass rush last week, and it's going to have a nightmare of a time keeping Jevan Snead upright against a Vandy defensive front that's cranking out an average of three sacks a game. Junior Threron Kadri leads an active line that should help keep the score low. Vandy can't keep up in a shootout, so the formula has to work. Don't screw up, get a big defensive day, win the special teams battle, and hope for something to break the right away. If Ole Miss plays like it has over the first part of the season, it'll provide those breaks.
Who to watch: It's time to unleash the weapon. The Ole Miss coaching staff has been afraid to give too much work to the diminutive Dexter McCluster, an elite all-around playmaker when needs to have the ball in his hands more than 15 times a game. The receiver didn't catch any passes last week, after making nine grabs for 113 yards and a score in the first two games, but he took over the battle against South Carolina in the fourth quarter finishing with 85 yards on 15 carries. He played like he had an extra step on everyone, and even though there's a concern he could get banged up before Bama, he needs to start out hot to take the pressure off a pressing Snead.
What will happen: The Vanderbilt defense will keep this close, but the offense won't be able to make the plays needed against a jacked up Rebel D that will allow fewer than 250 yards of total offense and will come up with at least four sacks.
CFN Prediction: Ole Miss 24 … Vanderbilt 9 ... Line: Ole Miss -9
Must See Rating: (Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami 5 … The Jay Leno Show 1) … 3
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South Carolina State (3-0) at South Carolina (3-1), 7:00 EST, Saturday, October 3, ESPN Classic

Why to watch: After starting the season out with NC State, Georgia, Ole Miss, and against a Florida Atlantic team that's more dangerous than it's been playing, South Carolina deserves a layup before diving back into SEC play. South Carolina State might not be a pure scrimmage, it's 3-0 and should be the MEAC's best team, but this counts as a breather after the huge win over the Rebels. The Gamecocks are hurting, and with Kentucky up next week and three road games in four to follow, including a date at Alabama, getting out this week clean and healthy is priority one.
Why South Carolina State might win: The Bulldogs have an aggressive defensive front that should be able to make just enough plays to keep the game close for a for a few quarters, while William Ford and the running game has the potential to control the clock for stretches. This isn't a complete team by any stretch, but what it does well it does at an extremely high FCS level. For all the talk about Florida A&M return star LeRoy Vann, the MEAC, and the FCS's, South Carolina State as the top kickoff return game averaging 32.71 yards per try, while David Erby and the Bulldog defensive front is aggressive and very productive.
Why South Carolina might win: The Bulldog offense hasn't kicked in yet. The attack has been fine, the line is playing well and Ford has the potential to break off big runs here and there, but there's no firepower yet. South Carolina should be able to go through the motions on defense and keep the score low, while the offense should be able to crank out a few home runs through the air as long as Stephen Garcia has time. As good as the Gamecock defense is, especially against the run, coming up with a few early scores should be enough to get the game over with and move along.
Who to watch: The nice part about a game like this for South Carolina is that the backups get in some quality work. The down side is that some key reserves might have to play. The Gamecocks are thin at defensive tackle where star Travian Robertson suffered a knee injury against Ole Miss while Nathan Pepper has struggling with an ankle sprain. These two will be desperately needed over the next few weeks and will likely be out, meaning that Melvin Ingram, a solid veteran, will become one of the anchors. On offense, the less Garcia plays, the better. He has a hip injury that needs time to heal. He's the offense and he can't be less than 100% if the Gamecocks want to have any shot of beating Alabama.
What will happen: South Carolina State is just good enough to be really, really annoying. South Carolina will win, but it's going to be a shaky victory as the team is unfocused and looking behind at the Ole Miss win and ahead at the big things to come.
CFN Prediction: South Carolina 26 … South Carolina State 10 ... Line: No Line
Must See Rating: (Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami 5 … The Jay Leno Show 1) … 1.5
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- Week 5 Part 2 (Auburn at Tennessee, and more)