2009 SEC Fearless Predictions - Week 10
Alabama QB Greg McElroy & LSU QB Jordan Jefferson
Alabama QB Greg McElroy & LSU QB Jordan Jefferson
Posted Nov 5, 2009

It's the Saban Bowl, and it's bigger than ever as the Alabama head coach has to lead the way past his old team to take control of the SEC West. However, LSU can go from afterthought to national title contender with a big win. Check out the Previews and Predictions for the Week 10 SEC Games.

2009 SEC Fearless Predictions

Week 10 ... Nov. 7 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 (7-1) at Alabama (8-0), 3:30 EST, Saturday, November 7, CBS

Why to watch: Alabama still has a nasty, scary road rivalry game at Auburn to deal with, along with a road trip to Mississippi State, and LSU has to go to Ole Miss and has an always tough (for LSU) game against Arkansas, but for all intents and purposes, this should decide the SEC West title and it will go a long way to further the national title discussion. Either Alabama will win and will keep careening to a clash with Florida for the SEC title, and the BCS Championship game, or LSU will pull off a huge road victory and will suddenly be in the hunt for the national title.

LSU blasted Tulane 42-0 last week getting huge production on the ground and an efficient day from the passing attack, but that was Tulane. One of Conference USA's lowest bottom-feeders wasn't going to have a chance against the Tigers' second team, much less the top players, and that wasn't necessarily a great indication of what LSU could really do. However, the 31-10 win over Auburn a few weeks earlier showed that things might be jelling and coming together at the right time, and this might be the perfect chance to catch a Bama team that's been begging to be tagged.

With two weeks off, the Tide will be rested and ready coming off the scary 12-10 win over Tennessee thanks to a blocked field goal. The 20-6 win over South Carolina wasn't impressive, the offense sputtered a bit in a 22-3 win over Ole Miss, and Kentucky was the better team for roughly 40 minutes in a 38-20 Tide win. Style points don't matter, Alabama will play for the national title if its 13-0, but it's time for the team to start playing more like a true national title contender. Florida flexed its muscles last week against Georgia, and now it's Bama's turn. If not, LSU will go from being an afterthought in the SEC title chase to being in the thick of the national title discussion.

Why LSU might win: The Alabama passing game went from excellent, to mediocre, to awful. QB Greg McElroy threw for over 200 yards in each of the first four games, with his high moment the 17-of-24, 291-yard, three touchdown day against Arkansas. Ever since then, the offense has had to rely only on the running game, which isn't a bad thing, and the great defense, but McElroy has become a liability and the team has had to hide him. Sound familiar, LSU fans? It's not like last year for the Tigers, when they had to do everything possible to keep their quarterbacks from throwing thanks to Jarrett Lee's penchant for giving the ball to the other team, but Bama isn't exactly letting McElroy take any chances. The LSU defense has been the real deal, even though the line isn't playing anywhere close to the high standards the program usually sets. The Tide isn't going to find its passing groove this week.
Why Alabama might win: The Alabama offensive line has a huge advantage over the LSU defensive front. LSU doesn't get to the quarterback, ranking last in the SEC in sacks, is mediocre at making lays behind the line, and is average against the run. Overall, the LSU run defense hasn't been awful, but when push has come to shove, teams like Florida, Mississippi State and Auburn were able to shove. Alabama should be able to control the game with the ground attack and with the great pass rush. The Tide defense leads the SEC in sacks and tackles for loss, while LSU is shockingly poor in pass protection allowing a whopping 23 sacks so far.
Who to watch: LSU can't win this game, or even stay in it, unless QB Jordan Jefferson comes up with a whopper of a performance. The sophomore has been good so far, completing 64% of his passes with 11 touchdowns and just four interceptions, but he hasn't been special. He hasn't been bad, and he certainly hasn't been the reason the offense has lacked a consistent pop (the offensive line is to blame), but he's being asked to carry the offense when the ground game doesn't work. The ground game isn't going to work. Jefferson is going to have to challenge the Tide secondary and he can't play it close to the vest and hope for the best. That didn't work against Florida and it's not going to work against Bama. The Tide can be beaten, but it's going to have to take a few risks for LSU and Jefferson to make it happen.
What will happen: This will be a clash of two defensive heavyweights. Each team will challenge the other to come through with the passing game, and while Jefferson and the Tigers will throw better, Mark Ingram and the Tide will run more. The major advantage up front for the Tide will be the difference.
CFN Prediction: Alabama 23 … LSU 13 ... Line: Alabama -9
Must See Rating: (By The People 5 … The Men Who Stare At Goats 1) … 5
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South Carolina (6-3) at Arkansas (4-4) , 12:20 EST, Saturday, November 7

Why to watch: South Carolina has its six wins and will end up going to a bowl, but it's in trouble. After humming along at 5-1, the Gamecocks lost respectably at Alabama before struggling to get by Vanderbilt. And then came last week and an ugly 31-13 blowout loss at Tennessee to throw a scare into the rest of the season. With Florida up next and a hot Clemson to finish up, there isn't a layup left on the slate. While the Gamecocks are struggling, Arkansas is growing into a threat, even with just one win in its last three games. After blowing up Texas A&M and Auburn, the Hogs lost at Florida in a 23-20 classic, and struggled in a loss at Ole Miss before blowing away Eastern Michigan. While the offense is getting more and more consistent, and the defense is having it moments, it's still going to take some work to get to a bowl with a trip to LSU to close things out and home dates against Troy and Mississippi State more dangerous than they appear.
Why South Carolina might win: Arkansas can't stop anyone's passing game. Only Missouri State and Auburn threw for fewer than 250 yards, and the Tigers ran for 242 yards and three scores. The Hog corners can be burned by midrange to deep throws and they don't come up with enough big plays. There's no real threat of getting picked off, so USC QB Stephen Garcia should be able to take a few chances down the field. Defensively, the Gamecocks are third in the nation in pass defense and have only allowed three touchdown passes in the last five games, but …
Why Arkansas might win: … they haven't faced a passing game like this one. Oh sure, the Gamecocks have seen some excellent quarterbacks like NC State's Russell Wilson and Ole Miss's Jevan Snead, but Ryan Mallett and the Arkansas air attack is at a whole other level. Mallett and the Hogs have thrown for 20 touchdown passes with just five interceptions, while there hasn't been any problems putting up yards against the best defenses. Florida leads the nation against the pass and it gave up 224 yards and a score. Alabama gave up 181 yards and a touchdown, and that was the low point for the Hog passing game. South Carolina will have to score early and keep the pressure on against an offense that can score at any time and will press all game long. South Carolina's offense has gone flat too many times this year.
Who to watch: South Carolina's pass rush has been excellent this year, but there are problems on the outside. Cliff Matthews is one of the SEC's sack leaders and has come through with a solid junior season, but he's out with a shoulder injury. That means Arkansas can focus all its pass protection efforts on Eric Norwood, the All-America caliber playmaker who started the season like a Defensive Player of the Year candidate with six sacks in the first four games, but he hasn't touched a quarterback since. While the senior hasn't been bad against the run and he has made a few plays behind the line, he has cooled off. To disrupt the Arkansas passing game, he needs to provide steady pressure, even if he doesn't get the sack.
What will happen: South Carolina will open it up a bit in the shootout and Garcia will come up with a big game, but Mallett will do even more. It'll be a nip and tuck game with the Hogs coming through with a score late in the fourth to get ahead for good.
CFN Prediction: Arkansas 27 … South Carolina 20 ... Line: Arkansas -5.5
Must See Rating: (By The People 5 … The Men Who Stare At Goats 1) … 3
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Tennessee Tech (5-3) at Georgia (4-4) , 1:00 EST, Saturday, November 7

Why to watch: Georgia needs a break, and it gets one at the right time. Not only are the Dawgs coming off a blowout loss to Florida, but they're battered and beaten up with three losses in the last four games. With the way they've been playing, with no defense, no running game, and an inconsistent offense, a bowl game is hardly a sure thing with Auburn, Kentucky, and Georgia Tech to finish up. But this one shouldn't be a problem against a Tennessee Tech team that's playing well in the Ohio Valley Conference, but got blasted by Kansas State 49-7 in its lone game against a BCS team.
Why Tennessee Tech might win: The TTU lines aren't that bad. The defense is aggressive and it's able to get into the backfield, while the offensive front is solid in pass protection. This is a veteran team that has played a bit over its head all season long and has found ways to win, and with the way Georgia has been struggling to find any consistency, this might be close for a half.
Why Georgia might win: Georgia can't run, but the Golden Eagles really can't run. TTU is averaging a mere 92 yards per game and won't suddenly find something that works this week. There isn't any one thing the team does all that well to scare the Dawgs. The offense isn't quirky, the secondary is good, but it's nothing Georgia can't handle, and the offense doesn't have enough firepower to come back from any significant deficit.
Who to watch: It's time for Georgia to see if the running game works. Star WR A.J. Green will be out with a banged up rib, and not it's time for some playmakers to show what they can do going forward. Freshman Rantavious Wooten is a big-time talent, and he'll get his chances in place of Green as a go-to guy, and redshirt freshman Tavarres King will get to show a little of what he can do after catching two passes for 29 yards against Florida. This is the future of the Georgia passing attack, but if Green isn't right going into next week's game against Auburn, it might be the present.
What will happen: Georgia will finally get the running game going and Joe Cox will have an ultra-efficient day throwing the ball to his young targets.
CFN Prediction: Georgia 45 … Tennessee Tech 7 ... Line: No Line
Must See Rating: (By The People 5 … The Men Who Stare At Goats 1) … 1
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Eastern Kentucky (5-3) at Kentucky (4-4), 1:00 EST, Saturday, November 7

Why to watch: Eastern Kentucky has been an Ohio Valley Conference superpower with two straight championships, and it's in a battle for a three-peat. The defense is aggressive, the passing game is effective, and the overall makeup is in place to give a deeply hurting Kentucky team some major problems. The Wildcats are coming off a tough home loss to Mississippi State to ruin a little winning streak, and they need to get in and out of this game using plenty of backups to be able to heal up for the finishing kick. Going to Vanderbilt shouldn't be a problem next week if UK is healthy. But …
Why Eastern Kentucky might win: … UK isn't healthy. Most of the stars are hurting and out with CB Trevard Lindley still trying to come back from an ankle injury, QB Morgan Newton suffering a shoulder injury, and several key players stricken with the flu. LB Micah Johnson and RB Alfonso Smith are just a few of the Wildcats sick, and EKU has to take advantage. With a good all-around team, EKU should make this interesting, but …
Why Kentucky might win: The UK offensive line should control the game. The overall speed and athleticism, even among the backups, should make the difference, but in a pinch, the Cats should be able to power the ball and they should be able to utilize Randall Cobb in a variety of ways to break the game open. The run defense has suddenly become a big problem with all the injuries, but EKU doesn't have the backfield to take advantage. The Colonels lost to Austin Peay after giving up 263 yards on the ground, and the Wildcats could have similar success.
Who to watch: Newton is expected to play, and he needs to do more. The superstar freshman recruit has filled in for an injury Mike Hartline and hasn't produced. He completed 11-of-18 passes against Mississippi State, but he has yet to throw a touchdown pass and he has given away two picks. However, he's a good runner with two scores so far on the ground. Do-it-all playmaker Randall Cobb will be used a bit under center as well, but Newton needs to use this game to show what he can do.
What will happen: It's going to be a struggle, but Kentucky will come through with the win with a big day on the ground and timely defense that will bend, but won't do much breaking.
CFN Prediction: Kentucky 31 … Eastern Kentucky 17 ... Line: No Line
Must See Rating: (By The People 5 … The Men Who Stare At Goats 1) … 1.5
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- Week 10, Part 2 (Vanderbilt at Florida, and more)