Welcome back for another week of predictions and questionable assumptions. We managed another strong week record wise going 7-0, giving us a 27-4 mark five weeks into the season. It's great to be at this point of the year were the SEC schedule is really kicking in and here is what's happening in your neck of the woods:
Alabama at Kentucky: The Wildcats catch a tough break in having to face Florida and Bama in consecutive weeks, but at least they get to play both games in Lexington (it really didn’t help them last week). Kentucky hung tight against the Tide last year in Tuscaloosa with a great defensive effort, but I don’t see that happening this season as UK will easily be out-manned on offense and defense. Greg McElroy has gotten better every week and can facilitate some big plays for Bama and this is really going to be a comparison game to see how the performance of Alabama matches up against what Florida did to these same Wildcats last Saturday. Big difference, Greg McElroy isn’t carted off the field and doesn’t have a coach sleeping in his room after the game. Bama waxes 38-10.
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt: I would say that Ole Miss should be on the lookout for another upset this week, but they are playing a Vandy team that has been pretty bad to this point and hasn’t shown much against SEC competition. Rebel QB Jevan Sneed looked lost last Thursday in Columbia and needs a strong day in Nashville as the Commodores pulled this game out last year on the strength of 4 picks from the struggling QB. Overall, Houston Nutt’s team has been very flat and if they continue to play flat, they will lose a lot of unexpected games. However, they still have an electric athlete in Dexter McCluster (Just give the guy the ball out of the backfield, he needs the ball in his hands) and a monster defensive front, and should control the lines of scrimmage on their way to a 27-17 win.
South Carolina State at South Carolina: It’s going to be an epic grudge match between MEAC Powerhouse SCS Bulldogs and the Gamecocks of South Carolina. State is coming off of a 27-10 drubbing of Winston-Salem and is hot after opening the year 3-0. It’s really going to be tough for Stephen Garcia and company to match up with the Bulldog defensive front. It could be a long day for South Carolina, that is if this were an alternate universe. Carolina rolls 42-14.
North Avenue Trade School at Starkville Community College: This looks to be an interesting game as Mississippi State showed last week they can play against a more talented squad. The 2-2 Bulldogs are going to have to play assignment football and stout defense against the Yellow Jackets it have a chance. Another key will be keeping the Jackets off the field, as Miami did in Tech’s only loss. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they don’t have the playmakers at this point to control the clock as needed even though Anthony Dixon had a sold game in this matchup last year and took the Bayou Bengals for 106 yards last week. The key here will most likely be in the turnover department, as both squads have shown a tendency to throw the ball to the opposing team. However, GTU should feel good coming back to Atlanta with a 31-17 win.
Texas A&M vs. Arkansas: These two teams get the honor of reviving their SWC rivalry in Dallas at the new Cowboy Stadium. Texas A&M has quietly gotten off to a 3-0 start and has been scoring some points in the process. Junior QB Jerrod Johnson hasn’t thrown a pick against his 9 TD passes and is more than a threat running the ball with 38 carries and 196 yards as well. The questionable part of this Aggie squad has been their defense, especially the secondary, which bodes well for Arkansas and Ryan Mallett. I don’t expect much defense in this game and it should be a pretty entertaining shootout. Ultimately, the Razorbacks can’t afford to drop a third straight game with the SEC schedule that lies ahead of them. Arkansas makes the most plays in this track meet, winning 42-38.
Auburn at Tennessee: Personally, I’m really looking forward to this game to see how good the Auburn offense is, especially on the road, and how Tennessee can play against an SEC team other than Florida. The Volunteers didn’t play with nearly the intensity last weekend against Ohio that they did against the Gators and if they put that effort up against an Auburn squad that has been building confidence, it could be a frustrating night in Knoxville. While Tennessee still has plenty of questions, we still don’t know how good Chris Todd and company are, and Tennessee will easily have the best defense and scheme that the Tigers have seen so far this season. The one certain thing is this game will definitely be more entertaining than last year's 14-12 meltdown that set college football back decades. Ultimately, Tennessee still has very poor QB play and I expect Auburn to go on the road and win 24-17.
That does it for this week. Good luck to all and may the Jim Beam flow like wine in Athens this weekend. Go Dawgs!