SEC Preview: Week 7

SEC preview and predictions for Oct. 15

Last week's record: 5-1 (83.3%)

Season record: 36-9 (80.0%)

 

ALABAMA at OLE MISS

Game within a game: Alabama WRs vs. Ole Miss secondary

Lost in the realization that this is a bad Ole Miss team is the fact that the Rebels have been playing some fairly decent defense. Ole Miss is ranked 33rd in total defense heading into this game, and much of that ranking is due to a strong showing in pass defense. Ole Miss carries a ranking of 25th in pass defense and 16th in pass efficiency defense, the result of having a veteran secondary with lots of experience on the corner. Rush defense has been middling – ranked just 59th at week's end – which is a bit surprising given the experience Ole Miss has in the defensive line, plus the prowess of middle linebacker Patrick Willis. The key for Alabama will be to get something going through the air, and that will be interesting for another reason this week. Alabama is trying to replace WR Tyrone Prothro, lost for the season due to a gruesome leg injury suffered at the end of the Florida game. The Ole Miss secondary will be a good test for Alabama's restructured WR rotation. Offensively, Ole Miss has been virtually neutered this year. Quarterback Micheal Spurlock has been just average, while the Ole Miss ground game finds itself ranked 98th in Division-IA at the moment. Ole Miss is coming off an unimpressive win over Division-IAA The Citadel, and while the Rebels haven't proved they can score against SEC competition, Ole Miss treats the Alabama game as a rivalry game and would like nothing better than to end Alabama's hopes for a championship season. Defensively, Alabama will need to shut down RB Mico McSwain and keep an eye on Spurlock; the rest of the Ole Miss offense is very average. On offense, Alabama must prove it can survive without Prothro. Alabama 27, Ole Miss 7

 

FLORIDA at LSU

Game within a game: Florida OL vs. LSU DL

Florida is coming off a good win over Mississippi State, but the Gators have shown a disturbing tendency to be soft up the middle and in pass protection. LSU, meanwhile, brings a big, mean defensive line to this game that proved to be the difference in shutting the door on Vanderbilt. As a result, this game should be Urban Meyer's second SEC loss and it should go down in similar fashion to the Alabama game. Unfortunately, LSU hasn't been cooperating very well with prognosticators so far this year, handing Tennessee a win in Baton Rouge and letting Vandy hang around for longer than expected before finally shutting the door on the 'Dores. Speaking of uneven performances, Florida's win over Mississippi State was a good one as far as final results go, but it was a messy, sloppy game that once again left people wondering whether the marriage of Meyer's spread option offense and QB Chris Leak's abilities is going to work. Florida has enough talent to win this game, and as long as LSU is playing sloppy football, the Gators have a shot. But you have to play the percentages in a game like this, and the amount of difference between LSU's defensive line and Florida's offensive line makes it hard to understand how even LSU could give this game away. LSU 34, Florida 24

 

GEORGIA at VANDERBILT

Game within a game: Vanderbilt OL vs. Georgia pass rush

It didn't take a football expert to see what made the difference in Vanderbilt's loss to the LSU Tigers last week. LSU finally quit messing around in the second half and started sending the whole house in against the Commodore offensive line, which is being exposed each game as a liability. Vanderbilt has a great quarterback in Jay Cutler, but he can't make plays from his rear end. Georgia is coming off an emotional win over Tennessee in Knoxville and is certain to let down at least a little, but not enough to let the Commodores into this game. Vanderbilt's only hope is for the offensive line to play a hundred feet over its head and give Cutler time to pick a very average Georgia secondary apart. But don't bet on it. The Dawgs will prove too physical for Vanderbilt to handle, and Georgia will probably do just as LSU did – pull away in the second half. Georgia 30, Vanderbilt 13

 

AUBURN at ARKANSAS

Game within a game: Auburn DL vs. Arkansas running backs

This game figures to be a weird one from the start. First of all, it's at 6 p.m. without any television coverage, which is the decision of the Arkansas athletic department. It also marks the first game for Auburn since the Georgia Tech opener that the Tigers have played a team with any kind of running game. Auburn is coming off an off-week, which followed a game against bipolar South Carolina and a couple of patsy-smacks over Ball State and Western Kentucky. Auburn last saw a decent rushing attack in week two, when the Tigers hosted Mississippi State. In that game, Auburn gave up 81 yards on 38 carries, but when sack yardage wasn't included, that total jumped to 123. Arkansas, meanwhile, has run the football on everyone it has played, and that figures to continue against the Tigers. This will be Auburn's first road game of the season, and it comes at one of the SEC's hardest places to play – Fayetteville, Ark. If there's an upset special this week, this game looks like a good bet, but the fact is Auburn out-talents Arkansas by at least a 2-to-1 margin. Arkansas' passing game is non-existent, and the Razorbacks haven't proven they can stop the run, either. This should be a close game – and an Auburn win – unless one of the two teams simply fails to show up. Auburn 24, Arkansas 15

 

IDLE: Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi State

 


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