Previewing Week Six Of SEC Football

Several important league matchups are on the schedule this week.

A look at this weekend's Southeastern Conference football games is featured.

Alabama (3-2, 1-2) at Kentucky (1-3, 0-1)

11:30 a.m. CDT, JP Sports

If you're looking for an aerial battle, this isn't the game to tune into. Since Brodie Croyle went down with an ACL injury, Alabama quarterbacks Marc Guillon and Spencer Pennington have completed 16 of 42 passes for 124 yards with five interceptions and zero touchdowns.

Marc Guillon

Kentucky quarterbacks haven't been much better, tossing four interceptions and one touchdown while averaging right around three yards per attempt in the last two weeks. Senior quarterback Shane Boyd has been pretty awful in the Wildcats' three losses this season, and was pulled in favor of redshirt freshman Andre Woodson in last week's 28-16 loss to Ohio. Kentucky Coach Rich Brooks says that Woodson will get his chance again this week against the Tide.

Kentucky's ground game has struggled as well this year, and true freshman tailback Tony Dixon of Parrish High in Alabama has taken over the starting role from Arliss Beach and Draak Davis. The Wildcats' troublesome offense won't be helped any this week facing a defense ranked fourth nationally in total yards allowed. But at least Kentucky will be a bit less predictable than their counterparts.

With the Crimson Tide quarterbacks playing terribly, and the veteran of the receivers being a sophomore, Bama will likely run the ball 80 percent of the time. And why not? Tailbacks Ray Hudson and Kenneth Darby are rolling up 175 yards per game.

This game marks the 1,100th football game for both programs. Alabama leads the all-time series at 32-2-1, and if Ohio University can pull out a win in the Commonwealth, the Tide should be able to also.

Ole Miss (2-3, 1-1) at South Carolina (4-1, 2-1)

Noon CDT, Pay Per View Television

South Carolina is playing well and is ranked for the first time in more than a year, and they've been getting it done with defense. They've allowed six, 20, three, seven and three points this year while Ole Miss has allowed at least 20 points in all five of its games.

Syvelle Newton is expected to be the man at QB this week for the Gamecocks.

South Carolina quarterback Dondrial Pinkins will miss another game with a shoulder problem, but Syvelle Newton has played well in relief. The Gamecock defense is seventh in the country in yards allowed per game and should be able to stop Ole Miss tailback Vashon Pearson, who has rushed for 100 yards in each of the last three games.

With a game against Kentucky next Saturday, USC of the East should be 6-1 before closing the season with Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida and Clemson.

UAB (3-1, 2-0 Conference USA) at Mississippi State (1-4, 0-3)

1:30 p.m., No Television

UAB's Darrell Hackney might be the best quarterback nobody has heard of. And Zac Woodfin might be the best linebacker nobody has heard of. Hackney leads the Blazers' offense that has scored 30 or more points in three of four contests this season. Their only loss came at the hands of Florida State.

UAB hasn't exactly beaten anybody good, but they've beaten the teams they should beat. That's more than can be said for Mississippi State. Sylvester Croom's debut season in Starkville has turned into a nightmare, having already lost to Maine and Vanderbilt.

MSU quarterback Omarr Conner is still suffering from an MCL sprain, and his backup Kyle York was unimpressive against Vanderbilt last weekend, completing 15 of 31 passes for only 117 yards and three interceptions. True freshman Michael Henig from Jeff Davis High School in Montgomery, Ala., is expected to share time under center with York.

This is the first ever meeting between the schools and UAB has more to play for than Mississippi State. Even though it's the Bulldogs' Homecoming, their season is already lost. Watson Brown's Blazers are trying to reach a bowl game for the first time in the program's history.

With a win in Starkville, UAB has a shot to be 9-1 heading into its finale at Southern Miss. If the Blazers win, it would mark the fourth different school from the state of Alabama (Auburn, Alabama and Troy State) in the last four years to get a win at Scott Field.

Tennessee (3-1, 1-1) at Georgia (4-0, 2-0)

2:30 p.m. CDT, CBS Sports

The Bulldogs are looking to make it five in a row in the series and the odds are looking strong in their favor. After Auburn beat up Tennessee last weekend, tight end Justin Reed, offensive tackle Arron Sears and defensive end Parys Haralson are questionable to play against the Bulldogs. With Reed and Sears hurting, it certainly won't help slowing down David Pollack coming off the corner.

The worst matchup for the Vols will be defending the pass. They are giving up an SEC worst 244.2 passing yards per game. After destroying LSU's secondary a week ago, David Greene and Co. must be licking their chops waiting for Tennessee's young defensive backs to come to town.

For Tennessee, the two true freshmen quarterbacks threw for five picks last Saturday, and were bothered by the Auburn crowd noise. If noise for a home game was bothersome, wait till they play in front of 92,000 plus on the road against Pollack, Odell Thurman, Thomas Davis, etc. Welcome to the SEC.


Rutgers (2-2, 0-1 Big East) at Vanderbilt (1-3, 1-2)

7 p.m., Nashville UPN30

Rutgers isn't very good and neither is Vanderbilt. The Scarlet Knights were able to pull out a season-opening win against Michigan State, but followed it with a reality-check loss to New Hampshire. Last Saturday, they allowed a 200-yard rusher and a 100-yard rusher in a loss to Syracuse. The Rutgers defense is allowing more then 400 yards per game against offenses no worse than Vanderbilt's.

Vanderbilt is coming off a 31-13 victory over Mississippi State, its largest margin of victory against an SEC team in 10 years. But the Commodores did find a way to lose to Ole Miss and Navy earlier. Playing in Nashville, Vanderbilt should be able to come away with their second win of the year.

LSU (3-2, 1-2) at Florida (3-1, 2-1)

6:45 p.m. CDT, ESPN

After a losing heartbreaker to Auburn and a thrashing at the hands of Georgia, the road doesn't get any easier for LSU. Saturday's contest against the Gators will be the third time in four weeks that LSU has played a Top 15 team on the road.

The Fightin' Tigers have won only once in their last eight visits to The Swamp, but are out for revenge from last year's meeting. LSU's co-National Championship last year wouldn't be disputed if not for the Gators 19-7 win in Baton Rouge.

Ciatrick Fason is off to a strong start for the Gators.

Florida will look to get it done with a balanced attack, something that Georgia was able to do in putting 45 points on the board against LSU. Florida tailback Ciatrick Fason leads the conference in rushing at 114.5 yards per game and Chris Leak leads in passing at 278.2 yards per game.

The Gators can be run on. LSU tailback Justin Vincent will need to get things going if LSU wants to turn its season around.


Louisiana Tech (3-2, 2-0 Western Athletic Conference) at Auburn (5-0, 3-0)

2:30 p.m., Pay Per View Television

Auburn will have its Homecoming and Senior Day for a group of football players who have a chance for something special in their senior seasons. With people like Jason Campbell, who has suffered through years of criticism, but will go down in the record books as one of the most productive quarterbacks in Auburn history, this group has shown its toughness and love of Auburn.

Seniors like Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams, who never complained about splitting carries, help make this a senior class to remember. The same is true of cornerback Carlos Rogers, who turned down NFL money to return for his senior season.

There are other success stories in this senior class with players like Derrick Graves and Doug Langenfeld contributing after overcoming less than ideal backgrounds that would have sidetracked lesser people. It is easy to see why Coach Tommy Tuberville has a lot of good things to say about this group of seniors.

Saturday will mark the third of four times this season that Auburn plays a team called the Bulldogs, with Georgia the one remaining. Many Auburn fans are looking ahead to a possible 9-0 versus 9-0 showdown with Georgia on Nov. 13, but there's a lot of football yet to be played. How soon we forget that last season Auburn was preseason No. 6 in 2003 and finished the year with five losses.

Tech's tailback Ryan Moats

The Tigers haven't lost a Homecoming game since 1991, and are undefeated against Louisiana Tech in the previous 10 meetings. But Tech will offer a new look from the past teams that have come to Jordan-Hare. Junior tailback Ryan Moats leads the nation in total rushing yards with 928, but in nine career games against BCS conference teams Moats has rushed for more than 100 yards only once.

Defensively, the Bulldogs have had a tough time consistently stopping anybody. They are allowing more than 30 points per game, a number that likely won't decrease facing a hot Auburn offense.


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