Tigers-Bulldogs Headline SEC Games

A preview of this week's Southeastern Conference football games is featured.

The following is a preview of the week 11 Southeastern Conference football games.

Ole Miss (3-5, 2-3) at Arkansas (3-5, 1-4)

11:30 a.m., JP Sports/ESPN GamePlan

The loser of this game is out of bowl contention and the winner must go on to beat Mississippi State and LSU to reach the postseason. This is a position that neither team thought it would be in back in early September. Arkansas is on a four-game losing skid after a 35-32 last-minute defeat at the hands of South Carolina last week. Ole Miss, riding a two-game losing streak of its own, should be rested after having a bye in two of the last three weeks.

Arkansas and Ole Miss are ranked 11th and 12th in the league in pass defense, and both offenses like to pass, too. It's hard to imagine that there won't be a lot of points scored in this Western Division showdown.

Vanderbilt (2-7, 1-5) at Kentucky (1-8, 0-6)

Noon CST, No television

This rivalry has become an almost annual battle for last place in the East. Kentucky has been hit hard by probation and scholarship losses, and Vanderbilt...is Vanderbilt. The Wildcats, who have scored more than 17 points only once this year, might have the worst SEC offense in recent years. Vanderbilt hasn't put up many points either and may be without quarterback Jay Cutler Saturday. He is trying to recover from an ankle sprain suffered during the Florida game.

As a team, Kentucky has been hit by injuries all season and lost several more players in last week's 62-17 loss to Georgia. The injuries combined with scholarship reductions, the Wildcats don't have enough guys to field a competitive team. Vanderbilt should be able to win this game, but the Commodores should have also beaten Ole Miss, Navy and Rutgers.

South Carolina (6-3, 4-3) at Florida (5-4, 3-4)

6 p.m. CST, ESPN2

Despite the Gators' 5-4 record, the offense has still been able to score some points. The problem lies with their defense, which allowed more than 250 yards rushing to both Mississippi State and Vanderbilt in recent weeks. And South Carolina's running game is a bit better than the two previously mentioned.

The Gamecocks are fighting for a possible return visit to the Sunshine State on Jan. 1, and Florida just wants (maybe) to become bowl eligible. If the Gators lose this game, their bowl hopes are dependent on winning on their trip to Tallahassee next week. Florida is averaging 33.8 points per game, second in the SEC, but with the way its run defense has been playing that might not be enough.

Alabama (6-3, 3-3) at LSU (6-2, 3-2)

6:45 p.m., ESPN

The Crimson Tide has made a second home for itself in Baton Rouge, with a 15-1-1 record in the last 17 appearances in Tiger Stadium. This year's edition will most likely be one of the ugliest games outside of a Vanderbilt/Kentucky-type matchup. Both teams feature erratic passing attacks and statistically good defenses, so there probably won't be much scoring.

LSU has played inconsistently this season while Alabama has played fairly consistently. That should give hope to Tide fans, but realistically, Alabama has beaten up on six weak teams and lost to three average teams. Its six wins have come against teams ranked 71st, 96th, 106th, 112th and 116th out of 117 Division I teams in total offense, and then Division I-AA Western Carolina. There's a reason why the Crimson Tide has the nation's leading defense, and it's not because of talent or coaching.

As long as the Tigers don't play as badly as they did against Troy, they should be able to load up the box on Bama's one-dimensional offense and move to 7-2.

Quarterback David Greene will lead Georgia as it travels to Auburn.

Georgia (8-1, 6-1) at Auburn (9-0, 6-0)

2:30 p.m., CBS Sports

Glory glory to old Georgia, or glory glory to ole Auburn? This tradition-rich rivalry game has more on the line this season than any in recent memory. Georgia may not control its own destiny in the Eastern Division, but it still has a shot at finishing with a one-loss season and near the top in both major polls. Auburn has already assured itself a trip to Atlanta, but has a much more important issue riding on this game--a national championship.

Unlike the title talk on the Plains about 15 months ago, a win over Georgia on Saturday would give meaning and reality to the hopes. Aside from a 10-9 win over LSU in September, Auburn has breezed through its schedule dismantling one team after the other. The Tigers haven't played a team as talented as the Bulldogs though.

Since taking over the head coaching reigns in Athens in 2001, Mark Richt is 15-1 in opposing teams' stadiums--the only loss being to the eventual 2003 national champions, the LSU Tigers. Quarterback David Greene has 40 career wins as starter, a Division I NCAA record, with two coming against Auburn--nearly three. The defense is loaded with talent and All-American candidates like David Pollack, Odell Thurman and Thomas Davis.

While Auburn squeaked by LSU by a single point, Georgia destroyed the Tigers 45-16. Georgia has the talent to beat anybody, but it is also plenty capable of a poor outing. In three of their games this season, the Bulldogs beat inferior teams by a touchdown or less. They also lost at home to Tennessee--a team Auburn beat 34-10.

Georgia's playing for possibilities and Auburn is playing for all the marbles. A win over Georgia could sneak Auburn into second place in the human polls and set up a date on South Beach for New Year's. Auburn has gone this far without a letdown, and the players and coaches have worked too hard and come too far for it to happen on a national stage against its oldest rival.

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