Mark Green Picks the SEC: Week 9

Columnist Mark Green analyzes this week's Southeastern Conference matchups.

North Texas at LSU

This ain't yo mama's Mean Green offensive Machine as North Texas of the Sunbelt Conference has slipped under the horizon with a 2-4 record this season thanks in large part to a woeful 10 point-per-game scoring average. Even Les Miles should be able to prepare for that. LSU 45, North Texas 7.


Sly Croom's State Bulldogs have stumbled through the 2005 season like Ichabod Crane looking for his head, posting a paltry 2-5 record and winless in the SEC. Especially troubling for Croom is an offense that cannot find any means of support for star running back Jerious Norwood who has tried diligently, though unsuccessfully, to carry his team all year.

Finally the Bulldogs get a leg they can gnaw on this Saturday afternoon in Lexington. Still, the Wildcats will have a few returning offensive weapons, who should help support what has truly become a death-defying offense.

Speaking of death-defying, Kentucky Head Coach Rich Brooks still speaks as if he is in Lexington for the long haul. The way his career has gone at UK, however, one has to wonder if he's really only still there for the U-Haul. Mississippi State 27, Kentucky 24.

Utah State at ALABAMA

Last year, Utah State was one of those early-season warm-up games designed to give the Tide some momentum before heading into conference play. Like the one against Western Carolina, it was a game in which star players were thought to be safe from season-ending injury.

This year, Utah State returns for another shot at taking out an unsuspecting Bama starter who may unwittingly stick around too long while piling up numbers for GAMEDAY recitations to be aired prior the LSU game. As luck would have it…Alabama 44, Utah State 10.


Speaking of luckless, Tennessee Football has fallen on the hard times of a 3-3 season thanks in large part to turnovers and kicking game mistakes suffered throughout the season. Hot shot sophomore quarterback Eric Ainge has refused to get up off the therapist's couch, and offensive coordinator Randy Sanders has refused to take the blame for any of it. Senior quarterback Rick Clausen has done his best to play leader despite a countenance that resembles Erk Russell as young private in the military.

What is really lacking for the Vols is a strong running game, and, to make matters worse, senior Gerald Riggs injured his ankle against Alabama and is lost for the season. Riggs' replacement, redshirt freshman Arian Foster, has had a problem holding on to the ball in practice all fall.

Could things get worse up on the Hill? You bet they can. Fulmer nemesis Steve Spurrier slinks into Neyland Stadium Saturday wearing his night visor and tight-toothed grin, the kind that seems to say "trick-or-treat" to a terrified Orange home crowd. Many bad memories remain, and the psyche on Rocky Top is as fragile as the frost on a pumpkin. This is a matchup made in the image of Halloween, Part IV. Boo! Tennessee 24, South Carolina 21.


Who'd a guessed Georgia would go into this game without star senior quarterback D. J. Shockley and half of its pre-season defensive depth chart?

In the past it hasn't seemed to matter much who plays for Dawg Coach Mark Richt. The performance is more or less the same, regardless. If Georgia comes to play, they play. If they don't, they look bad in any combination. This week it appears defensive tackle Gerald Anderson will return just in time to replace the newly injured Darrius Swain. Replaceable parts are a Georgia forte at almost any position.

Joe Tereshinski will be counted on to lead the Bulldogs to victory.

The exception to the above rule may be at quarterback, however, as Joe Tereshinski, III takes over the offensive reins for Shockley and may in fact handle things as well as necessary to beat the Florida Gators at the Cocktail Bowl in Jacksonville Saturday afternoon.

Technically Florida could still win the SEC East, despite embarrassing losses at Alabama and LSU. Tag Georgia Saturday, and the Gators would simply await Auburn's November victory over the Dawgs in Athens, a feat that would send the Gators to Atlanta to face the winner of the West.

Seem far fetched? Maybe so. But I can see it. Chris Leak may finally get his due. Florida 24, Georgia 20.

Auburn's Kenny Irons runs for big yardage last Saturday at LSU.


The wins have suddenly begun to pile up for Coach O and his pot-bellied band of Rebel-rowsers from Oxford. This Ole Miss, she played none, she played knick knack on Joe Lee Dunn in week one, and book-ended that impressive 10-6 victory with a titanic 13-7 smashing of Kentucky last Saturday in Vaught-Hemingway. Reporting on the accomplishments of the Ole Miss offense is a job for the Maytag repair man, but the defense is another matter.

The Rebs have held their last three opponents to an average of nine points per game. Things may in fact be improving. On the other hand, so is the quality of opponent. Auburn 34, Ole Miss 10

Editor's Note: Mark Green's record for the season dropped to 45-11 (.804) after going 2-4 last week.

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