Scouting The SEC This Weekend

Inside this week's scouting report is a look at the SEC matchups for the weekend, a Gator open week update and Bowl projections for the conference.

Georgia at Kentucky
This a huge matchup for Georgia, who will go without Musa Smith, Fred Gibson and Jon Stinchcomb.  The biggest loss is Smith, who's running game gives the Dogs balance in big games (see Alabama game).  For Kentucky, 5-2 is a tremendous turnaround from the 1-6 start of a year ago. The Wildcats have not beaten a top 10 team since 1977.

Keys for Georgia - run the football with Tony Milton and pressure Lorenzen and use DE David Pollack to nullify screen passing.

Keys for Kentucky - create points with special teams and blitz David Greene on first down.

Summary - Georgia cannot fall in love with the pass, although Kentucky will play a lot of man to man. Use the running game some to take pressure off of Greene.  Kentucky runs screens so Georgia needs to have their defensive line to cause havoc. Kentucky has the best special teams in the conference and they find ways to get points out of them against a stingy Daw defense. David Johnson at the outside linebacker/safety position is coming on.  They will use him as a blitzer.

Prediction: Dogs win a close one 24-20. Georgia has won the close games so far this season and they continue their run of good luck.

LSU at Auburn
Tommy Tuberville's seat is extremely warm after blowing the chance to knock off Florida. He cannot decide on who to use at quarterback while Cadillac Williams is lost for the season at running back. The LSU Tigers are a serious BCS contender and bring in the nation's best defense. Marcus Randall settled down nicely in the second half last week against South Carolina.

Key for LSU - run Dominick Davis to the final whistle.

Key for Auburn - use the home field advantage.

Summary - Auburn has struggled versus the run lately and Davis and Joseph Addai should have a big day on the ground.  Saban's defense is playing so well so it does not want to put the outcome in the hands of Randall. Auburn  must play for their SEC West lives and use emotion and the speed on defense to get the crowd into the game. Auburn must blitz passing situations. Jason Campbell should be the starting quarterback because of his mobility versus the LSU defense.

Prediction:  LSU gets a hard fought win in a tough one 29-22. Auburn hangs around but the LSU Tigers are too much.

Alabama at Tennessee
Alabama has lost seven straight in the series and is coming off a 42-7 blowout of Ole Miss. The Tide defense is good, ranked 7th in the nation. The Vols should get Clausen, Houston and Alex Walls back for this game. It is a make it or break it game for Tennessee, as they could salvage a New Year's Day Bowl season with a win. Phil Fulmer is 13-3 coming off a bye week.

Key for Alabama - shut down Kelley Washington.
Key for Tennessee - stop the run and make Bama throw.

Summary - Tennessee is not their traditionally strong running team and if the Tide can double Washington they will shut the Vol attack down. Fred Gibson burned Alabama and this cannot happen again. Make the Vols run and throw to other receivers. Tennessee may face the young Brodie Croyle and if the Vols can stop Shaud Williams and Santonio Beard, they will win the game. Make Bama one dimensional and they struggle in the passing game.

Prediction: Alabama 27-23.  I think the Tide are due and they have played one of the toughest schedules in the country and are due for a big road win at Knoxville.

Other games:
Ole Miss proves once again that they head south in the second half of the season. Arkansas, behind Fred Talley wins at home in regulation 31-28.
Vanderbilit get a much needed win over Connecticut for Homecoming 31-14

Snippets and Tidbits...
The Gator open week will provide Ron Zook's team the opportunity to get healthy as well as peek at some game plan situations for Georgia.  Todd Johnson is day to day but I would expect him to be ready and Rex Grossman appears to be in good shape. Florida will continue to work on wrinkles in the offense with Ingle Martin as well as the running game with Carthon and Graham. Defensively some new blitzes and fronts will be worked in preparation for Georgia. The mood around the team is much more upbeat and positive as the showdown looms in Jacksonville. The coaches will do some recruiting as they look for guys in the JUCO ranks who can come in and compete right away.

If the season ended today, here is how the Ack's crystal call would project the SEC Bowl tie in's-

Sugar - LSU

Citrus - Georgia

Outback - Florida

Cotton - Ole Miss

Peach - Tennessee

Music City - South Carolina

Independence - Auburn

Arkansas -  Queen City Bowl in Charlotte


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