Southern Football Predictions

Dean Legge makes his weekly picks for the 23 schools in the South. SEC Showdown - make or break time in the conference.

1a. Miami – Defense plays like gangbusters; offense looks like a high school team.

1b. Auburn – Game at Tennessee is a difficult task; so is winning the SEC title. Auburn could break open a big lead this weekend in the West if they can win.

1c. Georgia – Bulldogs have been waiting for this game for a long time. Their offense might come together with Danny Ware's return, but you might not notice it because of LSU's skill on defense.

1d. Tennessee – Beating Auburn makes next week's game at Georgia monumental.

5. LSU – Tigers might get knocked out of West race this weekend. Then again, they seem to have Georgia's number.

6. Florida State – FSU won't win the ACC playing the way they are right now.

7. Florida – Florida doesn't look that tough right now. Arkansas has a chance to win in Gainesville.

8. Virginia – The Cavs still have not played anyone, but they haven't lost yet either. We'll see how good they are when they travel to Tallahassee in a few weeks.

9. Arkansas – Last week's win over Bama puts Hogs in the midst of the SEC West race. But a likely loss at Florida will make a comeback in the standings very difficult later in the season.

10. Maryland – Playing at Duke can lull a team to sleep; it nearly happened to Maryland last week. Turtles are off this week before Georgia Tech in two weeks.

11. Alabama – Arkansas' running quarterback overwhelmed Bama last week, and the Tide will get more of the same from Carolina this weekend. If you like offensive fireworks, this game is not for you. If you like two teams that can't score, but have good defenses get in front of the TV for this one.

12. NC State – The Wolfpack showed Tech what playing week in and week out in a legit conference is like. Now State fights Wake in what should be a routine win at home.

13. South Carolina – Gamecocks struggled their way to another win over Troy (State) last week. This week at Bama is a big indicator of if their program has recovered from 2002 and 2003. Bama is beatable: Can Carolina finally win a big game on the road?

14. Virginia Tech – Tech doesn't seem the same since Mike Vick left for Atlanta. The ACC can't compete with the SEC until Tech returns as a national power, and it doesn't look like that will happen any time soon.

15. Wake Forest – Wake pull out another killer comeback against Boston College. It was one of many close spreads I lost at the end of the game last weekend. Still, Wake must get back on track in the ACC with a win over State this week.

16. Clemson – Tigers should have stuck with FSU longer than they did. They appeared to give up near the end of the game.

17. Kentucky – The Wildcats had numerous opportunities with Chris Leak's turnovers, but didn't covert them.

18. North CarolinaLouisville is better than most think, but Carolina was overwhelmed.

19. Georgia Tech – Jackets were off last week – saving up energy for upset bid against Canes?

20. Ole Miss – Yes, the Rebels are that bad.

21. Duke – Blue Devils scored some last Saturday, but seemed to only play for a half.

22. Vanderbilt – Commodores can't win.

23. Mississippi State – Looks like a very long season for State

This week's games:

Miami (-13.0) at Georgia Tech

Winner straight up – Miami

Winner with points – Miami

Comment – Which Tech team will show up? The one that beat Auburn last season or the one that lost to Duke last year and lost to North Carolina a week ago? If the Jackets can score at all, they might give the Canes a game.

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The Citadel at Duke

Winner straight up – Duke

Winner with points – NL

Comment – I am not too confident Duke will win.

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South Carolina (+2) at Alabama

Winner straight up – Alabama

Winner with points – Alabama

Comment – Bama's defense (and Carolina's lack of offense) should be the difference-maker in this game.

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Auburn (+2) at Tennessee

Winner straight up – Auburn

Winner with points – Auburn

Comment – Tigers' experience in the right positions should give them a tough road win.

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Arkansas (+7) at Florida

Winner straight up – Florida

Winner with points – Arkansas

Comment – Hogs might win this one. Florida's running game won't be as good against Arkansas', but Leak will be much improved compared to his performance last week against Kentucky.

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LSU (+3.5) at Georgia

Winner straight up – Georgia

Winner with points – Georgia

Comment – The Bulldogs have more potential to score in this one, and I think they just plain want it more.

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Ohio (+15.5) at Kentucky

Winner straight up – Kentucky

Winner with points – Kentucky

Comment – Winnable game for Cats; a bowl game does not look totally out of the question.

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Arkansas State (+18.5) at Ole Miss

Winner straight up – Ole Miss

Winner with points – Arkansas State

Comment – Rebels could end up with a loss if they continue their poor play.

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Mississippi State (+10.5) at Vanderbilt

Winner straight up – Vanderbilt

Winner with points – Mississippi State

Comment – terrible game

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North Carolina (+29) at Florida State

Winner straight up – Florida State

Winner with points – North Carolina

Comment – Carolina will score, but they won't hang with sub-par Noles.

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Wake Forest (+9.5) at NC State

Winner straight up – NC State

Winner with points – NC State

Comment – State could have a let down against Wake, but it's not likely.

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West Virginia (+2) at Virginia Tech

Winner straight up – West Virginia

Winner with points – West Virginia

Comment – Tech looks too ragged to play with a top ten team, nevertheless to give them points.

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LOCK OF THE WEEK

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LSU (+3.5) at Georgia

Winner straight up – Georgia

Winner with points – Georgia

Comment – The fire is evident now more than ever with the Bulldogs – they want this game and will prove it Saturday.

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Year – Lock of the week: 2 of 4 or 50%

Year – Straight up: 53 out of 65 or 83%

Year – Points: 26 of 54 or 48%


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