Our friends from U Pig slammed Tulsa with a big performance from Cedric Cobbs. Cobbs efforts netted him player of the week honors in the SEC. Cobbs will need another stellar effort this weekend if the Hogs plan on winning in Austin.
The Longhorns are led by All-Everything WR Roy Williams. Williams will look to test a secondary that is anchored by Batman Carroll. This match-up should prove crucial. The Longhorns can be stingy on defense and this week shouldn't be an exception. Their task is very simple, stop the run and force Arkansas to throw the football. That blueprint has been followed for the last few years with some success.
Texas has the crowd, the home field, and the only true superstar on the field. Arkansas, despite a nice showing last week, has several questions on offense. I don't see Texas running away with this one, but Arkansas will need every point they can muster. If Texas scores 27 or better they will win. The main thing the Hogs must prevent is falling behind far enough where they have to throw it. If that happens, the Hogs may get blown out.
Texas 31 Arkansas 17
Auburn at Vanderbilt
What else can be said that hasn't been said already to explain the meltdown at Auburn. The over hyped Tigers offense has given up 13 sacks to lead the nation and is searching for it's 1st touchdown while averaging 1.5 points per game. The natives are restless at Auburn and this thing could go down the tubes very quickly. If Auburn loses this week the season in many ways will be over. Even an ugly win may not be enough to calm the suddenly vocal critics.
Vanderbilt has shown that they can score some points. Granted they've played two of the worst defenses in the country in UT-C and Mississippi, but they can score when they need to. Auburn has one of the toughest defenses despite the early showing. This will prove to be a stern test for Jay Cutler and company, but I think their defense can keep them in it. The die has already been cast. The gameplan is very simple: Put eight or nine people in the box and make Jason Campbell throw it. The Auburn O-line has been humiliated twice. They need a strong showing.
While I expect Vandy to make a game of this, I still see Auburn pulling it out late just like Mississippi did. Vandy still lacks the winning attitude. Last week's blowout win will help, but a win over Auburn is asking a lot. The Tigers could be vulnerable. If Vandy gets a lead and forces Auburn to throw, who knows.
Auburn 24 Vanderbilt 17
South Carolina at Georgia
This match-up is quickly becoming one of the best in the East. Last season the Gamecock defense did not give up a score, but lost 14-9 thanks to a late turnover. The year prior, it was a late drive led by Phil Petty that broke the hearts of the Bulldogs. This one has been close and low-scoring as of late. I look for a similar game this season.
Who know what kind of team USC really has. They struggle to beat lowly UL-Lafayette 14-7, then rebound to pound nationally ranked Virginia. Lou Holtz is famous for down-playing his team and for playing his cards close to the vest until it really matters. The Gamecocks need this win in the worst way, and I am sure the Holtz family will pull out all the stops to get it. I am just not sure they can score enough on UGA to win.
David Greene struggled against USC last year. Greene and Fred Gibson will look to make a statement of sorts in this one. It would be nice to see a great game, but I think UGA can put up a lot more points this season despite the new faces. This one will be a great one to watch and may be the game of the week. South Carolina will put up a fight, but Georgia will pull away.
Georgia 24 USC 16
Florida A&M at Florida
This game is just what the doctor ordered for a team like Florida who blew a three-possession lead over a nationally ranked instate rival. The Gators were blowing out the 'Canes and were making Brock Berlin look horrible in the process. However, Berlin etched his name in the history books of Florida football lore with his 4th quarter heroics and also solidified himself as the starting QB for Miami.
I have to question the wisdom of Ron Zook's handling of Chris Leake. Early in the game Ingle Martin burned the 'Canes deep and tied the game at 10. The offense was starting to show some punch and the very next series he sends Leake out there instead of Martin. Leake's series ended in a punt and the momentum was lost. Martin had the team up and Leake was at least hanging in there. If Leake is the future, then why did they bring in #3 QB Gavin Dickey? All continuity was lost with all these changes at QB. Martin eventually was lost to injury. Leake is then forced to go out there with the game on the line when he is out of his rhythm. It's moves like these that have the Gator fans up in arms.
I think any QB on the Gator roster could start this weekend against the Rattlers from FAMU. This will be a blowout in every sense of the word. The Gators need to get some work for Leake and apparently Dickey. This one will give the Gators a chance to take out some frustration before they begin preparations for Tennessee.
Florida 63 FAMU 3
UL-Monroe at Mississippi
It's chapter 2 in the Pete Boone rent-a-win story. There was a very unexpected twist in Chapter one. Someone forgot to tell Memphis they were supposed to roll over and allow the Rebel express to run up the score. I have heard people blaming Biddle for dropping that pass late in the game until I am blue in the face. If Memphis doesn't fumble a punt inside their 5-yard line this game isn't even close. The better team won, and I'm not saying that to be inflammatory. Let's also not forget that the last two key drives for the Um offense ended in non-cowbell aided interceptions. Eli for Heisman? More like Eli for Heimlich considering the way he choked last Saturday.
ULM has found the going rough and probably should have won this past Saturday against Stephen F. Austin. Back in week one, ULM held LSU scoreless until 6 minutes before halftime. They have a very athletic QB and some nice athletes on defense. The biggest thing ULM needs is an early lead. As poorly as Um has played in the first quarter, the Indians just may get that lead.
Eli Manning threw 4 TDs last week, but needs some help from his running game. Jamal Pittman should see more reps this week. The defense from Oxford has given up nearly 1,000 yards through two games. This must improve if the Rebels hope to have a winning campaign. Based on the effort put forth so far there aren't many games on the schedule you can pencil in as a definite win. ULM and Arkansas State are the only teams left that most would expect a decisive Um victory, but those same folks expected a win over Memphis last week.
Mississippi 42 ULM 14
Kentucky at Alabama
The Wildcats have never beaten Alabama in the State of Alabama. That doesn't bode well for Coach Rich Brooks and his team this weekend. When you add in the fact that Alabama hung in there with the nation's top team a week ago, this one could get nasty.
Alabama needs a better start this week. Both games this season have seen the Tide fall behind early. While UK is no OU, they could be dangerous with a lead.
Kentucky will need a tremendous effort to not only win, but to keep it close. Alabama will line up and run the football all over the Wildcats. Jared Lorenzen will look to counter, but his team will be challenged mightily. The Tide will look to pound UK and bounce back from its 2nd consecutive tough loss to OU.
Mike Shula and company will see what their team is made of in the coming weeks. Winning is addictive and this squad won a lot last season. Alabama cannot represent the West in the SEC championship game, but much like last year they can make everyone else miserable. They'll start this week with Kentucky.
Alabama 27 UK 21
Western Illinois at LSU
Make no mistake this game should be a blowout, but there are several things to consider: 1) The WIU are the top ranked team in Division 1-AA; 2) They like to throw it and Russ Michna is 13-2 as a starter (Victory number 13 came at Division 1 Eastern Michigan last week); 3) WIU has not given up a touchdown this season.
LSU looked BCS caliber in last week's cakewalk win over Arizona. While most prognosticators picked Arizona 10th in the Pac-10, I think everyone expected a much better effort last Saturday. The Wildcats were out of it early and showed no signs of a comeback about 10 minutes into the 1st quarter. LSU could do no wrong. Matt Mauck had one incompletion, Shyrone Carey looked great on punt returns, Joseph Addai looked like a man possessed running the ball, and Michael Clayton looked unstoppable. The only thing that amazed me more than the 59-13 score was the fact that Arizona still received votes in both top 25 polls.
LSU should win this one with no trouble, but don't expect the Leathernecks to be intimidated. They will fight till the end; it'll be fruitless but they'll fight. The thing LSU must be cautious of is getting complacent. I understand everyone wants to get some work for the 2nd teamers, but next week LSU plays Georgia. LSU has yet to play a meaningful game and has yet to play their starters deep in a game. What will happen deep in the 4th quarter against the battle tested Georgia Bulldogs? It won't mater much this week, but LSU is not the consensus SEC West pick many have anointed them with after two weeks.
LSU 35 WIU 10
Mississippi State at Tulane
The Bulldog faithful are pretty desperate for a win and to most, this weekend tilt with Tulane appears to be a game the Bulldogs should win. That puts a lot of emphasis on this weekend's game. Tulane will counter with several offensive weapons, but with several holes and injuries on defense.
Tulane needs this win almost as bad as MSU does. The Green Wave has found the going a little rough here in the early going. Despite a late flurry by the Wave defense, Tulane was physically dominated by TCU. Last week the defense nearly lost the game against Division 1-AA Northwestern State. It took overtime to settle the affair and once again the game was physical.
Tulane head coach Chris Scelfo has stated that he thinks that his QB J.P. Losman has been hit 21 times. Some folks have the estimate even higher. The offensive line has been horrid. Mewelde Moore has been impressive, but needs some better holes to run through. The offense has been out of sync at times, but you have to hand it to Losman, he stands in there and takes the hit and keeps coming back at you.
MSU head coach Jackie Sherrill has pretty much spelled out the MSU gameplan in the media. MSU will look to run the football behind some two tight end sets and will look to bring the game to J.P. Losman as opposed to sitting back in a zone and letting him pick us apart. This gameplan will put High School All-Americans Nick Turner and Jerious Norwood front and center. This should be a huge advantage for the Dogs. If the Bulldogs can wear down the defense and win the time of possession by a substantial margin, this game should be wrapped firmly in maroon and white.
The Bulldog defense will come out with a chip on it's collective shoulders. After getting destroyed in the 1st quarter against Oregon, the Bulldog secondary will look for a much better start. Defensive coordinator Ron Cooper has pledged to simplify the defense and turn the Dogs loose. We should know pretty early if this unit has made the necessary adjustments. Tulane will look for a fast start and will test the secondary early. Within the 1st few scripted snaps I am sure the ball will be thrown right at our corners and over the top. If they can survive that barrage and get off the field on third down, this one should show a more respectable result.
I do not believe our defense is as bad as we looked in the 1st and 3rd quarters against Oregon. One thing I'd like to add to that is that you cannot keep giving the defense the short end of the field and expect a good result. One thing that helped as the game went along is that we were able to sustain some drives and give the defense a rest. One of the most frustrating things for a defensive player is when you've played your heart out and stopped the opposing team and before you can get a much needed Gatorade break you're back on the field. We must do better if this unit is to gain some confidence.
I like the Dogs in this one for a lot of reasons, but mainly because Tulane's defense has been so bad. With the increased production by the Bulldog wide-outs, if this game becomes a shootout, we can score right there with them. If our defense can play Bulldog football and make stops when we need them to, we can run the ball right at them with some success. It's a two sided war and we must be more physical on both sides, and above all things we have to hit the Quarterback!
MSU 31 Tulane 20
Well folks, that's how I see them. For all the Bulldog fans coming to the Big Easy stop by and say hello. I'll be in section 115, row 28, seats 3 and 4. Seat #4 will be for my son Oni who will be attending his 1st ever MSU football game. I am extremely excited about this game and I would go ahead and take my seat in the Superdome right now if security would let me. Early estimates are that there should be 5,000+ Bulldog faithful in attendance. That number should be much, much higher. This is a great chance to see the Dogs win and it's in the air-conditioned Louisiana Superdome. The Saints play the Texans on Sunday and they should win that one. Just make a weekend out of it and come to New Orleans and cheer the Bulldogs on to a Big Easy win.
Until next week,
Steve Robertson is a free-lance correspondent who writes The Robertson Report for the premium site portion of Gene's Page. Steve's email address is email@example.com.