The Robertson Report

Well, folks, we're gearing up for the stretch run and there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Most of those questions get answered this week. Can LSU stay in the race with a win over Auburn? Is Alabama about ready to quit? Is this the year the Rebels attain a winning record in conference? Most importantly, can the MSU Bulldogs circle the wagons and close out the season with some respect?

UAB @ Georgia

It's homecoming this weekend in Athens. This game should be an excellent opportunity to pad the stats for the Georgia regulars and to get some playing time for the second teamers. Georgia will be without the services of Fred Gibson once again. Gibson has been nagged by injuries most of the season, but the week off will give him a chance to heal. Gibson won't be missed this week, but his play should be crucial down the stretch.

The task of upsetting Georgia got more daunting last week, as starting signal caller Darrell Hackney was lost for the year. Freshman Chris Williams will make his first collegiate start behind center on Saturday. Williams has played some spot duty, but nothing like he'll see Saturday. Williams needs to find David Pollack is soon as the huddle breaks or it will be a long painful afternoon.

This game is really no contest and Georgia will do what an SEC team should do against a Conference-USA team, win big. Michael Cooper is back at tailback and David Greene is primed for a school record type day. The biggest concern in this one is to make sure no one gets hurt.

Georgia 42 UAB 0

Arkansas @ Mississippi

Arkansas has lost two straight at home. To say they have a new sense of purpose would be an understatement. The Hogs are beat up, but are angry. Cedric Cobbs is nursing a sore hamstring. The Pigs are so beat up they even had former tailback Brandon Holmes come over from the defense just for practice. It will be a bad thing if Holmes has to carry the ball on Saturday.

Mississippi seem to be flying under the radar. They've defeated Florida in the Swamp and they knocked off old nemesis Alabama. This is the same team that lost to Memphis and Texas Tech. The defense is playing with more passion, but that task has been made easier by early leads.

This game is a must win for Arkansas. A few weeks ago most folks expected a blowout Razorback win in this one. Arkansas is hurting and they lack confidence. If they get behind in this one they will fold the tents. Houston Nutt 's team last year won out after two rough conference losses. Nutt always seems to get his team up for games like this. On paper this looks like a game Mississippi should win, but based on the intangibles I like the Hogs.

Arkansas 31 Mississippi 28

Vanderbilt @ South Carolina

South Carolina got pounded last week. During the post-game handshake, Lou Holtz apologized to Nick Saban for not having a better team to put on the field. A bit of trivia about the handshake, Saban and Holtz are the only Kent State graduates serving as head coaches in major college football.

Vanderbilt is young, but that always seems to be the case at Vandy. The Commodore fans are tired of hearing about next year. Last week's loss ensured Vanderbilt's 21st consecutive losing season. One bright spot from last week was the play of backup quarterback Stephen Bright. Bright will see more action according to head coach Bobby Johnson. Cutler is still the starter, but Bright will have some dedicated series with the 1st team offense.

South Carolina should have their way with Vanderbilt. If USC has any hopes of going to a bowl game they must win this game. There are some winnable games left, but not many as winnable as this one. Look for USC to run Summers most of the night and to play stingy on defense. Vanderbilt feels this may be their last remaining chance to win a conference game. Last year, USC escaped with a 20-14 win courtesy of several huge 3rd down conversions late in the game. The Gamecocks should have a little more breathing room this year.

South Carolina 28 Vanderbilt 17

Tennessee @ Alabama

Over the years this has been a great rivalry. The game has lost it's luster this season, mostly due to Alabama's sinking ship. Alabama has been downright horrible at home. The Vols have probably never been more excited about a visit to Bryant-Denny. This game in a lot of ways is already over, but Tennessee has an axe to grind with Alabama about a lot of things said to the media as well as the NCAA.

UT's Cedric Houston should be able to match anything Bama's Shaud Williams has to offer. Houston is a bruising runner and the one thing he has to help him stay fresh is a supporting cast. Tennessee almost has an embarrassment of riches in the backfield. When Houston goes out Jabari Davis goes in. If Davis needs a blow there's Tinsley, Riggs, and so forth. If Williams goes out the Tide QB's need to find a WR to throw to.

Alabama is nowhere near the program they used to be. The future looks bleak and the cupboard will be emptying soon thanks to scholarship reductions. Tennessee has problems of their own, but nowhere near the problems in Tuscaloosa. Look for the Vols to pound it out early in a close one, but expect the Vols ground game to run at will in the 4th quarter.

Tennessee 27 Alabama 17

Auburn @ LSU

This game is not for the weak at heart. If you like old fashioned smashmouth football then this game is for you. This game in a lot of ways is the SEC West championship game. If Auburn wins, they'll have a near insurmountable lead over LSU. LSU would trail by two games with only three conference games left on the schedule. This one is huge and may be the biggest game in Baton Rouge in the last couple of seasons.

Auburn may be playing the best football in the conference right now. The ship has been righted and Auburn is just downright dominating people. Carnell Williams had a field day last week and set a school record for TDs in a game. Not to be too far outdone Brandon Jacobs had a career day as well against MSU. The Tigers meet the nation's #1 rush defense this weekend in Death Valley. Something has to give.

LSU has a functional passing game that is a good, but better than Auburn's. LSU is much stronger at the wide-out position and that should create some mismatches against Auburn's secondary. In my opinion this will be the difference in the game.

Tuberville has had the Tigers' number the last several seasons, but when it counted most back in 2001 LSU made it happen. I expect LSU to show some muscle in this game. The battle for the line of scrimmage will be huge and with guard Nate Livings out with a MCL sprain the battle could take on a new twist. LSU needs to exert it's strength up front especially on defense.

LSU 23 Auburn 21

Mississippi State @ Kentucky

One of the things that just jumps out about Kentucky is that they do not turn the ball over. Kentucky has only fumbled 4 times all season and 2 of those were in the 1st half last week versus Ohio. This could be a huge factor in the ball game this week. Lorenzen is not having a huge year, but he is making plays. Last week, after a few struggles, Boyd saw some action, but Lorenzen did return to finish the game and will start this week.

This is a tough match-up for the Bulldogs because of Kentucky's ability to throw the football. Jackie Sherrill is 8-4 against the Wildcats and is 2-1 against Lorenzen. Last year's contest saw MSU blow a half time lead and eventual get blown out thanks to a interception return for a touchdown and two punt returns for touchdowns by Derek Abney. The big question this season is will we kick to Abney again? I certainly hope not.

MSU will look to pound the football right at Kentucky. Last season, Jerious Norwood had a huge game and with best pal Nick Turner back this season, this should be a huge plus for the Bulldogs.

Kentucky is better on defense this year than they have been traditionally. It's important to keep them on the field and not bail them out with drops and turnovers. They will make mistakes and will give up points. Time of possession is big in games like this.

Now that the news of Coach Sherrill's retirement has had the chance to sink in, I think the players will be more focused on the game this week. Last week, the team faced a better team and a tough task was made more difficult by the bombshell that was dropped last Friday. I truly believe the players will rally around Jackie and fight even harder to win a few games down the stretch.

MSU 31 Kentucky 27

Well folks, that's how I see them. It is extremely important that we as an MSU family send Jackie and these seniors out on a high note. It's time we all said thanks. I don't know how most people will remember Jackie or this senior class, but I want them to remember how crazy Scott field was the last two ball games.

Let's all get those white towels out and show-up in sell out formation and cheer this team on. Coach Sherrill has made being a Bulldog fan a lot more to be proud of during his tenure and I for one will make sure that he knows how grateful I am all the way up til the final whistle.

Until next week,

Steve Robertson
1st Peter 4:16

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

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