Well, it's the third week of October and there's still no sign of the MSU football team that garnered pre-season accolades from most major publications. When and where will it end? I will admit that I am frustrated by our team's lack of success, but I am a fan. I will not boo. I will not degrade and disrespect our team. Those young men represent us and they are getting to play at a level that most of us only dreamed of. They went through two-a-days and essentially have no social life. They sacrifice so we can watch them play and they can raise money for the university. Win or lose those young men deserve our respect. For those of you that booed last week, you should be ashamed. I understand you paid your hard earned money to attend, but you are wrong to boo these young men. There are bigger problems in the world than MSU losing a few football games. I know the e-mailed responses will slam me, but it's simply not right. Our kids deserve better than to be booed. Show some class and cheer for them even when they fail. Let's be a little different from other schools. These are the same Dogs that beat Florida a year ago and the same Dogs that went 9-2 in 1999. We were due, I guess. I hate it, but it's true. We can still salvage a decent season if we get back to winning this week.
Tennessee @ Alabama
After a surprising loss to the upstart UM Rebels, the honeymoon is officially over for coach Fran. The stay atop the SEC west was short-lived and the team looks to be in disarray after dropping their last two SEC contests. The going doesn't get any easier this week. The UT Vols come to Tide town looking to keep pace in the suddenly tight SEC east. The Vols offense has become more formidable with the two-pronged attack of Washington and Stephens. The balance will be difficult for the Tide to handle. The game will be won or lost on Bama's ability to move the ball against the stubborn Vol defense. I still think Bama's offense leaves a lot to be desired and think the rest of the way will be extremely tough for the Tide. The downward spiral deepens this week.
UT 27 Alabama 14
Vanderbilt @ South Carolina
Vanderbilt just can't put anything together consistently. USC is smarting off an upset loss to Arkansas. The Hog offense did just enough to compliment their improving defense. It may have been a fluke, but it's a win nonetheless. USC couldn't have asked for a better opponent coming off a loss. Vandy will be tough on D, but USC is too strong. Ryan Brewer continues to be the utility man and has become the heart and soul of this team. Look for Derek Watson to finally have a breakout game. This one should be low scoring with two hardnosed defenses, but with Vandy's lackluster offense the Cocks will prevail.
USC 17 Vandy 10
Kentucky @ Georgia
Kentucky nearly pulled off the upset last week against LSU. If the Cats had any defense we'd be seeing a battle of winless teams in conference at Starkville this week. UK just doesn't have the weapons it once did. Georgia is a team on the rise. They are extremely balanced and would pose problems for most teams, but this is UK. This one could be over before the half. David Greene should have a field day. Look for UGA to break out early and run the ball with Musa Smith in the 2nd half to end a lopsided affair. UGA will dominate even though the score may not be Spurrieresque.
UGA 28 UK 9
Louisiana Tech @ Auburn
What can you say about Tommy Tubberville? This team brought nothing back but a kicker and a defense. Apparently that was enough. David Duval has broken hearts three straight weeks, including ours. The going gets much easier this week with the La. Tech Bulldogs. Daniel Cobb was tremendous last week against Florida. He had a calming presence on the Auburn team and never seemed to get rattled even when he fumbled away the game late in the 4th quarter. He led his team back into position to upset the #1 team in the country. With a 4-0 mark, Auburn is certainly in the driver's seat for the SEC west crown. Their secondary proved themselves once again last week and this defense seems ready for any challenge. Hats off to the Tigers, I certainly had them all wrong.
Auburn 42 La Tech 17
Middle Tennessee @ Ole Miss
This was scheduled to be a rent a win for Ole Miss. It will be anything but. MTSU may be the most impressive new member of I-A football. They have already beaten Vandy and will give Ole Miss fits. They may have a chance at LSU since they can throw the football. The main thing I like about MTSU is they have no fear. They don't respect anyone. They play to win and they play hard every play. This will be a lot closer than the odds makers have it. Ole Miss beat Bama last week and are scheduled for a letdown. As crazy as this season has been, you may even see an upset. I'm still not sold on the Rebs, but I must admit I was surprised to see a win over long time nemesis Alabama. This one will be equally close.
UM 31 MTSU 28
LSU @ Miss. State
How far will our beloved Bulldogs fall? LSU is confident, but they are quietly confident. They are aware that MSU has the talent to beat them and that the Dogs would love nothing more than to send LSU into the SEC west cellar. This is not a good match-up for the MSU offense. LSU ranks near the bottom of college football in defending the pass. We have shown tremendous problems in passing and catching. There's nothing like a weak defense to jump start your offense. LSU has mastered this series over the last decade. A lot of emphasis was put on this game in the pre-season. Who would have though these two teams will be deciding who is last in the SEC west instead of who was 1st. The LSU offense is decent, but their less than mobile QB is still nursing a sore knee. If MSU can bottle up Josh Reed the odds are in their favor. The game will be won or lost with MSU's defense. If we can bottle up Reed and keep the ground game relatively quiet we will win. The defense may have to score, but we will win. If we can score at least 20 I'd say we win. The problem is I don't think we can, but here's hoping.
MSU 23 LSU 14
I don't know what to make of all this, but I love my Dawgs win or lose. I was equally shocked, hurt, humiliated, and depressed after losing to lowly Troy State, but I'm still a Dog fan. Some changes are in the offing and rightfully so. We have to win this week if we have any hope of a, gulp, winning season. Our kids need us now more than ever and they don't need us to boo.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.