How sweet it is! What could be greater in our season of discontent than to beat the Rebelettes on national TV? To most, all is forgiven. As expected the hate mail from the Rebel nation has trickled to a complete stop and Bulldogs everywhere got a chance to smile a bit, in what has been a frustrating season. I really thought the cameras were going to catch Eli Manning crying on the sidelines before the night was out. What else can you say? This was as sweet an Egg bowl as there has been in the last few years. The best part is we took their best shot in what has been a down year for our squad and still beat them. Congrats to Bulldogs everywhere.
Can somebody tell Auburn that they have the talent to win the West? They have collapsed and are limping across the finish line. I know they are banged up, but they play a rejuvenated LSU squad this week at Tiger stadium. Auburn may have let a golden opportunity slip away in the past few weeks.
It's the last week of the regular season and neither division is settled. We essentially have two division championship games this weekend. The home teams play in what are probably the two toughest places to play in the conference. That should be a huge advantage, but as crazy as this year has been who really knows anymore?
Vanderbilt @ Ole Miss
I must say I'm rooting for Vandy in this one. I need Vandy to make my prediction of 6-5 for the Rebs come true. Vandy will be suiting up for the last time in the Woody ball era. I look for the Dores to come out loose and with nothing to lose. They are dangerous and Ole Miss is reeling. Ole Miss has lost three straight and have looked particularly vulnerable on defense in the past few weeks. The good news for the Rebs is that Vandy doesn't have a running game. The bad news is Vandy plays inspired defense from time to time and always seem to give the Rebs problems. The two biggest questions are how will Eli respond from the pounding he took on Thanksgiving night and will the Commodores show up for Coach Woody? If Ole Miss lets Vandy hang around for 4 quarters they are in trouble. I expect Ole Miss to start slow, but come on late. Ole Miss needs this win to improve their bowl possibilities. Woody needs a win to hang his hat on so don't be too surprised if Vandy leads late.
Ole Miss 23 Vandy 17
Houston @ Georgia
Houston is winless and that is a streak that will continue this week in Athens. Houston has no offensive line and is very vulnerable against teams with a two-pronged attack. Georgia's balance will cause lots of problems for the Cougars and UGA should get a chance to play a lot of people. This has been a great start for Coach Richt and his staff. David Greene has played as well as anyone could have hoped. This will be the last game for several Bulldogs, so look for a huge blowout on Senior day.
Georgia 42 Houston 10
Kentucky @ Indiana
This is a better match-up than most think. IU can't play defense and they always look to outscore teams in a track meet type event. These teams are almost a mirror image. Marcus Randle El is a talent and should provide some excitement along with UK's rediscovered passing game. The fact that Randle El was playing WR earlier in the season would have been a big advantage for the Wildcats had this game been played earlier. It's his last home game, so look for some heroics. I think UK will make it fun to watch, but they can't win on the road. The sanctions start next year for the Cats, so the road back will be long and difficult. Good luck Coach Morriss!
Indiana 34 Kentucky 28
Tennessee @ Florida
UT has always wanted the Gators late in the season. It seems that the Vols don't hit their stride until after their annual loss to King Spurrier! As good as UF looks right now, I don't think it really matters when they play UT. Florida is now back on pace to meet Miami in a rematch for all the marbles. Spurrier has always been able to get his teams up for big games and they don't get any bigger. The SEC East crown is on the line as well as a chance at a national title. Fulmer just can't find a way to beat UF, especially in Gainesville. UT looked impressive last week and with the return of Dontae Stallworth, who would have missed this game had it been played back in September, the Vols look poised to strike. If they can have a balanced attack and not have to play from behind they have a chance. If they get too far behind and can't use Travis Stephens they are in trouble. Florida should have trouble running the football, but UT must find a way to slow down Reche Caldwell. Gaffney is going to get his yards, but they can't let Grossman have both targets. If UF protects the passer and doesn't turn the ball over they win by two touchdowns. I look for a late Grossman TD to ice it before the Gators make plans for Atlanta.
Florida 31 Tennessee 21
Auburn @ LSU
This game should be as good as they get. Tommy T. owns LSU and loves to win in Tiger Stadium. He has a nice streak going against the Tigers from Baton Rouge and is pretty brazen about it. Last year his team smoked cigars after the game which drew the ire of the LSU media and players. Rudi Johnson scored a meaningless TD with less than a minute left that many think was Tubby's way of sticking it to LSU because he could. In 1999, Rohan Davey's 1st start was against Ben Leard and the upstart Auburn Tigers. Davey absolutely fell apart and didn't play again until the last game of the season against Arkansas. The LSU folks hate Tubby, but they can't seem to find away to beat him. When Tubby was at Ole Miss in 1997 they came to Baton Rouge and beat the Tigers the week after LSU upset #1 Florida. He always seems to find away to beat LSU. He has snuck up in them in year's past, but that won't be the case this year. The game will be won or lost on Auburn's ability to rush the passer and run the football. If Auburn gets 4 or more sacks and converts 45% of their 3rd downs it's back to back SEC West titles. If LSU can find a way to play a little pass defense and win time of possession they win the game. The Tiger's are tough at home, but they have been unable to win the big games under Saban. When the Tigers have things going their way they fall apart, but when all seems lost they find away to stick together. It is important for AU to hit LSU in the mouth early and take the crowd out of it. I just don't know about this one, but with LSU's history against Tubby, I'm going with the visitors.
Auburn 31 LSU 27
BYU @ MSU
Who ever thought BYU would be 11-0 at this point? Early in the season they were destroying teams, but the 2nd half of the season has shown a few kinks in the armor. They have even had to comeback late in the 4th quarter to win 2 of their last 3. MSU has shown new life under Fant and has won 2 of 3 and led in the 4th quarter in 4 straight games. We have superior athletes who will essentially be playing in a bowl game of sorts. The Dogs have new life after upsetting SEC media darling Eli Manning and the Oxford Rebelettes. This will be the last game for many great MSU players. I look for Zo to have a huge game and for the MSU defense to show up big in the 2nd half. The key is running the football. If we can run and stop them from running we will win. They haven't played anybody physical. We have to set the tone early. We have to hit the QB which may cost us a few 15 yarders, but that's nothing we're not used to. I am not advocating late hits, but we need to let him know early that passing will be a painful experience. BYU can score in bunches when they get rolling, but they haven't been rolling of late. Look for JLD to throw a lot of coverages and zone blitzes. This one will be a lot better than most people think. I know everyone will say I'm nuts, but after last week's performance and the fact that BYU has slowed down a bit, I'm going with the upset. It's the last game and Jackie's got to sell those season tickets next year too. This game will go along way towards helping the fan's feelings about next year's team.
MSU 30 BYU 28
It's been an interesting season. Next week we preview the SEC championship game as well as take a look back at the season. The Bowl pairings will start to come in to focus as well, so we'll have that to debate. Here's hoping for a great week for the SEC.
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.