The first weekend in October this year finds Mike Henig preparing to take his first snaps as a collegiate player in a must-win situation on the road in the SEC. Henig will look to spell Kyle York some this week after seeing top Dog Omarr Conner go down with a knee injury last week.
Vanderbilt, despite being winless on the season, heads into Saturday as a two-score favorite. The Commodores could be 2-1 on the season had it not been for a couple of bad breaks against Mississippi and Navy.
Jay Cutler returns with most of his team intact and is hungry for a win. The Dores felt they let one get away last year in Starkville and appear to have the advantage in this contest.
Vandy has been competitive in their last two contests, they are playing at home, and MSU's having some QB issues. The Dogs may have never been so ripe for Vandy's picking.
The Bulldogs lead the SEC with the least amount of penalty yardage per game at just over 30. To date, that stat has not translated into more success on the gridiron, which is the only stat that really matters. A foundation is being laid, but it will be interesting to see how the Bulldogs respond after last week's shelling.
Most Bulldogs counted the visit to Baton Rouge in the loss column as soon as the schedule was announced, but only a select few were prepared for the carnage that the Tigers wrought on a Bulldog team still reeling from it's first ever loss to a Division 1-AA team the week before.
I would love to think the Bulldogs will rebound and show some fire this week, but after watching this team in person the last two weeks, I just don't see it happening. I don't think the sky is falling, and in all fairness we are only a game behind of what most expected us to be.
Even though LSU hung half a hundred on the Dogs, it still only counts as one loss. A win this week would cure a lot of ills, but it may take a week to sort out the QB situation.
Mike Henig reportedly will take some snaps this week. Henig has a cannon for an arm and most Dogs would love to see it on the field since a redshirt is no longer in the offing. The Bulldogs have not stretched the field very much this season, perhaps that will change this week.
Who knows exactly how much Henig will play. How will taking on an increased workload affect Kyle York's slow to heal shoulder? Is it possible that Mike Henig could be starting in a week or two?
By the way, the game Mike Henig played the first weekend in October a year ago was a game he won 34-20, sadly no such luck this week.
Vandy 24 MSU 17
Elsewhere around the league...
The Florida defense has struggled to put pressure on the quarterback this season, tallying just two sacks. The task will get no easier as they take on the Razorback's Matt Jones.
The Hogs have been excellent protecting Jones and have only given up three sacks in four games. Jones elusiveness is a primary reason the Hogs have avoided the longer down and distance situations.
The Gators two prong attack of Chris Leak's passing and Ciatrick "C4" Fason's rushing should be enough to propel the Gators over the Hogs even though it should be a tight one.
Florida 31 Arkansas 28
Arkansas State vs. Mississippi
Who can figure out the Rebels? Just when it seemed that the quarterbacking situation was beginning to stabilize, things took another twist. Ethan Flatt had a horrendous game and was responsible for a handful of turnovers in the loss to Wyoming. With the game on the line, the Rebs dusted off much-maligned Michael Spurlock and he nearly brought the Rebs all the way back. News out of practice this week is that highly touted Robert Lane may finally be in the mix and we may see all three quarterbacks this week if the opportunity presents itself.
No matter who starts, the Rebs running game, sparked last week by Vashon Pearson, should be enough to win this one. The Rebs spanked the Indians 55-0 last year, so the talent differential should swing the Rebs way.
An overall lack of discipline has the Rebels in a hole fighting for their postseason lives just four weeks into the season. The Rebels still have the meat of their schedule ahead, so there's not a lot of joy in Oxford. The Rebels are the SEC's worst team in terms of penalty yardage; that dubious distinction more than anything else has the Rebels backs against the wall. This week may be the Rebels last real chance at being a favorite.
Mississippi 38 Arkansas State 10
This game almost goes without mention, but Kentucky should have more than enough to win this one. Last season the Wildcats smacked the Bobcats around to the tune of 35-14. Shane Boyd should have the chance to work out the kinks a bit, but the Bobcats have been stingy on pass defense, including allowing just over 200 yards through the air to Pitt.
Kentucky 42 Ohio 10
South Carolina vs. Alabama
The story of this game is clearly the bruised shoulder of Dondrial Pinkins. When healthy, Pinkins has been stellar. Pinkins sat out two weeks ago against South Florida and sought a little relief from Syvelle Newton in the win over Troy.
Alabama was competitive for three quarters with Arkansas despite starting Marc Guillon at QB for the first time. Eventually, the Tide defense wore down and the Hogs pulled away. I expect a similar type game and result this week. Guillon will get better as the year goes along, but it will be up to the defense to keep the Tide in games until that happens.
South Carolina 24 Alabama 14
Auburn resumes conference play this week in a big way when they visit Knoxville. The Tigers are riding high and a win this week will make the climb to catch the Tigers that much more difficult.
It appears that Erik Ainge may have wrestled the "go-to" status from Brent Schaeffer. Ainge has been very impressive and he adds a deep ball threat the Vols haven't had since the days of Peyton Manning. Both QBs will continue to play, but in key situations it may be Ainge calling the shots as the season wears on.
Auburn's defense will be tested early and often and this one will be no exception. So far they have been up for every challenge. Jason Campbell made just enough plays to win against LSU, but he'll have to make more if the Tigers expect to win in Knoxville.
Tennessee 30 Auburn 21
LSU vs. Georgia
The QB situation in Baton Rouge may be settling a bit despite all three quarterbacks on the depth chart having success last week. For three straight weeks Marcus Randall has led the Tigers to scores on their opening drives. They will need that type of continued success this week.
Georgia has been abysmal on offense despite having an unblemished record. The Dogs pulled away in the second half against Georgia Southern in week one, but have lacked the killer instinct in subsequent contests. Everyone just keeps waiting for Georgia and David Greene to explode and this may be the week, but I doubt it.
The training room in Athens has been filled with Georgia tailbacks most of the young season. They will need some production on the ground this week to keep the Tigers from teeing off on Greene like they did twice a season ago.
I think LSU will score just enough thanks large in part to their defense and a short field. As long as the Tigers don't get too cute, they'll win this one despite Georgia having this game circled on their calendar for some time.
LSU 20 Georgia 17
Well, that's the week. Hopefully the maroon and white Bulldogs will rally this week and turn this thing around. There has been a collective moan of "Here we go again" most of the week. I don't think anyone is surprised that we lost to LSU, but I think most everyone is disappointed in how we lost. A loss is a loss is a loss, but last week's loss was made even more painful by the fact that we lost the week before and did not respond well in the face of adversity. The team will learn, and when in a similar situation again, should respond more favorably, or at least I hope so.
Until next week,
Steve Robertson writes The Robertson Report for the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website. Steve's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.