The Robertson Report

It's hard to believe, but the 2004 football regular season is over halfway complete. Last week brought some very close games including a near upset in Oxford as well as some late heroics from the South Carolina Gamecocks that put them one win away from bowl eligibility. This week has some mismatches as well as another upset in the making.<P> Last week (6-0) Overall record (41-12)

Florida vs. Mississippi State

The Gators haven't been regular willing visitors to Starkville for quite some time. It's not because they don't know the way, but their more recent visits have been less than memorable.

The last visit to Starkville for Florida saw three Gator quarterbacks in action including current Miami QB Brock Berlin. The Gators were hit with a bruising ground game led by Zo Miller and Dontae Walker as well as a buzz saw defense that limited Florida to a school record low of -78 yards rushing.

MSU has won the last three contests at home in this series. You'd have to go back to 1985 to find the last Gator win in Starkville.

Emory Bellard had the Bulldogs off to a 3-0 start, in his final season with MSU when Florida came to town.

The Florida loss was the only home loss of the season for the 1985 Dogs.

Steve Spurrier was coaching the Tampa Bay Bandits to a 10-8 record that year. He'd still have a stint at Duke before taking over at Florida.

Current MSU WR coach Guy Holliday was playing his last year of college football.

Current MSU TE Coach Freddie Kitchens was ten years old.

On the day Florida last won in Starkville, current freshman running back Demarcus "Woot" Johnson was being born, 9/28/85.

The Dogs have had the Gators number in the few meetings in Starkville the past couple of decades, but it will take a colossal effort for the Bullies to continue their mastery over the visitors from Gainesville.

Omarr Conner should be back, but who knows how effective he will be after the lay-off. The Gators have had trouble with mobile QBs and if Omarr were 100% it would help the cause tremendously.

Florida looked bad for the last two and a half quarters against LSU and then took it out on Middle Tennessee. They have had another few days to let their emotions cool, but this game is clearly lopsided in the Gators favor.

If MSU is to keep it close they'll need some help from the Gators. Florida has a tendency to adjust slowly when the defense makes their adjustments in the second half, but this one may be decided well before then.

Florida 38 MSU 13

Eastern Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt

If it had not been for Vandy's win over MSU, the Commodores would clearly be the worst team in the SEC. With nearly every starter back, one would have to believe head coach Bobby Johnson is feeling the heat.

EKU got off to an 0-3 start, but have won three straight and averaged 42 points in those contests. The Colonels clearly have it going. This is a game they have a great chance of winning and notching a win over an SEC program. Despite the records, it would be an upset to see a Division 1-AA team defeat an SEC team, but that's what more than likely will happen.

EKU 31 Vandy 21

Kentucky vs. Auburn

This is a huge blowout in the making. Auburn has a tremendous chance of playing in a BCS bowl game and perhaps the national championship game. Jason Campbell continues to manage the game well and is making all the right moves in the Gulf coast offense.

Kentucky, aided by five turnovers, gave South Carolina all they wanted last week. It took a late touchdown throw from Mike Rathe, who had practiced with the scout team most of the year, to earn the victory for the Gamecocks.

This week it won't even be close, even if Auburn started most of the scout team. Auburn has the look of a dominant team and this week the Tigers will look even more dominant.

Auburn 45 Kentucky 7

Alabama vs. Tennessee

Off the field carnival atmosphere withstanding, this match-up is not close. Alabama will play with a lot of emotion, but they still lack the talent to play with the Volunteers for sixty minutes.

Alabama's defense should keep it close for a half, but each week Tennessee makes the plays that matter when the game is on the line. The Vols were sputtering much of the second half until Mississippi took a late lead on a pick six. The Vols answered the bell and kept their SEC Championship hopes alive with a late Erik Ainge TD pass.

No last minute heroics needed this week despite all the radio call-in banter. If Bama were healthy it would be a better match-up, but either way the bad blood is thicker than ever thanks in large part to Phil Fulmer's "confidential" testimony to the NCAA. The hatred for the Vols will only intensify after this one.

Tennessee 27 Alabama 17

Troy vs. LSU

It's homecoming for LSU and they could have picked easier opponents. Troy pulled a couple of upsets in the early portion of their schedule, but quickly returned to earth with losses to New Mexico State and South Carolina.

LSU may have finally settled on a QB after Marcus Randall's comeback win over Florida after JaMarcus Russell spotted the Gators 14 points. Randall looked nearly flawless on the final drive and now the folks who were ready to see him play safety are demanding Russell be benched.

This week may still see both QBs play, but it might be well after the outcome has been decided. Troy should come out with some fire, but the LSU faithful will douse any spark about ten minutes in.

LSU 38 Troy 3

Georgia vs. Arkansas

Despite losing to Tennessee, Georgia has a great shot at a BCS at large bid. If the Vols and Dogs both finish with one loss, it would be difficult to keep the Bulldogs out of the BCS pay line. The Dogs are currently tenth in the BCS standings, but should move up as there are always some upsets.

Arkansas has a great chance to win at least three of their last five, which would put them in a bowl game yet again. Considering all the doom and gloom that was forecasted for the Hogs a bowl berth would be a nice accomplishment.

Arkansas may have to wait another week to work on their post-season resume, but this should be a great game to watch. The Hog defense has looked horrible the last two weeks, but they should step it up a bit this week. Houston Nutt is known as a strong closer, but this week he'll need a stellar effort just to stay in the game.

I like Georgia in this one mainly because I don't think the Hog defense can stop Georgia. The Razorbacks only allowed an average of just over 16 points in the games they won, but an average of 35 in games they lost. If it turns into a track meet the Hogs will end up somewhere just north of the starting blocks, but far south of the finish line.

Georgia 31 Arkansas 20

Well that's the week. It should be another great Saturday to sit home in front of the TV. Great games all day on the tube will be the norm the rest of the way. There are only four non-conference games left on the schedule, so nearly every game will be huge.

Until next week,

Steve Robertson
Galatians 2:20


Steve Robertson writes The Robertson Report for the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website. Steve's email address is therobertsonreport@hotmail.com.

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