My Dad bought me a shirt once that said, "My two favorite teams are Mississippi State and whoever plays Ole Miss." That being said, Roll Tide Roll! The Tide is certainly rolling and enjoying thumbing their noses a bit at the folks who relished the Tide's wallow in the proverbial mire.
The Rebs from Oxford are fresh off a lackluster win over Div 1-AA foe, The Citadel. The Rebels led 3-0 at the half before taking care of business in the third quarter. Mico McSwain continues to impress. Despite defenses keying on stopping his big play ability each week, he turns in a steady performance and at least one big run. The Rebs will need a huge effort from McSwain this week to stay in the game.
Ole Miss is in danger of dropping to 0-3 in the Southeastern Conference. You'd have to look all the way back to the Freddie Joe Nunn days to find a worse start in conference action. A 2-4 record looks to be a sure thing which would put the Rebs on pace to match the 2-5 start of the Joe Lee Dunn interim coaching days.
One big thing that may work against the Tide is the schedule. Next week Phil Fulmer makes his long awaited return to Tuscaloosa. Could the Rebs catch the Tide looking ahead just a bit? The Rebels won last week and played well the week before in a loss to Tennessee. They are far from turning the corner, but a few breaks here and there and this one could be a ballgame.
Alabama 27 Mississippi 10
Florida @ LSU
The last time LSU beat Florida at home they printed T-shirts. Way back in 1996 LSU beat then #1 Florida, which was the first time LSU had defeated a #1 team. "You always remember your first time" the shirts proclaimed. A few short years later Gerry "Bring back the Magic" DiNardo was out on his can and Nick Saban was preparing to awaken the sleeping giant of LSU.
Florida's spread option offense had some difficulties again last week. The Gators limped to a 12-3 halftime lead thanks in large part to a safety and a plumb TD courtesy of a fumbled punt. Give or take a couple of plays and Florida would have trailed 6-3 to the SEC West's last place team.
The defensive blueprint provided by Alabama worked for awhile for the MSU defense before fatigue set in. LSU has superior talent and depth, so the Urban Legend may quickly become a myth. LSU still has some issues in the secondary, but their pass rush has improved tremendously, which helps the coverage game. It may not be pretty, but LSU should win this one late.
LSU 24 Florida 17
Auburn @ Arkansas
This has been a very interesting series the past several years. Matt Jones had pretty good success against the Tigers, especially when he had a decent supporting cast. Could Nutt have Tubby's number?
Auburn is about to enter a very tough stretch with four of five on the road. The Arkansas game is the first of back-to-back road games against SEC West foes. Next week the Tigers travel to LSU where the battle of the Tigers will more than likely eliminate the loser from the SEC West race.
The Tigers should be good enough to split the four road games, but that would give Auburn at least two conference losses. If The Tigers go into the Iron Bowl with two conference losses, they will need some help to bring some luster to the game. If the Tide stumbles, the Iron Bowl could be for a whole lot more than bragging rights.
This week Auburn will have a battle for at least a half and maybe three quarters. The Tigers have the conference's best pass defense, which will make the Hogs even more one-dimensional. Be that as it may, the Hogs are pretty good at being one-dimensional. They average over 286 yards per game on the ground.
Auburn 30 Arkansas 20
Georgia @ Vanderbilt
This game has certainly lost some of the appeal that it had as we looked ahead a few weeks ago. After back to back losses to MTSU and LSU, Vandy's starting to look a lot more like the Vandy we're all used to. The Commodores still need two wins for a winning season and a bowl berth. With South Carolina's Blake Mitchell starting to find his groove, the twenty-two year losing season streak for Vanderbilt may be extended despite a very promising start.
Georgia has won ten straight in the series, but this may be the best Vandy team the Bulldogs have faced in some time. Georgia might overlook the Dores after the last two week's performances. Jay Cutler's Superman cape apparently got left in a Nashville phone booth because he's looked an awful lot like Clark Kent the past couple of weeks. Last week Cutler was 11 of 32 for 113 yards and two interceptions and had a crucial turnover against MTSU that led to a 14-3 deficit for Vandy.
Cutler is due for a better outing, but Georgia is a tough team to try and regroup against. Georgia can eat up the yardage and the clock and keep Cutler on the sidelines. With a win and a Gator loss, the Bulldogs would have at least a two-game lead over every team in the SEC East.
Georgia 38 Vanderbilt 21
Well, that's the week. Our Bulldogs are off this week to regroup for the home stretch. The Bullies have made it through the other side of the briar patch and are where everyone expected them to be from a win loss standpoint at 2-4. The Bulldogs slim bowl hopes would require them to win four of the next five. While on paper it certainly looks possible, the anemic offense must produce at a much higher level if the Dogs have any chance of a winning season.
Last year the Bulldogs came off the bye week and played pretty well down the stretch, including back-to-back SEC wins right out of the open date. They must play much better this year. The Honeymoon in a lot of ways is over and many Bulldog fans are more than a little tired of filling out their office bowl pools sans Mississippi State.
Until next week,
2 Timothy 1:7
Steve Robertson writes The Robertson Report for the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website. Steve's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.