The Robertson Report - October 20th

A couple of notable upsets last week really make things interesting for the stretch run. The Auburn upset win over Florida tightens things up a bit in both divisions. Vandy knocked off Georgia between the hedges. Can they keep the momentum going this week and get into the bowl picture?

Mississippi State vs. Georgia

1956 was a great year in American history. The Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in seven games to win the world series, the U.S. congress authorized the construction of a new highway program that we now call "the interstate", and Mississippi's favorite son, Elvis Presley, dominated the radio airwaves with legendary hits Hound Dog, Don't be Cruel and Blue Suede Shoes.

1956 was also the last time Mississippi State won between the hedges of Georgia. Fifty years is an awful long time, but in all fairness the two breeds of Bulldogs have only played twenty times in the history of the programs. Be that as it may, the MSU breed of Dog has been treated rather rudely through the years, by his Eastern division brother.

MSU will take to the road and try to capture that elusive SEC road win. A win over a name program like Georgia would do wonders for the program even though Coach Mark Richt's troops are not having one of their better seasons.

The 5-2 Georgia Bulldogs are only a couple of plays away from being 3-4, but winning teams make the plays to win and Georgia is certainly a winning program.

The Bullies in Maroon come into the contest fresh off their most complete ball game. A win over division 1-AA Jacksoville State was certainly a welcome relief despite the level of competition. The first half was far from a thing of beauty, but once Michael Henig knocked the rust off the offense had a very solid second half.

The SEC's leading punt and kick returner, Derek Pegues, had a great week last week and will be counted heavily upon this week. Every extra yard Pegues can squeeze out to shorten the field will be of great help to an offense still trying to find some confidence against an SEC opponent.

The silver britched Bulldogs will be without running back Thomas Brown who is lost for the season. Ware and Lumpkin can carry the mail and should not be discounted. Working behind a patchwork offensive line may be a bigger factor than the loss of Brown this week.

Matthew Stafford gets the start behind center for Georgia. The much heralded freshman has appeared in all seven games to date, but will look to jump start an offense that has had it's share of issues the past several weeks.

Stafford is completing just over 50% of his passes and has one touchdown pass to go along with four interceptions. It will be interesting to see how open the play book will be this week with an offensive line that may have their hands full.

One big key for the MSU defense will be to keep Georgia out of the red zone. The Bulldogs from Starkville have yet to turn an opponent away who came knocking on the door. Twenty three trips inside the MSU twenty yard line has resulted in twenty three scoring drives for opponents.

With MSU appearing to show some progress at times on offense, they can not afford to get into a shoot out. The defense must step up. Pressuring Stafford especially on third down will be critical.

Georgia can not afford to let Mississippi State just hang around, but they will. I expect this to be a competive game. It could come down to the fourth quarter. Despite earning some confidence, I expect Sly Croom's Bulldogs to come up a couple of plays short.

If MSU plays the game and not the name they have a chance. They will need to eliminate some mistakes and cause some turnovers to pull off the upset.

Georgia 24 Mississippi State 14

Ole Miss vs. Arkansas

The Rebels have demonstrated some improved play the past two weeks. They gave Georgia and Alabama all they could handle, but came up painfully short in both games. This week the Rebs travel to SEC west leader Arkansas. Things could be a lot different this week.

Arkansas is not a good matchup for Ole Miss. The Razorbacks have the fifth best rushing attack in the country led by Darren McFadden. Ole Miss is woefully thin along the forward wall, so I would not expect Mitch Mustain to be asked to do much more than to hand the ball off.

Coach Ed Orgeron has been very tight lipped about the Rebels' injury situation this week. That probably means bad news.

Arkansas 31 Ole Miss 10

Tulane vs. Auburn

Believe it or not, Tulane holds a four game lead in the All-time series with Auburn. The Greenies are still picking up the pieces and this is an awfully tough week to try and get better.

Kenny Irons has been slowed by injuries some this season, but he is still second in the league in rushing yards per game. I would suspect that if Auburn gets up big early Kenny will sit and rest that injured foot.

I like Auburn a lot and they proved last week that they are still a team to be reckoned with. They need some help, but with a favorable schedule they will keep the pressure on Arkansas.

Auburn 35 Tulane 7

South Carolina vs. Vanderbilt

With winnable games on the road at Duke and Kentucky coming up, Vanderbilt could move into the bowl picture with a win this week. The Commodores had been real close to pulling off a big win earlier in the season and finally pulled off a shocker last week.

South Carolina has four wins on the season and with the meat of their schedule ahead, they can ill afford to lose this week. Sidney Rice needs to get on track and set the tone early.

Vandy will answer with WR Earl Bennett, who is proving to be one of the conference's top play makers. If Vandy can have some early success the home field may swing things in their favor.

South Carolina 21 Vanderbilt 17

Alabama vs. Tennessee

Well, the third Saturday in October is upon us. This contest has attracted the attention of the rest of the conference and the eyes of the nation for the off the field issues between the schools.

Last season Alabama won an ugly contest 6-3 over Tennessee thanks to a Volunteer fumble at the one yard line. Tide fans should relish that moment because the chances of a repeat this year appear slim.

David Cutlciffe has Phil Fulmer's offense humming. Erik Ainge has improved tremendously in the new system. Alabama is usually pretty stout on defense, but this year they have had some trouble. This week brings more trouble with a capital UT.

Tennessee 24 Alabama 10

Fresno State vs. LSU

When the schedule first came out this looked like a trap game for LSU. Fresno State has earned a reputation of playing the big boys tough at home and even knocking a few of them off. They are a rich man's Southern Miss.

FSU has a tough time stopping the pass, but the Tigers of LSU have no problems throwing it. JaMarcus Russell has had some bouts with inconsistency, but this may be his best season to date. With an explosive corps of wideouts, LSU should be able to strike early and often.

Pat Hill is a great coach at Fresno State and seems prefectly content where he is. It would be interesting to see what Hill could do in a major conference with major talent. He will get to see plenty on display this weekend in Baton Rouge.

LSU 42 Fresno State 10

Well, that's the week. Thanks to a couple of upsets we recorded a 4-2 mark in week seven. The overall mark is 51-9 and should improve this week barring another upset.


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