SEC Power Predictions

The season is down to the Final Table of nine undefeated teams so what statistical traits do these players have in common? Using NCAA.org stats and little bit of paper the following elements may not tell the whole story, but there are five statistical categories that stand out more than others.


1. Scoring Defense - 8 out of 9 teams are in the top-20 while 4 of the 8 are in the top-10 (Alabama, South Florida, Cincinnati and Florida). Florida is No. 1 allowing just 6.4 points a game.

2. Scoring Offense - 7 out of 9 teams are in the top-20 and 5 of the 7 are in the top-10 (Kansas, Cincinnati, Boise State, Florida and Texas). Texas is No. 1 scoring 47.2 points a game.

3. Total Defense - 6 out of 9 teams are in the top-20 and 5 of the 6 are in the top-10 (Alabama, South Florida, TCU, Florida and Texas). Florida is No. 1 (202.6 yds/game) while Alabama is No. 2 (220.5 yds/game).

4. Pass Efficiency Defense - 6 out of 9 teams are in the top-20 and 4 of the 6 are in the top-10 (Alabama, Boise State and Florida). Florida is No. 1 and Alabama follows again at No. 2.

5. Total Offense - 6 out of 9 teams are in the top-20 and 3 of the 6 are in the top-10 (Kansas, Florida and Texas). Kansas is the highest rank at No. 3 running up 519.4 yards a game.

Voters are accurate in their diagnosis of Number 1 Florida even the stats point out the Gator dominance. Florida is ranked No. 1 in three of the five categories and top-7 or better in all five. Alabama represents in the defensive categories while Texas depends on offense. Boise State is the only other team in the top-20 in all five categories.

Iowa, Kansas and TCU are the only teams with two top-20's in the categories though Kansas in actually top-10 in their offensive categories.

There are a few other categories on the edge of importance since 5 of the 9 teams are top-20 in these categories: Rushing Defense, Turnover Margin, Offensive Pass Efficiency and Sacks.

SEC RANKINGS

1. (128.3) FLORIDA [-3.3]
2. (125.6) ALABAMA [+0.6]
3. (113.9) TENNESSEE [+1.3, up 1]
4. (111.3) AUBURN [-6.0, down 1]
5. (108.4) LSU [-1.0, up 1]
6. (107.8) ARKANSAS [+5.6, up 2]
7. (106.6) OLE MISS [-3.8, down 2]
8. (104.7) SO.CAROLINA [-2.1, down 1]
9. (101.0) KENTUCKY [+0.4, up 1]
10.( 98.6) GEORGIA [-3.1, down 1]
11.( 94.8) MISS.STATE [-1.2]
12.( 92.4) VANDERBILT [-0.9]

Last week's predictions went 5-2 71% (losers: Auburn and Vandy), the last three weeks 17-5 77%. At this point in the season most of the numbers should settle down and teams are finding their place in the rankings. Hopefully this week will show signs of improved results. Visit Yratings.com to see how all the NCAA teams rank.

SEC POWER PREDICTIONS:

NO. 67 GEORGIA (3-3) AT NO. 88 VANDERBILT (2-4)

Georgia will win because..Punting No. 1 in the nation 44.0 yds per punt, A.J. Green SEC receiving leader, Rennie Curran leading tackler in the SEC, Vandy's scoring No. 108 offense 18.8 pts/game and No. 114 Passing offense 146.7 yds/game.

Vandy will win because..No. 2 Pass Defense 118.2 yds/game, No. 6 pass efficiency defense, All-purpose Warren Norman, Georgia's No. 97 total offense 324 yards/game and No. 100 scoring defense 30.7 pts/game.

Prediction: Georgia's offense struggles for an identity continues, but Vandy's offense has found it is non-existant. If Vandy can find a passing game then the game could get interesting but not likely. GEORGIA BY 6 POINTS

NO. 32 ARKANSAS (3-2) AT NO. 2 FLORIDA (5-0)

Arkansas will win because..No. 10 passing offense 318.2 yards/game, No. 11 scoring offense 37.4 pts/game, No. 4 kickoff returns, No. 15 tackles for loss, Ryan Mallet No. 15 passing efficiency, Dennis Johnson kickoff returns leads the SEC.

Florida will win because..DEFENSE: No. 1 total defense 202.6 yds/game, No. 1 scoring defense 6.4 pts/game, No. 1 pass efficiency defense, No. 2 rushing offense, Tim Tebow No. 3 pass efficiency, Brandon James kickoff returns.

Prediction: Arkansas is on a hot streak bumping off two straight ranked opponents, but Florida is not easily bumped at home. Will the Gator defense defend it's swamp or will pigs fly? This is the third straight double-digit loss predictions for Arkansas - will the hogs prove the ratings wrong again. FLORIDA BY 21 POINTS

NO. 56 KENTUCKY (2-3) AT NO. 19 AUBURN (5-1)

Kentucky will win because..No. 15 kickoff returns, Derrick Locke all-purpose yardage, Auburn's No. 82 scoring defense 27.2 pts/game, No. 84 rush defense 164.7 yards/game.

Auburn will win because..No. 5 total offense 489.8 yards/game, No. 10 scoring offense 38.3 pts/game, No. 15 turnover margin, Ben Tate's SEC leading rushing yards 120.7 yards/game, Kentucky's No. 101 rush defense 177.8 yards/game.

Prediction: Kentucky is coming off of two hard fought losses while Auburn is still trying to tackle Arkansas. Will the AU offense that plays well at home show up or will another SEC defense find a way to slow down the early season juggarnaut? Kentucky will need to take advantage of Auburn's defensive weaknesses because I'm sure Auburn will exploit Kentucky's weak rush defense. AUBURN BY 10 POINTS

NO. 79 MISSISSIPPI STATE (2-4) AT NO. 83 MIDDLE TENNESSEE (3-2)

Miss. State will win because..No. 10 rushing offense 225.8 yards/game, No. 16 sacks allowed, Anthony Dixon carrying the rock, Middle Tennessee's No. 100 rush defense 174.8 yards/game.

Middle Tenn. will win because..No. 21 passing offense 268.8 yards/game, No. 10 turnover margin, Dwight Dasher rushing and passing, Keith Brown interception machine, Miss. State's No. 88 pass efficiency defense.

Prediction: Mississippi State will need to use the ground game to control the clock and control the ball. Middle Tennessee will try to strike from the air, score quickly and force Miss. State out of it's comfort zone. This one will go down to the wire. MISSISSIPPI STATE BY 1 POINT

NO. 86 UAB (2-3) AT NO. 34 OLE MISS (3-2)

UAB will win because..No. 9 rushing offense 228.8 yards/game, No. 26 turnover margin, Joe Webb passing and rushing, interceptions by Chase Daniels, No. 93 Ole Miss turnover margin, No. 71 Ole Miss scoring offense.

Ole Miss will win because..No. 9 scoring defense 13.0 pts/game, No. 4 pass efficiency defense, Marshay Green punt returns, Sackmeister Greg Hardy, UAB's No. 112 total defense 453.6 yards/game, UAB's No. 104 scoring defense 31.8 pts/game.

Prediction: UAB finally beat Southern Miss two weeks ago, can the confidence carry over against a beat up Ole Miss team trying to recover from last week's flood of the Crimson Tide? If Ole Miss can avoid giving gifts to opponents then the stout defense can do it's job. OLE MISS BY 14 POINTS

NO. 40 SOUTH CAROLINA (5-1) AT NO. 5 ALABAMA (6-0)

South Carolina will win because..No. 15 total defense 280.3 yards/game, No. 6 pass defense 151.0 yards/game, SEC sack leader Eric Norwood, UA's No. 105 net punting.

Alabama will win because..No. 2 total defense 220.5 yards/game, No. 2 pass efficiency defense, No. 12 scoring offense 37 pts/game, No. 11 rushing offense 233.5 yards/game, Mark Ingram carrying the mail, Javier Arenas punt returns, home field.

Prediction: South Carolina might be one of the best defenses Alabama has faced this season. Can USC figure out a formula to shutdown the balance of the Alabama offense? Alabama may not be able to pass for mega-yards, but yards on the ground should not be a problem. ALABAMA BY 21 POINTS.

OTHER TOP-25 GAMES OF INTEREST: (using Yratings rankings)

No. 12 Cincinnati at No. 21 South Florida: PICK CINCINNATI BY 6 POINTS

No. 7 Oklahoma at No. 1 Texas: PICK TEXAS BY 11 POINTS

No. 8 USC at No. 23 Notre Dame: PICK USC BY 9 POINTS

No. 6 Virginia Tech at No. 39 Georgia Tech: PICK VIRGINIA TECH BY 17 POINTS

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