SEC Power Predictions

Since the Eastern division representive is already crowned, the game between LSU and Alabama looms large in deciding the Western division. Alabama can lose and hope for an LSU loss, but if the Crimson Tide wins, the SEC Championship game contenders are all but set.

Whatever the result of this week's big game, the season goes on and bowl seedings are at stake. Several SEC teams are still vying for New Year's week bowls and after this weekend teams will stare at the final three weeks. There is a lot of football left to be played and several rivalry games remaining, so it's hard to take anything to heart until the clock hits zero.

YRATINGS.COM POWER RANKINGS thru Week #10 (using all games)

1. (122.9) FLORIDA - a 0.9 improvement moves the Gators back to the top.
2. (122.1) ALABAMA - UA did nothing to drop, but didn't play to move up either.
3. (113.0) TENNESSEE - rise slowing +0.8 but still improving.
4. (112.8) LSU - moved up 1 spot and increased 2.3 rating points.
5. (108.4) OLE MISS - drop 1 spot and 2.9 points, should be below AU.
6. (107.9) AUBURN - plus 1.5 points and the toughest team to predict this season.
7. (107.5) ARKANSAS - up 3.1 points and gaining ground on AU.
8. (103.0) KENTUCKY - -1.1 points after the surprising home loss to State.
9. (101.4) SOUTH CAROLINA - -2.2 points after a disappointing showing against the Vols.
10.(101.2) MISSISSIPPI.STATE - moved up 1 spot and +1.5 points following their road win.
11.( 99.8) GEORGIA - dropped 1 spot and -1.8 points after the loss to the Gators.
12.( 89.8) VANDERBILT - lost 0.6 points in a hard fought loss to Geo.Tech.

POWER RANKINGS (based on SEC games only) 1. (114.9) ALABAMA
2. (114.6) FLORIDA
3. (107.7) TENNESSEE
4. (106.3) LSU
5. ( 98.3) AUBURN
6. ( 97.4) GEORGIA
7. ( 97.1) OLE MISS
8. ( 95.5) MISS. STATE
10.( 95.4) ARKANSAS
11.( 91.1) KENTUCKY
12.( 85.2) VANDERBILT

The toughness of SEC play is displayed by the lower ratings throughout the league versus the full schedule ratings.

Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky have played the toughest SEC schedules so far. Alabama gets the nod in the SEC-only ratings while Georgia jumps up, two others, Arkansas and Kentucky fall down.

Last week the picks went 5-2 (71%) and since week 4 the picks are 32-9 (78%). Auburn wins the award for the most difficult team to predict so far this season. The prediction losing streak is at 4 games. Mississippi State was the other surprise, but they deserved the win.

Don't forget to visit YRATINGS.COM to see all the NCAA team's ratings.

There are four games worth predicting and four others are playing down for easy wins.

SOUTH CAROLINA (6-3, 3-3) AT ARKANSAS (4-4, 1-4)

South Carolina will win because ------ #16 total defense (294.7 yds/game), #3 pass defense (141.3 yds/game), and #21 pass efficiency defense and the field kicking of Spencer Lanning.

Arkansas will win because ------ their #7 scoring offense (35.9 pts/game), #14 and SEC leading passing offense (295.8 yds/game), #9 turnover margin (+1.0 to/game), #16 kick returner Dennis Johnson and Ryan Mallett #9 pass efficiency.

South Carolina's defense is built to stop the pass, and Arkansas loves to pass so something has got to give. Arkansas will have the advantage of home court, and South Carolina may still be recovering from the battle in Neyland Stadium last week. If Mallet gets hot, watch out. PREDICTION: ARKANSAS by 6 points

LSU (7-1, 4-1) AT ALABAMA (8-0, 5-0)

LSU will win because ------ #7 scoring defense (12.1 pts/game), #8 turnover margin (+1.1 to/game), #15 total defense (293.0 yds/game), #12 punt returner Trindon Holliday and Alabama's #93 passing offense (192.4 yds/game).

Alabama will win because ------ #100 LSU offense (325.1 yds/game), #4 total defense (240.9 yds/game), #2 rushing defense (64.9 yds/game) #5 scoring defense (11.4 pts/game), #5 and SEC leading rusher Mark Ingram (125.5 yds/game) and #5 punt returner Javier Arenas (16.8 per return).

How much has the LSU offense improved and how will it handle the pressure of the Alabama defense? Can Alabama find the passing game from early in the season? Saban will play to his strengths and play a low scoring game if necessary while Les Miles may try the unexpected. Regardless the Tide will roll away from the Tigers in the 4th. PREDICTION: ALABAMA by 9 points

VANDERBILT (2-7, 0-5) AT FLORIDA (8-0, 6-0)

Vanderbilt will win because ------ #8 pass defense (160 yds/game), #29 pass efficiency defense, #34 rushing offense (179.6 yds/game), all-purpose Warren Norman #19 kick-returner (28.4 yds/kick).

Florida will win because ------ #1 pass efficiency defense, #2 total defense (236.6 yds/game), #2 scoring defense (11.0 pts/game), #6 rushing offense (252.3 yds/game) and Tim Tebow's #8 pass efficiency.

Vanderbilt represented the SEC well against ACC leader Georgia Tech last weekend, so let's see how they handle the SEC leading Florida Gators. Florida's on-again/off-again offense will have a tough time against the Commodore defense, but the Commodores will struggle against the top notched Gator D. It may take a quarter, but this one will get out of hand. PREDICTION: FLORIDA by 33 points

MEMPHIS (2-6, 1-4) AT TENNESSEE (4-4, 2-3)

Memphis will win because ------ #13 net punting (39.0 yds/punt), #46 pass offense (232.1 yds/game), #61 pass defense (218.8 yds/game) and the rushing of Curtis Steele (99.3 yds/game).

Tennessee will win because ------ #102 Memphis scoring offense (21.1 pts/game), #105 Memphis rushing defense (197.8 yds/game), #13 total defense (281.6 yds/game), #16 pass efficiency defense and #19 Montario Hardesty rushing (105.1 yds/game) plus the recent hot hand of Jonathan Crompton.

Tennessee has found new life since the 4th quarter of the Auburn game and are basically a field goal away from a three game win streak. The Memphis Tigers will hope to repeat the success of the previous Tigers visit to Neyland stadium, but I don't think the Vols intend on being gracious hosts. PREDICTION: TENNESSEE by 20 points

Of the four teams playing Championship Subdivision teams this weekend, Auburn is the only one coming in off of a victory. Unless there is a big surprise all four teams will enjoy a win this weekend.

EASTERN KENTUCKY (5-3, 5-2) AT KENTUCKY (4-4, 1-4)
Kentucky was beat at their own game last week when Mississippi State used a heavy dose of the ground game to tame the Cats. Kentucky should use this week to recover and prepare for the end of the seasons stretch which will begin on the road at Vanderbilt. PREDICTION: KENTUCKY by 20 points

TENNESSEE TECH (5-3, 4-2) AT GEORGIA (4-4, 3-3)
Georgia will welcome an easy opponent after a tough rivalry loss at the hands of the Gators. Time to get back to the basics and move the ball with a balanced offense. The Dogs will need to shore up their defense before next SEC game against rival Auburn. PREDICTION: GEORGIA by 35 points

FURMAN (4-4, 3-3) AT AUBURN (6-3, 3-3)
The grind of nine straight games two different streaks and a jekyll-and-hyde offense has made this season a roller coaster ride for Tiger fans. If Auburn can jump out to a big lead then maybe the starters will get some needed rest before the road trip to Athens. PREDICTION: AUBURN by 38 points

NORTHERN ARIZONA (5-3, 4-2) AT OLE MISS (5-3, 2-3)
Last week's loss to Auburn showed the Rebels haven't fully turned the corner this season, and things don't get any easier following this week's game when Tennessee comes a calling. The Rebs don't need to look too far ahead and find themselves in a battle this week. PREDICTION: OLE MISS by 17 points

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