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Well, it's official, Missouri has joined the SEC, and they are going to be playing in the eastern division.  Geogrphically, it doesn't really make sense for them to play in the East, but overall, I don't have too many issues with it.

With them playing in the east, the longstanding, and in place current SEC rivalries won't be effected.  Texas A&M, the other new team will be their cross division rivalry.  Auburn won't have to go to the eastern division, where Bama would be their cross division rivalry, but the Tennessee-Alabama game being played every year would be in jeopardy.

Your thoughts on Missouri playing in the East?

Last week we saw LSU take on Alabama, and the defenses lived up to the hype, but the offense does leave concerns for LSU.  A team with a solid defense and a great offense might give them fits down the road. 

And Georgia now controls it's destiny in the SEC East after South Carolina's loss to Arkansas.  This is a big deal in Dawg country.  Mark Richt has most likely saved his job, and it looks like Georgia is a lock for the Cotton/Peach Bowl.

On to the games.

The One Sided Affairs

 

Western Kentucky @ LSU- Something tells me a four loss team playing in the Sun Belt Conference won't be much of a challenge for LSU.  WKU has a chance to win the Sun Belt, but offensively, they don't pose much of a threat.  They have no passing game, and they have a middle of the pack run game.  It's just a recipe for LSU to pick them apart defensively.  WKU doesn't have a terrible defense, but not close to Bama's level.  LSU won't have problems scoring for this game, LSU wins 42-0

 

Tennessee @ Arkansas- There's a reason Tennessee hasn't won a conference game this season.  It's because they're not a good team.  Their offense is mediocre at best.  Their defense is decent, but nowhere near elite.  Arkansas' offense is firing on all cylinders.  A couple of dropped passes kept the South Carolina game from being a big time blowout.  Tennessee is bad enough on offense for Arkansas to shut them down, and Arkansas is good enough on offense to pick Tennessee's defense apart.  Tyler Wilson is in the discussion for best QB in the SEC.  Look for him to light up the scoreboard.  Arkansas wins 38-10

 

The Battle to Stay out of the Running for Last Place

 

Kentucky @ Vanderbilt- Vanderbilt is a better team than their 4-5 record indicates.  They held their own and gave real scares to Georgia, Florida and Arkansas.  They have a solid running game, and Aaron Rodgers' little brother at quarterback.  Honestly, I think Vanderbilt has the advantage across the board in this game.  Kentucky can't score.  They can't pass, and they can't run, and defensively, they're one of the worst in the SEC.  All of that, and the fact this game is in Nashville, I look for Vandy to win big.  Vanderbilt wins 28-10

 

The This Cupcake Game Might Backfire

 

Louisiana Tech @ Ole Miss- Ole Miss is a terrible team.  They have a terrible offense and a bad defesne to match.  In my opinion, they are easily the worst team in the SEC.  LA tech is on a four game winning streak, and they gave two of the top three BCS busters real scares.  Losing by just two to Southern Miss, and by just one to Houston, and they took Mississippi State to overtime. They are a better team than their record indicates.  They rank middle of the road down the board.  Passing, Rushing and defense, and have shown to be a more competent team than Ole Miss.  Louisiana Tech wins, 21-14

 

The This Would Have Been Interesting if Preseason Polls Held True

 

Alabama @ Mississippi State- I do think Mississippi State is a better team than they have shown this season, and they have started coming around, but this is a bad time to be trying to salvage a season.  They are playing Bama, a team that will be playing angry after their heartbreaking loss to LSU.  Don't think Bama won't have fire after their loss.  There is still a possibility of LSU slipping, and even a chance at a rematch in the National Title Game.  Everyone knows that Mississippi State's offense is almost exclusively running the ball.  This doesn't bode well for them in this game.  Vick ballard is an excellent back, but Bama has one of the top run defenses in the country.  When Bama shuts down the run, Mississippi State doesn't have a passing game to fall back on.  While Miss St has shown to be decent defensively, they are no LSU, and don't expect them to keep Trent Richardson in check like LSU did.  Richardson will have a big game, and Bama does have somewhat of a passing game to compliment Richardson and Lacy.  Bama wins big, 42-7

 

The Interesting

 

Florida @ South Carolina- If South Carolina has any chance of regaining control in the SEC East, they are going to have to win this game and hope UGA falls to either Auburn or Kentucky.  Basically, this is a must win game for South Carolina.  There is a problem here though.  South Carolina has proven to not be able to run the ball without Lattimore.  Connor Shaw with 24 yards was their leading rusher against Arkansas, and in a game against Florida, they are going to have to move the ball on the ground to have any shot.  The lack of running game, along with a bellow average quarterback is a recipe for disaster against Florida.  Florida is obviously a much better team than their record indicates.  They were missing their quarterback for three games, and Brantley was rusty against UGA.  Florida should be able to move the ball through the air against South Carolina, and with a decent passing attack, their run game will have a decent day as well.  If South Carolina is going to win, they are going to have to rely on their defense, and it's been inconsistent at best.  Florida doesn't have a great defense, but they do have a decent defense, and with no Lattimore, that's really all you need to shut down South Carolina. Home field advantage and Spurrier gives the Gamecocks a fighting chance, but in the end, Florida wins 30-17

 

Game of the Week

 

Auburn @ Georgia- The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry.  To Georgia fans, this is arguably the biggest regular season game every year.  If we beat Auburn, it almost makes up for other loses and makes the season worth while no matter how bad the team is.  This is a huge rivalry game, so in most years, you can throw records and talent gaps out the window. This year is no different.  Auburn would love nothing more than to put a road block on Georgia's road to the SEC title game and end their secen game winning streak.  Georgia would love nothing more than to keep the streak alive and knock Auburn out of the top 25. Even last year, the UGA team that finished 6-7 gave Auburn one of it's toughest games of the season.  I think Auburn is an overrated team.  They have three losses, yet they somehow manage to have not fallen from the polls after any of them.  They have a one dimensional offense, relying heavily on the legs of Dyer and no passing game to speak of.  Dyer is a great back, but if they are going to win this game, and play spoiler to UGA's SEC Championship Game hopes, they are going to have to move the ball through the air.  Their defense is fairly average as well.  UGA doesn't have a high powered offense, but Auburn is gonna have to make stops to win this game.

Georgia comes into this game with a seven game winning streak, and they control their own destiny to reach the SEC title game.  They have a lot on the line.  I think this matchup plays into the hands of Georgia's strengths.  Georgia has been great at stopping the run.  If they can stop the run, they will force Auburn to have to throw.  When Dyer gets shut down, more times than not, Auburn gets shut down.  Georgia gets Isaiah Crowell and Carlton Thomas back for this game after their suspensions. Crowell has been great during his freshman year, and I look for him to have a big game, especially after getting a week to rest against New mexico State.  Aaron Murray is in the discussion with Tyler Wilson for best QB in the SEC, and I look for him to have a big game as well.  The game is between the hedges, and I look for Georgia to win, 38-24

 

The Next Best 3

 

Oregon @ Stanford- The importance of this game speaks for itself.  This game likely determines the winner of the Pac 12 North, and has huge national Championship implications.  If Stanford wins, their road to an undefeated season gets easier after this week.  If they finish undefeated, they have a very good shot at making the NC Game.  If oregon wins, it puts them in contol to win the Pac 12 North, and puts them right back in the middle of Championship talks. Living in Georgia, I haven't had many chances to watch either of these teams play, so reading Orac's Pac 12 and the Next Best 3 will give you a much better breakdown.  From what I have saw, Oregon has a great offense capable of putting up huge numbers against any team, and the same goes for Stanford.  Stanford is the more balanced offense of the two, Luck at QB to go with a solid running game, but I haven't been overly impressed by Stanford's defense.  The USC game was a bit sloppy, but they got the win.  But, oregon's passing game is middle of the road, and I'm not sure they can beat Stanford solely on the ground.  Stanford wins 45-38

 

Nebraska @ Penn State- Nebraska will be playing angry after they were upset by Northwestern.  Penn State has one of the best defenses in the country, so this is a very interesting matchup.  Personally, I'm interested to see how Penn State plays with all of the distractions with the sex scandal lingering around.  It can be used as a motivation to come out and play angry, or it could be a distraction that costs them the game.  I think they will use it as a motivation, and we will have two angry teams playing each other.  I'm confident in Penn State's ability to shut down pretty much any offense.  Their offense might be a bit weak, but Nebraska's defense isn't anything to brag about either  In the end, I like Penn State 17-14

 

Virginia Tech @ Georgia Tech- Thursday Night Special.  I'm not gonna lie.  I haven't been impressed with Va Tech.  They've played an easy schedule to get to 8-1, and they lost badly to the only ranked team they have played.  GA Tech's schedule hasn't been much better, but they did take Clemson down from the ranks of the unbeaten.  The triple option Ga Tech runs has the potential to put up big numbers against any team, and I like them in this matchup. Georgia tech wins 32-30

November 8, 2011  12:20 PM ET

I really enjoy your blog. Good job.

On your Missouri question, I am not very happy that they have been invited into the SEC. Since they have been (without asking for my input :)) I don't really care what division they go in.

November 8, 2011  12:23 PM ET
QUOTE(#1):

I really enjoy your blog. Good job. On your Missouri question, I am not very happy that they have been invited into the SEC. Since they have been (without asking for my input :)) I don't really care what division they go in.

Thanks. I was hoping for a better school, but with the ACC putting a lockdown on anyone leaving, we already turned down WVU, and Oklahoma and Texas seem to be committed to the Big 12, I think they were the best option avaliable.

Comment #3 has been removed
November 8, 2011  07:54 PM ET

Nice blog.

Personally, I think Mizzou's cross-divisional rival should be Arkansas instead of A&M. They're border states and could come up with a pair bit of healthy dislike.

November 8, 2011  07:56 PM ET
QUOTE(#4):

Nice blog.Personally, I think Mizzou's cross-divisional rival should be Arkansas instead of A&M. They're border states and could come up with a pair bit of healthy dislike.

That's not a bad idea, but I do like the idea of not tampering with current cross divisional rivalries. Plus it makes sense to have the two teams we stole from the Big 12 to be rivals.

November 8, 2011  07:57 PM ET

Nice blog, UH. I agree with all your picks except for the Penn State-Nebraska game, and the GT-VT- game. I'd also be surprised to see Florida beat the Gamecocks, but I'll take your word.

Also, what's your take on the number of bowl teams from the SEC? 10?

On to the good part:

To Stanford's credit, they're missing their best defensive player this year, Shayne Skov who tore his ACL in the game against Duke. However, even without him, they've still managed to rank in the top 10 in the NCAA in points against, albeit against a relatively soft schedule thus far. The only two tests being vs Washington and @ USC.

November 8, 2011  07:58 PM ET

I hate all this division realignment. I'm kind of a traditionalist, and it's probably just because these are the conferences I grew up watching, but Colorado in the Pac-12? Nebraska in the Big10? Mizzou and A&M in the SEC? It doesn't feel right. It's not the same.

November 8, 2011  08:01 PM ET
QUOTE(#6):

Nice blog, UH. I agree with all your picks except for the Penn State-Nebraska game, and the GT-VT- game. I'd also be surprised to see Florida beat the Gamecocks, but I'll take your word.Also, what's your take on the number of bowl teams from the SEC? 10?On to the good part:To Stanford's credit, they're missing their best defensive player this year, Shayne Skov who tore his ACL in the game against Duke. However, even without him, they've still managed to rank in the top 10 in the NCAA in points against, albeit against a relatively soft schedule thus far. The only two tests being vs Washington and @ USC.

The Penn State-Nebraska game was a tossup for me, same with Ga Tech, Va Tech, though I haven't been impressed with either of the ACC teams.

I knew a west coaster like you would know more about Stanford and Oregon than I do, so I appreciate the feedback.

November 8, 2011  08:04 PM ET
QUOTE(#6):

Nice blog, UH. I agree with all your picks except for the Penn State-Nebraska game, and the GT-VT- game. I'd also be surprised to see Florida beat the Gamecocks, but I'll take your word.Also, what's your take on the number of bowl teams from the SEC? 10?On to the good part:To Stanford's credit, they're missing their best defensive player this year, Shayne Skov who tore his ACL in the game against Duke. However, even without him, they've still managed to rank in the top 10 in the NCAA in points against, albeit against a relatively soft schedule thus far. The only two tests being vs Washington and @ USC.

Bowl eligible teams?

UGA
USCe
Florida
Vandy
Auburn
Bama
LSU
Arkansas
Miss St

Tennessee has a chance, but I don't see it happening.

November 9, 2011  10:14 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

Thanks. I was hoping for a better school, but with the ACC putting a lockdown on anyone leaving, we already turned down WVU, and Oklahoma and Texas seem to be committed to the Big 12, I think they were the best option avaliable.

I always thought Va Tech was the perfect program for the SEC, but hardly ever heard them mentioned. Perhaps they let it be known that they weren't interested in leaving the ACC.

Clemson would have been a great fit culturally, but wouldn't do much to hike television ratings so I guess that's why they weren't discussed. I have relatives who are life long upper SC residents and they used to say that Georgia was their biggest rival back when they played every year.

November 9, 2011  10:26 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

Thanks. I was hoping for a better school, but with the ACC putting a lockdown on anyone leaving, we already turned down WVU, and Oklahoma and Texas seem to be committed to the Big 12, I think they were the best option avaliable.

I guess it is like you say. The ACC just made it too difficult for anyone to even think about leaving.

Comment #12 has been removed
November 9, 2011  04:25 PM ET
QUOTE(#11):

I guess it is like you say. The ACC just made it too difficult for anyone to even think about leaving.

Which was alot smarter of a move than some of their other conference decisions, like moving their CC game around among others.

Comment #14 has been removed
November 9, 2011  10:09 PM ET

I actually don't consider Missouri joining the SEC East as geographically awkward as advertised. Once you get past the word "East" and actually look at a map, it starts to make a little bit more sense.

If you plot the 14 SEC schools on a map, you'll see that you can actually draw one straight line which evenly divides the 7 SEC West schools from the 7 SEC East schools. It just so happens that line is diagonal, rather than vertical.

November 9, 2011  10:16 PM ET
QUOTE(#15):

I actually don't consider Missouri joining the SEC East as geographically awkward as advertised. Once you get past the word "East" and actually look at a map, it starts to make a little bit more sense.If you plot the 14 SEC schools on a map, you'll see that you can actually draw one straight line which evenly divides the 7 SEC West schools from the 7 SEC East schools. It just so happens that line is diagonal, rather than vertical.

That's an excellent point. I like the move because it doesn't jeopardize existing rivalries.

November 9, 2011  10:25 PM ET

UGA don't control their desity, Auburn and Florida controls their desitny. So after Auburn breaks them Dawgs fans hearts at least they will have some comfort in still getting to go to the SEC championship game because Florida beats the Gamecocks.

November 9, 2011  10:28 PM ET

If they moved Auburn to the east it still wouldn't have jeoprodized anything. The UGA-Auburn game would have just been a divisional game while Auburn's cross divsion rivaly game could be the Iron Bowl. The only yearly game that would get jacked up would be LSU-Auburn every year. The (un)official does make a good point though. Maybe they can just change the divisional name from east-west to this years national champs and next years national champs.

November 9, 2011  10:37 PM ET
QUOTE(#18):

If they moved Auburn to the east it still wouldn't have jeoprodized anything. The UGA-Auburn game would have just been a divisional game while Auburn's cross divsion rivaly game could be the Iron Bowl. The only yearly game that would get jacked up would be LSU-Auburn every year. The (un)official does make a good point though. Maybe they can just change the divisional name from east-west to this years national champs and next years national champs.

Bama-Tennessee would have been in jeopardy, and with Auburn is the East, who would UGA's cross division rivalry be? Same with Tennessee?

 
November 9, 2011  10:46 PM ET
QUOTE(#19):

Bama-Tennessee would have been in jeopardy, and with Auburn is the East, who would UGA's cross division rivalry be? Same with Tennessee?

Ah very good point. I forgot about the Bama-Tennessee one. Good point. My best suggestion would be to make the cross divsional rivalry game rotate so that in even number years Bama plays Tennessee and in odd years they play Auburn. Then Auburn could rotate theirs between Bama and LSU, and I don't think that would be a good suggestion.

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