Another week of football has gone by, and that means a new week of football is approaching.
A recap of last week, I was 10-1 in SEC games, only missing Florida, but with the games last week, that isn't impressive, and I managed to lay a goose egg in the next best 3. 10-4 overall. Not bad, but could be a lot better.
Conference play really kicks in full gear this week. This week should give us a bit of understanding about who's contending and who's pretending, and one of the new members of our conference is playing their first road conference game against a very tough team in a very tough environment. Other than Tennessee-Florida, last week really didn't have much to offer. This week should have no trouble holding my attention though.
And Tyler Wilson is projected to return to action this week. It might be a bit too late for Arky to make it to the National Championship, or even the SEC championship, but this does give them the chance to play spoiler and possibly earn a Cotton Bowl bid.
On to the games
There's Still a Few Cupcakes
Ole Miss at Tulane- It's really hard to call any game for Ole Miss a cupcake, but Ole Miss has shown signs of having a decent offense, and Tulane is currently 0-2 and they haven't really been competitive with Rutgers or Tulsa, and their offense and defense both rank near the bottom of the country. Ole Miss will put up some points, and probably give up more than their share as well, but Miss needs to take all wins they can get, and this might be the last opportunity to win on the schedule. Ole Miss 38-21
Florida Atlantic at Alabama- Bama is coming off an impressive 52-0 blowout of division rival, Arkansas, and they are working a two game shutout streak. Florida Atlantic put up two early touchdowns against Georgia last week, but the Dawgs' defense tightened and shut them down until the backup QB threw a pick 6. Back to back brutal games for Florida Atlantic. Bama would be expected to blowout most BCS conference teams, much less a Sun Belt school. Things will get ugly. I expect another shutout and another big game for Yeldon, Lacy and McCarron. Only really interesting thing here is to see if McCarron can keep his impressive no interceptions streak going. 54-0 Bama
South Carolina St at Texas A&M- Forgive me for not knowing much about the MEAC conference and a 1-2 team from it. There's nothing I can really say to make this game sound interesting. 45-0 A&M
South Alabama at Mississippi State- The Troy game was a bit closer than the Bulldogs of the West would have like liast week, but the game did move them to 3-0 and earned them a 23rd place ranking in the AP Poll. Mississippi State is looking for a bounce back season after last year's disappointment, and that means they need to win as many as they can before they head to Tuscaloosa and Baton Rouge later in the season. Don't see much of a challenge here. 35-7 Mississippi State
Akron at Tennessee- Tennessee wants and needs to get the bad taste of that Florida loss out of their mouthes. Tennessee still looks to be a much improved team for previous seasons, and Florida beat them last week, hopefully they don't let Florida beat them this week. They still have a shot at playing in the Georgia Dome at the end of September if they do their jobs and they get a little help. Even if they have a hangover, I don't see Akron as posing much of a threat. Bray and Co bounce back this week. 45-10 Tennessee
Interesting non Conference Game
Rutgers at Arkansas- If Arkansas loses three consecutive home games(Little Rock against ULM was technically a neutral site, but still very much a home game), their season is over. Rutgers is a tough team coming to town and their defense has been great to this point. The outcome of this game depends on if Tyler Wilson plays or not. A lot of experts are expecting him to play, and if nothing else, that should boost the moral of the team. Despite being shutout by Bama, Arkansas still has a better offense than Rutgers, and if Tyler Wilson plays, I don't think Rutgers can score enough points to keep up. This game will tell us a lot about what to expect from Arkansas the rest of the season. In the end, I think they rebound a bit. 35-27 Arkansas
Eh, At Least They're Conference Games
LSU at Auburn- Auburn hasn't exactly been impressive this season. Lost to Clemson in the Goergia Dome. Lost convincingly to Mississippi State on the road, and they needed overtime to beat the Sun belt's UL-Monroe at home. Frazier has been questionable at best throwing the ball. Only real bright spot Auburn has in their runnings game of McCalebb, Mason and Frazier. Their passing attack has been underwhelming. Their defense has been mediocre at best. LSU on the other hand is clicking on all cylinders. Auburn not being able to pass the ball and allowing LSU to stack the box against the run, this game won't be for the faint of heart. Mettenberger has done a fine job at QB this season. LSU having a real QB, with weapons to throw to and hand the ball off to on top of their defense is scary. This game will be over before half time. 48-10 LSU
Kentucky at Florida- It's not easy playing Florida. It's not easy playing Florida in Gainesville. It's definitely not easy playing Florida in Gainesville when they are coming off back to back conference road wins in tough environments and you're coming off a loss to Western Kentucky. Kentucky will give Ole Miss a good run at worst team in the SEC this season. Their defense isn't good. Their offense isn't good. Really, this game could have made the cupcakes list. Florida's strong defense should have no trouble against Joker Phillips' squad, and I look for Driskel and Gillislee to have big games. 49-3 Florida
Mildly Interesting Conference Game
Vanderbilt at Georgia- To say Vanderbilt has had a disappointing start to the season would be an understatement. Vandy is lloking to build on their bowl appearence last season, and losing to the only two FBS teams they've faced isn't a good start. They did however give South Carolina all they could handle and gave Northwestern a decent fight. With Vandy's schedule, they can probably still make a bowl game with a loss, but if they have any chance of making some noise in the SEC East, this is a must win game in a tough environment between the hedges in Athens. They can't start off conference play 0-2 against they two teams favored to win the East and expect to have a shot of playing in their first SEC Championship game.
Georgia has had some issues with slow starts this season. All games have ended with UGA winning comfortably, but in all three games, the opponent made it interesting until the defense locked down. These slow starts are playing with fire. Hopefully Richt gets them straightened out this week. Georgia's offense has been great thus far this season. Aaron Murray has been lights out, and he has an assortment of weapons to throw to. And I can't give enough praise to the two true freshman RBs in Gurly and Marshall. As a UGA fan, I've already forgotten about Crowell.
As for the game, it is in Athens, and Georgia has a lot more momentum in their favor. Vandy has a solid defense, but I don't think their offense can keep up with UGA's. Their defense, and the fact that this is a rivalry game will keep the game somewhat close, but in the end, I'll take the team that also has a solid defense to go with a much better offense. 24-14 Georgia
Game of the Week
Missouri at South Carolina- Mizzou failed to make their statement at home against Georgia two weeks ago. They managed to keep the game close until UGA pulled away for good in the 4th, but it wasn't the way Mizzou wanted to start their first season in the SEC. They are coming off a non conference home win against a solid Arizona State team of the Pac 12, so they do have some momentum coming into this game. But this week is their first road SEC game. They head to Columbia to face Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks. They had a tough SEC home opener, and their road opener isn't any easier. Franklin and co will need to have a big game to contend with SC's stout defense, and Mizzou's defense will have a lot to content with with Lattimore.
South Carolina does have a bit of QB controversy. Shaw is 9-1 as a starter in his college career, but has been largely ineffective throwing the ball. Dillon Thompson has shown a lot of promise thisn season filling in for Shaw at QB. Both QBs played significant time last week, and just looking at numbers, Thompson performed better. SC is looking for a trip to Georgia Dome this December after seeing their chances go up in smoke with the loss of Lattimore last season. They have a tougher SEC schedule than division rival Georgia, so every game is a must win for South Carolina.
For the game, Missouri has a good enough offense and defense to make things interesting. Their defensive stats are skewed by Georgia's score, which was aided by a lot of short fields in the 4th quarter. They held a good offense in ASU in check last week. And any time the ball is in Franklin's hands, Missouri has a chance to score. Personally, though, I feel South Carolina is a better overall team. I think they have a better defense, and no matter who is playing QB, Lattimore not only does great work on the ground, he opens things up for the passing game. It'll be a fairly close game, but I think South Carolina pulls through at home. 28-21 South Carolina
The Next Best 3
Clemson at Florida State- This game will in all liklihood determine who wins the ACC Atlantic division. I'm not an ACC expert, but from what I have seen, Florida State's defense will give them a chance to win against most any team in the country, and while Clemson has been impressive so far, I don't think they have the defense to hang with FSU. I look for FSU's defense to keep Boyd and co in check, and for Manuel and co to score more than enough points to win. 33-10 Florida State
Kansas State at Oklahoma- These two teams are two of the favorites to win the Big 12 this season, and Oklahoma is looking at a chance to play for the National Championship. There's a lot on the line in this game. Landry Jones and Damein Williams will present a big challenge for any defense, and Oklahoma's defense isn't too shabby itself. Kansas State definitely has the offense to make this game interesting, and their defense seems to be improved as well. What's the fun in picking the favorite in every game. I'm going with the upset special. 35-32 Kansas State
Michigan at Notre Dame- I'm not gonna lie, Notre Dame has looked a lot better than I thought they would this season. Their defense was spectacular in their dominating win against Michigan State, who I personally think will win the B1G this season. Michigan already knows all to well about playing great defenses on the road this season. I look for Notre Dame to climb a little further up the rankings. 35-17 Notre Dame