Just to recap last week for a bit, I went 12-1, only missing Rutgers over Arkansas, so not a bad week at all, I even guessed Kansas State over Oklahoma in the Next Best 3. Some of the games didn't go as expected. I didn't think LSU would have so much trouble against Auburn. I thought Vandy and Mizzou would put up better fights, and I thought Ole Miss would have more trouble with Tulane. But, all in all, I had a good week calling games last week.
This week things get a bit more interesting. We're starting to get a few bye weeks, and there's only one cupcake game this week. From here until nearly the end of the season, most of the games will have more meaning, and most of them will be conference games.
Last week did raise some interesting questions. Did LSU just have a bad game, or are they not as good as we thought they were? I guess time will only tell. If they beat Bama and run the table, no one will remember a sloppy game against Auburn. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to a bad game, but one more lackluster performance and I will begin to wonder.
Can Vandy and Arkansas rebound and at least make it to a low level bowl game? With Vandy, I say there's still hope, seeing as they don't have to play Bama or LSu and Georgia and South Carolina are already out of the way. It's a stretch, but they have the schedule to do it. With Arkansas, I doubt it. They still haven't played LSU, and they also have South Carolina on the schedule. I see 4 more loses coming their way.
And finally, can Missouri rebound and finish with a winning record in SEC play? Their first two games in the SEC didn't go as planned. They kept things interesting against UGA until the 4th quarter, but were blown out by South Carolina. Looking at their conference schedule, at best I can see Mizzou finishing 4-4 in conference play, and the games against Tennessee and A&M will be interesting.
On to the games.
Florida- It'll be needed. LSU comes to Gainesville next week
Mississippi State- I'm sure they would have liked to have their bye a bit later in the season
Auburn- Tough game against LSU, they could use the rest
Vanderbilt- After the rough start, I'm sure an off week is welcomed
Towson at LSU- LSU is coming off their worst performance in a game not against Bama in a long time. This is their last cupcake on the schedule. I wouldn't want to be Towson in this game. LSU will be playing mad. Not a whole lot to say here. 49-0 LSU
Mildly Interesting non Conference Game
Missouri at Central Florida- UCF kept things interesting for a bit against Ohio State, and they're seemingly always in the mix for the Conference USA title. This could be a trap game for Mizzou. They didn't have a hangover after the UGA loss as they beat a solid Arizona State team, but this is another trap game for Mizzou, on the road no less. But if Franklin is 100%, I don't think Mizzou will have much problem with UCF here. 37-21 Missouri
Eh, At Least They're Conference Games
South Carolina at Kentucky- I think Ole Miss already has more wins than Kentucky will finish with, so I'm gonna go ahead and call Kentucky the worst team in the SEC. Kentucky has a lackluster offense and a poor defense. With Steve Spurrier coaching, South Carolina could probably play the backup at every position and still win this game. Talent wise, SC has Kentucky blown out of the water. Shaw should have no problem picking on the Kentucky secondary and Lattimore should have no problem running through Kentucky's front 7. I can't really think of a scenario of this being a close game. 45-3 South Carolina
Ole Miss at Alabama- Ole Miss has shown to have a decent offense, but their defense has more holes than a block of Swiss cheese filled full of bird shot. Despite the 3-1 record, I still have to believe that Ole Miss is one of the 3 worst teams in the conference. They have to play the number 1 team in the land at Tuscaloosa, and that solid offense of theirs will have trouble scoring against Nick Saban's ferocius defense. Bama should have no problems scoring aginst Ole Miss. Lacy and Yeldon running the ball, McCarron throwing the ball, either way, Bama will put points on the board. Only real interesting thing about this game is keeping an eye on McCarron's long streak of not throwing an interception. 38-7 Bama
Last Chance for Arky to Salvage Something
Arkansas at Texas A&M- I still haven't seen a lot from A&M this year. Florida is the only real team they have played, and they looked solid. But it was the same story as last season blowing the second half leads. Last season, A&M was the victim of a second half comeback by Arkansas. This season though, Arkansas can't have any confidence left, and they're traveling to one of the toughest road environments in the SEC. Arkansas still has the offense to make this an interesting game, but their defense, a bankrupt coach and lack of confidence isn't a good combination. Manziel has been solid on the season, but he doesn't have much help in the form of a running back, as he's A&M's leading rusher. That might hurt them later in the season, but I don't think it does this week. Home field advantage, Arkansas coming off three consecutive losses, and the desire to get their first SEC win, I have to favor A&M. 35-28 A&M
Game of the Week
Tennessee at Georgia- There's a lot on the line for both teams in this game. Both are hopeful of representing the East in the SEC title game. After Tennessee lost to Florida, every game has become a must win for them. Another conference loss, and Florida's tiebreaker over them, and you can pretty much kiss their chances goodbye. Georgia is looking to improve to 3-0 in SEC play and build some momentum before heading to Columbia to face South Carolina next week and to Gainesville to face Florida in 3 weeks. This is the start of a critical 3 game stretch for UGA, 3 consecutive games against division rivals, all 3 of which are considered to be their biggest threats in the East. It's time to sink or swim for UGA.
Tennessee does seem to be improved from previous seasons. They gave Florida a good fight for much of the game, but it's hard to live with just putting up a good fight. Bray is a very good QB, and he has weapons to throw to. Tennessee's defense is their biggest question mark. Georgia's massive o-line and balanced offense will present a very tough challenge this week. Not to mention this game is between the hedges.
As for Georgia, Aaron Murray is making a name for himself as the best QB in the SEC. While he doesn't have an AJ Green to throw to anymore, he does have a solid group of receivers in King, Bennett, Mitchell and Wooten. And I can't say enough about the two true freshmen running back for UGA, Gurly and Mitchell. Both have been spectacular. Georgia has one of the more balanced offenses in the SEC, which will go a long way in coming weeks hopefully. And while their defense has been prone to slow starts this season, as the game goes on, the defense tends to tighten up. Buffalo, Missouri and Florida Atlantic games show that. As a UGA fan, I'd like to see them start the game with a little more fire on defense, but with all the suspensions and injuries, it's hard to complain about the job the defense has done.
As for the game, I think UGA's balanced offense will present too many problems for Tennessee's defense. If Tennessee stacks to box, Murray will pick the secondary apart. If Tennessee drops back, Gurly and Marshall will tear the front 7 apart. Tennessee does have the offense to keep things interesting for a bit, but in the end, I think UGA has the better all around offense, a better defense and the game is in Athens, between the Hedges. Georgia gets by tennessee, 38-21
Next Best 3
Baylor at West Virginia- Baylor has played decent after losing RG3 to the draft, but Geno Smith and co are a threat to take home the Big 12 title. I don't think Baylor has the defense to hang with WVU's high octane offense. 52-35 West Virginia
Texas at Oklahoma State- Oklahoma State isn't quite as scary as they were last season with the losses of Weeden and Blackmon on their offense, but they still have the ability to put up points, and are good enough to be considered a threat for Texas. Texas has been impressive this season. A fairly balanced offense with Ash calling the plays. Their defense against Ole Miss could have been a bit better, but their offense was way too much for Ole Miss to keep up with. Solid game, but I think Texas wins 52-32
Ohio State at Michigan State- Ohio0 State is playing for nothing but pride this season with the postseason ban, but if they run the table, they will make a lot of noise. Despite the Notre Dame loss, Michigan State has looked to be the best B1G Championship eligible team in the conference. Ohio St has looked a bit vulnerable in some games against lesser opponents like UCF for a bit, UAB and Cal. This is Ohio State's first real test of the season, and I think Michigan State is the better team. 28-17 Sparty