To recap last week, I was a perfect 9-0, not that the games were tough to call or anything, I still feel like I should pat myself on the back seeing how I've struggled with the Next best 3 segment all year.
Some games didn't go exactly as planned. I'm hoping UGA was just looking to this weekend's game in Jacksonville, MTSU didn't put up the fight I thought they would against Mississippi State, but all in all, a solid week for me.
This weekend, things get a bit more interesting. The SEC East in all likelihood will come down to the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party this weekend, and Bama-Mississippi State will show us the favorite to win the West.
On to the games.
LSU- Their biggest games are yet to come
Cupcake in the heart of Conference Play
UMASS at Vanderbilt- I haven't watched UMASS yet this season, but I see they are 0-7, while playing in the MAC. Vandy might not be a conference contender, but they have beaten the teams they should beat, and UMASS is their weakest non FCS school on their schedule. Not a lot to talk about with this one. Vandy moves to .500. Vandy wins 32-0
Eh, At Least They're Conference Games
Kentucky at Missouri- Kentucky put up a decent fight against UGA last week. Though the game wasn't as close as the score indicated, Kentucky does still have pride. But I still consider Kentucky to be the worst team in the SEC, and really, I don't think it's close. Neither team has a conference win yet this season, but Missou, even without their QB has been more impressive than Kentucky. If Missouri loses this one, I'll go on record and say they will go winless in SEC play this season. ESPN reports that Franklin will likely miss this game as well, so there is some hope for Kentucky, but top to bottom, I feel Mizzou is the much better team. Mizzou gets their first SEC win. 42-10 Missouri
Texas A&M at Auburn- This game will be ugly in a hurry. Auburn absolutely can't pass the ball. No matter what QB has been put in, they can't move the ball through the air. They have talented RBs and QBs that can run the ball, but when their passing game isn't considered a threat, it's easy for opposing defenses to stack the box and stop the run. Auburn's defense has been inconsistent as well. They've looked decent in a few games and very much overmatched in others. A&M is a solid team, their only losses are to two top 10 teams in the country, and they were in the game against both of them. As a UGA fan, I'm just glad A&M plays in the West. This team has potential to be conference contenders as Manziel matures. A&M's defense is shaky, but Auburn won't come close to hanging with A&M's offense. 42-7 A&M
Mildly Interesting Conference Games
Tennessee at South Carolina- A season that started good for Tennessee has turned into a disaster. After an impressive win against NC State to open the season, Tennessee has lost to Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi State, all good teams, but the first 3 listed happen to be Tennessee's biggest rivals. Even though Tennessee is an improved team, the people in Knoxville don't like losing, and especially don't like losing to big rivals. This game could be do or die for Dooley in orange. South Carolina has had a bit of a hangover following their big win against Georgia. Since the game, they lost a tough one to LSU, and were blown out of the swamp by Florida. Tough teams, but the two game slide has all but emliminated them from SEC contention. Florida has a two game lead and the tiebreaker, and the skid has allowed Georgia to pass them in the standings. For the game, Tennessee's defense has been its biggest downfall. I'm not a big fan of Connor Shaw as a QB, but I think he should be able to rip apart Tennessee's defense, and while Lattimore isn't 100%, I look for him to have a big game. South Carolina stops the bleeding. 42-28 South Carolina
Ole Miss at Arkansas- Big game for both. If Arkansas wins, they can salvage something of this season and earn a bid to a mid level bowl game. If Ole Miss wins, it will say a lot about the progress the program is making. Neither team really plays defense, so I expect a lot of points on the board. Ole Miss gave Alabama their toughest battle this season, and gave A&M all they could handle. Ole Miss needs this win, or their chances of making a bowl takes a big hit. If they win this one, they can beat Vandy and finish 6-6, but after this one, they have LSU, Georgia and Mississippi State waiting. Ole Miss is a team on the rise, but they're not ready to take on the big dogs in the SEC this year. As for the game, I think there is more potential on Ole Miss's defense than Arky's. Arky doesn't have an O-line, so Ole Miss will get to Wilson a few times and no oline makes it tough for Arky to run the ball against anyone. And though I think Arkansas is very talented in the skill positions, I have been impressed with Ole Miss's offense this season. It's a tough game to call, but in the end, I think the Rebels have more confidence, and I think they will put together a better game. 45-35 Ole Miss
Co Game of the Week
Mississippi State at Alabama- Winner of this one will take sole possession of first place in the SEC West and hold the tiebreaker over the other. Mississippi State has done a great job recovering after last season's disappointment. Some games were closer than they should have been, but a win is a win, and Mississippi State comes to Tuscaloosa with an undefeated record. I have a lot of faith in Dan Mullen as a head coach, and the university is making a commitment to being a consitently competitive football team with the major renovations going on with the football facilities, and next year, they will no longer have one of the smallest stadiums in the SEC. Tyler Russell has given the Bulldogs of the West a second dimension to their offense that has been missing the last few years with Rolfe(spell) at QB. No longer can teams stack the box against Miss St, which has drastically improved both the passing attack and running efficiency from last season. Mississippi State's defense has also been a positive for them this season. They're good enough to keep them in most games.
With Bama, I'm sure all of you know what to expect. A solid running game with Yeldon and Lacey, an efficient QB in McCarron, a rock solid o-line and a dominating defense all lead by the football mastermind that is Nick Saban. McCarron hasn't thrown an intereception in over a year, Bama only has klike 5 turnovers all season, all fumbles, and it's pretty much the same story as last season. Bama likes to control the time of possession and field position and blow their opponent out without doing anything flashy.
For the game, I think Mississippi State gives bama their toughest battle to date. Balanced offense, a good coach and a good defense, but Mississppi State's biggest flaw has been n ot playing a complete game. In many weeks this season, Mississippi State has jumped out to big leads, only to take their foot off the gas and allow their opponent to creep back into the game. That can't happen this week. If Mississippi State wants to win, they must play the best game in program history(maybe a bit exagerated, but still) for a full four quarters. They can't turn the ball over, they have to keep the time of possession about even with Bama, they have to move the ball, and must at least macth Bama defensively. It's a lot to ask from a fairly young team. In the end, I thin Bama is just too much for Mississippi State to handle. I think the game stays close in the first half, but eventually, Bama's relentless running game will break Mississippi State's defense and take control of the game. No Upset special here. Bama wins 35-10
Game of the Week- World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party
Georgia vs Florida- Pretty much, the SEC East will come down to this game. If Florida wins, they clinch the east with a two game lead over both Georgia and South Carolina, with the tiebreaker over both with two conference games remaining. If Georgia wins, they take the lead in the SEC East with the tiebreaker against Florida, and after that, the only SEC teams standing in their way of clinching would be Ole Miss and Auburn. So, pretty much put your money down that the winner of this game will be playing Bama/Miss St/LSU in the Georgia Dome at regular season's end.
Georgia's last two games haven't gone as planned. Their old nemesis, Steve Spurrier took it to them again three weeks ago, and Kentucky gave them a much tougher test than they would have liked, though Murray did have the best game of his college career. I'm willing to chalk the kentucky game up to coming off a bye, and looking ahead to this matchup, where they hope to finally get the taste of the South Carolina game out of their mouth. It doesn't look like a one loss team will be in the National Championship this season, but if Georgia beats Florida, and goes on to win the SEC, they would have to be at the top of the list for one loss teams to be considered. Aaron Murray is a good QB, arguably the best in the SEC, and he has a big o-line, a deep group of receivers and Gurshall in the backfield to help him out. Aside from the entire team not showing up for the South Carolina game, Georgia's offense has been rock solid this season. Their defense on the other hand is another story, but they do have some good news in Jarvis Jones is expected to be back for the game this weekend.
Florida has been very impressive this season. Knocking off A&M, LSU and South Carolina, they are the most battle tested team in the SEC thus far this season. While their offense doesn't put up head turning numbers, Driskel has done his job of managing the game very well, and Gillislee has been solid running the rock. It's Florida's defense that has been so scary this season. I don't know if there's a team out there that can run the ball against Florida. Their run defense and pass rush has been ridiculously good, and I think they have earned their rank as second in the country, and I contend that they have a very good argument to be ranked ahead of Bama.
As for the game, it's pretty much top offense vs top defense with the division crown on the line. Most of the time I take the defense, and common sense tells us that Florida should be favored to win the game. But I'm a Georgia fan, and it's just not in me to pick the Dawgs to lose to the Gators. I've been wrong more than right in this game, but I'm hard headed. You can say Richt has struggled in big games, but I don't think you can lay it on Richt. The Dawgs have won the SEC twice under Richt, and won 2 of their 3 Sugar Bowl appearences. David Greene graduated as the winningest QB in NCAAF history under Mark Richt. You can say what you want about Richt's performances in big games, but Muschamp doesn't have a lot of big game experiece. Last season, the Gators were also rans in his first year as head coach. He hasn't coached a game yet with the division on the line. Despite the South Carolina game, I think UGA is a very solid team, and I think their balanced offense will give the gator's defense a lot of trouble, and Georgia's defense has stepped up its game in the second half all season. Call me crazy, but I'm going with the upset special. Georgia wins 24-17
Next Best 3
Texas Tech at Kansas State- Both teams have been impressive thus far this season, both have the offense to hang a crooked number on any team, and while the Big 12 isn't my strong suit, I have to pick the home team lead by Collin Klein. K State wins 55-42
Notre Dame at Oklahoma- ND might be undefeated and ranked in the top 5, but I have not been impressed at all with their offense. Their defense has been solid, but Oklahoma has the offense to score on any team, and Notre Dame doesn't have the offense to keep up. 35-17 Oklahoma
Ohio State at Penn State- Keeping a promise I made to PSUin. Ohio State might be undefeated, but I haven't been impressed at all. Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State and Cal have all given OSU a lot of trouble, and the games have been much closer than they should have been. Penn State, despite the rough start look to be the best team in the Big 10(definitely not saying much). Nothing but pride is on the line for this game, and I feel that Penn State is the better team, and the game is played in Happy Valley. 28-17 Penn State