bruces1g's Football Blog
Once again, not a power-packed week in the SEC. However, last week showed that every week can be a very interesting week in this conference.

Last week I was 6 and 1 on my picks, bringing my season (only a two week season as I was not making picks in earlier weeks) total to 13-2. I missed the Ole Miss win, but then again I don't know of anyone that hit that one. But even in the loss, I did say that the Gators secondary would get tested. Of course I didn't know that they would also get toasted. Or that Ole Miss's defense would shut down the Gator attack.

But that is why they go ahead and play them out every week regardless of predictions.

OK, on to this week. Again, I will be listing the games in order of game time.

FLORIDA at ARKANSAS.  Ouch, a pissed-off and highly motivated Gator is going to roll into Arkansas and feast on some pig. I don't think this one is going to be very pretty.  Florida is stinging from having their offense smacked last week and they are going to be out to prove a point against a young and struggling Hawg defense. I look for them to light it up as Myers will pile it on.

SOUTH CAROLINA at OLE MISS. If anyone had ask me a week ago, I would have easily picked the **** for this one. But after last week, I am not sure. SC has shown that it has a good defense, and Spurrier is saying good things about his QB. The Rebels had a heck of a win last week, and did show that they could win games. But I think that will work against them and the let-down bug will bite them. While Snead made some good plays last week, he also made some bad ones. The Ole Miss defense did stop the one or two dimensional Gators, but I think SC will spread it around a little more with a stronger running game. I am going to have to go with SC on this one.

KENTUCKY at ALABAMA. There will be a 92-thousand plus love fest at Bryant-Denny this weekend. The fans will be showing the love after last week's big win. Poor old Kentucky will be at the wrong place at the wrong time. But I do expect a bit of a let down from the Tide - how do you get fired-up again like last week for UK? But the Tide better beware, UK brings an undefeated record in and a number #4 ranked defense. But all of that comes at the expense of some pretty weak teams. I don't think that they will have an answer for Bama's rushing attack. It may be kind of dull and boring, but Bama will pound this one out on the ground.

AUBURN at VANDERBILT.  Who would have thought this would be the game of the week in the SEC? Who would have ever thought Game Day would be in Nashville? Is this a sign of the Apocalypse or what? Seriously though, I have had to put a lot of thought into this game. Auburn's offensive offense has managed to make just about every game a struggle. Their D has continuously saved their bacon.  But Vandy comes into this game with a good defense as well. And a decent, if one dimensional, offense. They have certainly shown a knack for being opportunistic. Ole Miss beating Florida added to their credibility. Vandy is getting WR Smith back, but also Nickson is nursing a sore shoulder.  Tony Franklin and Tuberville have said that they are going to pare-down their offense a bit and maybe a little more toward the "I" formation. They are going to have to do something, or they are going to keep putting their D in the hole once to often.  

I think the keys for Auburn in this game are:
1. Must get a running game going.
3. The defense has to force Dickson to win it with his arm.

For Vandy, they need to:
1. Must find a way to run effectively and open-up their play action.
2. FORCE turnovers. With Auburn's shaky offense they must play pressure D.
3. Play field position. Don't give Auburn the short field. Make their offense have to put together long drives.

My heart tells me Vandy, but my gut says that Auburn's defense will stifle Vandy's offense and create short-field opportunities for the offense.  I would not be surprised to see another 3-2 game here (seems like I said that last week too), but I think that Auburn will pull this one out. It will be very interesting to see if AU's offense wakes up this week.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS at TENNESSEE. This should be a relief week for Fulmer and the Vols. The Huskies played tough in two losses (Minnesota & W. Michigan) and rolled up some points in the last two games (85). However, even though Tennessee is looking lousy this year, they still ought to out-match the Huskies. Will be interesting to see who ends up being the QB for the Vols - although I can't possibly see how anyone can be worse than Crompton. I think it would be a lot of fun to watch a bunch of angry orange clad fans charge the field and hang Fulmer from the goal post if the Vols choke this one.

Now, because I have had a request, I am going to look at a couple of other games from some of the other conferences. But I have to say, those are not the teams that I study that deeply so I can't be considered an expert by any stretch.

MISSOURI at NEBRASKA.  This is the battle of two teams with no defense. The Huskers coughed up 377 yard in losing at home to Va. Tech.  On the other hand, Mizzou has the 112th ranked defense in the nation (and considering some of cupcakes they have faced so far, that is really bad).  If Nebraska can get an effective running game going and keep the Tiger's offense off the field then they might have a chance in a low scoring game. But Mizzou is hell-bent on getting Daniels the Heisman this year so they will have him throwing and throwing and throwing. I think Mizzou wins this if it is a scoring contest, but Nebraska might make it more interesting if can hold it down to something reasonable.

OHIO STATE at WISCONSIN.  To be honest, I never thought that highly of Wisconsin after watching them struggle against Fresno State. A good team, but not a top 10 team. I also thought that OSU was terrible after laying down to USC. However, last week OSU seemed to find a little confidence. I don't know if it was the change to Pryor or the return of Wells, but they actually looked like they believed they could win. Talent wise, I have never thought that OSU was bad, it just seemed that this team had taken so much abuse on the national stage that they lost all confidence in themselves.  Pryor, being a freshman, is going to make some mistakes, but there is no denying his athleticism. I think this will be a "W" for the Buckeyes and add some interest in the Big 10 mix. Certainly would make a nice set-up for the October 25th when the Nittany Lions come calling.

CONNECTICUT at NORTH CAROLINA.  I didn't give the Tar Heels a snowball's chance against Miami without Yates. Instead, Sexton comes off the bench and plays a great game. Has he got another one in him? U Conn comes in ranked and undefeated coming in off a big win against Louisville.  If you just look at stats, these two seem to match-up pretty evenly. However, I think NC comes in the more battle tested team. I haven't seen a lot of U Conn (who has?), so they are a bit of an unknown. And while they did beat Louisville - I don't think Louisville has that great of a team this. I am going to say that U Conn's cinderella story comes to an end.

Ok guys, now it is your turn to agree or disagree.  But please, as always, none of the crappy rhetoric of "oh yeah, we'll will beat their ****!" Bring some facts. Bring some substance to your position. SEC fans are supposed to be the most knowledgeable fans in country so lets show it.

To all fans, of all teams: Enjoy the weekend. I wish your teams good luck. And lets all show some class and sportsmanship.


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