bruces1g's Football Blog
This is Redemption Saturday for several of the SEC teams coming off of losses last weekend.  We also get to see if a couple of the teams will suffer from open-week hangovers or come out recharged.

As is the usual, I'll start with the SEC games (in order of kickoff time) and then get to the other conference matchups that you guys picked.

VANDERBILT at GEORGIA:  Vandy got a little bit of a reality check last week as the MSU defense didn't let them mount their usual come from behind win. This week, Coach Bobby Johnson has announced that back-up QB Adams will be the starter rather than the relief. In addition, there might be some distractions in the Music City as Johnson's name keeps coming up for the now vacant Clemson job. This game is Homecoming for the Bulldogs in what has become the "We'll Rain On Your Parade" series. The past two years, both teams have been the other's HC opponent, and in both cases the visitor spoiled the party. And in both of those games, a FG was the deciding points. This year we have a much improved Vandy team facing a Georgia team that is still struggling in a couple of key areas.  The strength of this Vandy team has been the option running game, and the Dawgs have shown a slight weakness in that area. Vandy has also been playing tough run defense and the problems on Georgia's offensive line have been well documented. Still, I think the Dawgs have something to prove at home this year and maybe that the Vandy team has just had too much going on around them. I am going to go with the Dawgs, but this might be a very close game.

OLE MISS at ALABAMA: There are two big questions to be asked here: Which Bama team will show up for this game? And was Ole Miss's win over Florida their one big shot for the season? On paper, this game is all Bama.  The Rebels have shown some glimpses on both sides of the ball at times this year, and did put together a great game against the Gators. But do they have it in them again? This week they are going to be facing a defense that has been playing extremely well and an offense that has played fantastic at times and just OK at other times. If Bama comes out hitting on all cylinders, this game is over by the half. If they come out flat, they should still win but it will be a much tougher game. I'm going to have to go with Bama on this one.

ARKANSAS  at KENTUCKY:  The Hogs are coming off what might be the biggest win of their season at Auburn. Kentucky took it on the chin last week in a tough loss at home to SC. In spite of Arkansas's big win, I still don't think that they are that good of a team this year. I would also have to say that Kentucky is, at this time, a much better team than Auburn. Kentucky's offense struggle against a very good SC defense, but that is one thing the Razorbacks do not have.  I think the Cats' defense will end up being too much for the Hogs as well and it is their turn to roast a pig at home.

MISSISSIPPI STATE at TENNESSEE: Fulmer on the ropes, the fans calling for his head. MSU coming off a big(?) win over - Vandy? Both teams are 2-4 on the season and not at all like the teams that were regarded so highly in the pre-season.  I'll tell you, this may be the hardest game of the week to pick. Trying to look for positives for both teams is tough. Both offenses have looked terrible, although both teams did look better on O last week. Both defenses have looked decent, but not dominating. This might be A 3 to 3 take-it-to-overtime game. I think there are just too many problems in the Vol-nation, so I am going to take MSU in a mild upset in what may be the boringest game of the season. If you plan to watch, I suggest lots of caffeine. Also, I wonder what the over/under is for when the Vols fan start to leave the game?

LSU at SOUTH CAROLINA: LSU is coming off a major butt-whipping and it will be very interesting to see how the Tigers respond. For the second straight week, they have to leave the comfortable confines of Death Valley and play at a tough location. SC has been playing some tough defense this year - the 3rd ranked in the nation allowing only 241-yards per game. This does not bode well for the Tigers as Charles Scott was only able to pickup 35 yards on 12 carries. The LSU offensive and defensive lines did not look look nearly as good as they were supposed to be, and I think that they are going to be severely tested again. Stephen Garcia came in for the Ball Coach last week and looked pretty good in the win.  If he can continue to play well and (The Captain) Munnerlyn can come up with another big play or two, it could be bad for LSU. Also, I wonder if the Tigers will be looking ahead to their matchup with Georgia in their next game.  I am going to pick another upset here - I think SC's defense will frustrate the LSU offense and that the O will do just enough to win.

Auburn and Florida get a pass this week. Florida fans are probably disappointed as they would like to see their suddenly-hot team keep going. Auburn fans are breathing a sigh of relief.

Now for the non-SEC games.

A note about the Next Best Three: One of the rules was no doubling-up in any one conference.  A lot of readers voted for the TX-Mizzou game and OK-Kansas game. Same with the OSU-MSU or UM - PSU matchup. Since that violates the original rules a bit, I get to choose (hey, it Is my blog). So lets start with....

OHIO STATE at MICHIGAN STATE:  OSU has unleashed the Pryor/Wells attack with less than spectacular results last week. At times Pryor couldn't have hit water if he was on a boat in a lake, and Wells had a pedestrian 94-yards on 22 carries (that is a decent but not great 4-yards per carry).  OSU is now sporting the second-worst offense in the Big 10. That is not good. With Pryor's shaky passing, the Buckeyes are becoming one-dimensional. Michigan State's defense hasn't exactly been shutting people down, so it may be a break for OSU. However, Javon Ringer has been wearing his Superman cape and leads the nation in rushing. Last year, OSU contained Ringer, but this isn't last year's defense (although they have been a tough nut to crack of late). There appears to be some dissension in the OSU camp as some of the players have been pretty vocal in their support of Todd Boeckman. This is a tough one to call, as I like OSU's defensive matchups vs MSU, but Ringer is a phenomenal athlete. Also, if OSU's offense doesn't get over its anemia, it could be a long game. I think I am going to go with MSU in a home game.

WAKE FORREST at MARYLAND:  The Terps have been giant-killers against ranked teams this year, and the Demon Deacons have seen their offense fizzle somewhat in the past three games.  However, two of the Terps big wins have been against Cal and the imploded Clemson, so the "quality" of those wins has to be questioned. The Terps were expected to have a better season this year, but lost to Middle Tennessee and got shelled by Virginia last week.  Granted, the Deacons have been winning by the slimmest of margins, but their defense has kept them in every game. I just don't see Maryland being able to mount much of an offensive attack and I think the Demon Deacons have turtle soup.

MISSOURI at TEXAS: The Longhorns looked very impressive in their win over the Sooners last week. However, since neither team has exactly faced tough competition prior to their game, it is still hard to tell exactly what the Horns have. Mizzou, on the other hand, got smothered by OK State in their game and it was demonstrated that Daniel cannot win every game for them with his arm. Mizzou's defense has looked pretty porous this year giving up over 380-yard per game. The Horn's D hasn't been a whole lot better, but I think they will be the best that Mizzou has seen so far this year. Ognonnaya picked up some of the rushing load for the Horn's last week, and he needs to more of the same to keep Daniel and the Flying Tigers offense off the field. But I think that OK State unveiled the blueprint for stopping Mizzou this year: keep Daniel on the run. And Texas has enough defensive players to do this. Texas wins this shootout.
And there they are. I hope I do a little better than I did last week! Hmm, maybe I should have gotten out a coin.

Ok guys, now it is your turn to voice your opinions.  But remember the rule of no cheap smack without something to back it up.  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 let's all show some class and sportsmanship.


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