bruces1g's Football Blog
My Picks in Week 10

My friends and readers, first an apology for the lateness of this post.  I have been fighting a virus all week and I have gotten behind. However, dragging myself from my sick bed, I am now ready to go forward with my fearless picks. (Gives a nice excuse if I tank on all the picks - I can always blame it on my fever!)

Unfortunately,  the Wadester has abandoned me in my time of need, so I am on my own this week. (I hate to admit it, but he actually bested me in the SEC picks.)

Now for the picks.... As always, these are in the order of the kickoff times.

AUBURN at OLE MISS:  This has to seem like the season that will never end for the Auburn faithful. There seems to be much turmoil and angst on the plains and last week's slamming in WVU only magnified the issues. For the first time the Tigers had the look of a team that has given up.  Ole Miss on the other hand, has been one of the surprise teams of the season. Even in their losses, they have been competitive till the end.  The Rebels defense has looked pretty good, and Jevan Snead has continued to improve from week to week.  Adding Auburn's pelt to the trophy case, along with the Gator hide they already have, would be a real bonus for Coach Nutt.  I think that the Rebels will be too much for the Tigers and the preppie crowd in Oxford will have a fine outing.

TULSA  at ARKANSAS: I have heard all the hype about Tulsa and their great offense, but I remain a bit skeptical. Looking at their schedule, they have run up impressive totals against less than great competition. Sure, they have looked dominate in C-USA play, but now they are stepping into the SEC realm. Granted, Arkansas is not at the top of the heap in the SEC, but I have to think that even a so-so SEC team is going to be a lot better than, say UAB or Central Arkansas. Even in their games against their weaker conference brethren, the Golden Hurricane (where did they get that name in Oklahoma??) have given up a lot of points, ranking 69th in points allowed nationally. Their total defensive ranking is even worse at 86th. Arkansas has shown improvement in the past several weeks in beating Auburn and playing UK and Ole Miss to the wire. I think this might be their week for a big win and I am going to take the Hawgs in an upset.

KENTUCKY at MISS STATE: Several weeks ago, I would have chosen UK in this one with out a thought. However, now the Wildcats are coming off a bludgeoning from the Gators, and I am not sure how much they have left in the tank. Miss State struggled with a mediocre Middle Tennessee State team and their 168-yards rushing was the highest of the year.  This game almost feels like a toss-up, and even though UK is starting a freshmen QB,  I am going to give the edge to the Cats.

ARKANSAS STATE at ALABAMA:  Its homecoming for Bama. They are coming off a big win against the Vols. Hype it all they want, but the Red Wolves aren't in the same league with the Tide. Call the SPCA, because there are going to be some wolves get seriously abused.

FLORIDA at GEORGIA: The Big Party.  And this one will decide who will be representing the SEC East in the championship game. Not a lot of love lost between these two teams especially after Georgia's "Gator Stomp" of last year. Right now it is hard to argue against Florida playing the best football in the SEC, if not the nation.  Urban Meyer has been hell-bent on winning big the past few weeks and I am sure he would love to pile it on the Dawgs.

Lets look at some of the key matchups for this premiere game:

UGA O-line vs FLA D-line:  The Georgia offensive continues to be a patchwork design. They played well against LSU allowing Moreno to rush for 163-yards on 21 carries. This allowed Stafford to be very effective in the play action passing attack.  But the Gators have been playing solid defense, ranking 6th in the nation if scoring D and 12th in total defense.  The Gator pass defense has been pretty reliable as well giving up an average of only 170-yards per game. This looks like a tough task for the Dawgs.

UGA Defense vs Florida Offense:  Everyone knows about Tebow and his abilities. Like him or not, you have give him his props. Already dangerous with the Tebow/Harvin combo, Florida has a newly found rushing attack with speedy RBs  Demps, Moore and Rainey. This additional running attack is only going to make the Gator's passing attack that much more dangerous. I know that Georgia's run defense is supposed to be good, but LSU gashed them for 188 net rushing yards on the way to putting 497 total net yards on the Dawgs D.  I don't see the Gator offense as being worse than LSU's so I think UGA is going to have a lot more trouble keeping them off the scoreboard.

In the end, I think that the Florida offense has too many weapons for the Georgia defense. And I think that the Gator's defense will overwhelm the already weakened Dawg's offensive line and force them to be one dimensional on offense. And that is never a good thing. Gators get the SEC East crown.

TENNESSEE at SOUTH CAROLINA:  What a tough spot for Phil Fulmer. He probably needs the win to have any hopes of keeping his job. Even worse is that he is facing his nemesis Steve Spurrier. It doesn't look good for ol Phil. I think the Ol Ball Coach will take great glee in driving in the last nail. The Vols offense at best is bad. And SC has pretty decent defense. So this looks like another loss for the Vols as SC wins this one at home.

TULANE at LSU: Tulane couldn't have picked a worse time to have to come to Tiger Stadium. After the recent (ugly) loss at the hands of the Bulldogs, the Bengal Tigers are going to be very fired up and looking to take the hurt to someone. I think this one will be ugly early. However, the Tigers shouldn't get caught looking ahead to the Bama visit.

Now for the non-SEC games.

Once again, I will weigh in on three different matchups that are outside of the SEC (At least one significant game being played this week). The Next Best Three this week are...

OREGON at CALIFORNIA: Being a QB at Oregon ought to come with hazard pay. Now down to their 3rd string QB, a JC transfer Jeremiah Masoli, but finally looking to have gained some stability.  Masoli was fairly solid in the Ducks win over Arizona State and they remain tied for 1st (with USC) in the PAC 10. But the Ducks also have a solid rushing game (you know how I like the good running attack) that is ranked 5th in the nation. They will need to be fairly strong running the ball facing a pretty good Cal defense. However, Tedford is back to his QB-shuffle tricks and Kevin Riley will get the nod - for this week at least. In spite of their defense, I don't think Cal has had enough offensive consistency, and I think the Quack Attack picks up a big win.

FLORIDA STATE at GEORGIA TECH: FSU  has quietly put together a 6-1 season thus far as Bobby Bowden continues his quest to outlast Jo Pa. The Seminoles are tied with Maryland atop the Atlantic division in the ACC but have been living dangerously,  having had to come from behind for wins the previous two weeks. This week they are facing a Jackets team that has seen their QB struggle (actually he has down-right stunk) and their defense show some weaknesses against the Cavaliers. As much as I love the good old triple option attack, I think that the Noles are playing too good on the defensive side for a Jackets squad with QB problems.

TEXAS at TEXAS TECH: Another week, another undefeated team to face the Longhorns. So far the Horns have risen to the challenge behind the incredible play of Colt (He Should Be Stallion By Now) McCoy. This weeks challenger is another BIG 12 gunslinger, Graham Harrell and his favorite sidekick Michael Crabtree. The Horns secondary better saddle up because they are going to on the run all night in Lubbock.

For the Red Raiders to win this game though, they are going to need to figure out how to stop the Texas running game and make them one-dimensional. This is going to be a big task for the Tech defense that hasn't exactly been terrifying.  In fact, Tech's best defense has been their offense.

The key for Texas in this game is to establish a strong, ball controlling running game. Take some of the weight off of McCoy and force the Tech DBs to move up to protect the edges. This will setup McCoy and Shipley to work the vertical passing game.

A lot has been said and written of this game by the talking heads and pundits, and it seems that they are about equally divided in their choice of a winner. I think it is fairly clear-cut: the team with the best DEFENSE will win the game. In my opinion Texas does have the better defense, but they will be sorely tested. They have to be able to attack the huge gaps that the Tech O-line employs and get pressure on Harrell. This in turn will cause the Raiders to have to shorten their splits and make it more of a strength vs strength game. In that department, I think that Texas has the edge. Also, Texas has an edge with Will Muschamp at Defensive Coordinator. Muschamp has always had an attacking style at defense that will be well suited for chasing Harrell.

As much as it goes against my homer desires to see the Horns fall and the Tide move up, I think in the end that Texas will make it through the last game of this tough stretch and remain undefeated - at least until the Big 12 Championship Game.

So there it is. Again, I am sorry for the lateness of the post, but at least I made it under the wire. Comment as you like, but respect  the rule of no cheap smack without something to back it up.  Bring some facts. Bring some substance to your position. Demonstrate your football knowledge rather than lack of class.

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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