bruces1g's Football Blog
The SEC heads into week 11 and two teams have the opportunity to clinch the their division titles. Others are playing for pride or to just try and salvage seasons. Either way, there should be some emotional, hard-fought games this weekend.

Once again, Wade has decided to help his dad with the picks. The last time he did that, he actually topped me in the SEC picks. I think I can take him this week.

As always, the oder of the picks are based on kickoff times.

GEORGIA at KENTUCKY: It is a battered and dazed Georgia team that is headed to Lexington this week. No need to rehash the beat-down that the Gators administered to them last week, but now the Dawgs have to get their acts together as they face a decent UK. Kentucky eked  one out last week against MSU, but I don't think they will pull it off this week. Georgia has something to prove and I think that they will be able to handle the Wildcats. (Wade says the Dawgs kill the Wildcats)

ARKANSAS  at SOUTH CAROLINA: The Razorbacks are coming off a huge win against Tulsa last week and this team has been improving from week to week. However, this week they are going  against one of the best defenses in the nation (3rd in the nation in total defense) and I just don't think the Hogs offense is that much improved. While SC may not score many points, whatever they score will be enough for the win. (Wade also agrees that SC will get the win)

WYOMING at TENNESSEE: The Phil Fulmer era has come to an end at Tennessee and I think that much of the Vol-nation is breathing a sigh of relief. It will be interesting to see if this this team lays down or if they can man-up for the last few games. Wyoming would seem to be the perfect team to come and take the sacrificial beating - a role they have been perfecting all season. As bad as they have been this season even the Vols will be able to beat-up these Cowboys. (Wade likes the Cowboys in the upset. He says that the Vols have just sunk too low)

TENNESSEE-MARTIN at AUBURN: Tommy Tuberville could be the next coach headed out the door. There has been a lot of buzz in the local papers and radio to that effect.  If the Tigers drop this game to a FCS opponent it might be more sooner than later. I can't imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth on the plains if they do lose the game. As poorly as they have been playing, I almost hate to go with the Tigers, but  surely they can win this one at home. (Wade also thinks that Auburn should get the win)

ALABAMA at LSU: This game has been anticipated by both teams all season and will be a real grudge match. For Alabama, a win clinches the SEC West and a trip to Atlanta. Not to mention the Tide's first chance to defend their #1 ranking. For LSU, a win over Bama could redeem an otherwise disappointing season and keep some slim hope alive for the Western crown.

I am going to try and put away my crimson glasses and look at the matchups subjectively:

Bama defense vs LSU offense: LSU comes in with a  tremendous rushing attack. They will need it against the nation's 2nd best rush defense, holding opponents to just 65.6 rushing yards per game. Alabama's defense is also ranked 4th in the nation in total defense. In the last two games, the Bama D has been absolutely suffocating.  A key for LSU will be for them to be able to crack that defense and get Charles Scott room to run. The weakest part of the LSU offense is the play of QB Lee who has already tossed 10 interceptions  - two of which were costly TD returns against Georgia. If LSU can't get the running game going, then Lee is going to be forced to throw often and that could be very dangerous for the Tigers.

LSU defense vs Bama offense: LSU's defense has been less than spectacular in their two losses this season, ranking 6th in the SEC. Alabama's offense has been pretty vanilla this year, primarily relying on the rushing attack to pound out the wins. JP Wilson as at times looked great while at other times looking just average. However, he has been smart with the ball and has not made any huge mistakes. I would bet that LSU will sell out on defense to stop the run and force Wilson to carry the offense. This could be a double-edged sword for the Tigers as their defensive backfield has shown some vulnerabilities.

To sum it up, this will be a tough game for the Tide. But real championship teams are supposed to win the tough games. This is a game that Alabama should win, but it will take a solid four quarters to get the win. Last year this game came down to a last minute fumble return for the LSU win.  This year LSU is not as good of a team and Alabama has definitely improved. In the end, I think that the Bama defense will be the difference and they will get the win. (Wade points out that the Bama win is just one more stop on the march to the NC)

FLORIDA at VANDERBILT: Surprisingly, the last three games the Gators have played in Nashville have been tight with Florida only winning by an average of 9 points.  This is a much improved Vandy team, but they are facing a red-hot bunch of Gators that have destroyed 2 top-ten opponents.  As much as I like the Vandy defense, I just don't think that they will be able to slow these Gators down very much and with Meyers' desire to make a statement for the BCS pollsters, he will hang as many points on the Dores as possible. (Wade says that the Gators will slaughter the Dores)

Now for the non-SEC games as chosen by the commenters.  

Once again, I will weigh in on three different matchups that are outside of the SEC. These three games all have major  implications in conference championships and the larger BCS picture. The Next Best Three this week are...

CALIFORNIA at USC:  Ever since the loss to Oregon State in September, USC has been on a tear thru the PAC 10.  They are sporting the #1 total defense in the nation, and the 10th best in total offense.  Pete Carroll is already worried about not getting into the BCS mix and has been vocal about it this week. That means that the Trojans are going to be looking to make some noise against one of the few top 25 teams they face. Meanwhile, Jeff Tedford continues to play musical chairs with his QBs. Last week, he started the Kevin Riley, but after his leaving the game against Oregon with a concussion, the previous starter Nate Longshore was called upon to finish the game. So far this week, Tedford has not announced his starter, but I don't think it is going to make much of a difference. The Trojans are looking to sew up the PAC 10 and the Bears are just one more obstacle in the way. (Wade says that USC will just be too much for Cal)

TCU at UTAH: This is a huge game for both teams in terms of both the MWC crown and a possible BCS berth. Utah comes in ranked #8 in the latest BCS poll with TCU at #12.  Both teams are in the top 20 (TCU 17th, Utah 20th) nationally in scoring offense. However, the Horned Frogs come in with a defense that is ranked 2nd in the nation in total defense, 1st in rushing, and 3rd in scoring.  This does not bode well for the Utes who struggled in last week's 13-10 win over New Mexico. If the Utes repeat that same sloppy offensive performance it is going to be a very rough game.  Even so, I think that the Frog's defense will make the difference in this game and hand Utah their first loss of the season. (Wade thinks that Utah is the better team and will get the win)

OKLAHOMA STATE at TEXAS TECH: Another game in the Big 12 that has major BCS implications. Also another game where the Big 12 South continues to cannibalize itself (From SEC fans: welcome to our world).  Texas had tried to run the gauntlet  and came up short against Texas Tech. Now it is Tech's turn to try and seal the deal. This game will feature not only two of the better Big 12 QBs in Harrell and Robinson, but also two premiere receivers in the NCAA: Tech's Michael Crabtree and OSU's Dez Bryant.   As has been the case in the Big 12 this year, this game promises to be an offensive shootout.  I would have to say that the offenses are about equal but I would give the Red Raiders an edge on the defensive side of the ball. More than likely this game will come down to whoever has the ball last, but I think that Texas Tech finds a way to win. (Wade says that OSU struggled with Mizzou and won't be able to hang with an even better Tech team)

So there it is, my choices (and Wade's) for this week. Please 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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