Friday, August 29, 2008

SEC Weekend Games of Interest

Here is a quick look at games involving Southeastern Conference teams this Saturday, Sunday, and Monday:

Alabama vs. Clemson: The preseason darling of opening games, the Chick-Fil-A Kick Off Classic will be one helluva of a way for Clemson to jump start their underachieving ways. Clemson is uber talented and easily the fastest team in the ACC. However, “S” The Coach has had six months to develop a game plan and will have the Tide ready. I honestly expect a hard fought, physical football game. The game’s key match up will be between Clemson’s D-Line and Bama’s O-Line. If Bama can consistently run the ball and take pressure of John Parker Wilson, it could be a long night for the Clemson D as they are retooling at Linebacker. The gut says Bama close and we are going to run with it.

UL Monroe at Auburn: Let’s see if Auburn can do what Alabama couldn’t; beat one of the former directional Louisiana schools at home.

Monroe is coming off of its most successful season in Division 1-A at 6-6 and one would think that they are looking to build upon this. On the other side of the ball, we all know that this will be the debut of Tony Franklin’s new offense. Auburn fans are hugging on this one like Streit waiting for Matt Stafford to start for UGA in 2006. Tommy Tubbs doesn’t let these games get close and likes to take care of business (By take care, I mean Hammer). No matter who trots out at QB, the B’NE Team anticipates a clear Auburn beat down.

Tennessee at UCLA: Richard Neuheisel, Jr. has declared the Southern Cal monopoly over in LA and Tennessee has decided that they would like to walk down Boardwalk. Unfortunately for UCLA, their team looks more like the intersection of Mediterranean and Baltic Avenues. Both teams are breaking in new offensive systems and expect to see some interesting play on this side of the ball for both squads.

"You always want to pick the 8 seed over the 9, and never take more than one 12 against 5 upset"

Neuheisel is a solid coach and will have UCLA prepared, but they return only five starters on defense and lost All American DE Bruce Davis to graduation. If Tennessee can move the ball with Jonathan Crompton and Arian Foster, don’t expect UCLA to consistently keep up as they have had too many injuries on offense to be consistent. Expect a sloppy UT victory here, possibly by 10-14 points.

Kentucky at Louisville: The Battle for the Commonwealth generally puts up large offensive statistics, but this year could be different. Kentucky is breaking in a new QB after loosing Andre Woodson and kicked expected starter Curtis Pulley off the team earlier this month. Rich Brooks has strengthened the Kentucky program and made them very competitive in the conference. This UK defense is fairly deep and has good speed. Expect them to try to stop up the run early and put pressure on Louisville’s Hunter Cantwell. At the same time, Louisville worked hard in the off-season to strengthen their defense, bringing Ron English aboard as D-Coordinator but only return 4 starters on that side of the ball with almost no experience in the secondary. Louisville is equally in-experienced on Offense and looks to struggle this season. Kentucky should face a tough battle, but is at the point where they should walk away with a W.

Hawaii at Florida: Not much to introduce here. Most of us know about Florida and Tim Tebow. Hawaii is coming off of a 41-10 thrashing to UGA and if Urban Myer had been coaching in that game, he would have run the score up to 60-10. Now, he gets the chance. This game will pretty lopsided and it will be interesting to see how new coach Greg McMackin and new starting QB Brent Rausch handle the pressure. Their QB's do have some training at falling flat on their back, which should happen alot tomorrow:

Hey, I've been down here before.

Expect Florida to run the football early and often to see which of their “vaunted” tailbacks can handle the load, even with Hawaii breaking in 3 new starters in the secondary. Florida will try to make a statement BIG and expect all the UF bloggers to come out and say that the Gators beat UH worse than UGA did.

Appalachian State at LSU: I guess you could call this the 1-A, 1-AA Ultimate Showdown, National Champions vs. National Champions. Congratulations Appalachian State, you beat Michigan last year and it was unforgettable:

However, LSU probably hasn’t forgotten either. Expect fantastic ASU Junior QB Armanti Edwards to make some plays, but App. State won’t be able to put more speed on the field against LSU like they did against Michigan. This should be a surprisingly competitive 3 TD victory for the Bayou Bengals. Remember, both teams met in November of 2005 and ASU held LSU to a respectful 24 points. However, the Mountaineers didn't score at all.

Memphis at Ole Miss: Standard Ole Miss Opener with Memphis being a team from their backyard. This match-up has produced some solid games over the years, usually because both teams are middle of the road. Ole Miss is a media favorite to be an upstart in the western division of the SEC and it is my belief that they will be much improved over previous years as QB Jevan Snead and Coach Houston Nutt look to bring a new attitude to Oxford.

STOP, it's Jevan Time!

Memphis is a talented C-USA squad that runs an intricate spread offense with tall, rangy wide receivers and returns an experienced offense line. Ole Miss won by two points last year and expect to see some fireworks in this match up. Look for another Ole Miss victory with plenty of big plays.

Western Illinois at Arkansas: The long awaited Bobby Petrino coaching debut should be pretty uneventful. Arkansas wins by a comfortable margin, even through WIU hangs tough with Division 1-A teams (Lost 21-0 to Illinois last year and 34-10 to Wisconsin in 2006). Michael Boatman, the actor who played the gay, black guy on Spin City, and New England Patriot safety Rodney Harrison are both graduates of Western Illinois University:

That is still more interesting than watching them play football.

Mississippi State at Louisiana Tech: Bulldogs vs. Bulldogs. Mississippi State should be a strong squad this fall. I really admire Sylvester Croom’s disciplinarian approach and old school attitude and it seems like he has gotten his players to buy in. The Bulldogs of Mississippi will come to play in this one and should overmatch Derek Dooley’s squad. Expect solid defense from MSU while LA Tech breaks new QB, Taylor Bennett.

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