Friday, September 19, 2008

SEC Weekend Games of Interest: 9/20/2008

We’ve got a great weekend of SEC football ahead as we look to improve upon our 21-2 record. Here are a few tackle football matches happening in your nape of the woods, neck of the wape:

Mississippi State at the North Avenue Trade School: I usually like to joke around when Vanderbilt plays a school like Rice, saying smart people vs. smart people. This match up is more in the territory of redneck farm boys vs. Dungeons and Dragons nerds, because Starkville and Atlanta have so much in common. Example:

Traffic in Starkville, Mississipi

Traffic for the Techies in Atlanta

The Techies have looked strong so far this season and you can tell that they are a well coached football team. Mississippi State will have the toughest defense that the bugs have faced so far this year and have the speed to limit Jonathan Dwyer and Josh Nesbit. However, they are severely challenged on the offensive side of the football and will have a trough time trying to establish their power running game against Vance Walker and the rest of the Trade School defensive line. The success and consistency of MSU lies with QB Wesley Carroll and his ability to move the football. Like previous weeks, I don’t see the dogs of the west pulling through and see GTU surviving in a physical 7-10 point victory, dictated by the field position battle.

Alabama at Arkansas: There have been some great games played between these two squads since the Razorbacks joined the SEC in 1992. The previous two meetings have been great SEC football games, but don’t expect to see that again this weekend. Arkansas did overcome a 24-6 3rd quarter deficit last week to defeat UL Monroe 28-27. If my memory serves correct, Bama could have used one of those last season:

Look, yet another way to get this picture in the Blog!

Seriously, Arkansas has issues on the o-line and while they have racked up a ton of yards, they have been unable to translate this into consistent offensive points. Mt. Cody and the rest of the Crimson Tide defense are sure to stop any attempts the Razorbacks make at running the ball:

Big Tree Fall Hard!

This places the pressure squarely on the shoulders of Senior QB Casey Dick, and under Alabama’s pass rush, I don’t think he will be able to pull through. Alabama will control the clock and should come through with a sold SEC road victory by 10-14 points.

Florida at Tennessee: Battle for the mismatching color of Orange will begin in Knoxville tomorrow:

Orange = A Tacky Color

It’s hard to believe that 10 years have past since John Hall kicked the game winning field goal against the Gators, propelling UT to their 1998 SEC and National Championship run. It was a classic game on a classic night and now that this moment of retrospect is over, we can be thankful that this was Tennessee’s last SEC championship. I wish we could say the same for these guys:

Orange = Even Tackyier Color on these Guys

This was always a childhood battle of who could I hate more, my SEC equivalent of Michigan vs. Note Dame; you don’t want to watch and definitely don’t want to cheer. The moment Florida or UT lost, I was upset because I knew that the other team had won and in an ideal world, I would be able to watch both teams lose at once. However, like Wuthering Heights in 11th grade English, it is required reading for all loyal SEC fans.

This year's grudge fest pits two squads trying to prove various things early in the season. Tennessee wants to get past their early season loss at UCLA and make a statement nationally that they are still a power in the SEC. Florida is looking to showcase an improved defense and make a national statement by winning big on the road. Previous contests in Knoxville over the past 10 years would indicate that this is going to be a tight game. UT, with the home crowd behind them, will try to establish Arian Foster early to make Jonathan Crompton feel comfortable under center. It must be noted that UT’s longest rush against the Gators in the past two games is 6 yards. Look for the Gators to attack the Vol’s D with mismatches in speed and quick, efficient passes. A healthy Percy Harvin will see a lot of action. Logic says take Florida, but in an upset, I pick the Vols. I have been saying it most of the preseason and can’t back down now.

Vanderbilt at Ole Miss: This early season match up has proved the point in recent years that two bad football teams can produce one helluva football game. Remember when Greg Zolman and the Commodores beat Romero Miller and the Rebels 37-34 in a thrilling 1999 overtime upset?

Greg Zolman: King of the 5-7 Season

Okay, I do, but it is probably a bad example. Both teams have looked solid early, Vandy with an early upset of South Cackalacky while Ole Miss nearly upset ACC darling Wake Forest (It is still weird to say that). I expect Houston Nutt and company to be on the offensive attack against the ‘Dores, who have been inconsistent against the pass. Vandy will continue to keep the ball in the hands of QB Chris Nixon and try to eat up yards and clock with their solid ground game. This should be an entertaining game with plenty of points and I look for the Rebels to improve to 3-1 with a victory in the 38-28 range.

Wofford at South Carolina: Look for the Ole’ Ball Coach to try and find some answers in this game. Chris Smelley was sold against UGA last week, but still missed some throws and sealed the fate of the game late by throwing an interception. Wofford fans that make the trip, I feel sorry for you; you have to spend an entire day and afternoon in Columbia, SC because some idiot scheduled your game for 7 pm. Look for Felon, excuse me, Stephen Garcia to see increased playing time and RB Mike Davis to get a lot of carries. South Cackalacky wins by 21 in this one. Continuing our trend of giving you pop culture factoids, National Beta Club founder John West Harris is a graduate of Wofford College. Both he and Fisher DeBerry, a Wofford alum himself, want you to now that the cockaboose is stupid.

"Steve, you can quit anytime. Carolina is looking for me to be there next washed up football coach"

Louisiana State at East Alabama Male College: This is the premier SEC game of the weekend and if you love physical, defensively dominant SEC football, this is the one for you. Past scores include 10-9, 20-17, and the epic 7-3 battle on the plains two years ago (we didn't even mention LSU's last second touchdown pass of last year). This isn’t exactly the environment where you want your Harvard transfer QB to make his first road start and expect Jordan-Hare Stadium to be absolutely rocking:

The Auburn Tiger defense looks as good as ever and will try to stop LSU’s attempt to establish a power running game early. The biggest challenge for both teams falls on which first year starting QB can make the most plays and the fewest errors. I believe Tony Franklin and Tommy Tuberville will put together a game plan that will put Chris Todd in position to manage the game and make good decisions. On the defensive side of the ball, Tuberville and Defensive Coordinator Paul Rhodes will do the exact opposite to LSU QB’s Andrew Hatch and Jarrett Lee. While Less (get it) Miles has won a ton of football games in his short LSU tenure, Tommy Tuberville is a better football coach and will have his squad in a better position to win this one. LSU has not won at Auburn in over a decade and I don’t expect them to start now, Auburn pulls out a 14-10 victory.

That wraps it up for this week; hopefully that UT-Florida pick doesn’t bite me in the butt. Go outside and have a Beam and Coke on Saturday Dawg fans, lord knows the people in Tempe won’t be doing it.

Go Dawgs!

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