Another week and more big time football, for the most part. While I was wrong about Florida scoring until they were bored last week, the Gators still won and that gave us a 7-1 clip, bringing our season record to 20-4. We still have a few JV match-ups on the menu and some action in the Thursday Night Lights department, oh goodie. Without any further adieu, here is what’s happening in your neck of the woods.
The Thursday Night Appetizer:
Ole Miss at South Carolina: I’m one of the people that isn’t completely sold on this Ole Miss team and it’s not because Houston Nutt can’t coach with expectations. I know they have a great group of talent and expect them to have a solid year, they are not however, one of the 10 best teams in the country. Jevan Snead is still mind numbingly inconsistent and he is not complemented by a dominant running game at this point. Dexter McCluster is a great talent, but still not a RB. And while the combination of RBs Brian Bolden and Enrique Davis is talented, both players are still sophomores on a team that hasn’t been tested. All of this, combined with the fact that South Carolina won in Oxford last season, give me some doubts about this early season duel.
Expectations for South Cackalacky on the other hand have been fairly modest and it seems like the Gamecocks are really embracing this attitude. Stephen Garcia has been improving and the OBC looks to have found a serviceable combination of RBs in Brian Maddox and freshman Jarvis Giles. The big question tonight will be how the Carolina defense contains the Rebel offense and this is a perfect showcase for Eric Norwood to show his amazing skills nationally. The same thing can be said about the Ole Miss defense and their outstanding DE Greg Hardy. It’s bound to be a strange game if my prediction comes true and I’m picking the Gamecocks in this one, 28-24.
The Kid’s Table:
Ball State at East Alabama Male College: Gene Chizik couldn’t have and a better 4-game stretch to open his career on the Plains and the hiring of this Malzahn character is paying some dividends. I don’t know anything about Ball State and you shouldn’t either. However, after this weekend, I know they will have a fat loss to the Tigers. Auburn rolls 45-10.
Ohio at Tennessee: Hopefully, Lane Kiffin plays to win in this game as Jonathan Crompton probably throws 3 TDs but still throws 2 picks. No Kindergarten Kiffin humor this week, he pretty much does that on his own. Vols win 42-7.
Vanderbilt at Rice: Vanderbilt has been pretty inconsistent offensively to open the year. At some point in this game, expect McKenzie “I’ve been here 7 years” Adams to take some snaps as starting QB Larry Smith isn’t making the early season cut. Rice throws the ball a lot and has given up 140 points this year. It will be ugly but Vandy wins 24-21.
Big Boy Football:
LSU at Mississippi State: LSU is similar to Ole Miss in a lot of ways and there are still lots of questions that need to be asked of this squad, mostly on offense. LSU is much stronger defensively compared to last season and hasn’t allowed a touchdown in the last 6 quarters of football, improving with each game under DC John Chavis.
Mississippi State on the other hand pulled out a tough game in Nashville last weekend behind the tough running of senior RB Anthony Dixon. This game will most likely be similar to the last couple of games played by LSU and will be pretty quick with plenty of running on both sides of the ball. Expect the superior athletes of LSU to pull through and for the Bayou Bengals to have some momentum coming into Athens next week off of a 31-13 victory.
Arkansas at Alabama: Usually a good early season match up that produces some surprising results, Arkansas is a threat with their offense to challenge the Crimson Tide. Unfortunately for the Razorbacks, the Arkansas defense will be getting off the bus with Ryan Mallett when they arrive in Tuscaloosa. Mallett and his company of wide receivers can stretch the field vertically against any team in the country. But it will be hard for the lurch of a QB to throw the ball when he is lying on the ground. It will also be hard for Mallett to throw the ball while Bama’s trio of RB’s Mark Ingram, Roy Upchurch, and Trent Richardson control the clock all day, not mention that Greg McElroy is a big upgrade over JPW and Julio Jones could be back this week. Arkansas will hang tough but be out matched in this premium 3:30 CBS game and the Tide should roll to 4-0 with a 35-21 win.
Florida at Kentucky: I’ve said week after week that Kentucky is on the right path with Rich Brooks/Joker Phillips and they are. But, they are still lacking on offense and will need some serious help on special teams to challenge the Gators into the 4th quarter. Having Derrick Locke back is a huge help for the Wildcats this year, but there aren’t enough athletes on the field for UK to consistently drive the ball on the Gators with the elusively challenged Mike Hartline at QB.
Florida on the other hand is still looking to identify their down field playmakers and this is where UK can present the biggest challenge for Urban Meyer’s game plan, as Trevard Lindley is one of the best DBs the SEC has to offer. Ultimately, superior depth will take over for the Gators and I suspect they will be motivated to make a statement after their performance against Tennessee last week. The plane ride back to Gainesville will be easy with a 38-14 win.
That does it got this week. Looking forward to being in Athens with a Bourbon and Coke this week, Fayetteville was a long way away. Go Dawgs!