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SEC Football 2012: Week One Previews and Predictions

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Another football season is upon us and the Southeastern Conference begins the quest for a seventh straight national championship. Texas A&M and Missouri join the fold this year, which should only make the week-to-week fun even more interesting.

Check out the following link for the SEC football TV schedule.

Games of the Week
South Carolina @ Vanderbilt
This Thursday nighter might fly under the radar for passersby. But if you’ve been paying attention you know South Carolina has risen to be one of the top teams in the SEC East in recent years. Vanderbilt under second year coach James Franklin is on a mission to make good on their “we’re not the doormats any more” mantra.

Here’s what we know. SC’s top flight RB Marcus Lattimore plans to play coming off a season shortened by knee injury and that’s a big plus for the Gamecocks. They also have a strong defensive front led by Jadavion Clowney who only playing 60% of the time last year made a huge splash. Vanderbilt’s hopes live and die with the offensive combo of QB Jordan Rodgers and RB Zac Stacy. On defense, Vandy lived and died last year by turnovers, which is not a long term recipe for success.

I’d give the edge to South Carolina but this should still be a really entertaining, close game.
South Carolina 23, Vanderbilt 17

Auburn vs. Clemson (Atlanta, GA)
Both of these teams are missing key members due to suspensions of players. The more intriguing story is Auburn who sports two new coordinators each of which plans to bring a different look to the Tigers. On defense, Auburn is expected to employ more of an attacking style as opposed to the read-and-react (usually late) from the previous regime. Auburn’s defensive ends are really talented but everything around them is mostly unknown. On offense, Auburn is expected to go with a more pro style convention which should help the new starting quarterback.

Clemson’s defense was last seen being ravaged by West Virginia and the “best part” of that defense is gone with graduation and NFL draft picks. The good news for Clemson is they return key playmakers on offense and that’s going to be the difference in the game.

Many have counted Auburn all but blown out in this game but Gene Chizik has proven more than once he can get his troops up when the odds seem against them. In the end, motivation can only carry a team this unproven so far, and the team with the more established identity should take over in the second half and secure the win.
Clemson 38, Auburn 16

Alabama vs. Michigan (Dallas, TX)
Michgan QB Denard Robinson is fast – really fast – almost SEC fast. Almost. The problem for him is his protection is no match for the kind of defensive front as fast, strong, or as deep as what Alabama employs.

Alabama may be replacing a lot of starters from the national title team a year ago. However, many of the “new” players saw significant action in that campaign and Nick Saban and co. have proven to be a good talent factory. Plus, Crimson Tide QB A.J. McCarron proved more than capable of carrying the team late last year and is one of the top signal callers returning to the league this season.

This game will be won along the line of scrimmage and Alabama has distinct advantages at every position on both sides. Expect Michigan to hang around early but wilt under the constant barrage of power and pressure from the Crimson Tide.
Alabama 27, Michigan 13

About J. Newcastle