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SEC Week Six: Midterm Mania

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Florida at LSU
Will Tebow play or not? That is the question for Gators fans far and wide this week as the #1 team in the country travels to Baton Rouge to take on the #4 Tigers. LSU has lived on starting and stopping through the first 5 games (all wins) having finally found the running game last week against Georgia. Florida waxed the chumps on their schedule with relative ease (save a tussle with Lane Kiffin’s Volunteers), but lost their emotional leader, Tebow, two weeks ago in a blowout at Kentucky when the signal caller suffered a concussion. The game vs. Tennessee displayed Florida’s lack of developed playmakers to take the place of Louis Murphy and Percy Harvin and just how much they rely on Tebow to carry it all. LSU has been so Jekyll & Hyde it’s hard to predict which team will show. The defense certainly improved last week for the Tigers and the playmakers on that team will give this vaunted Florida defense a serious test. We’ve yet to see either team live up to the hype. Florida has plenty to prove as they head into the meat of the schedule and LSU needs a big win to keep things on the right track. I might be delusional, but I believe if LSU can pull it all together this week, it should be enough to get the win over the Gators. LSU 24, Florida 23.This game is televised on CBS at 7 p.m.

Alabama at Ole Miss
The Rebels were the preseason darling to knock off the Tide and take the SEC West division by storm. So far, that storm has barely blown leaves off the lawn. Alabama is the most complete team in the conference (if not the country) and it’s not even close. Only a team as loaded as Alabama could play what adds up to a quarter worth of football and still win on the road in the conference by 18 points (Alabama defeated Kentucky 38-20 last week). Alabama’s offense has moments of narcolepsy, but the defense is more than enough to cover for it. Ole Miss will throw the kitchen sink at Alabama as Houston Nutt’s bunch tries to right the ship. However, it won’t be nearly enough to unseat Alabama this week. Alabama 34, Ole Miss 13. This game is televised on CBS at 2:30 p.m.

Kentucky at South Carolina
Kentucky takes the blue turnover machine on the road to take on a tough defense in Columbia. Kentucky has playmakers (namely Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke) that will challenge the SC defense and force the Gamecocks to score some points during the game. If the Cats can limit the turnovers, they have more than a puncher’s chance in this game. However, SC is tough at home and can take advantage of mistakes by the opposition. South Carolina 23, Kentucky 17. This game is televised on Fox Sports South at 11:30 a.m.

Georgia at Tennessee

The Bulldogs were within one minute of beating LSU at home last week while Tennessee got worked over by Auburn at home. These two teams are fighting for what’s left of the season and for the future. The offense at Georgia is on and off but the Tennessee offense is mostly just off – period. Georgia’s defense improved greatly last week against LSU while Tennessee’s was picked apart for the better part of the game. For Tennessee to win this one they will have to rise above the inconsistent offense and force Georgia’s Joe Cox into mistakes throwing the ball. Georgia needs to find ways to get the ball in the hands of A.J. Greene early and often while the defense needs to contain the Vols running game. Road game or not, Georgia is in a better place than Tennessee right now. Georgia 20, Tennessee 13. This game is televised on the SEC Network (check local listings) at 11:21 a.m.

Auburn at Arkansas
The Tigers at 5-0 are easily the surprise team in the SEC this year. In spite of glaring holes on defense, Auburn has found ways to win mostly through the high-powered offense that keeps the tempo moving and puts points on the scoreboard. Arkansas just puts points on the scoreboard (unless playing Alabama) while the defense has been largely lack until last week. The Hogs defense gave up yards to Texas A&M but found ways to end Aggies drives before they could cash into the endzone. Auburn’s defensive backfield has ability to create turnovers but their coverage skills will be tested greatly this week. Several times last week, Auburn defenders were beat by WRs who simply dropped the ball or the quarterback didn’t make a good throw. That won’t happen this week as Ryan Mallett and company are very talented. Arkansas, for all the defensive issues, has faced solid running teams and performed well enough to put the games in the opposing quarterback’s hands. That will be the Hogs gameplan and it will be on Auburn’s Chris Todd and his gang of receivers to pull this on through for the Tigers. This one has the makings of an early morning shootout and will probably down to which team has the ball last. Arkansas has the playmakers offense to win this one if they can limit the turnovers. Arkansas 35, Auburn 31. This game is televised on ESPN at 11 a.m.

Houston at Mississippi State
Houston tries to rebound after losing to UTEP in a shootout last week. The Cougars high powered offense performed but the defense never managed a solid stop against the Miners. Mississippi State isn’t as bad as many predicted, but they still find ways to aim the gun at their feet in every game. This will be a stiff test for Houston against an SEC defense on the road, but in the end they will score too many points for the Bulldogs. Houston 30, MSU 24. This game is televised on ESPNU at 11:30 a.m.

Vanderbilt at Army
The early start and the long trip to just outside of Highland Falls, NY are big obstacles for Vanderbilt. Army has trouble stopping teams with some speed and they will try to control this game with the option rushing attack. Even with the road obstacles, Vandy should be able to get the win over the bravest college football players in the country. Vanderbilt 23, Army 14. This game is televised on CBS College Sports at 11 a.m.

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