It’s week three of the SEC season and there are some fun games on the schedule. Listen to the SEC Football Breakdown podcast for more in depth analysis and discussion of these games (It’s also available on iTunes). Here’s a look at week three previews and predictions.
Last Week’s Record: 8-1, Overall Record: 18-2
DUKE vs. Alabama
This one is at Duke and there will probably be more of the K-Mart Crimson Tide fans on hand than for the Blue Devils in the stands on Saturday. For Alabama this game is a chance to work DL Marcel Dareus back into the playing rotation after sitting out a two game suspension. Mark Ingram’s availability is still a question but they don’t really need him. The whole first team could take the week off and Alabama would still win by double digits.
Alabama 34, Duke 6
SOUTH CAROLINA vs. Furman
The Gamecocks coming off a major win over Georgia get a tune up game against FCS opponent Furman. SCar’s defense has been sharp in the first two games as has the running game. Look for the Gamecocks to iron out as many wrinkles from the passing game as they can before heading into a tough stretch in SEC play. This one won’t be much to watch unless you want to see a lot of young guys play.
South Carolina 28, Furman 6
KENTUCKY vs. Akron
Kentucky takes on an opponent from the MAC this week with the Akron Zips coming to Lexington. This is the last “breather” before the meat of conference play for Kentucky. Akron isn’t going to be able to hang with the Wildcats. The Joker Phillips era gets off to a 3-0 start with this win.
Kentucky 44, Akron 16
AUBURN vs. Clemson
The premier out of conference game belongs to the Tigers as they face Clemson at home this week. Clemson is going to be a test for Auburn in this one. I think the QB is good, they can run the ball and I expect they’ll try and pass a bit on Auburn too. For Auburn to win, the offense has to be more consistent and the defense has to limit big play opportunity for Clemson. Both teams will try and pressure the quarterback and for Auburn that is the biggest issue. As Cam Newton goes so go the Tigers. Look the ACC is dreadful this year but Auburn has holes that can be exploited and Clemson is in as good a position to do so. Question is will they? This one has upset written all over it.
LSU vs. Miss. State
LSU and Miss. State played a great one last year. The Bulldogs were so close to pulling off the upset. Mullen’s pack will be on the hunt and LSU will have to protect Jordan Jefferson to avoid the upset. Can they do it this year? No. LSU is still just too good to lose one of these games but if the Tigers want to go any farther they’ve got to get out of their own way.
LSU 23, MSU 16
OLE MISS vs. Vanderbilt
Ole Miss will try to start their conference schedule off with a win against Vandy following up on a win at Tulane. Jeremiah Masoli looked good in that game and he can be a difference maker for Ole Miss as this season progresses. Vanderbilt has played two tough games in a row – and lost both – and I expect they will give Ole Miss all they want in this one but it won’t be nearly enough.
Ole Miss 24, Vandy 10
TENNESSEE vs. Florida
Last year Tennessee took a lot of pride in playing the vaunted Gators close. This year I don’t think the Vols have anything for Florida. Florida played has one good quarter of offense in two games this year and that must improve. The Gators defense is fast and furious just like always. Tennessee showed they could hang with a fast team last week against Oregon but they could only hang for a half. Same goes for this week.
Florida 37, Tennessee 17
GEORGIA vs. Arkansas
This is the second tough test in a row for the Bulldogs and they did not look sharp against South Carolina. In fact, the Bulldogs were manhandled in that game. This week’s test is on the passing defense though. Ryan Mallett is off to fast start for the Hogs and in spite of the lack of a running game, that offense has lived up to the billing. I think Georgia playing a quality opponent early helps them but Arkansas is just too good on offense to think the Bulldogs can stop them. If A.J. Green was playing, I’d take Georgia but without him even against a less than good defense like Arkansas, Georgia’s attack lacks explosiveness. Arkansas gets the win on the road and the seat under Mark Richt gets hotter.
Arkansas 33, Georgia 24