SEC Week 2
Each week I will provide short capsules and picks for the games involving SEC teams. Here is week two.
UCLA at Tennessee
Last year, UCLA derailed the Vols season with an early upset. It was the beginning of the end of the Phillip Fulmer era and it gave Rick Neuheisel something to grow on with a young team. Tennessee and UCLA looked impressive in the openers against lesser competition. Tennessee’s rushing attack led by Montario Hardesty and super freshman Bryce Brown will give the Vols a decided edge. UCLA will have to answer that rushing attack and counter with some sustained offense in order have a shot in this one. This one might be close early, but expect Tennessee to win it in the second half. Tennessee 31, UCLA 17. This game is televised on ESPN at 4:00 p.m. ET.
South Carolina at Georgia
This is not a game for offensive fireworks. South Carolina struggled to score seven in a winning effort over NC State and Georgia’s offense fell apart in Stillwater as the Dawgs went down to the Cowboys of Oklahoma State. Mounting to the loss of the game was another serious injury to the Georgia line and a pretty shaky performance at quarterback. South Carolina seemed okay on defense and that’s why I will go against the line and take the Gamecocks in the upset. If it goes this way, expect Georgia to be in for a very long season. South Carolina 17, Georgia 7. This game is televised on ESPN2 at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Vanderbilt at LSU
LSU was not impressive in the win over Washington. Maybe it was the long trip, the new defensive coordinator, but whatever it was, the Tigers were out of sync for a large part of that game against a lesser talented opponent. Vanderbilt cruised past Western Carolina and is a team loaded with young talent. I don’t think the Commodores have the firepower to get by LSU, but they might keep it close enough to make it interesting. In the end, talent and depth and the old adage about improving most between week one and two will get LSU over the hump in the SEC opener. LSU 27, Vanderbilt 10. This game is televised on ESPNU at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Mississippi State at Auburn
I need to say I was way wrong to pick against Mississippi State last week and intended to change that pick before publishing it, but forgot to as a part of the editing process. The Bulldogs did what they were supposed to against Jackson State. They played two quarterbacks and ran the ball under Dan Mullen’s spread to the tune of 230+ yards. Auburn showed signs of organization and life on offense that has been sorely lacking for years from that program. The Tigers had two running backs gain over 100 yards and Chris Todd played well at the quarterback position. This game set football back a decade last year with mistake-filled snooze fest that ended with a Tigers win, 3-2. This will be a slugfest and will come down to who establishes the most consistency in the running game. Auburn 24, Mississippi State 21. This game is televised on FSN at 7:00 p.m. ET.
File these under the still barely worth mentioning category.
Troy at Florida
Seriously? How many more paychecks does Troy need for games? How many more cupcakes will Florida play? This is a sham on the fans. I wouldn’t watch this if I had to take a test on it the next day. Neither should you. Florida 54, Troy 10. This game is televised as a part of the ERT/SEC Network at 12:21 p.m. ET.
Florida International at Alabama
Alabama put in a very impressive performance in a win over Virginia Tech last week where the score was closer than the game. The Crimson Tide is still working the kinks out of the offense and special teams, but they sport a very physical defense and that’s good enough to carry them through games like this. This is the season opener for FIU and it will be a pain-filled one. Alabama 34, FIU 3. This game is televised on PPV at 7:00 p.m. ET.