My partners J. Newcastle and Eddie McCoy helped me break down the SEC East and SEC West last week on our SEC Football Breakdown podcast. We looked at all 12 teams, examined their strengths and weaknesses, and made our predictions for the upcoming season. The preseason work is done. It's game time! We've got our predictions for Week 1 of the 2010 SEC football season in this week's podcast. Here are my predictions.
Southern Miss @ South Carolina
- USM returns nine starters on a defense that was #62 nationally last year in scoring defense, #43 against the run and #109 against the pass.
- #18 scoring offense in the country last year but returns only four starters from that group and only one on the offensive line
- S. Carolina returns 8 starters on offense, seven on defense and has added one of the top RBs in the country in freshman Marcus Lattimore
- S. Carolina ranked an awful #108 in scoring offense last year, #24 in scoring defense
Keys To The Game
S. Carolina defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson is one of the best in the SEC. He lost a great player in Eric Norwood to the NFL but returns a veteran squad. They'll go up against a USM offense that has become more explosive under head coach Larry Fedora, but one that has a lot of new personnel that will have to come together in a hostile road environment.
Meanwhile, the Gamecock offense has never had the firepower of Spurrier offenses in Florida. QB Stephen Garcia has been erratic at best. The offensive line was horrid at its best but returns four starters. Spurrier has WR Alshon Jeffrey and Lattimore to help Garcia. USM's defense was poor last year but like the S. Carolina O-Line returns veteran performers. Can the Gamecock line give Lattimore room to run and protect Garcia well enough to find Jeffrey? Can Garcia be consistent enough not to put his strong defense in bad positions?
Prediction: It won't be pretty but the Gamecocks will get this one at home.
Kentucky vs. Louisville
- First-year Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips' offense will be led by 5th-year senior Mike Hartline and returns playmakers Randall Cobb and RB Derek Locke.
- The Wildcat offense returns only one starter on its offensive line but returns seven defensive starters.
- First-year Louisville coach Charlie Strong has eight offensive starters and six on defense.
- Louisville Scoring Offense: #111; Scoring Defense: #65
- Kentucky Scoring Offense: #69; Scoring Defense: #43
Keys To The Game