SEC Football: Best Matchups to Watch in Week 6's Marquee Games

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2012

BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Zach Mettenberger #8 of the LSU Tigers celebrates after throwing a touchdown against the Idaho Vandals at Tiger Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

College football features a handful of marquee matchups in Week 6, two of which come out of the daunting Southeastern Conference.

The SEC is still the cream of the crop, in terms of talent and anything else you associate with football.

Saturday will feature a double dose of elite collegiate action. The No. 4 Louisiana State Tigers will travel to The Swamp to face the ever-improving No. 10 Florida Gators, and the No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs will travel to face No. 6 South Carolina's ferocious defense.

Both games should be excellent. Let's take a look inside each one by picking two matchups to watch on the field.


LSU QB Zach Mettenberger vs. Florida Pass Defense

The Gators are allowing 170.5 passing yards per game through four contests this season. The Tigers are 95th in the nation in passing, averaging 203.2 yards per game.

If the Tigers want to win away from home, Les Miles must take the shackles off Mettenberger. LSU likes to lean on the ground game and allow their defense to win, but that's not going to work in this one.

Florida gets after the quarterback, using their superb team speed to wreak havoc in the backfield. They're relentless, and Mettenberger will have to be on his toes at all times. Matt Elam and Marcus Roberson patrol the defensive backfield behind the front seven.

Mettenberger has thrown for 1,016 yards this season and six touchdowns, but this will be his stiffest challenge yet.


Florida's Ground Game vs. LSU Front Seven

The Tigers gave up 188 rushing yards to Towson last week. That can't happen again, not against the No. 20 rushing offense in the nation.

A big part of Florida's reemergence has come on the ground. Running back Mike Gillislee has five touchdowns and 402 yards, providing a constant big-play threat out of the backfield.

Jeff Driskel is also a capable runner from his quarterback position.

If LSU's run defense doesn't show up for this one, it could be a long game. Florida trusts Driskel, but not enough to win a game against an aggressive pass rush like LSU's.

Look for Florida to pound the rock early and often.


South Carolina's Run Defense vs. Georgia RBs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall

We know the Gamecocks can get after the quarterback, but that's not the only reason they're the No. 6 scoring defense in the nation.

South Carolina is allowing 77.6 rushing yards per game. Georgia is averaging just over 250 yards per game on the ground, largely because of their dynamic freshman running backs Gurley and Marshall.

The two have carried the ball a combined 120 times for 964 yards and 14 touchdowns, but that's not what's really scary. They're averaging around eight yards per carry, combined.

The Gamecocks defense hasn't been tested like this, neither have these two first-year players. Whoever wins this battle will probably win the game.


South Carolina QB Connor Shaw vs. Georgia Secondary

Tennessee QB Tyler Bray threw for nearly 300 yards against the Bulldogs last week, showing a potentially vulnerable unit for Georgia.

The Bulldogs have talent on the backend. Bacarri Rambo and Sanders Commings are both above-average ball hawks, intent on making Shaw's life difficult.

However, the presence of Marcus Lattimore in the Gamecocks' backfield could make their life difficult. Georgia will have to decide if they want to stack the box against the dynamic ball-carrier, or sit back and risk getting gashed at the line of scrimmage.

If they stack the box, Shaw must take advantage. He's battled injuries this season, but he's a dangerous dual-threat talent when he's on the field. On an offense with an All-American running back, he's the X-factor.

Each squad should have no trouble running the ball. The play of each team's signal-caller will make the difference. Because Murray is more proven, Shaw's role is the most intriguing in this game.