SEC Football Week 2 Preview: Showdown in Tuscaloosa
Back again is Jody Alberson to give you a run down of the SEC action going down in week 2. Not sure what games to watch, well look no further.
Game of the Week
9/11 - Penn State at Alabama
Huge National Championship implications for both teams in this game. The teams haven't met since 1990, but played some very important games throughout the 1980s.
Alabama will be without RB Mark Ingram for the second straight week, so look for Sophomore RB Trent Richardson to once again pick up the slack in the run game.
The key for Penn State will be the quarterback play of Freshman QB Robert Bolden in the frenzied atmosphere of Bryant-Denny Stadium. Will he be able to handle the crowd, or fold under the pressure and make crucial mistakes?
To ease the pressure, Penn State needs to improve upon their run game. Penn State didn't have much of a rushing attack in week one against Youngstown State, only mustering 132 yards as a collective unit.
In the end, I think Alabama has too much talent all over the field for the Nittany Lions to overcome. I see it as close one up until the half, then the difference in the talent of the depth will really start to show in the second half as 'Bama will pull away.
Alabama 34, Penn State 23
Games to Watch
9/9 - Auburn at Mississippi State
Starkville, MS is where both the Tigers and Bulldogs open conference play to a national audience on Thursday night. Expectations are high for both teams as they look to turn the week one success into a positive start in conference play.
Auburn has owned the series recently, not losing since 2007. This will be both team's first real test of the season. Both teams also have intriguing games next week so it'll be interesting to see who is more focussed and prepared this week.
Was Auburn's defense exposed as a weak link in giving up 26 points to Arkansas State in week one? Have the Bulldogs found the answer at quarterback in Freshman Tyler Russell?
Auburn 27, Mississippi St. 24
9/11 - Georgia at South Carolina
Kick off is scheduled for noon in Columbia for this rivalry game. Last year's barn-burner aside, this is typically a low scoring affair that goes down to the wire. Expect a return to the past for this year's game.
Georgia will be without playmaking WR A.J. Green, but will welcome back Washaun Ealy (last year's leading rusher) to the backfield. Carolina will more than likely still be without LB Shaq Wilson (injury) and the statuses of CB Chris Culliver, OL Jarriel King and TE Wesley Saunders (NCAA investigation) is still not clear as of the publishing of this article.
Carolina needs to generate a lot of pressure in the pass rush to force Freshman QB Aaron Murray to make mistakes. Load the box with eight players, take away the run, and make Murray beat you without his best playmaker.
Georgia's huge numbers in the kick/punt return game last year proved to be the difference, so Carolina must sure up the special teams coverage to win.
Georgia should look to take away the passing game, and force Carolina to run the ball. In the past few games played in Columbia, the Gamecocks have put up putrid rushing numbers against the Bulldogs.
Having a strange since of confidence going into this game, I see it playing out one of two ways. Carolina either wins big or it comes down to the very end (Brandon Bennet anyone?)
Carolina 31, Georgia 20
9/11 - Oregon at Tennessee
The Ducks will travel to Knoxville to provide first year coach Derek Dooley and his Vols their first true test of the season. Both teams are coming off blow out, shutout wins a week ago.
As this is a rebuilding year for the Vols, I don't think they stand much of a chance against Oregon. Why is this a game to watch? Something to pass the time while the 'Bama-Penn State game is at commercial, but also for those that take a disliking to Tennessee, this a great chance to watch the Tennessee get embarrassed.
Oregon 41, Tennessee 23
9/11 - South Florida at Florida
Florida was unimpressive in their week one victory over Miami (OH). The Gators gave the Redhawks plenty of chances with the many snap issues and turnovers. Miami (OH) was only able to muster four field goals and thus lost 34-12.
South Florida, under first year coach Skip Holtz started the season on the right foot with a 54-12 victory over Stony Brook. Led offensively by QB B.J. Daniels, the Bulls amassed 563 yards of total offense.
Coach Holtz is no stranger to upsets, pulling off a few in his time spent at East Carolina. In 2008, the Pirates had early season victories over Virginia Tech and West Virginia. In the 2009 Conference-USA championship game, the Pirates upset Houston to capture the conference title.
Florida has more talent, but must fix the problems encountered during week one to win this game. The Gators will need their defense to stifle the Bulls' offense.
USF will need the ball to bounce their way more than a few times. If they can get some early points off turnovers and take the crowd out of the game, they have a good chance.
Florida 28, USF 24
Rest of the Schedule
LSU at Vanderbilt
Louisiana-Monroe at Arkansas
Western Kentucky at Kentucky
Ole Miss at Tulane
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