Last Week's Record: 8-1 Overall Record: 18-2
There are eight games featuring SEC teams this week. Half are conference games and the other half feature out of conference opponents.
Here's this week's schedule:
Alabama @ Duke
South Carolina vs. Furman
Kentucky vs. Akron
Auburn vs. Clemson
LSU vs. Mississippi State
Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt
Tennessee vs. Florida
Georgia vs. Arkansas
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 and to possibly test RB Mark Ingram's availability before starting conference play next week. The whole first team could take the week off and Alabama would still win by double digits. Alabama's just that good.
Alabama 34, Duke 6
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. You Connor Shaw fans should get plenty of looks at him Saturday as well.
South Carolina 28, Furman 6
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
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. Clemson has a running game to fall back to and that could be the different in this one. Auburn is a good team but the problems there are enough to cost them one game. This pick is really a gut feeling - Clemson has a lot to prove and they get it done this week.
Clemson 24, Auburn 17
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 I do think it will be close because Dan Mullen has made strides with the Bulldogs but he still lacks consistent playmakers to get to the next level.
LSU 23, MSU 16
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 this season. Vanderbilt has played two tough games in a row - both losses - 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
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
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'll even give a bit of props to the defense which seems to be improving slightly. (It wouldn't take much of an improvement to make a difference with that offense.) 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