Predicting Every SEC Football Game Of Week 3

Nathan Deal@@NateDawgAUCorrespondent ISeptember 15, 2010

Predicting Every SEC Football Game Of Week 3

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    I'll try not to get cocky with these picks.

    So far, the SEC has once again been the supreme conference in college football....Alabama continues to dominate. South Carolina has been the most surprising team in the country, earning a No. 13 ranking AP ranking. Auburn is No. 16 and has a big game with Clemson coming up. LSU won the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game.

    Safe to say, outside of Georgia, the top-tier of the SEC in 2010 has played pretty well (Well, outside of LSU, who has won both games in ugly fashion). The bottom half? Not so much, as Ole Miss lost to Jacksonville State, Tennessee (respectably, if you watched the game) lost by 35 to Oregon, and Mississippi State couldn't use their home crowd on a Thursday night to beat Auburn.

    Here are my predictions for the third week of what will surely be a wild season in the SEC.

No. 10 Florida Gators (2-0) at Tennessee Volunteers (1-1)

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    Demps has been Florida's entire offense. OK, I kid, it's only about 80.47% or so.Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Last week, Tennessee jumped out early on Oregon, 13-3, in the second quarter. It began to appear an upset was in the making. Then, Oregon came back and tied it at halftime before taking the lead in the third, 20-13. Tennessee then drove deep into Duck territory.......then IT happened. Simm's passes was intercepted and taken back for a TD, and Oregon was then on their way to a 45-13 victory in Neyland.

    Folks, I don't think I've ever seen a better performance by a team that lost by 35+. Tennessee fought hard, until they were eventually worn down due to lack of depth. UT is no team to play around with.

    Florida, on the other hand, isn't as good as advertised, as we all know by now. After having 13 bad snaps and eight fumbles against Miami (OH) and just 212 yards of offense, they wanted to get things turned around against South Florida. In the first half, they once again.....how do I put it.....sucked. They were in a 7-7 tie and it seemed the same problems still lingered offensively for Florida. But then, the second half came. Florida outscored USF 31-7 after halftime, and now they seem to have things clicking offensively.

    Neyland Stadium is a tough place to play, but like Oregon proved, if you are the better team, you can shut them up.

    Tennessee fights to the end again and turns in a valiant performance.. but there's no way they can beat Florida.

    Florida 20, Tennessee 6

Vanderbilt Commodores (0-2) at Ole Miss Rebels (1-1)

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    The TV ratings would be through the roof.... if only people lived in upside-down houses.

    The Rebels return to the scene of their 49-48 upset loss to the Gamecocks of Jacksonville State (They didn't have Perrilloux anymore, no less).

    Vandy fought hard and lost to Northwestern, 23-21, and trailed LSU just 10-3 in the fourth before allowing the Bayou Bengals to go on a 17-0 run to end the game.

    This is the SEC's "Toilet Bowl" game of the week, because these teams are interchangeable No. 11 and  No. 12 on anybody's SEC power rankings.

    Jeremiah Masoli, down by four, leads a game-winning TD drive that eats over five minutes off of the clock.

    Mississippi 16, Vanderbilt 13

Furman Paladins (1-0) at No. 13 South Carolina Gamecocks (2-0)

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    Give me one reason this game will be close.... I need one...Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    All-time, this series is closer than you think, as USC leads just 25-20-1 all-time. This game, however, should not be close.

    Furman did put 377 yards rushing on Colgate, but this is Carolina, not Colgate.

    Lattimore will have over 100 yards in the first half, and he will be rested, along with other starters, after halftime.

    South Carolina 56, Furman 0

Akron Zips (0-2) at Kentucky Wildcats (2-0)

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    I think the defensive linemen for Kentucky got into the Papa John's before the game started...

    After squeaking by on the road against hated Louisville, Kentucky returned home to put an expected whipping on Western Kentucky, 63-28. The 'Cats, who had No. 1 Florida and No. 3 Alabama in the early part of their schedule last year, have yet another cupcake to beat without mercy this Saturday.

    Akron has been pathetic this season. They began the season at home against Syracuse and got pounded, 29-3. Then they hosted puny Gardner-Webb (who was within three points of Georgia Tech in 2008), blew a lead, and lost in OT, 38-37.

    Kentucky and Akron are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Kentucky is 2-0 in the best conference in the land, and Akron is 0-2 in the worst (I firmly believe the Sun Belt is much better than the MAC). After Saturday, Kentucky will be 3-0 in the best conference in the land, and Akron will be 0-3 in the worst.

    Kentucky 44, Akron 17

No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (2-0) at Duke Blue Devils (1-1)

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    We all know what Alabama has done lately. Back-to-back 12-0 regular seasons, won the BCS National Championship last year, and beat Penn State this past week 24-3.

    Duke began this season with a blowout win over Elon before losing a shootout game to Wake Forest, 54-48 (That's the score of some Duke-UNC basketball games).

    So far, Alabama hasn't missed a beat on defense, as they still haven't given up a touchdown this season. However, the Tide will obviously face stiffer competition than San Jose State and a down Penn State with a true freshman quarterback.

    I say Duke finds the end zone in the FIRST QUARTER... But Bama will surely dominate the improving Blue Devils. Durham becomes sweet home Alabama.

    Alabama 45, Duke 14

Mississippi State Bulldogs (1-1) at No. 15 LSU Tigers (2-0)

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    I always thought yellow and purple was a subtle design...Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Here you have one team who has lost a game and is receiving praise and an unbeaten team whose coach is on a hotter seat than ever.

    Last year, Mullen vs. Miles was a classic. Patrick Peterson made a big difference, and a goal-line stand gave LSU the win, 30-26, in Starkville.

    I expect this to be a close game, and LSU is on serious upset alert here. They might be in Death Valley in Baton Rouge, but lately, that stadium just hasn't been as daunting.

    LSU 27, Mississippi State 21 (OT)

No. 12 Arkansas Razorbacks (2-0) at Georgia Bulldogs (1-1)

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    Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    When's the last time Arkansas was ranked this high? I can't recall. The Hogs, who have played close to nobody, have climbed up to No. 12 in the latest AP poll. Yet they are underdogs to a Georgia team who was held to two field goals against South Carolina.

    This could be THE year for Arkansas to finally step up and win the SEC. They have a high-flying offense and the defense is doing to weak opponents so far what they couldn't do against tall grass last year: getting stops.

    Georgia's defense, on the other hand, has some serious issues. They couldn't tackle the Gamecocks all day, and Lattimore in particular, as the new guy in the garnet rushed for 182 yards and two scores against the Dawgs.

    But there is a big factor to watch out for in this game. It's in Athens. So far, Mallett has looked horrible on the road in the SEC. But Georgia is without A.J. Greene.

    Mallett passes for many yards, but several picks. I don't care what Vegas says, Arkansas is the huge favorite for this game. And they will be upset, meaning they must win the Alabama game or else this is just another year of losing early and rallying for a decent finish.

    Georgia 38, Arkansas 34

SEC Game Of The Week: Clemson Tigers (2-0) at No. 16 Auburn Tigers (2-0)

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    Poor Clem...

    Two Tigers, one tussle, no Tommys. Sounds like a good game.

    ESPN's College GameDay rolls into Auburn for this showdown. The ESPN crew calling the game is the trio of Brent Musberger, Kirk Herbstriet, and Erin Andrews. Clemson's playing to earn a ranking and give the ACC some respect. Auburn's No. 16 and in position for a sneak attack on the BCS National Title picture. It's safe to say this game is much bigger than originally thought.

    This is the only SEC game this week that features two teams that are undefeated. Auburn is 2-0 after a 52-26 victory over Arkansas State and a 17-14 win at rowdy Mississippi State. Clemson is 2-0 after drubbings of North Texas and Presbyterian.

    I see this as being a close game almost all of the way. After three quarters, it's a thriller, as Auburn and Cam Newton lead Kyle Parker and the Clemson Tigers 24-20. In the fourth, Clemson drives to about the Auburn 35-yard line, before Neiko Thorpe makes the play of the game and intercepts a Kyle Parker pass. Auburn then proceeds to pound down the field, before Cam Newton finds Kodi Burns for a touchdown to make it 31-20 Auburn. After another stop, Auburn chews the clock before Mike Dyer finds the end zone with just three minutes left.

    In a game that's MUCH, MUCH closer than the final score...

    Auburn 38, Clemson 20