Predicting Every SEC College Football Game of Week 4
Hey, it may only be Monday, or whatever day it is when you finally read this. But there is another wild weekend of college football ahead, and I'm already giving my predictions.
This past weekend had some wild moments: Clemson misses a FG in OT, concluding Auburn's 17-point comeback... Wisconsin blocks a PAT and survives Arizona State... Ryan Mallett shows off on the final drive against UGA... Vanderbilt wins an SEC game.... Crazy weekend.
The craziest football, as you probably already know, can be found in the SEC. This weekend features plenty of big-time conference showdowns, and some weird non-conference games as well.
Using the USA Today Coaches' Poll, here are my predictions for this weekend in the SEC.
UAB Blazers (1-2) at Tennessee Volunteers (1-2)
Two weeks in a row, Tennessee has shown more fight than originally expected. After leading Oregon 13-3 in the second quarter and being within 24-17 of Florida late in the game, Tennessee has shown that they indeed have life.
UAB has something Tennessee doesn't, however: momentum. In their last game against heavily-favored Troy, they overcame a 23-0 second quarter deficit and won on a Hail Mary pass on the last play of the game to win, 34-33, leaving the Trojans (and me) stunned.
UAB will present some challenges to Tennessee. But I don't see any way UAB can come out on top at Rocky Top.
Tennessee 31, UAB 10
Fresno State Bulldogs (2-0) at Ole Miss Rebels (1-2)
It's been a rough season for fans in Oxford. Masoli isn't panning out, they've lost to Jacksonville State and Vanderbilt, and they don't even have a mascot figured out yet. They are 0-2 at "The Vaught," both losses being huge upsets.
Fresno hasn't been singing the blues, however. These Dawgs are 2-0, including a 28-14 victory over Cincy in the season opener. Yes, the Cincy that hadn't lost a regular season game in their past 18 and had Zach Collaros at QB.
People say this Cincy team isn't the one we saw in 2009. "People" are right. People would also be right if they said this Ole Miss team is in perfect 2007 form (a year they went 3-9, 0-8 in the SEC).
UPSET ALERT: Fresno is looking to give the WAC some respect by beating an SEC team on the field. Then again, I wouldn't say Jacksonville State's league got so much attention.
I think the Dawgs have too much speed, and this Ole Miss squad has no identity whatsoever... if they do actually have an identity, Mississippi fans should just hibernate until February and dream about Kirby Smart.
Fresno State 27, Ole Miss 21
Kentucky Wildcats (3-0) at No. 8 Florida Gators (3-0)
The Gators have not been too impressive this season. But they do have many positives to take away from the win at Tennessee.
Also, Brantley has seen Kentucky before. We all remember last season, when Tebow went down while the Gators lead 31-7. Brantley's offense went conservative and still scored 10 points on the Cats.
Kentucky comes in undefeated as well, and they have been more impressive. They beat Louisville on the road, 23-16, torched Western Kentucky for 63, then beat poor Akron by 37.
Can Kentucky keep their composure in the Swamp? The last time they played here, they lost 63-5. It's safe to say, however, this Kentucky team is better and this Florida team is worse.
Do I say upset alert? Nope. I like the Gators to finally take off offensively. UF plays the best game of their season up to this point. Kentucky scores a good number of points themselves, but most of them come in garbage time.
Florida 49, Kentucky 31
No. 21 West Virginia Mountaineers (3-0) at No. 12 LSU Tigers (3-0)
Once again, LSU's offense sputtered, but the defense played excellent against Mississippi State, and the Tigers convincingly whipped the Bulldogs, 29-7.
Now, West Virginia comes to town. Their season in a nutshell: they only lead Coastal Carolina 10-0 at halftime before winning 31-0. Then, against Marshall, they were a failed fumble recovery away from trailing Marshall 28-6, but they recovered it and came back to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, 24-21. Last week, they lead resurgent Maryland 28-0 at one point and won, 31-17. They've been pretty good, but for the most part, have not looked like a ranked team.
LSU barely beat UNC in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game, before pulling away from Vandy and smashing Mississippi State.
I like LSU's chances in Death Valley. The atmosphere will be the toughest WVU has faced since last year at Auburn.
LSU 24, West Virginia 20
SWING GAME OF THE WEEK: Georgia (1-2) at Mississippi State (1-2)
Boy, does this game mean a whole lot more than expected. Georgia comes in 1-2. MSU comes in 1-2. Mark Richt is on the hot seat, and Mississippi State's looking to turn the corner and get a big win. Something's got to give.
Davis Wade will surely be loud, but Auburn proved it takes more than 54,000 people without pads or helmets to win a game.
UGA has had a nightmare start, as they were manhandled by South Carolina before having their hearts broken by Arkansas. MSU lost in primetime to Auburn before losing big at LSU.
Only one Dawg can come out 2-2 and salvage the season, while the other goes into 1-3 and already has fans sad about 2010. Which Dawg has their day?
Mississippi State 22, Georgia 17
No. 15 South Carolina Gamecocks (3-0) at No. 14 Auburn Tigers (3-0)
This game will surely be one of the top games of this coming Saturday. USC is resurgent with Marcus Lattimore, and Garcia has been impressive. Auburn is 3-0, too, because of Cameron Newton's athletic abilities and improved defense.
This will be Auburn's second straight game against a team from South Carolina, only this one has a bigger impact on SEC standings.
The Gamecocks have seemed to turn the corner, with Lattimore being one of the top RBs in the league so far this season. Auburn has yet to have a RB hit 100 yards in a game, but they have been consistent, as Mike Dyer and Onterio McCalebb split carries and Cam Newton also runs a good bit.
Auburn lost A.J. Greene for the season, but they didn't lose the game. Clemson led 17-0 after an awesome catch by Jamie Harper, but Auburn erased the deficit to win in OT, 27-24.
USC hasn't been down-to-the-wire yet, unless you think the 17-6 beating of UGA was nail-biting.
It'll be a close game, back-and-forth, between two greatly improved SEC teams who will compete for their respective divisions. But in the end, the running of Mike Dyer and a FG by Wes Byrum spells doom for the Gamecocks.
Auburn 34, South Carolina 24
SEC Game Of The Week: No. 1 Alabama (3-0) at No. 11 Arkansas (3-0)
If you ask the non-BCS-factoring AP Poll, this is a Top 10 showdown. This has the feel of it. Bama hasn't been touched yet this season, beating San Jose State 48-3, Penn State 24-3, and Duke 62-13. They've been close to unstoppable.
But this isn't Duke, SJSU, or a down Penn State. This is No. 11 Arkansas, led by Ryan Mallett. In Fayetteville. With the nation watching and Verne Lundquist chomping down chicken fingers in the booth.
Bama has Mark Ingram, who only needed three carries to reach 100 yards against Duke, but Arkansas has Greg Childs, who scored the game-winner against Georgia between the hedges.
Arkansas could be in the Top-5 if they win here. Alabama... well, they can't climb any higher than where they are right now.
Bama's defense gets the first test of the season against one of the best offenses in the SEC.
Game: Ingram and Richardson are explosive out of the gate, and Alabama leads 14-0 after one quarter. Ryan Mallett throws a TD to D.J. Williams with two minutes left in the half to make it 14-7 in favor of the Crimson Tide going into the locker rooms. Bama opens strongly again, chewing off seven minutes of clock before McElroy finds Marquis Maze for a TD to make it 21-7 Alabama. Bama gets the ball back, and chews even more clock, going into the fourth quarter. However, Jeremy Shelley's FG attempt to put Alabama up 17 is blocked. With seven minutes left and staring at a 14-point deficit, Mallett catches fire. He finds Greg Childs for a 50-yard gain before running it in himself from three yards out to make it 21-14 Alabama. Arkansas' defense steps up, and Mallett leads a long drive before throwing a TD pass to Broderick Green with a minute left to tie the game at 21. We go to OVERTIME.
In OT, Arkansas wins the toss and goes on defense. Jeremy Shelley's day goes from poor to nightmare, as his field goal attempt is wide left. Mallett gets the ball. Six plays later, he finds D.J. Williams again all by himself in the end zone. Arkansas wins!
Arkansas 27, Alabama 21