Well, I knew this would happen.
I knew there would come a week when my luck at picking the SEC games would turn south.
This was that week. I could almost see it coming, and, sure enough, my record for the week was a dismal 2-3.
That almost sounds like an Auburn football score or something, but anyway…
My overall record for the season is 26-5, let’s see if I can improve upon that in week eight.
Week Seven Recap
The only two teams in the SEC not playing in week seven had the week off to prepare for a showdown with each other in Tuscaloosa this weekend.
CBS has jumped on this game, and both sides are excited to be playing football again this week. Man has it been a long layoff!
So, as I expected, lots of college football fans are starting to like the Rebels in this one, seeing as to how they upset Florida just three weeks ago.
I’m not going to give anything away yet, so see below for more on this action, in this week’s outlook.
Arkansas vs. Auburn
Surely this game was a surprise to most.
Arkansas was unable to get anything going in the three previous weeks against Bama, Texas, and Florida.
Auburn has a solid defense, and was playing at home, so you would think a road game for Arkansas was just too much.
Well, what proved to be too much was Auburn’s loss to Vandy and the fact that they have been unable to get any consistency with their offense.
You have to think that Tony Franklin was getting a few laughs in Saturday night, knowing that he had nothing to do with the offense and yet Auburn continued to struggle.
Tuberville said it right in his weekly news conference last Tuesday that making major changes mid-season would be a major disaster.
After removing offensive coordinator Tony Franklin just days before facing perhaps the worst team in the SEC, that disaster did indeed hit.
I had predicted Auburn to win 20-9, but Arkansas pulled off the upset at Jordan-Hare 25-22.
Mississippi State vs. Vanderbilt
I had been on this Vandy wagon since they upset Miami (OH) in the first game of the season. Then after watching them come from behind to beat Spurrier and the Gamecocks for the second straight year, I knew something good was happening in Nashville.
A win over Auburn in front of ESPN’s College GameDay and national television only further prompted to wagon to fill up.
I think the wheels might have rolled off this past weekend when they allowed the Bulldogs of Mississippi State to bite them hard!
They got down and a tough State defense kept them on the ground. Very impressive, Coach Croom.
I had predicted a Vandy win to vault them into the top ten, by a score of 20-6, but the Bulldogs feasted on a much-needed win by defeating Vandy 17-14.
South Carolina vs. Kentucky
Quarterback controversy settled. Quarterback controversy open again.
Quarterback controversy settled. Quarterback controversy open again
Back-and-forth it has gone for the Gamecocks, but as long as Carolina is winning, I’m sure Spurrier doesn’t really care who is manning this ship.
I thought Kentucky would come out and perform this week following a close loss to Alabama the week before. But, like my first two picks this week, number three was also wrong.
I had the ‘Cats winning by a score of 21-18, but Carolina had an impressive 24-17 victory, with Spurrier improving to 16-0 lifetime against Kentucky.
Tennessee vs. Georgia
So, 0-3 to start the week had me a little down, but nothing a Tennessee loss to UGA couldn’t fix.
If UT pulled this one out, I would have to give up picking, at least for this season. This is the worst Vols team I have ever seen.
UGA did win, and on top of that, I had the score almost dead on.
The predicted score was UGA winning 28-13, when in fact they won 26-14. My best game of the week by far!
Game of the Week – LSU vs. Florida
I had a feeling LSU would give up too many big plays. I just had no idea Florida would execute so well and produce as many big plays as they did.
This one was not even close, unlike the prediction so many had given, including myself.
Florida was on a mission, and LSU was put into submission. Enough said.
LSU needs to regroup fast. Another road game this week against a fast rising Carolina team could spell trouble for LSU.
Florida, on the other hand, now has a bye week to rest before the last slate of games is presented.
My game prediction was a Florida win, by two points, 24-22. However, Florida laid the wood to LSU, giving Les Miles his worst loss as LSU head coach, by a final of 51-21.
Wow, 30 points! Now, who would have ever picked that margin of victory?
Okay, so now on to…
Week Eight Outlook
The Plainsmen get the week off this week. Hopefully, Tuberville will get this train back on track.
Back-to-back road games, starting with a trip up to Morgantown next week could be a lot for this team to take on considering the struggles thus far in the season.
This team came out of the gates swinging against LSU. Now they can rest easy for a week before taking on Kentucky in the swamp next Saturday.
That, my friend, will be a teaser before the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party begins.
Mississippi State vs. Tennessee
Let me go ahead and get this one out of the way while I am feeling up to stomaching it.
State managed to pull off a huge upset over Vanderbilt last week. That should give the Bulldogs some much needed confidence and hope before heading to Knoxville.
The thing that stands out to me is this: State has not won on the road this season, which includes a loss to Louisiana Tech and LSU.
The question is whether their defense can remain strong on the road as they have been at home.
The Vols have struggled like no one’s business.
I mean, even State has a SEC win this year, while the Vols are looking to become Ole Miss’ replacement as the cellar dweller with no SEC wins.
Has anyone actually considered Fulmer being gone yet? Things are quiet around here, but that may have much to do with Auburn’s current situation and the buzz surrounding that whole ordeal.
The only way I see Fulmer making it out alive would be to win out, starting this week with Mississippi State.
At home, I can envision a Volunteers win, thus prompting that win out scenario, but we will just have to wait until next week to reevaluate those possibilities.
So for now…
Arkansas vs. Kentucky
The Hogs went on the road and won their first SEC game of the year, and the first SEC win of Petrino’s career. Congratulations. That’s something for Arkansas to celebrate.
They actually broke 20 points against a talented defense. Again, worthy of praise, Mr. Hog.
The disappointing news coming form all of this is that Auburn is suffering perhaps its worst season under the Tuberville reign. And the toil on the team has apparently moving over to the defensive side of the ball now.
So, while Arkansas has some momentum heading up to Lexington, I don’t think it’s worthy of considering a complete 180 for the Hogs.
After starting the season 4-0, the Wildcats suffered a close defeat to Alabama two weeks ago. I for one thought that would be a learning situation and motivation for the Cats to beat Spurrier.
That was not the case as Kentucky has now lost two straight and is 0-2 in SEC play.
Can they make things right by beating a limping Razorbacks team at home this week?
I think they can!
Vanderbilt vs. UGA
This year’s Cinderella has finally seen the clock strike midnight.
Nevertheless, hope has not been diminished yet. The season is long, and dreams may still come true if tough football can be played from Bobby Johnson’s Commodores.
I see good things in the future of the Commodore football team, it just may not come this weekend as they travel to Athens.
Georgia seems to be back on track now. The only thing that could put them in jeopardy this week would be looking ahead to the trip down to Baton Rouge.
I don’t think Mark Richt will allow his team to lose focus again. I think he knows how well some teams are starting to play, and two losses would be hard to overcome in getting to the championship game.
UGA plays hard this week, and in a workmanship manner, they simply run the ball down Vanderbilt’s throat.
LSU vs. USC
The Bayou Bengals suffered their first loss of the ’08 season in perhaps the worst way possible.
Two things I would take from this game if I were a Tigers fan:
1) Being exposed is bad, but being exposed in virtually every area could be good news rather than bad. You may be thinking I am outside my own mind. But allow me to explain.
Now you know everything that is wrong. Just go fix it, and know that you will be back to playing good football again.
Having every weakness exposed is like having a tune-up on your car. You now can fix all the problems and be running like new again. So, go fix it. And…
2) Remember that with two losses, two SEC losses, you managed to fight your way into the SEC Championship game and then go on to win the National Title as well. So, chin up.
The Gamecocks came ready to play last week and are now looking for a fifth straight win. Don’t forget either that this is the same team that was very close to pulling off a huge upset of UGA in week three.
I think Spurrier has seen his better coaching days, but I also think he has seen worse days as well. While the offense has struggled, the defensive side of Carolina is for real!
Taking on LSU this week is a huge task. Having them at home is a huge pressure release.
With Carolina clicking now, and LSU trying to get that “car out of the shop”, I just think the Tigers have too many weak points to fix in such a short time, especially having to go on the road this week again.
Spurrier will utilize everything from the Florida win to his advantage.
Game of the Week: Ole Miss vs. Alabama
The Rebel nation has been on a rollercoaster of a ride this year, wining and losing back and forth for a 3-3 record.
They have already surpassed last year’s SEC win total, which didn’t take a lot, but the mentality of having to deal with that pressure was immense, but is now gone.
They have some real athletes, and I for one don’t think they are intimidated by any team, they just may not be up to speed yet with other caliber team.
Rest assured though, Houston Nutt will get this team up to speed in the SEC soon.
They managed to beat Florida in the Swamp earlier this season. Can Nutt and the bunch work their magic once again on the road as they travel to T-Town?
The Tide should be rested, and what few injuries they have had in the first half of the season should be mended.
This team has to be one of the bigger surprises of the season so far, now that a few former undefeated teams have suffered defeats.
The youth of this team is evident, which makes some of the wins, and ways in which they won, an even bigger surprise.
However, the front lines, experienced on both sides of the ball, have been the difference makers in this season. This has allowed younger, more inexperienced guys to step up and make plays.
Perhaps the week off has settled some of the anxious feelings spawned early on, thus giving more focus to this team finishing the season just as they have started.
On the other side of things, the week off could prove to have the Tide out of rhythm, looking ahead to the rivalry game with Tennessee next week, and thus presenting a Rebels team ready to knock them off their pedestal as the nation’s number two team.
We will see which holds true Saturday afternoon, but I’ll stick with my guns and choose the former, believing Bama will be focused this weekend.
Game Prediction: Bama 31 Ole Miss 13
*Key things to look for in week eight:
1) Can Bama continue its streak of not allowing a first quarter point this season?
2) Can LSU come out with any intensity following the brutal loss to Florida?
3) Can anyone stomach the State-UT game?
4) Can Auburn manage to embarrass themselves again even in the bye week?