Last weekend I went 7-0 which puts me at 35-3 on the season. I actually picked the UT-Buffalo game a week early. Well, we are getting into gut check time on the season and the haves definitely want to keep the have-nots at bay.
In the "backtrack" section of Week 4's predictions I couldn't give any reason why I thought there should be an escape hatch for the losers. This week may be a little different. Nonetheless, let's dig in to it and see what we've got.
Auburn at South Carolina: I have noticed a few, yes they are a delusional few, Tiger fans dwelling on last year's win and seeing a replication based on extenuating circumstances. I think you just saw Garcia's four turnovers for the Auburn game this past weekend against Vandy. This is a revenge game. One that has been on the books for 10 months. If the Tigers are going to allow the worst offense in FBS to score 14 points they certainly aren't going to stop the Gamecocks. South Carolina wins 31-23
Mississippi State at Georgia: Georgia is now building some confidence. The defense is taking some baby steps and the offense is in a balanced rhythm, granted against less than stellar defenses. MSU comes in with offensive line issues and has a problem stopping the run. The Relf effect is more like Newton Extra Light and Vick Ballard is not moving the ball like expected. UGA wins 35-21
Buffalo at Tennessee: The Vols took a physical beating two weeks ago in the Swamp and just don't have the SEC talent needed to compete yet. That doesn't mean that Buffalo will run roughshod over them. I expect Tyler Bray to pass like a mad man this weekend and build up some new receivers pre-Georgia game. Also, it is imperative that UT find a running game as well this weekend. UT wins 48-17
Kentucky at LSU: LSU is going to take their time dismantling the Wildkittens as they look forward to Florida. Kentucky has nothing for them except a glorified scrimmage. LSU wins 27-3
Ole Miss at Fresno State: Unfortunately for Ole Miss the phrase "anywhere, anytime" doesn't apply to them like it does the Bulldogs. Can you believe it, Ole Miss will more than likely lose to three Bulldogs this season. I just don't see how this team can win more than three or four games. Fresno doesn't sport much but it is more than Ole Miss sports and they are at home. Fresno wins 31-21
Arkansas at Texas A&M: After a disappointing outing against Alabama the Hogs look to rebound against SEC newcomer A&M. This game plays into Arkansas' favor with the passing game. A&M has a porous secondary and their offensive line is not that good. But wait, there is more. The Aggies have been pretty good at sacking this year. However, SMU and Idaho are not power houses but the Cowboys allowed three sacks from this Aggie unit. Both teams come in with one loss but the question is who wants it more? I think Arkansas has something to prove and will get some semblance of a running game. Arkansas wins 30-24
Alabama at Florida: Alabama's victory over Arkansas this past weekend made some ears perk up. It definitely made mine. What the viewer witnessed was a complete game in every phase of the term.
Offensively the Tide dominated. Defensively the Tide dominated. Special teams even dominated. Now don't get me wrong there were a couple of hiccups that you can't make in the Swamp. First is don't get stopped on 1st-and-goal three times at the 1-yard line. Second, don't give the little speedsters a chance to field the punt or kickoff.
Avoiding those two things will help you win this kind of game.
What do we know about Florida?
They haven't played against a balanced offense nor have they seen any kind of first rate defense. Their two backs are speedy-fast players whom Charlie likes to spread the line out for in order to run through the tackles. But, for the most part Rainey and Demps are usually played from a speed sweep or something out of the wheel route. Pretty predictable but deadly when executed to a T.
Even though the Gators replaced about four offensive linemen they have done exceedingly well in protecting the pocket. I know, UAB, FAU, UT and UK are not the "provost" of defenses. Therefore, they haven't been knocked about or blitzed appropriately.
This leads me to an interesting statistic. John Brantley has similar numbers as AJ McCarron. Both have four passing TDs, two interceptions and roughly the same amount of yards and completion percentages. The difference is one is a fifth year, second season, starting senior and the other is a redshirt sophomore starting his first year.
Something seems fishy there.
Defensively you could say the Gators secondary is suspect while the rushing defense is solid. However, they haven't met a backfield duo like Richardson and Lacy this season. Ball control will be key in this game and if the Gators can stop the rushing Tide then they have a chance.
Not that there are many chinks in the UF armor but the one glaring spot is in the penalties department. The Gators are one of the most penalized teams in FBS. I expect this game against Alabama to be similar to the UT game in this respect, letting emotions override fundamentals, thus giving up crucial real estate while missing key assignments.
But alas, the Crimson Tide have something to prove beyond the Arkansas game. They have to prove that their offense is not a one hit wonder. They need to show that they can stop speed and the Tide knows if they don't win here then they can't win against LSU. Alabama wins 24-17
Right off the bat you look at Florida and you want to buy into the spiel that this is a national championship caliber team. The Gator fans have been quietly waiting to say it. They just want to wait until after this weekend.
UF has the home field advantage and they have some talent so there is the potential for them to upset the Tide. There is nothing for them to lose in this game. Not to mention there is a revenge factor after Alabama has embarrassed them twice in as many years.
Texas A&M is not that bad of a team and like the Hogs they want to reestablish their mojo. They have the quarterback to do it but they need the playmakers to step up. If they are disruptive on the Arkansas offensive line they will have a chance to be respectable coming into the SEC.