SEC College Football Preview: Outcomes of All Week 8 Games
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Outside of seeing three of the top 10 teams in the nation play, this is not one of the better weekends for SEC football on paper.
The headline game of the week pits No. 19 Auburn against No. 1 LSU. No. 10 Arkansas travels to Oxford to take on their former head coach, while Tennessee tries to renew their cross-divisional rivalry with No. 2 Alabama.
Kentucky and Vanderbilt go outside of the conference in hopes of keeping their bowl hopes alive and look for their offense when they take on Jacksonville State and Army respectively.
Georgia, Mississippi State, Florida and South Carolina are on a bye this week.
No. 19 Auburn vs. No. 1 LSU
Jefferson's running ability may be needed with Ware out.
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Auburn head coach Gene Chizik and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn must not like Clint Mosely. For the third weekend in a row, LSU’s defense will face a first time starter at quarterback when sophomore Clint Moseley takes over for Barrett Trotter under center. Malzahn hopes Mosley can add a passing attack to compliment their potent ground game.
Moseley will take on the top ranked team in the nation on the road, a team that features the fourth best total defense in the nation. Moseley replaced Trotter as the second half starter for Auburn against Florida last week. He finished the game 4 of 7 for 90 yards passing.
What Chizik hopes to gain by starting Moseley against LSU is questionable. Yes, the Tigers need better production under center, but are they wise to give a first collegiate start to a quarterback against LSU’s defense?
LSU uses a tandem quarterback rotation with Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson. The Tigers also use a tandem running back set with Spencer Ware and Michael Ford. Early reports are coming out that Spencer Ware failed a drug test and may be suspended for the Auburn game. If the suspensions are enforced, sophomore Alfred Blue would receive more snaps in the Tiger offense in Ware’s absence.
Lee is the starter and the passing quarterback. Jefferson primarily runs the option when he enters the game for the Tigers: Jefferson had three pass attempts last week against Tennessee.
LSU should have their original 2011 starting offensive line together for the first time since Week 3 at Mississippi State.
Auburn will test the waters with Moseley and add a heavy dose of running back Michael Dyer. Auburn is already a one-dimensional team with Dyer. If Moseley cannot find his receivers this will be a long game for Dyer and the War Eagle running backs.
LSU will stack the box on defense and beg Moseley to beat them with his arm. Having already faced Oregon’s top spread option attack, Auburn’s will not fool the Tigers.
LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, a.k.a. the Honey Badger, is listed as a possible player to be suspended for the Auburn game as well.
LSU is too deep for two starters to cause them to be upset.
Either way LSU wins 48-14.
No. 10 Arkansas vs. Ole Miss
Coach Nutt needs this win.
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Houston Nutt will throw everything at Arkansas, including the kitchen sink, to try and win this game. Nutt’s back is up against the wall and a victory over Arkansas could take some heat off of his seat.
A victory against Arkansas could change the season around in Oxford as it did in 2008.
Six Ole Miss possessions against the Tide were three-and-outs or less. During those six possessions the Rebels lost yards on each drive totaling negative 26 yards.
The Rebels gained 72 yards on the opening drive against Alabama and accumulated 69 yards the rest of the game.
Arkansas better be ready to stop the Wildcat. The Hogs defense saw Auburn’s version of the Wildcat before their bye. Can they stop the Rebels’ version?
Ole Miss is short handed on defense with two starters out and a weak pass defense; DE Joey Dorsey and CB Marcus Temple. The Rebels will have to improve upon their 10 total sacks on the season to keep Arkansas quarterback, Tyler Wilson, and his receivers out of rhythm, if possible.
Arkansas has been short handed with injuries on defense. Coming off a bye week with no ranked opponent looming overhead, the Razorbacks will be fresh and ready for Ole Miss. No trap game for the Hogs.
The Hogs will rely on the pass to help the running game and put pressure on Ole Miss as needed. The Hogs lead the SEC in passing yards and are ranked 8th in the nation in passing offense with 2,021 total yards.
Ole Miss packed the stadium last week with 61,792 in attendance when Alabama came to town. That was the fourth-largest crowd at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium for an Ole Miss football game.
Ole Miss will keep it interesting but Arkansas passing attack will be too much for the Rebels.
Petrino was embarrassed by Nutt in 2008 and 2009. Don’t look for it to happen this year with a top 10 ranking on the line, a possible share of the SEC West title, and a possible BCS bowl berth at stake.
The only thing that keeps the score close is if Petrino chooses to abandon the pass in the second half to further develop the running game as he did against Auburn.
Petrino proves a point as Arkansas wins 52-23.
Tennessee vs. No. 2 Alabama
That's a big hole! Look for the Tide to keep opening holes for their running backs.
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Is Tennessee up to the task to stop the second ranked Crimson Tide?
Last week they faltered at home against top ranked LSU 38-7. This week they have to play a night game in Tuscaloosa.
Tennessee head coach, Derek Dooley, has the advantage of knowing Nick Saban’s coaching style and techniques. Dooley coached under Saban at LSU and with the Miami Dolphins.
However, Dooley has the disadvantage of playing against Saban’s punishing defense and an offense that features the 12th best rushing attack in the nation.
Bama’s offensive line will create holes for Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy, and Jalston Fowler against Tennessee. LSU ended up with 237 rushing yards against the Vols in Neyland Stadium. The Tide averages 241.57 rushing yards per game.
Alabama has the top rated total defense in the nation. Matt Simms got his first start of the season for Tennessee against LSU last week. This week he gets his second start of the season against Alabama. Has a starting quarterback ever had to face two tougher defenses to start his season?
One more time, night game in Tuscaloosa… good luck Tennessee.
Look for similar results as last week. Bama does not throw much and Saban will not purposely run up the score against Dooley.
Bama’s rushing offense will make the final score look like Saban was out for revenge.
Alabama wins 42-7.
Jacksonville State vs. Kentucky
Joker Phillips is still looking for answers on offense.
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This game could point out how bad Kentucky really is this season. The Wildcats are 2-4 entering the weekend with a light schedule the rest of the way.
If Kentucky wins, they still have a shot at making a bowl game this season. If Kentucky loses, the season is over for the Wildcats.
Jacksonville State is a football championship subdivision school with a 5-1 record. Their lone loss was to Chattanooga on the road.
Kentucky ranks last in the SEC in passing yards, 10th in rushing yards and 11th in total defense. Can the Wildcats assert their will to win over the Ohio Valley division leaders?
The Gamecocks average 31.33 points per game.
Last season Jacksonville State took Ole Miss into overtime in Oxford and beat the Rebels 49-48.
Kentucky is the only BCS team on Jacksonville State’s schedule. Look for the Gamecocks to be pumped up for this one.
Jacksonville State is coach by former Arkansas Razorback coach, Jack Crowe (1990-1992).
Kentucky is coming off a bye. Did they prepare for Jacksonville State or for the Mississippi State game next weekend?
For the sake of the SEC and for Kentucky’s pride, they need to beat Jacksonville State.
Jacksonville upsets Kentucky at home 21-13.
Army vs. Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt will not be overwhelmed by Army after facing Bama and South Carolina.
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Vanderbilt’s defense has been SEC caliber all season. The offense has been disappointing.
Last week the Commodores rushed for 200 yards against Georgia and nearly pulled off the upset before losing 33-28. Has Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin finally found some form of an offense?
Army’s defense ranks 70th in the nation allowing 392.83 yards per game.
Vanderbilt’s defense ranks 26th in the nation allowing 329.83 yards per game.
Will Jordan Rodgers or Larry Smith start at quarterback for Vanderbilt? Neither player adds much to the passing attack.
Rodgers is a junior and Smith is a senior. Will Franklin get a head start on next season by taking Smith out of the starting lineup in favor of Rodgers?
Look for Franklin to use both players throughout the game.
If the Commodores are not let down by last week’s loss, look for Vandy to improve to 4-3 on the season.
Vanderbilt wins 28-18.