SEC Football: Week 11 Preview and Predictions Against the Spread

Jeremy HillmanContributor INovember 10, 2011

SEC Football: Week 11 Preview and Predictions Against the Spread

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    The "game of the century" and Week 10 of the SEC football season have come and gone.

    However, there are still plenty of huge games left to play before we crown the 2011 SEC Champion.

    This week, there are big matchups like Auburn at Georgia, Alabama at Mississippi State, Florida at South Carolina and Tennessee at Arkansas.

    It should be a fun day of watching SEC football on Saturday.

    As I do each week, I will preview each SEC game and make a score prediction against the spread.

    I will also be held accountable for my picks, by posting updated results each and every week (I included my Week 10 results below):

    Record Straight-Up Week 9: 4-2

    Record Straight-Up Season: 63-9 (88 percent)

    Record Against the Spread Week 9: 4-2

    Record Against the Spread Season: 41-27 (60 percent)

    Click through the slide show to see my preview and predictions for each SEC game in Week 11...

Florida Gators at South Carolina Gamecocks

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    The Game: Nov. 12, 12:00 PM ET (CBS)

    The Stakes: South Carolina must win to keep pace in the SEC Eastern Division race. If the Gamecocks win and Auburn beats Georgia, South Carolina would be in position to get back to Atlanta for the SEC title game.

    With a game against Furman next weekend, a win over South Carolina would get Florida to at least a 7-5 record. That would sit better with the Gator nation than limping to a 6-6, .500 season.

    What Will Happen: While Florida may have a few more yards at the end of the day, both teams will struggle to get the run game going.

    Florida ranks fourth in the SEC in rush defense and South Carolina ranks fifth. Both defenses allowing under 130 rushing yards per game this season.

    In the passing game, look for Conner Shaw to connect with big receiver Alshon Jeffery for several big plays and for healthier Florida quarterback John Brantley to connect on some big passes of his own.

    With the offenses being somewhat equal, it will come down to turnovers. Look for the loud home crowd, aggressive pass rush and defense of South Carolina, led by dynamic linebacker Melvin Ingram, to win the turnover battle and win a close game.

    Predicted MVP: South Carolina LB Melvin Ingram

    Predicted Score: South Carolina 28 Florida 27 (line: South Carolina -3.5)

Kentucky Wildcats at Vanderbilt Commodores

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    The Game: Nov. 12, 12:21 PM ET (SEC Network)

    The Stakes: This is a needed win for both teams. Kentucky must win to have a shot at qualifying for a bowl game, and Vanderbilt needs it to give themselves five wins before getting a shot at six wins, and a bowl invite, versus Tennessee and Wake Forrest to end the season.

    The winner could realistically finish as high as fourth in the SEC East standings.

    What Will Happen: The Vanderbilt defense, which is sixth in the SEC in total defense and has gained the second most turnovers in the league, will keep the Kentucky offense in check.

    New Kentucky starting quarterback Max Smith looked solid in his first start last weekend, and will make a few nice plays on Saturday, but will be forced into mistakes by the Commodores.

    Zac Stacey and the Vanderbilt running game will then take over and lead Vanderbilt to home victory.

    Predicted MVP: Vanderbilt DB Casey Hayward

    Predicted Score: Vanderbilt 28 Kentucky 17 (line: Vanderbilt -13)

Auburn Tigers at Georgia Bulldogs

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    The Game: Nov. 12, 3:30 PM ET (CBS)

    The Stakes: If Georgia wins, they all but clinch the SEC East Division championship and will be heading to Atlanta for the conference title game.

    If Auburn wins, South Carolina, with a win over Florida Saturday, most likely becomes the SEC East champion over Georgia. Auburn would also move up in the bowl selection pecking order, most likely earning a Cotton Bowl invite. 

    What Will Happen: The Auburn team has had two weeks to heal and plan for this rival game. With their top two receivers back from injury and new starter Clint Moseley behind center, look for an improved offensive efficiency from Offensive Coordinator Gus Malzahn's offense.

    Star Tiger running back Michael Dyer will get his yards, and the passing game will connect for some big plays as well. Still, Jarvis Jones and the Georgia defense will play well and create at least one turnover in the game.

    The Georgia offense will execute just a bit better than Auburn, with prolific quarterback Aaron Murray spreading the ball around to capable receivers and freshman running back Isaiah Crowell making a couple key plays for the Bulldogs, against what has been a suspect, at times, rush defense for the Tigers. 

    Georgia wins a close one at home.

    Predicted MVP: Georgia QB Aaron Murray

    Predicted Score: Georgia 33 Auburn 27 (line: Georgia -13)

Tennessee Volunteers at Arkansas Razorbacks

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    The Game: Nov. 12, 6:00 PM ET (ESPN2)

    The Stakes: Arkansas obviously needs to avoid an upset and stay with one loss as they head into the LSU game at the end of the regular season, to give themselves any shot at an SEC and/or national championship.

    Tennessee needs a conference win, any conference win.

    What Will Happen: Injuries have decimated the Volunteers' offense, and they will continue to struggle with backups at key positions this Saturday. They certainly won't be able to keep up with the high powered Razorback offensive attack. 

    Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson will have a solid, but not huge day, against a somewhat capable Tennessee defense. The Razorbacks will run the ball and get the ball into the hands of dynamic receiver Jarius Wright early and often.

    It shouldn't be a complete blowout, but Arkansas will go up on the first drive Saturday and never look back.

    Predicted MVP: Arkansas WR Jarius Wright

    Predicted Score: Arkansas 31 Tennessee 10 (line: Arkansas -14)

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at LSU Tigers

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    The Game: Nov. 12, 7:00 PM ET (ESPNU)

    The Stakes: LSU needs to just stay focused, avoid injuries and keep winning.

    It would be the biggest upset in the history of college football if Western Kentucky were to beat LSU.

    What Will Happen: LSU will dominate Western Kentucky on defense. The Hilltoppers most likely will not score at all. Also look for numerous turnovers generated by LSU defensive pressure.

    On offense LSU will run the football effectively all game long and throw a couple long balls to keep the receivers, like talented Rueben Randle, awake.

    It will be the ugly and lopsided game that it sounds like.

    Predicted MVP: LSU RB Spencer Ware

    Predicted Score: LSU 45 Western Kentucky 0 (line: LSU -41.5)

La. Tech Bulldogs at Ole Miss Rebels

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    The Game: Nov. 12, 7:30 PM ET

    The Stakes: La. Tech is the favorite in this game (ouch) and with a win over Ole Miss will have six wins and be qualified for a bowl invite.

    Ole Miss has two wins on the season and will take any win they can get, as coach Houston Nutt heads out the door.

    What Will Happen: The Bulldogs will pound at the Rebels with talented running back Lennon Creer, who has over 800 yards and nine touchdowns already this season.

    Ole Miss' defense has been known to make stars out of the opponents running back this season, so it could be a recipe for disaster for the home team.

    When La. Tech isn't running, they will connect on big pass plays to star wide out Quinton Patton, who has 61 catches for 886 yards and nine touchdowns in just nine games.

    The Rebel defense will not be able to contain the Bulldog offensive attack, but will have a nice offensive attack of their own.

    Rebel running backs Brandon Bolden and Jeff Scott will try to grind out yards on the ground against a somewhat suspect WAC defense and try to get the ball to big freshman wide out Donte Moncrief as much as possible.

    In the end, Tech will have too much offense and the horrendous Rebel season will continue, as La. Tech will win in Oxford.

    Predicted MVP: La. Tech RB Lennon Creer

    Predicted Score: La Tech 30 Ole Miss 27 (line: La Tech -2)

Alabama Crimson Tide at Mississippi State Bulldogs

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    The Game: Nov. 12, 7:45 PM ET (ESPN)

    The Stakes: Alabama can't let LSU beat them twice by coming out flat versus a tough Bulldog team.

    Mississippi State could somewhat salvage a disappointing season with an upset victory over Alabama.

    What Will Happen: The Alabama defense will shut down the State rush offense and keep them out of the end zone. The Mississippi State quarterbacks will be pressured into mistakes and struggle to find any consistency in the passing game.

    On offense for Alabama, they will lean on workhorse back Trent Richardson and pound away at a suspect Bulldog rush defense that has allowed over 160 rush yards per game in 2011, churning yards and putting scores on the board. 

    This one may be close for about a quarter, but will not be close in the end.

    Alabama wins big on the road.

    Predicted MVP: Alabama RB Trent Richardson

    Predicted Score: Alabama 34 Mississippi State 6 (line: Alabama -18)