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Week Nine On The SEC Hot List

It’s time for our regularly-scheduled SEC stock check and we’ll once again keep things short and to the point.  Below you’ll find our most recent Hot List rankings as well as three sentences of info on each squad as they head into Saturday’s action.

Here’s goes…


The SEC Hot List


1.  Auburn

As we’ve shown you here, here, here and here there are plenty of reasons to believe Auburn’s walking into a trap in Oxford.  Eleven days ago, we ticketed the Tigers for a loss at Ole Miss.  But the closer we get to kickoff, the tougher it becomes to pick against Cameron Newton.


2.  Alabama

The Crimson Tide has an open date to prepare for a road trip to LSU.  Then rough games against Mississippi State and Auburn follow.  But in the end, it’s still likely that the deepest roster, most-balanced offense, stingiest defense and sharpest coach will still win the SEC.


3.  LSU

The Tigers are also off as they prepare for next week’s showdown with Nick Saban.  Their quarterbacks couldn’t pass and Cam Newton gobbled up their defense, but the Tigers were still neck and neck with Auburn — on the road — with five to play last week.  If this team could throw the football they’d be in national championship hunt.


4.  South Carolina

The Gamecocks host downtrodden Tennessee this week.  And this is exactly the kind of game Carolina has blown in years past.  Steve Spurrier’s team is miles ahead of UT this year… if they play up to their potential.


5.  Arkansas

The Razorbacks’ ground game has come to life the past few weeks and that should help to take some pressure off of Ryan Mallett as the Hogs race to the finish line.  But Mallett and his two top wideouts are banged up.  Bobby Petrino needs to hope for an early knockout against Vandy so he can get ‘em some rest.


6.  Georgia

On one hand, the Dawgs have won three games in a row and scored 40+ points in each contest.  That’s not easy to do in the SEC.  But on the other hand, those wins came against foes who are a combined 2-11 in the league… and Florida is likely to bounce back from its awful showing against MSU two weeks ago.


7.  Mississippi State

Dan Mullen’s run-first (and second, and third) attack should thrive going up against Kentucky’s abysmal rush defense tomorrow night.  Whether this will be a blowout or a close ballgame depends on the play of Manny Diaz’ defense.  They stumbled through last week’s game with UAB and can’t afford to do the same against Mike Hartline, Randall Cobb, Chris Matthews and crew.


8.  Florida

Last chance, Gators.  I’m expecting to see a rejiggered offense and some big plays from Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey.  Oh, and the Nike Pro Combat uni with the gator-scale pattern on the helmet, too.


9.  Kentucky

“Operation: Win” has turned into “Operation: Get Us To A Better Bowl” in Lexington.  That goal is still a possibility, but a win at Mississippi State in front of Chick-fil-A Bowl scouts would certainly help.  Another loss and Joker Phillips’ team might start running out of motivations.


10.  Ole Miss

The pieces are in place for an upset: home game, option offense, versatile quarterback, experienced coach.  But these Rebels just haven’t shown much consistency on either side of the ball from one week to another.  If this is to be the high point of UM’s 2007 season, they’ll need to score points in bunches because — barring turnovers — Auburn darn sure will.


11.  Tennessee

A vocal chunk of the Volunteer fanbase is already losing faith in new coach Derek Dooley.  It remains to be seen whether he’s a good coach or not, but considering the roster he inherited, it’s laughable for anyone to give up on the guy just yet.  Misters Kiffin and Fulmer left the cupboard bare.


12.  Vanderbilt

This week Robbie Caldwell took the unusual step of reassigning Vandy’s offensive coordinator duties in midseason.  Expect Des Kitchings to put the ball in the hands of Warren Norman and Zac Stacy more than Jimmy Kiser did.  Arkansas’ defense has allowed a ridiculous 1,078 yards (515 on the ground) the last two weeks, so Norman and Stacy will likely see plenty of holes through which to run.

 




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