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Game Projections For Saturday 10/1/11

Below is a full rundown of this weekend’s SEC action, including television information (all times Eastern), the latest odds from Las Vegas, and our own predictions, prognostications and projections.  Have at it…


Mississippi State at Georgia

12:00pm on FSN

Why It Matters:  Because any loss for Mark Richt is a bad thing.  His critics are waiting for another stumble.  On the other sideline, Dan Mullen has seen the air come out of MSU’s balloon in recent weeks.  If State falls to 0-3 in the conference, he’ll officially be out of the honeymoon stage and into the normal, up-and-down, roller-coaster existence of your typical SEC coach.

What Vegas Says:  Georgia by 7 (opened at -7.5)

What We Say:  Mississippi State has had better luck against the SEC East than the SEC West under Mullen, including a win over UGA last year.  But State’s defense doesn’t look as stout this season and Isaiah Crowell is heating up.  Expect Richt to remind his team of last year’s loss in Starkville, too.

Prediction:  Georgia 28, Mississippi State 21


Kentucky at LSU

12:00pm on SEC Network

Why It Matters:  It would qualify as a monster upset?  I don’t know.  Can’t think of any reason to watch this one.

What Vegas Says:  LSU by 30.5 (opened at -28.5)

What We Say:  Randy Sanders’ offense isn’t likely to get well against old colleague John Chavis’ blazing fast defense.  But at least it’s a morning game… so Tiger fans won’t be fully loaded for kickoff.  The only question in this one: Does Jordan Jefferson make an appearance.

Prediction:  LSU 41, Kentucky 10


Texas A&M at Arkanas

12:00pm on ESPN

Why It Matters:  It’s a non-conference conference game.  A&M will be looking to show that it belongs in the SEC.  As an SEC fan will you pull for Arkansas to show that the SEC isn’t to be trifled with?  Or will you pull for Texas A&M to prove to the national media that it can play with SEC teams?  While the media will blow an A&M win or a loss way out of proportion, tomorrow’s result won’t mean much when the Aggies truly saddle up for league play in 2012.

What Vegas Says:  Texas A&M by 2.5 (opened at -3)

What We Say:  A&M has motivation on its side.  It’s playing for pride and it’s trying to bounce back from second half collapse versus Oklahoma State last week.  Arkansas has been showing some cracks in the ol’ armor.  They didn’t allow a sack to Alabama, but Tyler Wilson was pressured all day long just the same.  The Razorbacks’ run game also disappeared.  Couple last week’s blowout loss with a struggling win over Troy the week before and it looks like the Hogs have a few too many problems to beat a good A&M team deep in the heart of Texas.  But it oughta be close.

Prediction:  Texas A&M 31, Arkansas 30


Buffalo at Tennessee

12:30pm on CSS

Why It Matters:  This is the Vols’ last warmup before facing a string of Georgia, LSU, Alabama and South Carolina.  They need to run the ball and find a replacement for superstar Justin Hunter.

What Vegas Says:  Tennessee by 28.5 (opened at -28.5)

What We Say:  Buffalo’s lone win on the season came over Stony Brook.  Stony Brook.

Prediction:  Tennessee 42, Buffalo 9


Auburn at South Carolina

3:30pm on CBS

Why It Matters:  Carolina offense hasn’t clicked yet and that’s led to a series of closer than expected games.  Auburn’s offense has started to wobble, but its defense has already fallen.  Can it get up against Marcus Lattimore?

What Vegas Says:  South Carolina by 10 (opened at -11.5)

What We Say:  Coming into last week’s game, Florida Atlantic was averaging 95 yards per game on offense.  They managed 300+ against the Tigers.  If Steve Spurrier feeds the ball to Lattimore 25-30 times, this one’s not close.  If he tries to get Stephen Garcia and his passing game going… all bets are off.

Prediction:  South Carolina 35, Auburn 24


Alabama at Florida

8:00pm on CBS

Why It Matters:  You’re kidding, right?

What Vegas Says:  Alabama by 4 (opened at -5)

What We Say:  Florida’s got home field advantage and the memory of last year’s blowout in Tuscaloosa to fuel them.  If the Gators are to have any chance of winning this one, they’ll need to sell out completely to stop Bama’s run game.  AJ McCarron hasn’t been forced to win a game for the Tide yet.  Will Muschamp and Dan Quinn have to make him carry Bama in this one.  Florida could certainly pull the upset, but the Gators rely so much on Chris Rainey (rushing, receiving, returns, punt blocks) that you wonder what would happen if he stubbed his toe in the first quarter.  Take the team that’s more balanced.

Prediction:  Alabama 27, Florida 17


Ole Miss at Fresno State

9:15pm on ESPN2

Why It Matters:  If they made a movie about Houston Nutt’s chair it would be called, “Mississippi Burning.”

What Vegas Says:  Fresno State by 3.5 (opened at -4.5)

What We Say:  Fresno State lost by 15 to Cal and by 13 to Nebraska.  The Bulldogs’ only wins have come over Idaho and North Dakota.  In other words, Pat Hill’s team doesn’t look so special.  Normally, the SEC would be the pick over the WAC in this one.  But flying cross-country for a late night game isn’t easy.  And the Rebels rank in the 100s nationally in rushing offense, passing offense and scoring offense.

Prediction:  Fresno State 21, Ole Miss 17



I'm a Tennessee fan and season ticket holder and I just wanted to rant about the state of UT football. Maybe other fans can give me some outside perspective on our sorry state of affairs.

UT bought out of the UNC home and home to get Dooley a guaranteed win this week over Buffalo. I kind of understand the logic, but it's still embarrassing. So the last minute replacement is Buffalo, arguably the worst team in FBS. The students are on Fall Break, so they won't be there, and ticket demand is so low that UT has been reduced to selling $20 seats to try to get SOMEONE to show up. There probably won't be 60,000 in the stands at kickoff, and most of them will be gone by halftime.

On top of this, it's "Breast Cancer Day". We are being encouraged to wear pink and buy pink pom-poms for $1 outside the gate before kickoff. I'm all for supporting Breast Cancer Research, but the idea of a bunch of UT fans sitting in Neyland for an October home game in a half-full stadium wearing pink is sickening. Oh, and the halftime entertainment? A high school marching band. That's right, The Pride of The Southland has completely run out of ideas.

So Bama and Florida are playing in the Swamp Saturday night in a game with national title implications. And once-proud Tennessee has been reduced to a laughingstock, just a sorry sideshow.


"If State falls to 0-3 in the conference, he’ll officially be out of the honeymoon stage and into the normal, up-and-down, roller-coaster existence of your typical SEC coach"

Saban, Miles, Petrino and Spurrier are typical SEC coaches and they don't have an up-and-down, roller-coaster existence.


John, I am not a gambler so I don't completely understand the opened at -4.5 and now at 4. What exactly does that mean in English? Thanks.


With all the noise over expansion, I'd forgotten that the SEC was still playing football games. Glad you remembered!


I don't know if football games are the best opportunities to raise funds for breast cancer research. Bama does stuff like that at gymnastics meets where you have a lot more women in the audience and they also have the team wear pink uniforms. People usually pay more attention to that stuff in an event like that and the gymnastics teams sell out the coliseum so there's always a good crowd to be exposed to.


It wasn't that long ago Bama had Mike Shula as a coach. Tennessee will turn it around sooner or later.


Let any of these coaches lose a couple games in a row and you will change your tune. Miles only has to make another boneheaded decision and actually have to pay for it and you will see LSU fans up in arms. Heck, let him lose a couple in a row and their crazy fans will be calling for his head.


I'd say they are probably atypical. Most SEC coaches don't have that kind of success and longevity rolled into one.


If you don't have that kind of success, you don't coach in the SEC for long.


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