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Game Projections For Saturday 9/10/11

There’s a full schedule of SEC games tomorrow and below is a quick glance at each and every one (all times Eastern):

Central Michigan at Kentucky
12:00pm on ESPNU

Why It Matters:  Because Joker Phillips needs to give fans something to smile about.

What Vegas Says:  Kentucky by 11 (opened at -14)

What We Say:  UK can’t possibly look as bad on offense as it did last week can it?  If so, Kentucky could be in trouble because CMU has played the Cats tough in the past.  Oh for Randall Cobb to return.

Prediction:  Kentucky 24, Central Michigan 20

Mississippi State at Auburn
12:30pm on SEC Network

Why It Matters:  Mississippi State is looking to gain national respect.  Auburn is looking to regain national respect.

What Vegas Says:  MSU by 6 (opened at -2)

What We Say:  If Utah State could push Auburn’s defense around, the Chris Relf/Vick Ballard one-two punch should be able to do likewise.  But it’ll be close on The Plains.

Prediction:  MSU 31, Auburn 28

Alabama at Penn State
3:30pm on ABC

Why It Matters:  Really?  It’s a classic matchup of great programs and one of them has national title hopes.

What Vegas Says:  Alabama by 10 (opened at -11)

What We Say:  Alabama won’t completely stymie Penn State as it did last year (especially if the Tide’s QBs keep turning the ball over), but Bama’s still way too deep and talented.

Prediction:  Alabama 27, Penn State 13

Cincinnati at Tennessee
3:30pm on ESPN2

Why It Matters:  Two teams under second-year coaches both trying to climb back to national relevance.

What Vegas Says:  Tennessee by 5 (opened at -4.5)

What We Say:  Oh, this one could be a barnburner.  Both teams are better on offense than defense.  If UT can run the ball better than it did against Montana, the Vols will win at home.  But that’s a big if.

Prediction:  Tennessee 35, Cincinnati 34

South Carolina at Georgia
4:30pm on ESPN

Why It Matters:  The SEC East race will not be decided by one game.  So scratch that talk.  But if Mark Richt loses this one, he may have to win a league title or a national crown to silence howling Dawg fans.

What Vegas Says:  South Carolina by 3 (opened at -1.5)

What We Say:  Carolina’s better on both lines.  And after watching UGA’s depleted linebacking corps last week, I don’t see how UGA can stop Marcus Lattimore.  If Steve Spurrier wisely uses a 65-35 run-pass ratio, this could get ugly.  But Spurrier loves to toss it around.

Prediction:  South Carolina 28, Georgia 20

Southern Illinois at Ole Miss
6:00pm on PPV

Why It Matters:  If Houston Nutt loses to another FCS team… you can start singing this.

What Vegas Says:  No Line, FCS Opponent

What We Say:  Even without Brandon Bolden and a first-time starter at quarterback, we’ll bet the Rebel offense improves against the Salukis.

Prediction:  Ole Miss 30, Southern Illinois 10

New Mexico at Arkansas
7:00pm on ESPNU

Why It Matters:  Uh.  Well.  The Hogs have an undefeated streak in Little Rock under Bobby Petrino.  How ’bout that?

What Vegas Says:  Arkansas by 36 (opened at -40)

What We Say:  Petrino says he won’t force feed his run game after a lackluster performance last week.  We think he will.  And the Hog defense should plunder a Lobo offense that allowed nine sacks to Colorado State last week.

Prediction:  Arkansas 45, New Mexico 10

UAB at Florida
7:00pm on FSN

Why It Matters:  Another tune-up game for John Brantley and Charlie Weis’ offense before SEC play starts.

What Vegas Says:  Florida by 23.5 (opened at -23)

What We Say:  Too much talent, too much speed.  UF rolls again and suddenly people will start talking about the Gators being “a sleeper.”

Prediction:  Florida 38, UAB 13

Connecticut at Vanderbilt
7:30pm on CSS

Why It Matters:  While UConn isn’t the same squad that reached a BCS bowl last year, the Huskies are still a big step up from Elon for the Commodores.

What Vegas Says:  Vanderbilt by 2 (opened at UConn -5.5)

What We Say:  Look how that money has moved this week.  Hmmm.  Nah.  Vandy won big, but they still got out-yardage’d by Elon last Saturday.  (Plus their fans didn’t show up to support James Franklin in his first game… that’s bad karma.)

Prediction:  UConn 24, Vanderbilt 22

Northwestern State at LSU
8:00pm on PPV

Why It Matters:  Because Jarrett Lee needs as many reps as possible with the offense and because the Tigers can’t afford any injuries.

What Vegas Says:  No Line, FCS Opponent

What We Say:  Northwestern State head coach Bradley Dale Peveto will see just what he saw in Tiger Stadium as LSU’s defensive coordinator in 2008… the other team scoring lots of points against his squad.

Prediction:  LSU 48, Northwestern State 6


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