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Vince’s Vibe: Week 3 Picks

Vince Ferrara

Here’s the complete schedule of SEC football games this weekend with details, analysis and a score prediction for each game. My record last week was 9-2. My record after week 2, straight-up, is 19-3.

 

Saturday, Sept. 15 Games

Louisiana-Monroe (1-0) at Auburn (0-2, 0-1 SEC)

12: 21 a.m. ET / 11:21 a.m. CT • SEC Network

Auburn, Ala. • Jordan-Hare Stadium / Pat Dye Field (87,451)

Vince’s View:

Winner: ULM deserves a ton of credit and attention for shocking the college football world with an overtime win at Arkansas last week. But, let’s be honest, Arkansas’ lack of focus and respect for their opponent (see Nick Saban) is the biggest reason why ULM pulled the upset. Despite Auburn’s major issues throwing the football, the Tigers will be focused and desperate. An Auburn loss and the Tigers may wave goodbye to any bowl game hopes this season. ULM QB Kolton Browning was outstanding for the Warhawks last week. The most amazing stat from last weekend’s game: ULM was 14 of 30 on 3rd and 4th down combined. That, along with 2-to-1 time of possession should tell you why ULM came back from 28-7 down to win the game. Back-to-back wins at SEC schools should warrant another billboard (or 10) in Monroe, Louisiana. I don’t see that happening.

Winner: Auburn 30-16

 

Presbyterian (1-1) at Vanderbilt (0-2)

12:30 a.m. ET / 11:30 a.m. CT • CSS

Nashville, Tenn. • Vanderbilt Stadium (40,550)

Vince’s View:   Next game, please.

Winner: Vanderbilt 56-10

 

Alabama (2-0) at Arkansas (1-1)

3:30 p.m. ET / 2:30 p.m. CT • CBS Sports

Fayetteville, Ark. • Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium (72,000)

Vince’s View:   Boy, how different does this game look from less than a week ago. QB Tyler Wilson is out and no one behind him is close to his level right now. No team leaves injured players in their wake more than Alabama. The Razorbacks defense has been on the field for 184 plays in the first two games, and now they have to face the bruising Bama run game? Yeah, good luck with that.

Winner: Alabama 41-10

 

Texas A&M (0-1) at SMU (1-1)

3:30 p.m. ET / 2:30 p.m. CT • FSN

Dallas, Texas • Ford Stadium (32,000)

Vince’s View: This is the first time these two teams will play at SMU since 1990. After making progress on defense the last few years, SMU is off to a bad start on that side of the ball. The Mustangs will have difficulty with A&M’s fast-paced offense. Look for QB Johnny Manziel and RB Christine Michael to have big games in Dallas.

Winner: Texas A&M 42-20

 

Florida (2-0, 1-0 SEC) at Tennessee (2-0)

6 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. CT • ESPN

Knoxville, Tenn. • Neyland Stadium / Shields-Watkins Field (102,455)

Vince’s View: The heat and criticism will be at an all-time high for the loser of this game. The winner will be at the highest point in their tenure at that school and a legit contender for the SEC East title. The stakes are extremely high. This appears to me to be a much different Tennessee team than the one that started in similar fashion last year. This team is better-coached, more experienced, confident, aggressive and dynamic. New schemes and new players make the Vols look like they belong. There are still plenty of things for Tennessee to prove. Can Derek Dooley beat a ranked team and finally get that signature win? Will Tyler Bray play well against a good team? How will the team handle adversity? If Tyler Bray and the offense goes 3-and-out or can’t move the ball for 3-4-5 straight possessions, will he start forcing throws that leads to INTs and easy points for UF? Florida’s defense is outstanding, but they are banged-up. Florida isn’t as inept offensively as UT fans think they are. Jeff Driskel, Jordan Reed and Mike Gillislee can make plays and move the chains. How healthy is Gillislee? If he’s not able to go or be effective, that could be a big problem for the Gators. Will Driskel hold the ball too long as he has or will he be coached-up to run quicker? OC Brent Pease hasn’t given Driskel full-field reads yet. Will Tennessee DC Sal Sunseri scheme to make Florida pay for their simplicity? The one clear advantage Florida has is the kickers. I see Tennessee getting up big early and not needing a critical field goal. With a new kicker for the Vols, look for Dooley to go for it on 4th and manageable in Florida territory rather than try long field goals. Both teams have great return games.

Winner: Tennessee 34-17

 

Mississippi State (2-0, 1-0 SEC) at Troy (1-1)

7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • ESPN3

Troy, Ala.  • Veterans Memorial Stadium (30,000)

Vince’s View:   Mississippi State is #1 in the country in turnover margin after two weeks. Troy throws the ball a lot, and looks to be a willing participant in the turnover-fest. A sluggish post-Auburn performance is possible, but MSU will still win.

Winner: Mississippi State 37-20

 

Arizona State (2-0) at Missouri (1-1, 0-1 SEC)

7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • ESPN

Columbia, Mo. • Memorial Stadium / Faurot Field (71,004)

Vince’s View:   Missouri’s James Franklin needs to play better. He hasn’t been bad but he needs to be dynamic for the Tigers to have great success. Missouri better win this game because SEC wins in the week-to-week grind will be tough to come by late in the year. Arizona State has looked fast and explosive this season. I’ll give Mizzou the benefit of the doubt that it bounces back from the loss to Georgia last week. I think this will be a wild, high-scoring game.

Winner: Missouri 45-38

 

Western Kentucky (1-1) at Kentucky (1-1)

7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • ESPNU

Lexington, Ky. • Commonwealth Stadium / C.M. Newton Field (67,942)

Vince’s View:   Western Kentucky showed it has ability by playing Alabama tough last week. WKU had six sacks against arguably the best offensive line in the country. Their problem is turnovers (108th in the country.) Kentucky played as well as we’ve seen them in years on offense versus Kent State. QB Max Smith and the boys should play much better than they did the last time these two teams met a year ago in Nashville.

Winner: Kentucky 34-21

 

UAB (0-1) at South Carolina (2-0, 1-0 SEC)

7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT • FSN

Columbia, S.C. • Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250)

Vince’s View: The HBC will get his 200th career coaching win. The Blazers rebuilding project is a big one that’s a long way away from being a threat to the Gamecocks. Question is, who plays QB for SC (Connor Shaw or Dylan Thompson), how will they look and how will Spurrier handle it moving forward if Thompson is effective again.

Winner: South Carolina 45-13

 

Florida Atlantic (1-1) at Georgia (2-0, 1-0 SEC)

7:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. CT • CSS

Athens, Ga. • Sanford Stadium (92,746)

Vince’s View: FAU barely beat FCS team Wagner 7-3 and lost to Middle Tennessee, who did lose to a FCS school. Georgia gets players back from suspension and injuries. The Bulldogs should win big.

Winner: Georgia 42-0

Idaho (0-2) at LSU (2-0)

8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT • TigerVision PPV

Baton Rouge, La. • Tiger Stadium (92,542)

Vince’s View:  Losing four academically ineligible players and Jordan Allen to injury won’t affect LSU considerably. The only difference is many of those players would have played a lot with the score out of hand in this game.

Winner: LSU 38-3

 

Texas (2-0) at Ole Miss (2-0)

9:15 p.m. ET / 8:15 p.m. CT • ESPN

Oxford, Miss. • Vaught-Hemingway Stadium / Hollingsworth Field (60,580)

Vince’s View:   This is one of only eight games of 2-0 FBS teams squaring off. This is a more intriguing match-up now than what we may have thought before the season. Ole Miss is 9th in the country in rushing, and QB Bo Wallace has played well to this point. Texas’ defense has been strong, and QB Davis Ash has been efficient. I trust Texas in turnovers and special tams a little more, so I’ll go Longhorns on the road.

Winner: Texas 27-17

 

Follow me @VinceSports on Twitter and see everything I’m working on in sports. Download the WNML App for your mobile device, so you can hear the “News Sentinel Sports Page” radio sports talk show that I host (weekdays 10am-12pm ET/9-11am CT) at www.sportsanimal99.com.

 

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Slive To Conduct Coin Toss At Columbia And At College Station Saturday

Well, the guy just doesn’t miss a trick.

Saturday, when Missouri hosts Georgia and Texas A&M hosts Florida in the two new schools’ SEC openers, league commissioner Mike Slive will be one hand.  For both games.  To conduct the coin toss.  At both games.

According to SEC spokesperson Chuck Dunlap, Slive will be on hand for the 3:30pm ET kickoff in College Station and then then 7:45pm ET kickoff in Columbia.

A&M and Mizzou fans, sleep well.  Your new commish loves you.

UPDATE – Slive spoke about the SEC’s two new members on Wednesday with Tony Barnhart.

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Flash Flood Warnings For Hoover, But Not Tornado Warnings

According to the National Weather Service, reports of a tornado warning in Hoover, Alabama — the site of SEC Media Days — are, ahem, overblown.  It is storming in Central Alabama and the area is under a flash flood advisory, but according to the NWS’ official website, there is no tornado warning at the moment.

However, put 1,000 media members in a room with their cell phones and let one guy start a rumor and you get a Twittersphere full of tornado warning posts.  Makes you worry about the state of news, doesn’t it?

But as of 12:51pm ET, the National Weather Service says there is no tornado warning for Hoover.  Let’s hope it stays that way.

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SEC Media Days To Get Under Way After Massive Bar Shooting In Tuscaloosa

When it comes to SEC Media Days, there’s always some surprise, some scandal that takes over the event.  Today, Media Days will begin under the shadow of tragedy.

Around midnight ET, a gunman entered a Tuscaloosa bar popular among college students and opened fire injuring — reports say — 17 people.  The Birmingham News reports that surveillance video from the Copper Top bar shows the gunman, who is now the target of a massive manhunt.

At least two people are in critical condition following the shooting.

Media Days opens in Hoover, Alabama just about an hour away from Tuscaloosa.  Once again, sadly, the prayers of MrSEC.com have to go out to the people in the University of Alabama family.  All the best to the victims — students and non-students alike.

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More Photos Of Hogs’ New Football Uniforms

Arkansas’ new football uniforms for 2012 will be unveiled tomorrow morning.  According to school, the Razorbacks’ new duds will “show respect to the past” while also incorporating “more modern elements.”

Those modern elements include gradated numbers, some silver text and — most likely — a new black or dark charcoal uniform.

UA will release a 15-minute video at 11am ET tomorrow.

Recruits and players will like the “more modern elements.”  Old coots — like myself — and traditionalists will likely ask how the new unis “show respect to the past,” aside from still featuring cardinal and white.

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UGA Hoopster Williams Arrested For Weed

Starting Georgia forward Donte’ Williams was arrested at Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta over the weekend for misdemeanor possession of marijuana.  The 6-9 junior-to-be was booked at 9pm ET last Friday night.

An Atlanta police officer claimed that he smelled “an extremely strong odor of burning marijuana” emanating from Williams’ black Dodge Charger with the personalized tag: “DWILS15.”  How did the officer smell the burning weed?  It seems Williams wheeled in and parked right beside him in the mall’s parking lot.

Well, surely it was an unmarked… what?  It was a “an Atlanta Police patrol car,” you say?  Well, some guys are just asking for it.

Due to UGA’s stiff drug policy, Williams will likely miss at least three games to start next basketball season if the charges stick.  (As in the sticky-icky.)

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UA Linebacker Gilbert Arrested On Burglary Charge

New linebackers coach Taver Johnson is in charge of the Arkansas football program at least through the end of spring.  Today, he had to suspend one of his own players.

Razorback linebacker Tyler Gilbert was arrested on a charge of aggravated residential burglary and theft of property and was booked shortly after noon ET today.  The school announced that Johnson has suspended Gilbert indefinitely.

Gilbert is the third Arkansas footballer to be arrested this spring. 

On a sidenote, aren’t Hog fans due for a little good news for a change?

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SEC Headlines – 4/17/12 Headlines

1.  Someone accidentally shattered Alabama’s crystal football BCS trophy.  (Here’s guessing they can afford to replace the $30,000 item.)

2.  Bama’s players will be heading to DC to meet the President on Thursday and they’ll have their new championship rings to show to him.

3.  At Auburn, spring progress is giving way to summer expectations.

4.  Tiger players bought into their new coordinators, Scot Loeffler and Brian VanGorder.

5.  This writer says Auburn’s clearly better off without Mike Dyer.

6.  This is behind a paywall, but Arkansas fundraisers say they’ve not lost a single donor since Bobby Petrino’s dismissal.

7.  The Razorbacks will enter Week Two of their coaching search (or interim search) tomorrow.

8.  This writer says the Petrino scandal is just the latest in a long Arkansas football soap opera.

9.  New coach Johnny Jones remembers the glory days of LSU basketball.

10.  Ole Miss would best be served by finding a true leader in its quarterback race this weekend.

11.  Mississippi State’s Malcolm Johnson is not your typical tight end.

12.  Kevin Sumlin says Texas A&M still hasn’t picked a starting quarterback.

13.  Florida’s Billy Donovan will be head coach for the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championships.

14.  Georgia’s coordinators break down the Bulldogs’ 2012 spring practice session.

15.  UGA has the toughest drug policy in the SEC and AD Greg McGarity says they’re not going to change it.

16.  The press conference of John Calipari and five Kentucky basketball players has been moved to 7pm ET this evening.

17.  Frank Martin has given sophomore Damontre Harris permission to seek a transfer which means South Carolina with only two returning starters and one of those — Bruce Ellington — won’t join the team until after football season.

18.  A quiet spring was a good thing for the Gamecocks.

19.  Tennessee coaches want their players focused during the final week of spring drills.

20.  Vol kicker Michael Palardy is hoping for a better season in 2012.

21.  Here’s a look back at Missouri’s spring practice.

22.  Alex Oriakhi’s impact with Mizzou could be big.

23.  This year’s Music City Bowl will kickoff at noon ET on New Year’s Eve.

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SEC Commitment Comparison – 1/30/12

Signing day is just two days away and there was serious shuffling of the commitment Big Board over the weekend.  Now, for the record, the numbers below reflect the latest commitment lists according to Rivals.com as of 2pm ET this afternoon.  Therefore, there are probably some shuffles from this morning that are not reflected in today’s comparison.

That said, here’s a good idea of where each SEC program stands today:


School
Commits
5-stars
4-stars
3-stars
2-stars
1- & 0-stars
Total Points
Avg. Pts/Commit
Alabama
27
3
12
12
0
0
99
3.66
S. Carolina
25
0
8
15
2
0
81
3.24
Florida
21
2
11
7
1
0
77
3.67
Miss. State
25
0
3
20
2
0
76
3.04
Texas A&M
22
1
7
14
0
0
75
3.40
Vanderbilt
22
0
4
18
0
0
70
3.18
Arkansas
22
0
2
19
1
0
69
3.13
LSU
20
0
9
10
1
0
68
3.40
Tennessee
20
0
10
8
2
0
68
3.40
Kentucky
23
0
1
19
3
0
67
2.91
Missouri
19
0
1
17
1
0
57
3.00
Auburn
15
0
9
6
0
0
54 3.60
Georgia
16
1
5
9
1
0
54
3.37
Ole Miss
16
0
2
12
2
0
48
3.00

 

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Ex-Bama CB Kirkpatrick Arrested For Weed

Eight days ago, Dre Kirkpatrick was celebrating a BCS championship with his Alabama teammates.  Five days ago, Kirkpatrick announced that he would leave school early for the NFL.

Way to start that draft push.

Kirkpatrick was arrested and booked around 1am ET this morning for misdemeanor possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana.  The arrest took place in Manatee County, Florida.

Kirkpatrick is expected to be a first-round draft choice in April’s NFL draft.

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