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SEC Game Previews – 8/30/13

mrsec game previewTwo games down, 111 left to play until an SEC champion is crowned.  Today, we bring you the rest of our Game Preview capsules, a feature we’ll be bringing you each week throughout the season…

 

Toledo (0-0) at #10 Florida (0-0)

TV:  SEC Networwk, 12:21pm ET

Opening Line:  UF -21

Current Line:  UF -23.5

One To Watch:  He should have a strong defense and a tailback by committee to back him up, but the man to watch is Gator QB Jeff Driskel.  He says he’ll do less running this year which means his passing will need to improve.

This And That:

1.  Speaking of throwing the ball… the Gators finished dead last in the 14-team SEC in passing offense last year.  If UF hopes to compete for championships this fall, they’ll need average more than 146 yards per game through the air.

2.  Toledo will be a good early-season test for Will Muschamp’s defense.  The Rockets piled up more than 57-hundred yards of offense last season.  Against BCS foes, they lost at Arizona by seven and they upset Cincinnati by six.  Anyone forgotten the scare Louisiana-Lafayette gave Florida last year?

3.  With starter Matt Jones out, UF will likely stick behind the first running back to find a rhythm.  Mack Brown, Mark Herndon and Valdez Showers should all get some carries.

Prediction:  Florida 33, Toledo 17

 

Rice (0-0) at #7 Texas A&M (0-0)

TV:  ESPN, 1:00pm ET

Opening Line:  A&M -28

Current Line:  A&M -27

One To Watch:  Uh, who do you think?

This And That:

1.  Johnny Manziel will ride the pine in the first half due to an NCAA suspension.  This makes for two interesting angles to watch.  First, just how well will Kevin Sumlin’s offense operate without #2 on the field…

2.  And second, how will a fresh and rested Manziel look against a Rice defense that could already by tuckered out by halftime?  We’ve heard more about Johnny Football’s off-field exploits than his pass game this summer, but the QB has worked to improve himself as a pocket passer.  Will that show against the Fighting Pilafs?  I mean Owls.

3.  Texas A&M was minus-five in turnover margin for 2012.  Yet, thanks to the magic of a certain Heisman-winner, they still defied the odds to win 11 games.  Just to be safe, the Aggies need to break the turnover habit in 2013, starting tomorrow.

Prediction:  Texas A&M 44, Rice 20

 

Mississippi State (0-0) vs #13 Oklahoma State (0-0) at Houston

TV:  ABC/ESPN2, 3:30pm ET

Opening Line:  OSU -13

Current Line:  OSU -13

One To Watch:  Keep an eye on MSU corner Jamerson Love, the only DB in State’s top four cornerbacks to have started a game for the Bulldogs (and he’s started just two).  The entire secondary is really the one to watch, but if we’re narrowing things down, we’ll go with the, ahem, veteran.

This And That:

1.  Since arriving in Starkville, Dan Mullen record against non-conference BCS-level foes is 2-2 and two of those games were bowls.  The Dogs have avoided big-time foes while Mullen laid the groundwork for his program.  Now comes a “prove it” game against a ranked opponent to start the season.  This could be a very big one for Mullen.

2.  After a 7-0 start last season, MSU lost five of its last six games with four losses coming against ranked foes.  In four seasons under Mullen the Bulldogs are just 2-16 against ranked opponents, 0-8 the last two years.  Did we mention that this one could be a big game for Mullen?

3.  Oklahoma State’s pass offense ranked #7 in the nation last year and tomorrow they’ll face an MSU cornerback quartet that features a junior with two starts, a sophomore, a juco transfer and a redshirt freshman.  States new DBs are in for a baptism by fire.

Prediction:  Oklahoma State 37, Mississippi State 20

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