October 18th, 2013 01:15 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: Current Line, Opening Line, SEC, TV
Saturday marks the end of the two months worth of SEC football for 2013. As we kick off Week Eight of the season, below is your usual weekend primer. Television listings, Vegas odds, updated stats and our own views and predictions. Everything you need for Saturday’s six-pack of SEC action.
As always, good luck to your favorite team this weekend…
#15 Georgia (4-2) at Vanderbilt (3-3)
TV: 12:00pm ET on CBS
Opening Line: UGA -9.5
Current Line: UGA -7
One To Watch: Georgia QB Aaron Murray. The senior signal-caller could snap a pair of SEC career records on Saturday — Tim Tebow’s record for career total offense and Danny Wuerffel’s record for career touchdown passes. More importantly, with the Dawgs’ arsenal of weapons nearly depleted and the defense struggling, more weight now falls on Murray’s shoulders. Last week he made mistakes and Georgia couldn’t overcome them. It’s not easy to play a perfect game, but that’s what Murray’s having to do these days.
This And That:
1. As mentioned above, injuries appear to be catching up with the Bulldog offense. Against Clemson and South Carolina to open the season, UGA posted 545 and 536 yards respectively. They put another 494 on LSU back in September. But the Dawgs have had their two worst days for total offense over the last two weeks (434 yards versus Tennessee and 454 yards versus Missouri). Those are still good numbers to be sure, but Mike Bobo’s bunch no longer looks as unstoppable as it did early in the season.
2. Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews needs 98 yards receiving to break Terrence Edwards’ SEC career mark of 3,093 yards. The Vandy senior is second in the SEC this season averaging 118.2 yards per game. Expect Georgia to do its best to shut him down, but Matthews has caught 100+ yards worth of passes in five of VU’s six contests. Even with opposing Ds keying on him. And Georgia’s pass defense ranks just 12th in the SEC.
3. If the games winds up as close as we believe, the turnover battle could be the decisive stat. Vandy is guilty of nine giveaways on the season and rank 12th in the SEC at minus-two in turnover margin. Georgia is even worse. In fact, UGA’s minus-four turnover margin (including nine giveaways) is dead last in the league. Remember the old adage: The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win.
Prediction: Georgia 35, Vanderbilt 31
#11 South Carolina (5-1) at Tennessee (3-3)
TV: 12:00pm ET on ESPN
Opening Line: USC -7
Current Line: USC -7.5
One To Watch: Tennessee QB Justin Worley. Like the rest of his teammates, Worley’s best moments of the season came two weeks ago in the second half of an overtime loss to Georgia. Did the junior from the Palmetto State turn the proverbial corner? Or will he turn back into a Big Orange pumpkin against his home state team tomorrow?
This And That:
1. If the Volunteers want to hang with the #11 Gamecocks they’ll need to force some turnovers. That’s not something Tennessee has done against top-drawer competition. Against unranked opponents the Vols are plus-seven in turnover margin. But against ranked foes (Oregon, Florida, and Georgia), UT is minus-five in turnovers. That’s quite the flip-flop. South Carolina is even in turnover margin (plus-10 and minus-10) on the year.
2. How will the second half unfold? The Vols are coming off a much-needed open date, but Butch Jones’ roster is still paper thin in a lot of areas. Carolina runs the ball better in the second half of games (815 yards to 539 yards). They could wear UT down. But up until last week the Cocks had not played a complete game. They’d scene Vanderbilt, UCF and Kentucky make comebacks against them. That was not the case in their blowout win at Arkansas. Will Tennessee wear down in the second half? Will Carolina go to sleep at halftime? Stay tuned.
3. Keep an eye on the mano a mano battle between Jadeveon Clowney and Tiny Richardson. The Vol tackle played the Gamecock defensive end to a draw last season in Columbia… right up until Clowney strip-sacked Tyler Bray to secure a hard-fought victory in the game’s final seconds. Expect Richardson to get plenty of help on Clowney who played a fine game in Fayetteville last weekend.
Prediction: South Carolina 31, Tennessee 21
#22 Florida (4-2) at #14 Missouri (6-0)
TV: 12:21pm ET on SEC TV
Opening Line: Pick
Current Line: UF -3
One To Watch: Florida’s defensive line. Specifically, keep an eye on the middle of that line. Until last week the Gators had survived the loss of defensive tackle Dominique Easley. But last week, the Gators played a quality team in LSU. The Tigers ran for 175 yards — many coming right up the gut — against the league’s best run D. If Missouri — the league’s #2 rushing offense — can run on the Gators, it will take a whole lot of pressure off new quarterback Maty Mauk.
This And That:
1. Mauk stepped in and got the job done last week at Georgia when James Franklin went down in the fourth quarter. But now he’ll have to captain the Tiger offense from start to finish. And instead of going up against one of the SEC’s worst defenses, he’ll be playing against one of the league’s best in Florida. Not only are the Gators good against the run and pass, but they also force their opponents into mistakes. Only two SEC teams have forced more turnovers (12) than Florida. (Missouri is one of those two, by the way). A new young QB making his first start against a smart, tough defense? That looks like trouble for Mizzou.
2. Meanwhile, Gator quarterback Tyler Murphy crashed back to earth last Saturday at LSU. After a hot start to his reign as UF QB, Murphy led the Gators to just six points and 240 yards in Baton Rouge. This Tiger defense doesn’t boast the reputation of that other Tiger D, but Mizzou is #1 in the SEC in turnover margin (plus-nine overall), #3 in rushing defense and #6 in scoring defense. Where Missouri struggles is in pass defense, ranking 14th in the 14-team SEC in that category. Is Murphy good enough as a thrower to exploit that weakness? He looked like it against Kentucky and Arkansas, not so much versus LSU.
3. Murphy — like so many Gator quarterbacks before him — is in serious need of some playmakers around him. Will Muschamp said this week that he wants to see more explosive plays from his team’s offense. Only Kentucky and Tennessee have fewer plays of 10 yards or more. No SEC squad has fewer 20+ yard plays than Florida. Ditto 30+ yard plays. And 40+ yard plays. You get the picture. Florida has to grind its way down the field with long, multi-play drives. Now remember what we said about Missouri’s ability to force turnovers.
Prediction: Florida 21, Missouri 20
|Post Comments »||One Comment|