Made while watching Bobby Bowden stare from the sidelines like a man who just misplaced his wallet.....
Last week: 2-3
Vanderbilt at Georgia
Let the Vanderbilt free fall begin. Next week's game against Duke is the biggest game of the year for Vandy. If they lose that one, there's a really good chance they won't make a bowl. They finish with Florida at home, at Kentucky, Tennessee at home, and at Wake Forest. Kentucky and Tennessee seem to be the most winnable games, but playing at Lexington and Tennessee's discovery that Nick Stephens should have been playing all year doesn't bode well for Vandy. The good news for the Dores is that David Cutcliffe is in charge of one of the teams they have to play. His track record with far superior teams against Vanderbilt doesn't exactly brim with dominance. And I think it's safe to say Duke does not have a more talented team than Vanderbilt.
Ole Miss at Alabama
The good news for Ole Miss: Alabama likes to run. While Ole Miss isn't great against the run (9th in the SEC), it's better than having to rely on their pass defense, which ranks dead last in the conference. More good news: Alabama is ranked 10th in the SEC against the pass and Ole Miss is fourth in passing offense. Yes, this does appear to be a team with which Ole Miss matches up well.
However, consider the following: Ole Miss has a nasty habit of making bad to average quarterbacks look good to great (see: Smelley, Chris). I do think the Rebels will be able slow down Alabama's running game, but even as unreliable as John Parker Wilson is, he'll end up having a good game courtesy of the Ole Miss back seven. Speaking of unreliable, Jevan Snead on the road against a team on which we probably won't be able to run. And it's at a place where Ole Miss quarterbacks notoriously have their worst games. I have as much confidence in him as I do in Ed Orgeron's ability to give up Red Bull.
Like many Ole Miss/Alabama games, this one will end up being close and, like many Ole Miss/Alabama games, Ole Miss will lose in a new, soul-numbingly way.
Arkansas at Kentucky
Do you think there could be any less dislike between two fanbases? What a weird matchup. After Kentucky wins, Arkansas fans will wonder just what in the hell they're doing playing Kentucky. They didn't do that crap back in the old Southwest Conference days. Those two thoughts will be followed by a long pause and a fond memory of how Frank Broyles did things back before black people played college football.
Mississippi State at Tennessee
I feel for you Bulldog fans, I really do. Well, not really. If Tennessee coaches weren't fearing for their lives, Jonathan Crompton would be starting this game, which would most certainly lead to a State win. But now you know how Ole Miss fans felt last year after we watched you beat an unorganized Auburn team early in the year, then by the time we played them they had figured out what they could and couldn't do on offense. So enjoy a taste of our pain.
I still think this is a relatively close game. Tennessee's offense isn't good enough to totally blow this one open and with Willie Beamon calling the plays and not Sly Croom, State will keep it interesting.
LSU at South Carolina
Stephen Garcia versus Jarrett Lee. That sort of sounds like an Ultimate Fighting Championship title match. Only instead of an octagon and two insane people, there will be two average to below average quarterbacks throwing bad passes on a football field. Other than that, I've got nothing on this game. LSU could win by 20 or lose by 10 and I wouldn't be surprised. Neither one of these teams make any sense, but I'll assume Stephen Garcia spent at least two nights this week at penny pitchers in a Columbia bar, which leads me to take LSU in this game.