Last Week: 6-2
Games listed in schedule order.
The Vols have played hard generally this year, and its front line is pretty good. It just has no depth, but that shouldn't matter much against a team that has found ways to lose to FAU and SMU this season. Tennessee gets a bit of a break after a tough few weeks.
Tennessee 41, UAB 17
The key match up in this game is Arkansas's offensive line versus Alabama's defensive line. Alabama's young secondary can give up some yards if Ryan Mallett can stay upright. On Alabama's side, Greg McElroy is the most important player. Arkansas's rushing defense has been pretty good so far, but its passing defense has only been so-so despite playing only one decent opponent. I see this ending up a shootout of sorts, but Alabama's rushing game will spearhead a long, time consuming drive towards the end to ice it.
Alabama 38, Arkansas 34
The two Bulldog squads are fairly similar, even if their offensive schemes couldn't be less similar. Their defenses are works in progress, and their offenses are good only in streaks. I think it'll be a sloppy, low scoring contest, but overall I think Georgia's in better position to put a full game together.
Georgia 19, Mississippi State 13
Call it a trap game if you must, but I don't think Florida has played well enough to look past anyone. Especially because there's plenty in Kentucky's film so far to keep their attention. The biggest reason why I think Florida will win is special teams. Florida has jumped out to 28-0 and 31-0 leads after the first quarter of the last two games thanks in large part to blocked punts and long returns. Kentucky's defense is still suspect, and its return defense has been terrible. Special teams should carry the day for the Gators, if nothing else.
Florida 38, Kentucky 24
Fresno State caught my attention when it beat Cincinnati in Week 1, but we've learned since then that Cincy just isn't all that good. After a bye week, the Bulldogs pulled away late against Utah State (who themselves pushed Oklahoma in Week 1). I'd like to think that at home, Ole Miss should win this game. However Fresno almost always does its best work on the road against BCS teams, and if the Rebels can lose by 14 to Vandy, they can lose this one too.
Fresno State 23, Ole Miss 17
If you remember a couple weeks ago, I mentioned that South Carolina's defense struggled most against Southern Miss when the Golden Eagles went at their fastest. Part of that was probably the Gamecocks still getting oriented in the first week without Chris Culliver, but not all of it was. Auburn's offense, when the Tigers crank the pace, should give that defense fits. Plus, Auburn's run defense is weakest outside the tackles, not between them where Marcus Lattimore does most of his work. This could be the game where Nick Fairley becomes a household name nationwide.
Auburn 24, South Carolina 21
I can't help but think that what will be going on in the stands is going to be more interesting that what will be going on down on the field. West Virginia has the more competent offense, and Noel Devine can break a big run at any time. But, LSU has the better defense and can strangle the life (and fun) out of just about any game. LSU is the better team and should outlast the Mountaineers in the end.
LSU 30, West Virginia 20