Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Week 12 Predictions

Florida Atlantic (5-4) @ (#14, #14)Florida (7-3, 5-3)
11:00 CST, PPV
Wednesday's Line: Florida -34

Though this is the first meeting between these two programs, FAU HC Schnellenberger has a winning career record against the Gators, having gone 3-2 in the early 80s while HC at Thug U Miami. Florida is 19-1 in their last 20 games prior to FSU and is 9-0 against current Sun Belt members.

This will be a good game for the Gators to rest up some dinged up players including QB Tebow. With the annual grudge match looming next week against the Seminoles, don’t look for anything to spectacular from Florida. They’ll win, easily and comfortably, but the Owls aerial attack and UF’s weak secondary will keep the margin within 5 TDs.

Straight Up Winner: Florida
Against the Spread: Florida Atlantic

(#22, #20)Kentucky (7-3, 3-3) @ (#8, #9)Georgia (8-2, 5-2)
11:30 CST, LFS
Wednesday's Line: Georgia -7.5

Georgia owns this series all-time 47-11-2, though the ‘Cats beat the ‘Dawgs last year 24-20 in Lexington. UGA though, has won 14 straight in Athens dating back to 1977.

Apparently the inconsistency that plagued Georgia the first several weeks of the season is a thing of the past. They’ve scored 40+ points the last 3 weeks and RB Moreno has SEC Freshman of the Year wrapped up. He should have another huge game Saturday as UK’s run defense gives up nearly 200 ypg. UGA will need to put points on the board as the ‘Cats have the firepower to match them. QB Woodson has cooled off of late, but has stil thrown for 2653 yds and 29 TDs this year. UGA’s pass D has surrendered just 9 TDS this season, fewest in the conference, so it will be interesting to watch that battle.

Georgia can clinch a share of the SEC East with a win Saturday against UK, though they’ll need Tennessee to slip up against Vandy this weekend or Kentucky next weekend. Moreno should find plenty of running room against UK and the ‘Dawgs will control the clock and the flow of the game. This will be a high-scoring affair, but in the end, the ‘Dawgs get revenge for last year’s loss.

Straight Up Winner: Georgia
Against the Spread: Georgia

Mississippi State (6-4, 3-3) @ Arkansas (6-4, 2-4)
1:00 CST, No TV
Wednesday's Line: Arkansas -11

Arkansas leads this series all-time 11-5-1, including last year’s 28-14 win in Starkville. MSU has never won in the state of Arkansas, posting an 0-6-1 record. The Hogs have won 8 straight matchups and 12 of the last 13.

The Bulldogs have already had their best season since 2000, regardless of what happens the rest of the way. They come to Arkansas on the heels of a dramatic, emotional win against Alabama. Their rush D (149.8 ypg, 8th in SEC) will be tested as they take on the NFL-caliber backfield of Darren McFadden and (possibly) Felix Jones. FR QB Carroll threw his first INT of the season last week, and now faces a tough Arkansas Pass D that allows just a 44% completion ratio and has 15 INTs on the season. The Hogs were – surprisingly – bottled up by a typically porous Tennessee run defense last week, collecting only 127 yds on the ground. Whether the Bulldogs can emulate the Vols’ schemes remains to be seen.

Both of these teams are headed to bowl games, but the loser of this game is most like relegated to Shreveport, which should be plenty of motivation to win. This is – for all intents and purposes – Senior Day for McFadden and Jones. Jones sat out practice again on Tuesday, so he may not play. McFadden and crew will have their work cut out for them against a good Bulldog D, but should make enough plays down the stretch to pull out a win. It won’t be easy, but the Hogs extend their dominance of MSU.

Straight Up Winner: Arkansas
Against the Spread: Mississippi State

Louisiana-Monroe (4-6) @ Alabama (6-4, 4-3)
1:30 CST, No TV
Wednesday's Line: Alabama -25

This is only the 2nd meeting between these two schools, as the Tide rolled to a 41-7 win last season. Alabama is 15-0 against current Sun Belt Members. ULM is 2-27-1 against current SEC members having beaten UK in 1994 and MSU in 1995.

A game like this couldn’t come soon enough for the Tide. They were held (for a 3rd straight season) without an offensive TD against MSU last weekend, just one week after losing a 4th quarter lead to LSU. The offense should have its way with a Warhawk D that surrenders more than 30 ppg. The Tide D will be tested some, as ULM averages about 405 ypg, but not enough to pull the upset. With the Iron Bowl looming next week, the focus may not be there, so 3.5 TDs may be asking too much.

Straight Up Winner: Alabama
Against the Spread: Lousiana-Monroe

Vanderbilt (5-5, 2-5) @ (#19, #19)Tennessee (7-3, 4-2)
1:00 CST, PPV
Wednesday's Line: Tennessee -11.5

Tennessee owns this series all-time 68-27-5, including last year’s 39-10 win in Nashville. The ‘Dore snapped a 22-game losing streak to UT 2 years ago in Knoxville, which is UT HC Fulmer’s only career loss to VU (13-1).

The Vols are wrapping up a 4-game homestand that’s seen them outscore opponents 120-44 through 3 games. They’re unbeaten this season at Neyland. While they rank 11th in conference in total D (400.1 ypg), the ‘Dores offense ranks 11th as well, mustering just 330 ypg. The Commodores will need a huge game from WR Bennett against a soft Vols secondary (236.5 ypg) for the chance at an upset and bowl-eligibility. As for the Vols, expect much of the same… a consistent diet of pounding the ball on the ground and a quick, controlled passing game from QB Ainge.

The Vols need to only beat Vandy and Kentucky – 2 teams they have historically dominated – to clinch an unlikely SEC East title. They’ll take the first step towards that Saturday, cruising to an easy victory over the Commodores.

Straight Up Winner: Tennessee
Against the Spread: Tennessee

(#1, #1) LSU (9-1, 5-1) @ Ole Miss (3-7, 0-6)
1:00 CST, PPV
Wednesday's Line: LSU -19.5

LSU leads this series all-time 54-37-4, including last year’s 23-20 OT win in Baton Rouge. LSU has won 5 in a row, though 4 of the 5 have been by a FG or less. The other was a 40-7 romp 2 years ago in Oxford.

The Tigers roll into this game the newly anointed #1 team in the country after Illinois knocked off tOSU last weekend. They basically went through the motions last week in routing Louisiana Tech. They’ll have the talent advantage in nearly every position on the field Saturday, but will need to be focused for a Rebel team that will undoubtedly be fired up to play. The Rebels have had many a close SEC loss under HC Orgeron, and they’re convinced this weekend is when they take the next step. It will be interesting to see if they can move the ball at all against a Tiger D that ranks 1st in the conference in scoring D, rush D, Total D, Pass Efficiency D, Opponents 1st Downs, and Sacks by. It also ranks 2nd in Pass D and Opponent 4th Down Conversions. Did I mention Ole Miss ranks last in nearly very offensive (and defensive for that matter) category?

CBS must have picked this game specifically to showcase LSU’s dominance to national voters who may not be sure of it yet. There’s no other that this game should be on TV. It’s certainly not more appealing than Arkansas/MSU with two teams fighting to improve bowl positions or Georgia/Kentucky, with two teams that have both been in the top 10 this season. Regardless, they’ll get their wish. Things have been ugly in Oxford this season, and Saturday will be no different.

Straight Up Winner: LSU
Against the Spread: LSU

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