Tennessee (3-7, 1-5) @ Vanderbilt (6-4, 4-3)
11:30 CDT, Raycom
All-Time Series: Tennessee 69-28-5
Wednesday’s Line: Vanderbilt -3
This is a game the Vols have almost always penciled in as a win before the season. Fulmer is 14-1 against Vanderbilt in his career at UT and has never lost in Nashville. Overall, UT is 24-1 against the ‘Dores over the last quarter century, but did lose in 2005, the last time UT missed a bowl game.
It’s a different season though. Vanderbilt is actually favored over Tennessee. It’s the Vols who will be home for the holidays watching the ‘Dores play in a bowl game. The fans watching this game won’t see much offense. Neither team can move the ball - UT is 11th (267.1 ypg) and VU is 12th (266.9 ypg) in the SEC in total offense and neither score much either – Vandy is 8th (21.3) and UT is 11th (16.0).
My gut is – for some reason – telling me that UT pulls this one out somehow. I have determined – much like John Cusack in High Fidelity – that my gut has $#*+ for brains. The Vols looked horrible against an awful Wyoming team. While this Vanderbilt team is certainly not a world-beater, now that the pressure of picking up that elusive 6th win is gone, football will be fun again. And what could be more fun for the Commodores than to knock off Tennessee?
Straight Up Winner: Vanderbilt
Against the Spread: Vanderbilt
The Citadel (4-7) @ (#3, #3)Florida (9-1, 7-1)
12: 30 CDT, PPV
All-Time Series: Florida 13-0
Wednesday’s Line: N/A
Bleh. With the rhythm that the Gator offense is in, this game is not a good time for UF. It won’t be competitive at all, obviously, but with the starters getting so much rest, it may be a closer score than the 56-6 last week.
Straight Up Winner: Florida
Against the Spread: N/A
Arkansas (4-6, 1-5) @ Mississippi State (3-7, 1-5)
All-Time Series: Arkansas 12-5-1
Wednesday’s Line: Pick’ Em
Who wants to be last in the SEC West? Please take a giant step backwards. Both of these teams have fallen off since last season, but only the Hogs seem to have a hope for the future. This has never been an easy matchup for the Bulldogs and Arkansas is 12-1 the last 13 seasons, including a current 9-game win streak with 4 straight wins in Starkville.
This will probably come down to turnovers. MSU committed 5 last year and lost 45-31 despite dominating the Hogs offensively. This year, even against the Hogs’ porous D (12th in the SEC), the Bulldogs will have trouble moving the ball. On the flip side, the Hogs offense has steadily improved this season, while MSU’s D has been inconsistent against conference opponents.
The Hogs had the weekend off last week to rest up and get healthy. They’re still clinging to an outside shot at a bowl game and can carry that hope one step further with another conference road win. Look for the Hogs to control the game on both sides of the ball and get a much needed win.
Straight Up Winner: Arkansas
Against the Spread: Arkansas
Ole Miss (6-4, 3-3) @ (#18, #18)LSU (7-3, 3-3)
2:30 CDT, CBS
All-Time Series: LSU 55-37-4
Wednesday’s Line: LSU -4.5
The Inaugural “Magnolia Bowl” takes place this weekend, as the two schools’ student governments have named this rivalry. Not sure what Magnolias have to do with LSU, but I digress. While these games are (typically) competitive, LSU has won 6 in a row in Baton Rouge and hold a 36-24-1 record there all-time against Ole Miss.
It will be strength on strength when LSU lines up on offense. LSU’s Charles Scott is one of the best RBs in the country, but the Rebels’ D-line has been great against the run all season, particularly of late. The Rebels’ secondary is there for the taking (225.2 ypg, 12th in conference), but can LSU count on Lee to make the right throws, or even to not throw a touchdown to an OM DB?
Last week, LSU fell asleep for 2.5 quarters before launching an unbelievable comeback. Ole Miss dominated hapless UL-Monroe from the opening kickoff. The winner of this game has the inside track to a 2nd place finish in the SEC West and possibly the Cotton Bowl, unless swirling rumors about Notre Dame come to fruition, in which the case the SEC should pull out of the Cotton Bowl and find another place to send their fans besides that dump… again I digress.
I’ve gotta go with the hot hand right now. LSU is deservedly a small favorite in this game, but Ole Miss is playing better football. Houston Nutt won in Baton Rouge last year when LSU won the BCS Championship game. This LSU team has been blown out by teams with explosive offenses this season – UF and UGA – and lost a heartbreaker to Alabama. Look for the Rebels to stack up the middle and focus on Charles Scott, all but daring Lee to make a throw down the field. In the end, too many TOs from LSU and the Rebels win the first Magnolia Bowl.
Straight Up Winner: Ole Miss
Against the Spread: Ole Miss
Wednesday, November 19, 2008