It's now upon us: Georgia-Florida week. Both teams seem to be peaking after rough starts, so this game may very well live up to the preseason hype. Other games of note include the Tuberville deathwatch at Ole Miss (Tuberville may have to stay in Oxford in that pine box if he doesn't win, because he might not be able to come back to the Plains), Tulsa at Arkansas, and Tennessee at South Carolina.
Auburn at Ole Miss
Auburn comes into this game on a major skid, having lost three straight. Ole Miss, on the other hand, is fresh off a victory over Arkansas, although the Rebels have been up and down this year. Tommy Tuberville is under major pressure to win here; a loss means a likely losing season and that will almost certainly spell doom for Tuberville's tenure on the Plains.
The key to this game will be Auburn's offense. While the Tigers defense has been hit hard lately, they're still good enough to hold the Rebels to twenty points or so if the Tigers' offense gives them the chance to. However, if Kodi Burns and Co. go three and out every time they get the ball, the Rebels will score points, and regardless of how the field position battle and/or time of possession go, Auburn must score at least a reasonable number of points to win this game. I'm going to say that they do it and that Auburn gets this win.
Tulsa at Arkansas
The drama never ends in Fayetteville. One week after Houston Nutt and his Rebels left town with a win, Tulsa and their OC Gus Malzahn, who used to be Nutt's coordinator while Nutt was a Hog but left amid the drama that engulfed the Razorbacks following the 2006 season, visit the Hogs with an undefeated record and a national ranking. The Golden Hurricane would love to pick up a victory over a BCS opponent to solidify their status as a potential BCS Buster.
Malzahn's offense has been a big part of Tulsa's success. The Golden Hurricane have scored under 40 points only once, and have gone for more than 60 three times. Arkansas's offense, while perhaps a little more athletic than some of the Sun Belt units Tulsa has faced, shouldn't be a problem for Malzahn and Co. The Hogs have given up lots of points several times so far this year.
Luckily for the Hogs, though, Tulsa's defense is somewhat porous, and Bobby Petrino's group should be able to score lots of points as well This game will likely be a TD fest, so the QB that throws the most interceptions will likely cost his team the game. That's where Casey Dick will cost the Razorbacks. Look for Tulsa to pull off the upset.
Kentucky at MSU
A couple of weeks ago, this game looked like a cake walk for the Wildcats. They're still the favorite, but after what the Gators did to Kentucky last week, there's no reason to believe the Cats will win easily.
Still, Kentucky should win this game. Both teams have decent defenses, but while Kentucky's offense isn't very good, MSU's group will probably give up more points on pick-sixes than they'll score. The Cats have had lots of problems with blocked kicks this year, so the Bulldogs may be able to steal a big play or two that way. I'm still taking the Cats, though.
Arkansas State at Alabama
Something tells me this won't be like Bama's game against LA-Monroe last year. Tide rolls in this one.
Florida at Georgia
Here we are--one of the biggest game of the year. This one has it all: conference and national title implications, the rivalry factor, drama in last year's game. Everyone's been waiting to see how this one plays out, and while it looked like it might not be what it was cracked up to be after both teams faltered early, both are peaking and the hype is back.
Both teams have decent defenses, but lets not kid ourselves--this is going to be a shootout. Both offenses are hitting every gear and I think they will both score over 35 points Saturday.
Who will score more? The key will be turnovers and special teams play, and those factors favor the Gators. Tim Tebow and Co. typically don't turn the ball over very much, and Brandon James will give the Gators great field position all afternoon. They did blow the game against Ole Miss with fumbles and a blocked PAT, but that game seems like an aberration at this point. UGA isn't a careless team, but Stafford may throw an interception or two and UGA's kicking units has not been anything special. Gamecock Man thinks these issues will lead to Gator revenge in Jacksonville.
Tennessee at South Carolina
More on this one later.
Tulane at LSU
Unfortunately for the Green Wave, it's not the thirties anymore and this one won't be close. Tigers win big.
Vandy gets a much needed rest as it tries to figure out how to get bowl-eligible.