Week five of the SEC season is in the books and you can read all about it right here. It wasn't a great week for me last week as I finished 4-3. That's the last time I pick Texas A&M! I also got bit by Ole Miss and Stephen Garcia. That puts me at 34-9 on the year. It's not great but it's the same as the 4-letter network's Chris Lowe (well technically he's 36-9 but I got week one up later after two SEC teams beat up on patsies). This week we've got our Bama guy Jay back to redeem himself from his week three performance where he uncharacteristically went 5-4.
Jay: A mid-major road trip sandwiched in between two conference games typically screams TRAP GAME, but even for the disappointing Bulldogs, the pitiful Blazers of UAB pose no threat at all. State will pound these guys just like they did fellow CUSAers Memphis to start off a once-promising season.
Mississippi State 52, UAB 10
Kevin: You have to think Dan Mullen is going to want to come out and just hammer somebody. Unfortunately for the Blazers they will be the nail. UAB gives up 228 yards per game on the ground and that's what the Bulldogs do best. Take the bizarro Bulldogs in this one and expect them to win big.
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Mississippi State 31, UAB 14
Jay: If Kentucky was the competent team I thought they were coming into the season, I'd be picking them to win here. But they are SO not even close to being a competent. Even a South Carolina team that has failed to impress in a single game so far this season, and now has a significant problem at quarterback, looks like too much for them to handle. The Garciacocks (now with 100% more Connor Shaw) win yet another ugly one.
South Carolina 23, Kentucky 16
Kevin: Kentucky is awful. This is the perfect game for Spurrier to get the Connor Shaw ball rolling. I'm not sold on him but he's got to be better than the 2011 version of Stephen Garcia. The South Carolina defense should control Kentucky's offense and the Gamecocks will score enough to win this game fairly easily.
South Carolina 28, Kentucky 9
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Jay: What makes LSU so difficult to play this year is this: They've learned patience on offense. They have so much faith in their defense that they don't feel the need to press for big early leads, which cuts down on their mistakes and doesn't allow for opponents to cash in on cheap points. LSU makes you earn everything. They have no problem simply running the ball up the middle and giving Jarrett Lee easy throws; if he makes them, great, and if not, they're content to punt, knowing that their D will eventually, at the very least, win the field position tug-of-war, if not make a big play off a turnover. They are completely okay being up 6-3 on the road, or "only" up 14-0 against a bad team everyone expects them to beat by 40. LSU will wait you out. And that's what's going to happen in this game. The early score will give the illusion of a close game, but in reality, LSU will just be waiting on the Gators to break.
LSU 27, Florida 7
Kevin: The Gators looked really good in the first quarter of their game last week against Bama. Then Bama made some adjustments and really started to out physical the Gators. For the second straight week the Gators are playing a team that flat out plays more physically than any other of the teams in the SEC and the young Gators will not be able to stand up to the Tigers in this one.
LSU 34, Florida 10
Jay: The key to this game, as it has been in all of Auburn's games thus far (and for the foreseeable future), will be the Tigers' ability to keep Michael Dyer involved through the 4th quarter. They have a lot of talented guys who can make a big play here and there on offense, but Dyer is the only one who has been a consistent force. When the game is close enough to allow him to keep getting touches late in the contest, they win. As an example, this past week at South Carolina, Auburn ran 92 offensive plays, and Dyer carried or caught the ball on 42 of them, including 12 touches in the 4th quarter alone.
Conversely, against Clemson, Dyer only carried the ball 6 times in the entire 2nd half en route to Auburn's lone defeat. It will be even more important to keep the ball in Dyer's hands this week with AU's top receiver, Emory Blake, considered questionable to play. Arkansas has been weak against the run with Jake Bequette (still questionable for this game) and other key defensive lineman out, so there's definite potential for Dyer to make the most of those touches. Of course, to do that, the AU defense has to make enough stops to keep things close. But while the Tigers posted their best statistical effort on defense vs. SC, one wonders how much of that was a result of a bizarre gameplan by Spurrer and general, unforced awfulness by Garcia. They still look like they don't have the right talent to match Chizik's preferred Tampa 2 yet.
And besides, excepting Alabama, no defense has been able to slow Tyler Wilson & Co. down so far. (And I think even the most ardent Auburn supporter can agree that their D is in no way comparable to Bama's.) My guess is that this one plays out similarly to Auburn/Clemson with Arkansas pulling away late once the game begins to demand that Barrett Trotter makes more plays.
Arkansas 41, Auburn 31
Kevin: Auburn has proven to be very resilient this year. Every time I seem to pick against them they burn me. There is just something inside me that is telling me to pick the Tigers in this one. It might be that Atlanta Falcons fan that loathes Bobby Petrino or it could be that guy that didn't believe in Auburn last year but they kept proving me wrong. I'm going Auburn in this one. Look for Kiehl Frazier to get a lot of looks in the game and look for the Hogs to have trouble stopping him on QB keepers.
Auburn 30, Arkansas 28
Jay: I'm probably not going to do a preview for this one, so I'll go ahead and let the cat out of the bag: Bama wins this one big. Vandy has been a mild surprise though their first 4 games, but they have yet to play a good team with everything clicking. Alabama is such a team. The Commodores are not going to like their first taste of a proper Nick Saban Crimson Tide squad (07 doesn't count!).
Alabama 41, Vanderbilt 3
Kevin: I'm gonna side with him on this one. Tide rolls.
Alabama 31, Vanderbilt 6
Jay: If Justin Hunter was playing in this one, I'd probably take Tennessee. In a duel with all of his weapons in hand, I'd like Bray more than I like the way Aaron Murray has been playing with all of his weapons lately. But I wasn't very impressed with the play of Tennessee's offensive line in the one SEC challenge they've faced thus far, so I can't see the Vols mounting enough of a rush attack to offset Hunter's loss. It's going to be the Tyler & Da'Rick show for UT, and I think that's just too limited to be successful over the course of an entire game. They'll hit some plays, but overall, I expect UGA to blanket Rogers and go after Bray all day. If Murray doesn't throw the game away, the rest should ultimately take care of itself.
Georgia 24, Tennessee 17
Kevin: This one will be very interesting. Much like the Mississippi State game last week this is a cross-roads game for Georgia. It's a must win for Richt (isn't every game?). On one hand, Georgia will be able to run the ball on Tennessee and they will also be able to stop Tennessee running the ball. The question will be if Georgia can slow down Tyler Bray and the Tennessee passing attack. Georgia has some good defensive backs and some great pass defense stats (2nd in the SEC at 151 per game) but they haven't played a pass heavy offense since Kellen Moore went to the air against them in week one.
The major questions in this one are- can Georgia dominate the run enough to wear down the Vols and control the clock and can Georgia keep Bray from having a big game. If Georgia can keep having success on holding their opponents on third down (so far second this year in the Nation at 25.35%) then they should win this game. Aaron Murray has been a little sketchy lately but look for him to settle down in this one against a Vols secondary that isn't all that special. This one will be close but I've got the Dawgs taking this one.
Georgia 31 Tennessee 27
The real winner this week? Houston Nutt, his team is idle.