College Football Week 12 Preview: SEC


Is it just me, or is this whole Cam Newton thing getting really boring? After the shock value of that first story about a pay for play plan, there has been an endless parade of journalists weighing in with their own reports with supposedly new allegations.

Maybe it’s my fatigue with the story, but at this point, every story that comes out seems just like the dozen that came out before. Yeah, maybe there’s a new name or new detail about a text message that was supposedly sent on behalf of the Newton’s, but the general storyline remains the same: a lot of people are pretty sure Cam Newton (or someone representing him) asked for money in exchange for a commitment, which makes it likely he accepted money from Auburn.

Absent from that storyline (at least at this point), is any sort of conclusive evidence that proves it. Honestly, I’ve had just about enough of this story, at least until that conclusive evidence avails itself.

Cam Newton and Auburn have turned into THE story of the SEC and college football as a whole, but this weekend they have a bye. How will we ever go on?

Game of the Week – #13 Arkansas @ #22 Mississippi State – Saturday 7 PM, ESPN

Yeah, the winners of the SEC East and West are determined, but this is a game that will go a long way to determining the pecking order of the second tier of the conference. Both of these squads have had quietly successful seasons that they will want to conclude with January bowl games.

In fact, Arkansas still has an outside shot at making it to a BCS bowl. Four teams in the SEC have realistic chances to get at large bids to the BCS and Arkansas is firmly in the conversation, along with Auburn, LSU, and Alabama. Assuming Auburn makes it to the national title game, beating Alabama along the way, that leaves LSU and Arkansas for the one likely SEC at large bid. LSU has one loss and therefore the inside track, but conveniently, LSU and Arkansas match up in the last regular season game. So, if Arkansas beats Mississippi State, they will likely be playing for a BCS berth against LSU.

That makes this test in Starkville all the more important. MSU has lost only to Auburn, Alabama, and LSU, the three top ranked teams in the SEC, so they will be looking for a marquee win in their quest for a big time bowl. The Bulldogs did a pretty good job on defense against Auburn’s stellar offense, but that was before Auburn really got in gear. I look for Arkansas’ diverse attack to overwhelm MSU, especially with the way Knile Davis has been running the football.

Games to Keep an Eye on

Ole Miss @ #5 LSU – Saturday 3:30 PM, CBS

LSU is still a dark horse national title candidate, so they should be focused for this one. The Tigers have handled their business against the lower echelon SEC squads, but this just kind of feels like the kind of game LSU could lose.

How’s that for insightful football commentary?

If LSU comes out relaxed at home and not flying around on defense like they normally do, Ole Miss has the weapons on offense to do some damage. Also, if LSU’s offense has been as bad as it has at times this year and its QB throw some balls to the wrong team, it could get very interesting. Jeremiah Masoli has not looked good in recent weeks, but he is capable of playing at a high level.

However, if the Tigers defense plays like it can, Ole Miss doesn’t have a prayer.

Tennessee @ Vanderbilt – Saturday 7:30 PM,

If these two teams had met a month or two ago, things could have been quite a bit different. But, as it stands, Tennessee is peaking with freshman QB Tyler Bray taking the snaps and Vandy is bottoming out. Vandy is the least talented team in the conference to begin with; when you add the injuries that they’ve had to deal with, they don’t have much of a chance.

Troy @ #17 South Carolina – Saturday 12:21 PM, SEC Network/

Troy has played a bunch of close games this season. They’ve posted a 5-4 record playing the Sun Belt and seven of their nine games have been decided by seven points or less. Interestingly, one of those losses was in a trip to Oklahoma State, a team that is currently ranked in the top 10.

The Trojans really toss the ball all over the yard, throwing for nearly 300 yards per game on the season. QB Corey Robinson has thrown for over 2500 yards and 18 touchdowns on the year, but he’s a little mistake prone (12 interceptions, nine in the last four games).

Robinson has been asked to do a lot because Troy’s defense is a bit suspect, allowing 438 yards per game, including 175 on the ground. Marcus Lattimore just smiled.

Appalachian State @ Florida – Saturday 12:30 PM,

Appalachian State is a very good football team, just like they were when they went to the Big House and took down Michigan. They are 9-1 on the season and they run for nearly 220 yards per game. They have a QB who puts up similar numbers to Armanti Edwards, who torched the Wolverines. DeAndre Presley has thrown for over 2000 yards and run for over 700 and accounted for 28 touchdowns.

It’s always fun to see this kind of matchup just to see what happens, but Florida has a different class of athletes

Georgia State @ #10 Alabama (Thursday night)


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