SEC previews and predictions: Week 2

By Jess Nicholas, TideFans.com Editor-In-Chief

Sept. 5, 2011

 

Last week’s record: 11-1 (91.7%)

Season record: 11-1 (91.7%)

 

The Predictions Dept. had a nice first week, stymied only by the Georgia Bulldogs, who somehow managed to find a way to play below expectations yet again. Games this week are highlighted by a Thursday night battle between Mississippi State and a suddenly troubled Auburn, and a Saturday matchup of legends when heads to Happy Valley to face Penn State.

 

-BIRMINGHAM at FLORIDA

Much praise fell Florida’s way after Week 1, but the Gators’ opponent, Florida Atlantic, is a candidate to finish dead last among all 120 Division-IA teams this year. UAB isn’t significantly better, but the Blazers do have more talent than did and showed it last year by nearly upsetting Tennessee. Florida will still cakewalk in this game barring the evolution of some kind of massive weakness yet unforeseen (think AU’s against Utah State).

Florida                   38

UAB                       17

 

at PENN STATE

See our extended preview!

 

at GEORGIA

One week after embarrassing themselves against Boise State, the Bulldogs face a fight for their SEC East lives when comes to town. South Carolina isn’t without questions of its own, however. Despite being picked to have one of the saltiest defenses in the SEC, the took far too long to get control of its opener with East Carolina. Georgia looked uninspired on offense against Boise State, and the simply didn’t appear to be up to the task of stopping decent teams. Assuming a team’s biggest improvement is from Week 1 to Week 2, either of these teams could begin to hit its stride this week. But Georgia is likely still a mental mess, and now the heat’s on Mark Richt to get cracking.

South Carolina                30

Georgia                 20

 

CENTRAL MICHIGAN at KENTUCKY

Kentucky may have been the most disappointing SEC team of them all in the first week. The Wildcats took four full quarters to dispatch Western Kentucky, one of the 20 worst teams in the country. They’ll get a crack at another bottom-feeder this week as Central Michigan rolls into town. Central Michigan won a very similar game to Kentucky’s last week by beating Division-IAA outfit State 21-6. If Kentucky plays this week as it did in the opener, CMU could beat the Cats. Quarterback Morgan Newton needs to stop playing as if he’s afraid of his own shadow.

Kentucky                24

C. Michigan                17

 

CINCINNATI at TENNESSEE

There’s been a lot of braggadocio from Tennessee fans this week, thinking that a big win over hapless Montana qualifies as being “back.” The Volunteers will get the chance to test that hypothesis this week against a Cincinnati team that looked a lot stronger on offense in its opener against Austin Peay than most observers believed they would. Tennessee is still a thin team with uncertainty on offense and a that hasn’t played together much. Cincinnati has weapons and could be dangerous, but needs to shake off the hangover of a very disappointing 2010 season. This could be the week’s upset pick, but in a case where not much is known about either team, take the SEC team at home.

Tennessee                28

Cincinnati                24

 

CONNECTICUT at

UConn was in a BCS bowl game last year. This season, the Huskies might not make the postseason. Hiring Paul Pasqualoni was a curious move at best, especially for a team that is rebuilding its offense. Pasqualoni isn’t exactly known as an innovator on that side of the ball. struggled a bit at first with Elon last week before pulling away, and will probably be considered a betting underdog to the Huskies this week. If Vanderbilt can find a way to score points on what should be a tough Husky defense, though, the Commodore should be good enough to stifle the UConn attack.

Vanderbilt                20

Connecticut                17

 

NEW MEXICO at ARKANSAS (Little Rock, Ark.)

New Mexico continues the Head Coach Mike Locksley Farewell Tour with a trip to War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. New Mexico needs to make the postseason to save Locksley’s job, and that got a lot more difficult after opening the season with a humdrum loss to Colorado State. Arkansas should have no trouble with the team that posted the second-worst total numbers in the nation in 2010. Arkansas’ primary concern is staying healthy.

Arkansas                56

New Mexico                10

 

MISSISSIPPI STATE at AUBURN

is 2-8 against the so far as a head coach at MSU, and both wins have come over Ole Miss. If he doesn’t lead the Bulldogs to a victory over Auburn this year, he might never do it. Auburn’s looked like Swiss cheese against Utah State in Week 1, while the Bulldogs have an impressive power rushing game. The problem for Mullen is that he tends to hit the panic button in close games against better opponents. fans are still smarting from Mullen’s decision to rotate quarterbacks at inopportune times during last year’s 17-14 loss to the Tigers. Judging from Auburn’s performance against Utah State and State’s performance against last week, there should be no doubt as to who wins this one, particularly with Auburn, which played Saturday, working off a shorter week than MSU, which played last Thursday. But MSU needs to prove it’s not intimidated by better opponents in its own division. We’re having faith that Mullen has learned something in a year’s time.

Mississippi St.                27

Auburn                  24

 

NORTHWESTERN STATE at STATE

Really?

LSU                        61

NW St.                     0

 

ILLINOIS at MISSISSIPPI

Ordinarily we wouldn’t talk about supposed mismatches like this one, but a couple of things make it necessary. One, is a year removed from a loss at home to Jacksonville State. Two, the Rebels looked listless in a loss to BYU, and lost starting RB for the season and perhaps top backup Enrique Davis for an extended period of time as well. Meanwhile, Illinois spent its first week destroying Southeast Missouri State. Bring your own oxygen to this game, as the Ole Miss fans will  be hogging it all, holding deep breaths and waiting for the next shoe to drop.

Ole Miss                30

So. Illinois                20

 

 

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