By Jess Nicholas, TideFans.com Editor-In-Chief
Oct. 18, 2011
Last week’s record: 5-0 (100.0%)
Season record: 51-5 (91.1%)
Week 7 was another perfect week for the Predictions Dept. For Week 8, the number of big games is a small one. Both Auburn, which faces LSU, and Tennessee, which plays Alabama, are overmatched. Half the teams in the SEC are off this week, too, and the games that do appear on the slate are somewhat ho-hum in nature.
JACKSONVILLE STATE at KENTUCKY
This may end up being one of the most competitive games on the schedule this week, thanks to Kentucky being such a grease fire. The Wildcats are in danger of not winning another game in 2011, this one included. Jacksonville State, which was last seen lighting the fuse on the Houston Nutt Career-Ending Nitro-Bomb at Ole Miss, is 5-1 in Division-IAA and playing well. Former SEC players dot the Gamecocks’ roster, most notably running back Washaun Ealey, formerly of Georgia. He’s better than anything Kentucky has in its backfield. It’s usually a rule of the Predictions Dept. to not try to get cute and pick lower-division teams to upset SEC opponents, but we’re really tempted this time.
Jacksonville St. 23
TENNESSEE at ALABAMA
ARMY at VANDERBILT
Army brings the nation’s top-rated rushing attack into this game, but few athletes. Vanderbilt nearly knocked off Georgia last week (as called by the Predictions Dept.) before falling late. Army’s option-based offense is tricky to prepare for in one week’s time, but the new Vanderbilt staff, led by James Franklin, has been impressive thus far at having its charges coached up for games. Look for Vanderbilt to struggle in the first half of this game before rallying late and getting back to the land of the winning records.
ARKANSAS at MISSISSIPPI
Ole Miss is coming off one of the worst losses in its program’s history, which is a statement unto itself. Alabama dominated the Rebels in every phase of the game (other than perhaps kickoff returns – of course, Ole Miss certainly got more practice at the endeavor thanks to Alabama scoring so much), and Arkansas has just as good an offense as does the Crimson Tide. Ole Miss, therefore, is in a heap of trouble. If the Rebels have reached the point of quitting, this one can and will get ugly, because we haven’t even talked about how Arkansas likes to beat up on all things Houston Nutt. At least Ole Miss has Brandon Bolden and the other players who were suspended for the Alabama game back in the fold this week. It won’t matter.
Ole Miss 17
AUBURN at LOUISIANA STATE
Auburn’s offense is now under the direction of Clint Moseley at quarterback. Things can’t get much worse, because the Tigers have now scored fewer than 20 points three times in a row. Amazingly, given Auburn’s struggles on defense, the Tigers are still 2-1 in those games. LSU comes in having dispatched Tennessee in convincing fashion in Neyland Stadium last week. This game will finish up after sundown in Death Valley, meaning Auburn has some work ahead of it. Despite Moseley looking good in relief of Barrett Trotter last week, this team isn’t likely to compete with LSU. Auburn will need all the trickery and luck Gus Malzahn and Gene Chizik can muster.
IDLE: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi State
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