By Jess Nicholas, TideFans.com Editor-In-Chief
Nov. 16, 2011
Last week’s record: 6-1 (85.7%)
Season record: 73-7 (91.3%)
Unbelievably, the Predictions Dept.’s lone loss last week came as the result of a WAC team (Louisiana Tech) defeating a SEC program (Ole Miss). That sort of explains Houston Nutt’s fate in a nutshell (Nutt-shell?), doesn’t it? This week, the slate of SEC games is sparse, and important SEC games are even fewer and far between. The most important may actually be the Tennessee-Vanderbilt game that could decide both teams’ bowl fates. In other words, it’s a good week to watch NASCAR.
FURMAN at FLORIDA
We shouldn’t have to talk about this game as being even the least bit important – until, that is, one realizes just how bad Florida’s offense has been in 2011. Fortunately for the Gators, this isn’t the same Furman program from about 10 years ago, or we’d have to be talking about this one in the context of a possible upset special. Look for Florida to win and gain bowl eligibility, but if Furman has any speed at all on its defensive corners, this one won’t be a runaway.
GEORGIA SOUTHERN at ALABAMA
See our extended preview!
KENTUCKY at GEORGIA
This game means something, alright … it’s just not likely to be all that entertaining. Georgia must beat Kentucky to win the SEC East. Lose this game, and Mark Richt likely loses his job in the offseason. Win it, and everyone forgets everything they ever said about Richt and probably hands him a contract extension just for the heck of it. The problem here, no matter how hung over Georgia might be after thrashing Auburn last week, is that Kentucky is facing an indictment of impersonating a real SEC football team. The Wildcats are awful, but at least they still have something to play for here; wins this week and again next week against Tennessee send Kentucky bowling.
THE CITADEL at SOUTH CAROLINA
Alabama won’t be the only SEC school facing a Division-IAA school that runs the football all over the place but can’t pass it. The difference is, whereas Georgia Southern is a good team, The Citadel is not. South Carolina isn’t impressing anyone on offense at the moment, but the defense seems good enough to stop the Bulldog offense reasonably well.
South Carolina 30
The Citadel 10
VANDERBILT at TENNESSEE
The Commodores may actually be favored – in Neyland Stadium in Knoxville – when this game kicks off. That fact alone is enough to spin the Earth backwards for awhile if the cosmic powers take notice. This is precisely the kind of game in which Vanderbilt tends to stumble. Tennessee must win here, or the Volunteers will stay home for the holidays. We’ll go ahead and pick what should happen, but every fiber of our being is telling us that an orange-and-white-clad Lucy is readying to pull the football away from Vanderbilt’s Charlie Brown any second.
MISSISSIPPI STATE at ARKANSAS (in Little Rock, Ark.)
The Razorbacks need to stay focused this week and not get caught looking ahead to their showdown with LSU to close the season. Otherwise, Arkansas’ far-outside shot at the BCS Championship Game will be over before it begins. Mississippi State, thankfully enough, is reeling and sore after a physical loss to Alabama last week, but the Bulldog defense’s strength is in defending exactly the kind of things Arkansas’ offense does well. War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock is a notoriously difficult venue, however, and MSU head coach Dan Mullen still hasn’t beaten an SEC West opponent other than Ole Miss. Don’t look for Mullen to start this week, but this game will probably be closer than it should be.
Mississippi St. 24
SAMFORD at AUBURN
Samford has a balanced offense but can’t stop the run. Not being able to stop the run is a killer when facing Auburn, because it allows the Tigers to run the full scope of their offense. Look for the Tigers to bounce back strong from last week’s loss against Georgia, but with Alabama coming in next week, the euphoria will probably be short-lived.
LOUISIANA STATE at MISSISSIPPI
If anyone thought Houston Nutt might have been able to pull one last rabbit out of his hat, those dreams were dashed when Nutt suspended starting QB Randall Mackey and leading rusher Jeff Scott for violation of team rules. That leaves Zack Stoudt at quarterback and a not-100-percent Brandon Bolden at tailback. The Rebels have already quit on the season, anyway. LSU will be able to name its score.
Ole Miss 0
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