By Jess Nicholas, TideFans.com Editor-In-Chief
Sept. 9, 2013
Last week’s record: 10-2 (83.3%)
Season record: 21-4 (84.0%)
Week 2 was just OK for the Predictions Dept., as the Florida upset put a dent in our season record. This week sees more interconference battles, but the real highlights are conference tilts Alabama-Texas A&M and Vanderbilt-South Carolina.
LOUISVILLE at KENTUCKY
This one is going to be ugly. Really, really ugly. Kentucky’s opener saw the Wildcats getting dominated by a Sun Belt team, and the win over Miami-Ohio last week was less impressive for Kentucky as Marshall’s Week 1 victory over Miami was for the Thundering Herd. This is not a good Kentucky team, but this is a very, very good Louisville team, headed by superstar quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The Wildcats cleaned up a lot of problems on defense against Miami, but will need to play well above their heads to even have a chance against their smaller in-state brother – that has now become the alpha dog of this particular rivalry.
ALABAMA at TEXAS A&M
See our extended preview!
VANDERBILT at SOUTH CAROLINA
Not only did South Carolina not exactly set the world afire against Georgia last week, the Gamecocks got some instant controversy when star DE Jadeveon Clowney decided to go through the media to complain about coaches Steve Spurrier and Lorenzo Ward. It will be interesting to see what Spurrier does here, because Clowney has done little to hide the fact that he is simply waiting on an NFL payday. It’s not immediately clear whether sitting Clowney would feel like punishment to the team’s best defensive player, and on top of that, Vanderbilt is capable of pulling an upset here with or without Clowney on the field. Such unrest is not common for a Spurrier team, and is not a familiar sight for the South Carolina program in general – unfortunately, due to the fact that the Gamecock program is unaccustomed to national prominence. If Spurrier can hold the team’s focus together, the Gamecocks should still win this game. Vandy is improving, but is not completely where it needs to be to start routinely beating the elite of the division just yet.
South Carolina 27
TENNESSEE at OREGON
If Oregon scheduled Tennessee in hopes of getting a look at what to expect from an SEC team in 2013, the Ducks are likely to be sorely disappointed. Tennessee’s win over Western Kentucky – a game in which the Vols had more scores than first downs at one point – is no indication of just how bad this team is right now. In Oregon, Tennessee gets an offensive juggernaut in a hostile environment with something to prove. Were Tennessee to find a way to win this game, Butch Jones might land in Knoxville the next morning to find the stadium renamed for him. General Neyland’s legacy seems safe.
SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI at ARKANSAS
Arkansas is coming off a 31-21 win over Samford. Samford. This was to be expected given the rebuilding project Bret Bielema walked into in Fayetteville, and it’s to Arkansas’ credit that the school chose 2013 to schedule Southern Miss – usually a tough out, but this year, a team that has more problems than the Razorbacks have. Southern Miss lost to the Dennis Franchione-coached Texas State Bobcats in the opener, then got slaughtered by Nebraska last week. Arkansas might not be running on all cylinders right now, but the Hogs should cruise in this one.
Southern Miss 17
MISSISSIPPI STATE at AUBURN
Auburn’s defense is still in the pits, but the Tigers catch a break with offense-poor Mississippi State coming to town. Quarterback Tyler Russell is questionable for this game, as are several other key State players. Auburn doesn’t look much better than expected so far this season, but Mississippi State looks a fair bit worse than anyone thought. The opening loss to Oklahoma State showed a program in regression, and the injuries might be too much for the Bulldogs to overcome.
Mississippi St. 21
KENT STATE at LOUISIANA STATE
Kent State’s nickname is the Golden Flashes. Any hope for a win over LSU will be gone in a flash as soon as KSU lands at the Baton Rouge airport.
Kent State 10
MISSISSIPPI at TEXAS
This game quickly got interesting following Texas’ firing of defensive coordinator Manny Diaz after just two games. The Longhorns have given a lot of lip service recently to getting tougher, but this team is incredibly soft, can’t stop the run and now has a potential coaching carousel story brewing on the front burner right next to discussion of the game itself. Ole Miss hasn’t looked like world-beaters yet in 2013, but the Rebel program is on much better footing. This game looked like a sure Texas win in the preseason, but not anymore. The Longhorns will probably struggle to beat Ole Miss, if they beat the Rebels at all. This is the hardest call of the week on the board, even harder than Alabama-Texas A&M.
Ole Miss 30
IDLE: Florida, Georgia, Missouri
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