SEC Week 4 Predictions

It looks like LSU might be in for a rainy afternoon of football tomorrow. Going on that assumption, I”m looking forward to an ugly, sloppy affair best suited to the ball-control stylings of Mr. Matt Flynn. Let”s hope he”s driving the bus tomorrow. The Cocks, of course, are high on life after beating Georgia two weeks ago. But what do Spurrier”s boys really bring to the table? Wins over two total patsies (UL-Lafayette and S. Carolina St.) and a Georgia team that isn”t looking quite as cool nowadays – their only win of significance came in the opener against Oklahoma State … which was humiliated by Troy last weekend.

South Carolina is dead last in the SEC in rush defense (192 yards a game) and sixth in total defense despite their easy road to three wins. In each of their three games, an opposing running back has hung a hundred (in each case, the back”s highest yardage total) on the Cocks, and S. Carolina St. put up more ground yards against South Carolina than they did against Bethune-Cookman.

Mr. Spurrier, meet Jacob Hester, Keiland Williams, Charles Scott and Richard Murphy. If the game goes to the ground because of the rain (or just because it”s likely to work really, really well), LSU has a battery of backs to throw at a weak Cock run defense. LSU is fourth in the SEC with 231 ground yards a game, though it”s still to be determined how tough of a schedule the Tigers have faced.

LSU”s air game is a big question mark this weekend with Early Doucet out, Matt Flynn suspect and that tropical depression on the way, and South Carolina is much stronger against the pass (second in the SEC in pass defense). So with matters of personnel and environment uncertain, pounding the Cock run defense seems like the smart plan.

On offense, the Cocks are nothing to write home about, sitting sixth in the SEC in rush offense and ninth in passing offense. They played their opener without Blake Mitchell, however, and you can count on Spurrier going deep into his bag of tricks to try to move the ball against the staunch LSU defense (first in the nation in total defense and scoring defense, first in the SEC in every defensive category they have).

Talent, past performance and the home field are clear advantages for LSU. South Carolina has the evil genius on their side, and could get help from Mother Nature and LSU injuries. A muddy field with Ryan Perrilloux in charge? Not LSU”s ideal situation.

LSU 17 – 13

Elsewhere in the SEC:

No. 20 Alabama hosts No. 21 Georgia. Fonzie has his boys believing; UGA is feeling down having lost to South Carolina and after seeing Oklahoma State get beat by Troy. But Matthew Stafford does his best work in the state of Alabama. I don”t think Georgia is particularly strong, but I sense a mid-rebuild Tide letdown. Georgia 24 – 21

No. 3 Florida at Ole Miss. The Rebels are not good, especially on defense. Florida is really good on both sides of the ball. Gators 52 – 6

No. 23 Kentucky at Arkansas. Kentucky”s powerful air attack against Arkansas” bad pass defense. Arkansas” powerful ground attack against Kentucky”s bad run defense. Which will prevail? I”m going with the Hogs for their ability to control the ball for longer periods of time. Arkansas 31 – 28

New Mexico State at Auburn. Is it at all possible that the Tigers could lose three straight games at home to South Florida, Mississippi State and New Mexico State? With what Auburn calls an offense, yes. But I have to think at some point these losses stop happening. Auburn 10 – 7

Arkansas State at Tennessee. The Vols are reeling after being destroyed by Florida and not being able to match Cal TD for TD. Arkansas State stayed within 8 points of Texas. But I see the Vols not blowing this one. Tennessee 34 – 20

Gardner-Webb at Mississippi State. Yes, Gardner-Webb. A chance for the guys at ESPN to say more nice things about Sylvester Croom. Mississippi State 13 – 10

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