SEC Week 10 Predictions

I”m not one of the LSU fans who hates Nick Saban for leaving Baton Rouge and now winding up in Tuscaloosa. As I”ve mentioned before, he”s a mercenary and a darn good coach. LSU was never going to be his last stop, and I doubt Alabama will be, either. So before I get into predictions for the weekend, a tribute to The Fonz:

Now, outside of “the game LSU”s been waiting 10 months for” aspects of tomorrow, the LSU / Bama game is – this week – the fight for first place in the SEC West. Alabama still has to play Auburn, so Fonzie”s boys have a long way to go even if they get past my Tigers.

After putting up 41 points on the worst defense in the SEC (Tennessee – look it up), Alabama fans are back in the “we”re good!” mode they adopted after beating Arkansas (now 1-3 in the SEC) to start the season 3-0. They don”t talk so much about losing to Georgia and Florida State and barely surviving Houston and Ole Miss.

Fact of the matter: Alabama hasn”t beaten a team that”s currently ranked in the top 25. The only ranked team they”ve played is No. 10 Georgia. The Tide is No. 5 in total and scoring offense in the SEC, No. 8 in total defense and No. 6 in scoring defense playing a weak schedule.

LSU, on the other hand, is No. 3 in total offense in the SEC, No. 4 in scoring offense and No. 1 in total and scoring defense. The Tigers have beaten three currently-ranked teams and LSU”s only loss was to still-ranked-by-humans Kentucky.

Of course, stats and past performance don”t mean too much when you”re talking about an SEC game like LSU / Bama. The Tigers are clearly the more talented team and have the ranking and track record to prove it. In Tuscaloosa against your old coach in a game both sides recognize is full of soap-opera drama, however, the key for LSU is execution.

On offense, the Tigers need to avoid turnovers and penalties – and especially avoid the temptation to build on the Les Miles “crazy coach” reputation. Just throw athletes at Alabama and pick apart Saban”s vulnerable defense.

On defense, the health of Glenn Dorsey may be key, as LSU needs to pressure John Parker Wilson and shut down the run. How well the big guy can get around after Auburn”s cheap and illegal shot to his knee remains to be seen.

But above all else, LSU needs to take the Saban-bred emotion out of the game. The Tigers are playing for the SEC West title, not to show Fonzie he shouldn”t have left Baton Rouge. Let Alabama get caught up in all of that; LSU is the superior team and needs to remember that.

LSU 24 – 17

Elsewhere in the SEC:

No. 26 South Carolina at Arkansas – The Cocks have dropped two straight to SEC East teams, which puts S.C. back in the middle of the pack where they belong. Arkansas is simply not very good. Welcome to the last throws of Houston Nutt. Cocks 31 – 23

Vandy at No. 20 Florida – Gators 48 – 20

Elsewhere in SEC teams playing patsies:

Troy at No. 10 Georgia – Dawgs 48 – 17

Tennessee Tech at No. 16 Auburn – War Eagles 20 – 10

ULL at No. 27 Tennessee – Vols 56 – 24

Northwestern State at Ole Miss – Rebels 7 – 6

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