Thursday, November 9, 2006

Teams Trying to Play Spoiler in Week 11

Some key conference matchups highlight this weekend as several teams will try to play spoiler.

South Carolina (5-4, 3-4) @ Florida (8-1, 6-1) (-13.5, 44) 3:30 CBS
This game will be Spurrier's first in the Swamp as an opposing coach and I am sure many fans will have mixed emotions. Some will want the Gators to beat the Gamecocks to a pulp, but other may have mixed emotions considering is where they are today largely because of Spurrier.

South Carolina 5-4-05-3-02-43-022.617.25-3-0
Florida 8-1-03-6-06-02-126.3133-6-0

Keys to the Game:
Playing South Carolina, Not Spurrier
No players on this Florida roster played for Spurrier and even though they have the East wrapped up, they know how important this game is. It will be important for the Gators to be patient in this game and their huge talent advantage win this game for them and not succumb to the notion of having to beat Spurrier instead of South Carolina.
Getting After the QB
Neither Chris Leak nor Blake Mitchell is the fleetest of foot and both have had trouble when put under pressure. The defense that can get the most pressure will be able to force the QB into some bad decisions.
When there is such a talent disparity as in this game, the underdog must be able to force turnovers and capitalize off them for points.

Prediction: Florida Wins, South Carolina Covers, Under

Georgia (6-4, 3-4) @ Auburn (9-1, 5-1) (-13, 40.5) 12:30 Lincoln Financial
For the past several years, this matchup has been between two teams headed to New Years Bowl, but not this year because of Georgia's struggles.

Georgia 6-4-03-6-04-22-224.417.83-6-0
Auburn 9-1-04-5-06-13-026.811.55-4-0

Keys to the Game:
Georgia's Running Game
Last week vs Kentucky, Kregg Lumpkin was running well in the first half, but only got three carries in the second half. The Bulldogs must do a better job of getting him the ball, as Auburn has been susceptible to the run game (see Arkansas loss)
Two Struggling Units
Georgia's defense is not what it has been over the past four years and Auburn should feel they can move the ball however they choose. Yet, Auburn's offense is not as explosive as the last two years due to lingering injuries. The unit who can rebound in this game will give their team a big boost.

Prediction: Auburn Wins, Georgia Covers, Over

Wake Forest (4-1, 8-1) @ Florida State (3-4, 5-4) (-8.5, 41) 8:00 ABC
So let me get this straight, Wake Forest will be attempting to go 9-1 for the first time in school history, while Florida State needs this game to become bowl eligible?

Wake Forest 8-1-05-3-04-14-022.914.92-6-0
Florida State 5-4-04-5-03-22-228.817.86-3-0

Keys to the Game:
Don't Play Like You Are Wake Forest
The kids from Wake are the ones controlling their destiny, not FSU, and they should take this underdog role as a slap in the face. When they look down at their jersey, they need to realize they are Wake Forest, but they are also a team that is a blocked FG away from being undefeated. Florida State will go through the same pre game motions they always have, but they are not the same FSU when they blow the whistle.
Stats Are Meaningless
If you look at the offensive and defensive stats for these two teams, then you would think the records should be reversed, but Wake is a team that takes care of the ball and does not beat themselves. FSU is going to their yards, but they have a tendency to turn the ball over and hurt themselves with penalties. Wake needs to capitalize when FSU shoots themselves in the foot.

Prediction: FSU Wins & Covers, Under

Georgia Tech (5-1, 7-2) @ North Carolina (0-5, 1-8) (+13.5, 47) 12:30 L Financial
With a victory, the Yellow Jackets can punch their ticket to Jacksonville. Butch Davis appears close to becoming the next coach in Chapel Hill and you wonder how much the players are paying attention to the coaching search.
Georgia Tech 7-2-05-3-05-12-126.719.35-3-0
North Carolina 1-8-01-5-11-40-416.4344-3-0

Keys to the Game:
Getting the Ball to Your Playmakers
Even though Calvin Johnson is unguardable in college, Tech has had trouble getting him the ball at times and when that happens, their offense stalls.
Early Scores
In the past, this Georgia Tech team has had at least one game a year where they lose to a team they should not. In those games, they have gotten down two scores early and then faded down the stretch after an unsuccessful comeback. The Tar Heels need to get up early to themselves confidence they can beat a I-A team.
Reggie Ball's TD v INT
Ball threw two bad INT last week, but countered with four TD passes. The Senior has the best TD/INT ratio in the ACC, but in his past three years as the starter the difference between his TD to INT has been the difference between winning and losing for the Jackets.

Prediction: Georgia Tech Wins & Covers, Under

NC State (3-6, 2-4) @ Clemson (7-3, 4-3) (-17, 45) 12:30 L Financial
The Wolfpack need this game to keep hopes alive for a bowl game, while the Tigers need a rebound after losing their last two and don't want to slide in the Champs Sports Bowl again.
North Carolina State 3-6-02-6-03-30-319225-3-0
Clemson 7-3-06-4-05-12-235.713.75-5-0

Keys to the Game:
Just Run Baby
Clemson has a better chance running the ball with nine in the box than they do passing the ball because James Davis and CJ Spiller are just that good. A deep throw early might be in store to loosen up the defense a little. For NC State, they decided to beat Ga Tech last week they need to toss it up 50+ times despite the fact they have two potential all star backs in Andre Brown and Toney Baker. Jon Tenuta just smiled last when he saw NC State line up 5 wide.
Last week, the Pack had dropped passes in crucial situations. If you want to go on the road and win as underdog, you have to do all the little things tow in. When Clemson does decide to throw the ball, they have to be able to move the ball to loosen up the State defense.

Prediction: Clemson Wins, NC State Covers, Under

Miami (5-4, 2-3) @ Maryland (7-2, 4-1)3:30 ABC
The outlook on this game changed dramatically due to the sudden death of Miami DT Bryan Pata. The Hurricanes have decided to play this game to honor their fallen teammate. It is impossible to know how this Miami team will perform this Saturday. Will the memory of Pata carry them through their anguish and lift them to a victory or will the realization him them once they step on to the field that their teammate is no longer with them?

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