Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Keys To This Weekends Games

Florida vs Tennessee 3:30 CBS
1. Running game
The winner 15 of the last 17 years has had more rushing yards than the loser. Neither team is great at it, but they both could be very good. Florida will use a less conventional approach by using QB Tim Tebow and WR/RB/H-Back Percy Harvin in addition to Kestahn Moore. Tennessee has to be able to run the ball in this game and control the clock. The Vols can score points too, but they don't want to get into a shootout.

2. Passing on the advantage
Both teams could have trouble defending the pass. Tim Tebow is 2nd nationally in passing efficiency while Tennessee ranks 11th in the SEC so far. Erik Ainge is one of the better pocket passers in the country. He has an inexperienced WR corps this year, but the Gators may be starting two true freshman in the secondary. If Ainge gets time in the pocket he may be able to take advantage of an untested Gator defense.

3. Punch in the Mouth
Tennessee has already played a top 10 team on the road and a Conference USA perennial favorite. Meanwhile, the Gators have played a I-AA team and the road warriors of Division I (Troy). They put up a lot of points, but also gave up some. I think the Vols need to score first and see how the Gators react - and hope they get a little scared.


Georgia Tech vs Boston College 8:00 ESPN
1. Mistake Free
Georgia Tech has yet to turn the ball this year by fumble or interception. BC typically plays very sound football and wears the other team down with execution. I think one of these will give on Saturday night. GT QB Taylor Bennett will likely see 8 man fronts and press coverage against his run first offense. BC has 9 interceptions already on the year, but has just two sacks. LV Whitworth must take care of the ball on the ground against a team that has 5 fumble recoveries this season. The team that wins the turnover and penalty battle greatly increases their chances of winning.

2. Rattle Ryan
Jon Tenuta is going to blitz Matt Ryan no matter how accurate he may be. It will be important for the 1st All ACC to get rid of the ball quickly. Most teams attempt to do this, but are inaccurate in their short passes due to the pass rush. I think Ryan will not have an issue with this, so it will be interesting to see if Tech plays more press coverage. Ryan is not the most mobile QB and Tenuta usually feasts on pocket passers.

3. Strength on Strength
Georgia Tech ranks 4th in rushing offense. BC ranks 4th in rushing defense this season. The Eagles stat is a bit misleading since teams have lost 67 yards on carries and have been behind for most of the game. BC will be without two starting d-lineman against a Yellow Jacket offensive with four starters in their fourth year starting together. Tech has not played a strong run defense and BC has not played a strong running team. Something will give.


Alabama vs Arkansas 6:45 ESPN
1. Can Tide make Casey Dick beat them?
With Marcus Monk likely out for the Razorbacks, then Dick will have to look for another option in the air. The loss of Monk will especially be felt in the red zone with this height and body control. The wildcard or "wildhog" is the passing ability of Darren McFadden.

2. Alabama deep threats
Coming into the year, the question on the Alabama focused more on the running game than the passing game. The emergence of Terry Grant at tailback has been a blessing, but John Parker Wilson has not able to hook up with Keith Brown and DJ Hall. Both these receivers have big play ability and if the Tide can protect Wilson, then they have a chance to get on track with the deep ball.

3. Bottling Emotion
This game is huge... for SEC West... for Nick Saban a benchmark win... for Houston Nutt a big win for a program in off season turmoil. The crowd will be riled up and at a fever pitch by game time. The Razorbacks may consider themselves under the radar this year with all the attention on LSU and Saban's return. They have also had the week off to prepare. They need to be able to hang tough and be patient if things get off to a slow start.

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