Line: LSU -12.5, 38.5
The first game with significant national championship implications this season. Virginia Tech struggled last week coming off an emotional pregame ceremony. LSU's 45-0 defeat of Mississippi State was aided by several Bulldog turnovers and a sloppy field. The Tigers are very tough at home in night games. Two of the best defenses in the country will be on display, so expect a lower scoring game.
1. Sean Glennon must play mistake free football (no turnovers)
2. Branden Ore needs to carry the offensive load (see Kenny Irons in 2005)
3. LSU needs to make VT beat them. The Tigers lost both of their games last year because of mistakes they made.
Miami @Oklahoma Noon ABC
Line: Okla -10.5, 43.5
A revival of an Orange Bowl rivalry from the 80s as the Hurricanes travel to Norman for an early season showdown. The Sooners played without Allen Patrick last week, but that did not make a difference in 79-10 rout of North Texas. Miami has turned to Kirby Freeman at QB after inconsistency the last two years from Kyle Wright. The Canes have the talent to hold the OU offense down - the question is can they move the ball consistently?
2. OU must protect their QB in passing situations. The Miami D-Line is very strong and they have a ball hawking safety in Kenny Phillips. The Sooners need to have a short, controlled passing game.
3. Kirby Freeman needs to be a difference make... for Miami.
South Carolina @ Georgia 6:45 ESPN2
Line: UGA -4.5, 45
The Gamecocks did little to impress last week though their starter Blake Mitchell was suspended. I think Spurrier played very vanilla as not to give much away to Mark Richt. On the other hand, Georgia looked pretty impressive in beating a decent Oklahoma State team last week, especially on defense. Matt Stafford was very efficient on offense passing the ball and Knowshon Moreno and Thomas Brown provided a solid ground attack. This game will be close and low scoring like the last five meetings have been in this early SEC East battle. This could be the gateway game to catapult South Carolina to the top of the SEC East, but they have to have this game for that to happen.
Keys to the Game:
1. South Carolina needs to rattle Stafford and the receivers early. I think Okie State let Stafford get way to comfortable in the pocket. Hit him hard early and lay some doubt in the receivers if they hear footsteps.
2. Remember Mike Davis. When everyone thinks Spurrier they think passing, but the Gamecocks needs to get the reliable Davis involved to keep a sound Georgia front seven off balance.
3. Bulldogs special teams special. Georgia has a decided advantage in the kicking and return game. They need to take advantage of this and give themselves some short fields