Friday, October 19, 2007

LSU Auburn Highlights This Week

Auburn @ LSU
LSU-10, 42.5

LSU is coming off a 3OT loss after just week at #1. Auburn has been on a roll since their loss to Miss State having won four in a row. The winner of this game has been to the SEC Championship Game 4 of the past 5 years.

LSU Offense vs Auburn Defense:
Some may wonder why Les Miles ran the ball on 4th and 2 last week. Looking at the stats, the Tiger had managed 5 ypc on 50 carries for over 250 yards prior to that run. I don’t think they will be able to repeat that against Auburn. I was a little miffed as to why Ryan Perrilloux did not play more in the late stages of the game especially after Flynn was seen hobbling on his ankle. Expect LSU to play both QBs extensively to keep this Auburn defense on their toes. Early Doucet should be back for LSU giving them another threat down the field. You cannot stack against the run or try to blitz this LSU team too much because they are so balanced. Historically, this has been a low scoring, defensive affair. I think Auburn will need a couple of turnovers to help slow the LSU O.

Auburn Offense vs LSU Defense:
A couple of week ago, Glenn Dorsey and the LSU D-line would have been licking their chops at this game. Brandon Cox was injury prone, the O-line was playing like turnstiles, and the running backs could not hold onto the ball. Times have changed on the Plains, and Cox has cemented his status as starting QB after a brief stint on the bench. Brad Lester, the leading returning rusher from last year is also back and the backups have held onto the ball much better in recent weeks. The top LSU CB, Chevous Jackson, went down last week and Kentucky really tried to exploit true freshman Jai Eugene. Jackson’s status is uncertain, so expect Auburn to go after Eugene. If the Tigers can get pressure on Cox, then it could be a long night for the senior. Kentucky did better than I thought in pass protection and these D-linemen are playing after a tough win vs Florida and 3OT in Lexington. I think fatigue and injuries will be the biggest obstacle LSU will have to over come on defense.

Campus Scene:
Everyone is a little down after going down after just one week as #1, but the national title hopes are still there (especially after the South Florida loss). The Auburn game has been one of the toughest and most meaningful over the last 5 years and this game is also at night where LSU has a much better home record (they are actually .500 during the day). LSU has to overcome a lot of bumps and bruises though after the last two games.

LSU Wins, Auburn Covers, Over

Florida @ Kentucky
Fla –6.5, 64

Florida travels to Kentucky the week after the 3OT win over then #1 LSU. This is a must win for both teams in the SEC East race. Florida has beaten Kentucky 20 straight times. The streak is the currently the third longest for a continuous series.

Florida Offense vs Kentucky Defense:
Florida utilizes Tim Tebow in every aspect of their offense. He will throw, run around you, run through you, run over you, fake the run and then pass, etc. The Gators have one of most dynamic players in college football in Percy Harvin. The sophomore will line up at HB, WR, H-back, and slot. Meyer will try to get the ball into Harvin’s hands as much possible. One of the reasons he plays some running back is that Florida still has not found a reliable running back. This lack of RB has led to Tebow getting beat up more than desired through the first 6 games. Kentucky gave up over 250 yards rushing last week against LSU and the Tigers also had success through the air. The best unit on the Wildcats D is their LB corps led by Wesley Woodyard. Kentucky will have its work cut out for them especially after playing 3OT last week, while the Gators were off.

Kentucky Offense vs Florida Defense:
By now, everybody knows about Andre Woodson. What everyone doesn’t know is that the Wildcat receiving corps is one of the best that you have never heard of. Eric Locke stepped in for the injured Rafael Little last week and was able to grind out some yards against a tough LSU defense. Locke came to Kentucky on a track scholarship and might be called upon this week again if Rafael Little is not 100%. Florida’s defense was just as beat up as their offense after three straight tough games in a row. This defense is very young, but has held up pretty well. The secondary is especially young starting two freshmen. I think Kentucky will be able to the move the ball pretty well, but they will have to guard against mistakes versus an aggressive defense.

Campus Scene:
Hysteria has hit Lexington. Basketball practice has started and the Wildcats are in the top 10 in football. It will be very tough to come back after beating #1 LSU last week in 3OT. While all that was going on, Florida had the week off to prepare.

Florida Wins, Covers, Under

Miami @ Florida State
FSU –5, 41

For the first time in 30 years, neither team is ranked in this game. FSU has won 2 in a row in the series after losing 5 straight to the U. Both teams’ struggles have been on the offensive side of the ball especially at QB.

FSU Offense vs Miami Defense
The Seminoles have gone back and forth between Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee. Lee made the start against Wake Forest last week, but Weatherford came off the bench after the offense sputtered in the second half. The Seminoles are not rushing the ball very well either. Much was anticipated from the offense after Jimbo Fisher came over from LSU, but there is not much of a difference so far. Defensively, Miami played has played pretty well except for the last two games where the allowed 187+ rushing on the ground in both. Ends Calais Campbell and Eric Moncur will need double teams to keep them out of the backfield. Kenny Philips is an All American safety, but is a notch below the great Hurricane safeties of past years. I expect FSU to not take many chances on offense outside of a few jump balls for 6’6” WR Greg Carr and play fairly conservatively.

Miami Offense vs FSU Defense
Kyle Wright regained his starting position after just two games under Kirby Freeman and has played better by and large this year. Javarris James and Graig Cooper lead the Hurricanes on offense from running back. Wright has not been helped much by his WR corps that has been plagued by drops. FSU is still very good on defensive, but the one area they have dropped off is at D-line; Andre Wadsworth and Reinard Wilson are not walking through that door. This is good news for a Miami O-line that has struggled also keeping Wright off his back. Miami has a new OC this year, Pat Nix, who likes a run first offense and to take shots downfield. Last week, Hurricane receivers were open, but Wright overthrew many of them. Like FSU, I expect Miami to play fairly conservatively on offense and let their defense (Miami’s) try and control the game.

Campus Scene:
This is still a fierce rivalry game and means a lot towards recruiting in the state of Florida. The word is still out on Randy Shannon in his first year, but Bobby’s Bowden’s days in this rivalry are numbered. I expect a lot of trash talking, penalties, and turnovers. The last one will likely determine the winner with two anemic offenses.

FSU Wins, Miami Covers, Under

Other games…
Alabama at Tennessee
Pick, 55

Why watch?
This will be Nick Saban’s first rivalry game in Tuscaloosa. Alabama didn’t pay Saban $4M per to have 3 point wins over Ole Miss AFTER a 5 minute delay to review a potential game winning catch for the Rebels.
What to expect?
Tennessee has new life after defeating Georgia and is “in control of their destiny” in the SEC East. Erik Ainge has been a very good road QB and he must out play the lesser John Parker Wilson. Alabama’s best win doesn’t look so good anymore (Arkansas).

Tennessee Wins, Under

Vanderbilt at South Carolina
SC –13.5, 47

Why Watch?
The Commodores were within 10 yards of beating Georgia last week before a fumble. South Carolina may be looking ahead to the showdown with Tennessee next week.
What to Expect?
I think this will be a low scoring affair matching two the of the better defenses in the SEC – South Carolina’s you know about, but you will find out about Vandy. Look for Spurrier to shake up the QB rotation and get Senior Blake Mitchell some snaps in the first half and if he plays well he may finish the game.

South Carolina Wins, Vandy Covers, Under

Army @ Georgia Tech
GT –23.5, 44

Why Watch?
Army gave BC fits earlier this year and BC gave Georgia Tech fits early this year as well.
What to Expect?
A heavy dose of Georgia Tech running backs. The Yellow Jackets would like to rest some of the starters in the second half, especially Tashard Choice, in preparation for Va Tech two weeks from now. I think Army will be able to pass against Tech’s soft zone if they can give the QB time.

Georgia Tech Wins, Army Covers, Over

Central Michigan @ Clemson
Clem –16.5, 62
Why watch?
James Davis and CJ Spiller are looking for redemption and it should come against a team last seen allowed 45+ to Purdue.
What to Expect?
I expect the Tigers to come out and try to establish the run early. They had a week to prepare, so they may throw in some new formations and trick plays early on. Central Michigan can put up points, but they couldn’t stop a Yankees postseason meltdown.

Clemson Wins, Covers, Under

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