Saturday, October 30, 2010

SEC Story Lines For Saturday: #1 Auburn Takes The Cam Newton Show On The Road

The headliner of the week in the SEC is the game formerly known as (and still by some) "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" in Jacksonville, but it wouldn't be SEC football without a Saturday filled with back stories. (UGA-Florida Preview here)

1. Will Auburn be the fourth #1 to go down in a row?
The Tigers have played all of their tough games at home this year in front of what may be the best home field advantage in the nation. If Auburn has a weakness, many say it is their pass defense. That unit will face a stern test from an Ole Miss offense that can move the ball through the air with the mobile Jeremiah Masoli at QB.

But unless Cam Newton turns the ball over or gets hurt I don't see Auburn falling this week.

2. South Carolina Controls Its Destiny
It is Halloween weekend and South Carolina leads the SEC East. What could possibly go wrong? Tennessee has shown in flashes that they can play with anyone in the conference. They have also shown they are not on the same level as anyone except Vandy.

3. East Travels West
Vanderbilt and Kentucky venture west to take on Arkansas and Miss State respectively. Vandy switched offensive coordinators after last week and they may need to switch defensive coordinators after they face the high flying Razorbacks.

Miss States hopes to extend their winning streak to six this season against Kentucky while the Wildcats want to bounce back after losing to Georgia a week ago and move closer to bowl eligibility.

Here are some national story lines I will be following Saturday:

1. Can Michigan State keep the luck going at Iowa?
The Spartans have been one of the luckiest teams in the country this year converting a fake field goal in OT to beat a lousy Notre Dame and coming from behind last week against Northwestern with a trick punt. This Iowa game is the last time Michigan State will be underdogs this season since they do not face Ohio State.

2. Missouri travels to Nebraska a week after taking down number one
The Big 12 North title will likely be decided in Lincoln Saturday as undefeated Missouri takes on Nebraska. The Cornhuskers have already faced what was thought to be their big test against Texas and they failed so expect Nebraska to be ready. Can Mizzou bottle their emotions after last week's huge win against Oklahoma?

3. Oregon's blocking is the reason
Many see this USC game as Oregon's most likely chance to lose the rest of the way. Even though USC is playing better I don't see it happening. Everyone sees the speed of the Ducks on the perimeter but very few notice the blocking in the trenches and on the edge. USC's very average defensive line cannot hang with Oregon's o-line and the Ducks will have all day to execute their offense.

4. Rich Rodriguez's job on the line
Michigan has lost their last two games after starting 5-0. Wolverine fans are seeing 2009 all over again with a fast start limping to a 1-7 finish. Penn State will be without starting QB Robert Bolden, but Michigan's defense is really bad to begin with. If Rich Rod can't pull it out in Happy Valley, I think he as good as gone.

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