Wednesday, September 19, 2007

This week in the SEC

EEW briefly touched on these with his picks, but let's talk some SEC.

South Carolina at LSU
Why it's important:
A Steve Spurrier win in Death Valley would solidify the Gamecock renaissance that the Ol' Ball Coach has been talking up since he landed at South Carolina -- not to mention Lee Corso would be eating a big, steaming bowl of crow. But let's not get ahead of ourselves here. They're still playing the #2 ranked team in the country on the road, and without their marching band! (Apparently travel expenses are too high.)
Important Stat: In total, LSU's defense has allowed 7 points to be scored in three games against very decent teams -- Mississippi State, Virginia Tech, and Middle Tennessee. LSU's offense has been stepping all over opposing defenses. The Gamecock defense is no joke, though. Remember that they held Matthew Stafford and company to 12 points at Georgia.
The Edge: Clearly, it's LSU. Matt Flynn and the high-powered LSU offense might not steamroll over the Gamecocks, but their out-of-this-world defense will ensure that the Tigers retain a comfortable lead throughout.

Georgia at Alabama
Why it's important:
Alabama makes a huge jump into the ratings following a nearly disastrous 3-point victory over Arkansas ... because they're Alabama. Nick Saban can silence the last of the naysayers by going 5-0 and defeating his second consecutive ranked conference opponent. The jury's out on Matthew Stafford and the Bulldogs. They came in with great expectations this year, only to be thwarted at home by South Carolina. They may be looking to prove they can still play ball.
Important Stat: 31-10. That's the score Alabama led over Arkansas before watching it slip through their hands like sand by the fourth quarter. The Razorbacks scored 28 unanswered to make it 38-31, but Nick Saban's squad scored 10 more in the last eight minutes -- including a touchdown with eight seconds left -- to notch the victory.
The Edge: This could go either way, really. Alabama's finishing ability is questionable, but the Georgia offense hasn't been impressive against a decent opponent yet. The advantage goes to the Tide, since this game's in Tuscaloosa.

Kentucky at Arkansas
Why it's important:
Kentucky's back in the top 25 after everyone and their brother knew they'd rip up the Louisville D. Now it's onto conference play, where they must travel to the Nutt House and find a way to stop Heisman hopeful Darren McFadden in his tracks. Their D really, really needs to step it up if they want to be competitive in this game.
Important Stat: Darren McFadden rushed for 195 yards in the loss against Alabama this week. Need I say more?
The Edge: Arkansas gets this game at home, where they'll be anxious to jump back into the poll. Darren McFadden is probably a little bit too quick for the Kentucky D, and is sure to have another Heisman resume padding day. Look for Arkansas to win this one.

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