Thursday, October 18, 2007

SEC Preview Week 8

As it so happened, Homer at the Bat aired last night in local syndication. I was very impressed with the timing. The show is hilarious, and the commenter who corrected me about the plot points is correct. I had forgotten how funny Darryl Strawberry's appearance was in that show.

It's yet another in an endless string of big weekends in the SEC this week. Once again, it's so big that a fairly interesting matchup between Ole Miss and Arkansas won't be televised, and neither will a big OOC matchup between MSU and West Virginia. I guess at this point neither Ole Miss nor Arkansas are a threat to win the West, so it's not such a big deal that they're off of television. It appears there will be TWO Lincoln-Financial games this week, and both will be fairly substantial matchups. We'll get to all that now.

Tennessee at Bama, 11:30am Lincoln-Financial. People are very upset that this is the 11:30 game this week, as it is one of the most bitter rivalries in the SEC. And I can see their complaints. Both of these teams still control their destinies in their respective divisions. Tennessee, for one, has looked pretty good recently. It is, in fact, a very heated rivalry. The problem is that the other games on the schedule just look more attractive right now. The game between Auburn and LSU appears to once again be a fight for supremacy in the west and the game between Florida and Kentucky looks like a heavyweight fight. This one looks more like a middleweight fight at this point. By the end of the season, I could be eating those words, but at this point this matchup just doesn't look as compelling as the other ones on the schedule. Will I watch it? Heck yeah. I mean, it's Tennessee vs. Bama. We might see actual violence perpetrated against a certain coach.

Vandy at South Carolina, 11:30am, (Lincoln-Financial?). I can't figure out if this game is an alternate LF game or not. It's at 11:30. It's on GamePlan. But I haven't heard anything about it being an alternate LF game. It would be kind of a shame if this game was off of regular television entirely. South Carolina looks to be a serious challenger in the East this year, while Vandy is still... um... waiting to have that breakout game I keep expecting. If Vandy QB Chris Nickson can have a half-decent game against a half-decent opponent, Vandy is a dangerous team. South Carolina, meanwhile, just keeps looking better and better as the season progresses. I think they are legitimately the best team in the East right now, and they're just waiting for their game with Florida to prove it.

Arkansas at Ole Miss, 1:00pm, no television. Arkansas has to be the most disappointing team in the conference. I expected them to be a very good team, but they're winless in the conference and have looked pretty flat. After his 40-something yard rushing game against Auburn, Darren McFadden is out of the Heisman race. Marcus Monk is thinking about redshirting. Houston Nutt is thinking about life after Arkansas. Ole Miss has quietly become the worst team in the conference, even though I think they're a better team than they were last year. Their offense is much more dynamic and they have a lot more skilled players. Other teams, like MSU and Vandy, have just gotten better faster.

Florida at Kentucky, 2:30pm CBS. Kentucky will try to build on its win against LSU, and I for one hope they beat the Gators. If they play with the fire and passion they did against LSU, they have an excellent chance. It's hard to sustain that kind of effort over the long haul, however. I thought we could be more physical than Kentucky, but we couldn't. They surprised me with their intensity. Will they surprise Florida? Will they ask Tebow to put up another Herculean effort?

Mississippi State at West Virginia, 2:30pm Gameplan. I'm not sure this game has any regional coverage here. I'm not particularly interested in it, because I think WVU will pulverize Mississippi State. I could be wrong though. MSU plays a solid defensive and running game. They just are going to have problem with teams that put up big plays, which is West Virginia forte. I actually expect MSU to play them pretty tough, but I don't expect them to come out with a win here. There's just too much speed and big play ability on the other side of the ball.

Auburn at LSU, 8:00pm ESPN. Does anyone realize that Auburn is just a couple of plays away from being undefeated? Then again, almost every game is decided by just a couple of plays, and them's the breaks. It has been said, I think by Bear Bryant that, "You can't get your team up for every game. You can only get them up three times a year. The rest of the games, you better have more talent." I think this is a game we're going to be up for. It's one of our three, because Auburn is maybe our biggest on-field rival in the last decade, and they beat us last year. They've looked really good lately, even though they only put up 9 points last week (in a win). They still don't have a ton of weapons on offense, but their offense is greatly improved from early in the season. Still, I think we are the more talented team. We just have to go out there and play our best, and we should win. If we're playing our best, and playing spirited football, I think we're 2 or 3 touchdowns better than Auburn at their best.


Joe Blow said...

Vandy/USC was probably the original LF game. The Bama/UT game was bumped from CBS for the UK/UF game, and the LSU/AU was one of ESPN's preseason choices. LF announces their games earlier than CBS. I kind of explain the process here.

"Does anyone realize that Auburn is just a couple of plays away from being undefeated?"

Maybe...but do you know what 4+ turnovers in a game will get you? A loss to Stanford (USC), Cal (Oregon), KSU (UT), Illinois (PSU), and yes, USF and Mississippi State. Look at the rest of the upsets this year, and most of the losing teams had at least three turnovers. No breaks there. Just poor execution of offense, and good execution on defense.

Talent? LSU gets the edge, but not by much. Speaking of talent...why do you think Miles isn't using Perrilloux as much (other than in the red zone)?

"and them's the breaks" ATHF reference?

Richard Pittman said...

I think the talent difference is pretty substantial. It's certainly not overwhelming. I don't think anyone in the SEC really has overwhelming talent, and I'm not sure it's a concept that has any meaning throughout college football right now.

As for Perrilloux, I truly do not understand it. The man has looked great whenever he's gotten a chance to play extended time. The offense has looked dynamic with him in the game. He hasn't really gotten the knack for game management yet (has to use a lot of timeouts and gets some delay penalties), but he's a much better passer and runner than Flynn right now.

I kind of have a feeling that if the offense struggles this week, Miles will bite the bullet and play Perrilloux a lot.

Joe Blow said...

It would definitely throw Muschamp a curve ball, that's for sure.

I think the experience difference is what's substantial, not talent level. Auburn has the talent, but this is probably the youngest team they've ever fielded. If you look at their depth chart, it's pretty amazing. Three starting on the OL are true freshman. There are also freshmen at tailback, quarterback, and receiver that have gotten significant playing time. Even on defense, Auburn has two freshmen starting, and several others that have stepped up when needed. Kicking game? All freshmen.

uberschuck said...

Remember the offseason problems in the Arkansas athletic department? It was predictable that it might cause morale problems. I have no way of knowing how true it is, but it sure looks that way.

Speaking of morale problems, a week ago one of the Florida players was killed in an automobile accident. A tragedy like that can have awful effects on a team, but they are justified in having their minds away from football. Will they rally & play great, or will they look like a team in mourning?

It is easy to predict LSU will use the loss as a wake up call and play great against Auburn. That may happen, but we have a habit of playing tight games with Auburn, regardless of the circumstances.

Richard Pittman said...

I just didn't see the Arkansas problems spilling onto the field, and I'm not sure they have. I just don't know if Arkansas has the talent around McFadden and Jones that they had last year. I don't think the blocking is as good, and I don't think the defense is as good. I truly expected the team to rally around McFadden and put the off-field problems into the past. Maybe they hae, and maybe they haven't, but they aren't playing well at all.

I'm not sure about this LSU game. Frankly, we've moved backwards in the last few weeks, and right now our offense is really struggling. we need to bounce back and be dynamic on offense again.