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    SEC preview and predictions Week 4

    SEC preview and predictions – Week 4
    By Jess Nicholas
    TideFans.com Editor-in-Chief
    Sept. 23, 2009

    Last week’s record: 6-3 (66.7%)
    Season record: 22-5 (81.5%)


    Last week wasn’t the best for the Predictions Dept., but every season has its surprises (such as, how in the world could Vanderbilt be worse than Mississippi State…). This week, Alabama and Arkansas meet in the conference’s top tilt, but a resurgent Kentucky faces Florida and Georgia takes on Arizona State in an interconference matchup.

    ARIZONA STATE at GEORGIA
    So far, Arizona State has played two nobodies (Louisiana-Monroe, Idaho State), while Georgia has been fairly well battle-tested, losing to Oklahoma State but bouncing back to beat South Carolina and Arkansas in close contests. Arizona State is sort of an unknown in a PAC-10 that appears to be reshuffling itself from top to bottom, so this game has very few known quantities upon which to judge. But PAC-10 teams visiting SEC sites – particularly when they happen to be finesse teams like Arizona State – rarely do well. The big question is whether Georgia’s defense can start playing to its potential.
    Georgia 34
    Arizona State 24


    ARKANSAS at ALABAMA
    See our extended preview!

    FLORIDA at KENTUCKY
    Florida should have beaten Tennessee by a far worse score last week, but the Volunteers played stall-ball for most of the game and kept the score respectable. In the process, however, the Vols may have exposed Florida’s receiver corps as average (or even below average), and the lack of a pure power back to complement Tim Tebow. It probably won’t matter against a Kentucky team that is scrappy, but severely undermanned in comparison to the Gators. Kentucky mashed Miami-Ohio in its opener, then slid past rival Louisville in Week 2, but Florida is a different animal. Having the game in Lexington will probably keep the score respectable, but Florida will probably use this one as a bounce-back game to prove to the critics that Urban Meyer’s spread-option offense is not dead.
    Florida 35
    Kentucky 13


    MISSISSIPPI at SOUTH CAROLINA
    This will be Ole Miss’ first real test of the year, while South Carolina has already faced down North Carolina State and took Georgia to the brink. Ole Miss’ offensive line has not looked good in its first two games, and South Carolina’s front seven is as good as any in the conference. If Gamecock QB Stephen Garcia is the real deal, he could deal fits to an Ole Miss secondary that many believe is just waiting to be exposed. Could this one be the upset of the week? Possibly, as Columbia is not an easy place to play and South Carolina has much to prove. If Ole Miss gets caught looking at its own national ranking, the upset is there for the taking.
    Ole Miss 28
    South Carolina 27


    OHIO at TENNESSEE
    Ohio took all 60 minutes and then some to beat a North Texas team that Alabama trounced 53-7. No problems here for the Vols.
    Tennessee 30
    Ohio 10


    VANDERBILT at RICE
    Former Alabama quarterback Nick Fanuzzi leads Rice against Vanderbilt, which looked completely terrible last week in an upset loss to Mississippi State. The problem in this matchup for Vandy is that Rice can score points. The Owls’ defense hasn’t been up to par, but Rice figures to put up no less than 20-25 points in this one and the Commodores haven’t shown they can consistently answer the scoring challenge. The good news for Vandy is that Rice is almost dead last in pass defense, so Larry Smith and Mackenzi Adams ought to find the going to be a bit easier than it was against State and LSU. The bad news for Vanderbilt is it looks like the ’Dores will have to win this game and its matchup with Army two weeks later to avoid a 10-loss season.
    Vanderbilt 24
    Rice 23


    BALL STATE at AUBURN
    Ball State is flat-out terrible. The erstwhile BCS buster has been floundering on offense in 2009 and Auburn’s offense has proven more than good enough to put away teams like this. The advantage of Auburn’s spread is that, when the offense outmatches the defense, things can get ugly. Things will get very ugly for Ball State Saturday.
    Auburn 48
    Ball State 13


    LOUISIANA STATE at MISSISSIPPI STATE
    Now that Mississippi State is done with its slap-fight against Vanderbilt, the Bulldogs can get ready for the tail-whipping that LSU is sure to deliver. LSU’s offense needs a defense that will go easy on it, and MSU should provide the expected cushion. The Bulldogs deserve kudos for defeating Vanderbilt – and neutering the Commodore offense in the process – but LSU isn’t Vandy. This is the point in the season where new State head coach Dan Mullen may begin to long for his days on the Florida sideline.
    LSU 30
    Mississippi St. 7
    Last edited by BamaNation; September 23rd, 2009 at 01:06 PM.
    Jess Nicholas
    Editor-In-Chief
    TideFans.com

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