Yesterday, we tackled the first half of the SEC slate. Today we go over the second half of the SEC slate, beginning with the last game on the schedule.
Troy @ LSU, 7:00pm Central, ESPN360.com
I get a bad vibe about this game. I sometimes get these vibes, and more often than not I am dead wrong. Troy does not have the talent we have, but they seem to be built to exploit our weaknesses. High percentage passing; good pass blocking; good pass rushing; lots of weapons.
I don't want to play around with Troy. Let's not get cute. Let's just do what we have to do to get the W. This isn't North Texas or Tulane, who could not have beaten us no matter what we did. This is Troy, and they're capable of winning a game like this is the more celebrated team is not at their best. Coming out flat and/or hung over from the Bama game will make this an ugly game.
That means, if we can have success running the ball 80% of the time, let's do it, no matter who the quarterback is. For all of Troy's strength, I seriously doubt they can match our physicality. We should press that advantage as hard as we can.
Defensively, I think we should pretty much stay in nickel and dime, and we should keep our quickest pass-rushing units on the field at least half the time.
I think I'm more scared of Troy than I am of Ole Miss.
Mississippi State @ Alabama, 6:45pm Central, ESPN
Alabama looks to knock Mississippi State out of bowl contention here. I know that MSU has won this matchup a couple times in a row, and there is an embarrassingly long streak of Bama failing to score an offensive touchdown against the Bulldogs, but I just don't see it happening here. Bama is so much better than MSU that it's hard to imagine how the Bulldogs can win this one.
Well, let's think about it. Tyson Lee has been hot and cold all year as MSU's quarterback. That's an improvement over Wesley Carroll, who was nothing but cold. A hot Tyson Lee gives MSU a viable passing attack. The Bulldog rushing game is adequate, but not spectacular. OK, best case scenario, I think MSU can score probably about 20-24 offensive points against Bama.
The MSU defense is a pretty decent unit. They held Auburn to a total of 3 points, and while Auburn's offense is/was awful, that's a pretty good result against any team at all.
OK, so it's not exactly impossible. Let's just say it's very unlikely that MSU can beat Bama. Alabama will be highly motivated in this one and will come out as strong as they have all season to avenge their recent losses in this game. The SEC will probably be down to 10 possibly bowl-eligible teams.
Vanderbilt @ Kentucky, 7:00pm, ESPN2
A month later, Vandy still sits at 5 wins, trying to get that 6th to make it to a bowl game. I'm rooting for Vandy here. I want to see the Commies go bowling. Heck, with a win here and a win next against Tennessee, they could go into their final game of the season with a legitimate shot at the Peach or even the Outback Bowl, though I still think that South Carolina will make the Outback.
After that fast start, Vandy just hasn't been that good, and when they've gotten a winnable game they just didn't play up to their abilities. Losing to Duke and Mississippi State is just killer.
Kentucky is a solid team, and I wonder right now if Vandy is solid. They don't look solid. They look like a team that doesn't know how to play offense.
OK, we know a win by Vandy probably puts them in a bowl game. A win by Kentucky means they can start thinking Liberty Bowl, Music City Bowl, or Peach Bowl. I don't think anyone in Lexington could have thought they'd reach 7 or 8 wins this year, and they can really set themselves up to have a very nice season.