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SEC Preview: Week #4, Part 2


I really need to remember to include more pictures with my post.  They make it more enjoyable and help distinguish one post from another.

We take a look at the back half of the SEC schedule for Week 4, starting with:

Vanderbilt at Ole Miss, 6:00pm, no television

I can't believe this game isn't televised.  It looks like a heck of a lot better game than Bama at Arkansas.  These two teams are a combined 5-1 on the season, with the only loss coming to a ranked team.  I would actually really like to see this game.  Instead, I get to experience the fetid stink of the corpse of Arkansas's football team.  

Vandy's already half-way to bowl eligibility, and Ole Miss could get there this week.  The winner of this game will most probably go to a bowl, and the loser might as well.  Think about that.  We're looking at a September game between two possible eventual bowl teams, both of whom appear to be actually fun to watch, and it's not televised.  I know those Bama fans watch games in droves while Vandy fans don't really exist and therefore don't watch television, but where's the consideration for me and my tastes?  Did the SEC office even think about how this would affect me?

OK, I know the answer to that.

Word is that Ole Miss's All-SEC defensive end, Greg Hardy, who is one of the best players in the conference at any position, has returned to practice following his injury.  With Hardy in the game, Ole Miss is a much better team.  He's a playmaker on a team that does not have a lot of playmakers, especially on defense.  If he plays this weekend, I think Ole Miss is the favorite in this game.

Vandy, for their part, can be accused of doing it with mirrors at this point.  They are not passing even remotely effectively, and they aren't exactly lighting it up in the running game either.  They're doing just enough to win, and that's just enough I suppose.

Wofford at South Carolina, 6:00pm, no television.

I know South Carolina has already played two conference games (their mistake), but is it really the time of the year to be beating up on teams from another division?  Well, I guess if you're sitting below .500, maybe it is.

Seriously, South Carolina's offense looked positively woeful in its first two games.  Despite only scoring 7 points, it actually looked a lot better against Georgia.  And it was the sort of "better" you could tell was actually better play, and not a signal that Georgia's defense wasn't as good.  South Carolina made mistakes in its first two games that it would have made if it was playing against a high school team.  Dumb pre-snap penalties.  Missed blocking assignments.  Etc.

Their quarterbacks spent a lot of time trying to convert 3rd and long or running for their lives.  Against Georgia they really pulled it together and eliminated the unforced errors that had plagued them.  I think it means South Carolina is going to start playing better the rest of the year.  The loss to Vandy hurts, as it was a game they were looking at for a W to get them to the 6 or 7 wins it will take to make a bowl game.  This week, they will get win #2.

They only have one more cheap win on the season, next week's game against UAB.  After that, they will have to earn their wins against some good teams and Arkansas.

Auburn at LSU, 6:45 ESPN

We're all well-versed in this game so far, and honestly there are so many matchups and storylines to cover that it's hard to even get to all of them.

Trindon.  Will Trindon Holliday's move to punt returner make an impact in this game?  If so, will it be a positive one for LSU?  It really was long past time for this move to happen, and even if he's shaky catching the ball, it's not like Chad Jones has a long history of sure-handedness back there.

The LSU secondary.  How will our revamped secondary fare against Auburn's passing game?  Yes, I know the passing game hasn't exactly set the world on fire yet, but we are still inexperienced back there, and we can bet the Auburn offense will come out wanting to show their woeful performance against MSU was not representative of what they can do.

Auburn Offensive Line vs. LSU's Defensive Line:  If we're getting the upper hand on them, what will they do to even it up?  Will their offensive linemen be searched for knives before every series?  Will Ricky Jean-Francois show the fire he showed at the end of last year now that there is a big game to play?  Will our depth make a difference?

LSU Offensive Line vs. Auburn Defensive Line:  The line play in this game promises to be outstanding.  This might be the best LSU offensive line in my memory, and the auburn DL might be the best in the conference.  Everyone knows we're going to try to run it down their throats, but can we open up the holes to get the big plays we've enjoyed so far this season?

Is Charles Scott the big-play running threat he's been so far this season.  He has dominated the lesser teams, but the holes promise to be smaller and the pursuit quicker in this game.  This will be the true test to see if he can be the go-to guy in this offense.

The LSU linebacking corps.  We'll be starting three linebackers with a total of 6 starts between them.  They've played a lot of snaps and a lot on special teams, and frankly they won't all be in the game at the same time that much because of the nickel and dime packages, but they will have to play both smart and aggressive and they will have to make tackles without necessarily a lot of help, as the defense will be spread across the field.

The Auburn secondary.  There have been a lot of injuries in the Auburn secondary, including the loss of a starter for the season.  Can they handle the pressure our receivers will put on them.  We have some outstanding wide receivers and an outstanding tight end.  Our QBs will have to be able to get the ball to them, however.

Georgia at Arizona State, 7:00pm ABC

It's hard to even care, really. This was supposed to be one of the premier OOC matchups on the SEC schedule, but then Arizona State went and lost to UNLV.  Now it's sort of a redemption game, or perhaps it's a funeral for Arizona State.  I don't really know.  

Anyway, this game is big for Georgia as they have national title ambitions.  If you want to win the national championship, you have to come up big in a game like this.  It's hard to get through the SEC schedule, and you can't afford to give one up out of conference.  

I still think Georgia makes it to the BCSNCG if they win out, but that will be very very hard.  They can't trip up here.  I don't know what the deal is with ASU.  Last week may have been a fluke and they could come out of the gate firing this week.  Football is a funny sport, and it's very dangerous to look at one game and draw a lot of conclusions from it.  Games go so much on emotion, and games turn on one or two plays.  If ASU's mindset is better this week, and they get the breaks on those one or two plays, I suppose they can win this one.

It's hard to say.  It's not like I know anything about Arizona State.

Incidentally, this is the 4th week in a row that an SEC team was scheduled to play on ABC.  Last week's ABC game, Arkansas at Texas, was cancelled due to hurricane, but you get the feeling ABC really wants to have SEC teams on the network.  Curious.