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Week 5: SEC Preview, Part 1

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Nice slate of games this week.  Too bad the two most interesting (to me) will be going on simultaneously.  I'd love to see Bama and Georgia, but LSU vs. MSU will overlap by probably 3 hours, meaning that if I'm lucky, I'll be able to watch the last few minutes of Bama @ Georgia.  Of course, I could watch one on the teevee and the other on the computer, but I don't think I have those kinds of skills.  

Anyway, to the action.

Ole Miss @ Florida, 11:30am Saturday, Raycom Sports

This might be the toughest test yet for Florida.  Yes, I'm not giving up my "Ole Miss is solid" stance.  Last week, they would have creamed Vandy if not for the turnovers, and despite being -4 in turnover margin they still almost won.

If all those turnovers were a fluke, then we can conclude that Ole Miss just lost a flukey game.  It happens.

But that was Vandy.  This is Florida.  They aren't going to "lose a flukey game" against Florida.  They might win a flukey game, but they won't lose one.  While Ole Miss has good players all over the field, Florida has a lot more.  What's more, I don't think Ole Miss's secondary can run with Florida receivers.  Not that anyone's secondary really can at this point but Ole Miss does not have a very athletic secondary in any event.  This will be a HUGE disadvantage, and one I'm sure is not lost on the Florida coaching staff.

If Ole Miss is going to stay in this one, they need their best players to make plays throughout the game.  That means defensive end Greg Hardy, back from injury, needs to dominate the Florida passing attack.  It means that Jevan Snead needs to get the ball down the field to his receivers Dexter McCluster, Shaye Hodge, and Mike Wallace.

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Believe it or not, yes, he does still have eligibility remaining.

Ole Miss can win this if they play the game of their lives, but they will have to play the game of their lives.  Or hope Florida lays an egg.  Ole Miss has some players who are Florida-esque.  Florida has many such players.  But if everything goes just right, a team like Ole Miss can win this.

But more likely than not it will be a 3-touchdown Florida victory.  Or more.

Tennessee @ Auburn, 2:30pm Saturday, CBS

No one in the world is more in need of a big win than Phillip Fulmer.  

Except perhaps Tommy Tuberville.

How quickly we forget that Tennessee went to the SECCG last year, and that they won a bowl game against a very solid team.  This year is another story.  While they looked promising in pre-season and started the season with a very solid half of football against UCLA, things have been very questionable ever since.

And with the coaches questioning the leadership and passion of the team, you have to wonder if there is any real chance of turning this thing around.

Then again, there is also considerable negativity surrounding the Auburn team as well, due to their struggles in converting to the Spread Eagle offense.  The fan base is becoming more hostile as the offense struggles week to week.  The team itself seems to be showing some signs of fraying as well, with the drama surrounding Kodi Burns (he of the oft-mentioned, not-holding-clipboard, seemingly not-watching-game-from-sidelines talk-radio fame).

If you're looking for which team is the most troubled, I would say Tennessee.  They simply appear to be at a much more advanced stage of fracture and dismay than Auburn is.  Both of these teams lost big games at home last week, but Tennessee barely showed for theirs.  It was an embarrassing performance against Florida

While I eschew predictions, I will make this one:  the loser of this game will finish no better than 7-5 for the regular season.  Which I suppose is hardly going out on a limb if it's Tennessee that loses, as they'll be 1-3 with games remaining against Georgia, Alabama, and Vandy among others.

Arkansas @ Texas, Saturday 2:30pm, ABC

Once again, two SEC games go head to head between ABC and CBS.  I shouldn't say "once again", because it was only supposed to happen the other time this game was supposed to be played, which was during Ike weekend.

I still think the same think I thought that weekend, which was that Arkansas was terrible and Texas would maul them.  I don't know anything about Texas, but I know they beat Rice badly, and Rice is about as good as Arkansas is this year, maybe better.

We'll get to the rest of the conference slate tomorrow.