Wednesday, 1 October 2003

SEC Week 6 prognostications (and Week 5 recap)

First, as always, the recap. Call it OT week in the SEC, as 3 of 7 games went to OT.
KENTUCKY [2-2/0-1] 24, Florida [2-2/0-1] 17 [JP].
21-24; Kentucky somehow blows the fourth-quarter lead, extending Florida's streak to 17 games in the series.
ALABAMA [2-2/1-0] 27, Arkansas [3-0/0-0] 14 [CBS].
31-34, double OT. Arkansas pulls off the road win in Tuscaloosa, not the easiest thing to do.
AUBURN [1-2/1-0] 35, Western Kentucky [3-0] 17.
48-3; Auburn has now put together two impressive performances against lower-calibre teams after some early disappointments. We'll see if that lasts this week…
VANDERBILT [1-3/0-1] 17, Georgia Tech [1-3/0-2] 14 [PPV].
17-24, OT. Vandy has come oh-so-far, but not-so-far-enough.
TENNESSEE [3-0/1-0] 31, South Carolina [3-1/0-1] 17 [ESPN].
23-20, OT. The Gamecocks put up a good fight at Rocky Top.
Louisiana State [4-0/1-0] 45, MISSISSIPPI STATE [0-3/0-0] 7 [ESPN2].
41-6. Really nothing to say about this one, folks; it was just sad.
OLE MISS [2-1/1-0] 38, Texas Tech [2-1] 21 [Webcast only].
45-49. As-billed, a big shootout. The Rebel secondary continues to get burned for big plays; however, the killer was the lack of red-zone offense that led to 18 of the Rebels' 45 points coming from field goals.

Where does this put everyone in the standings? UT holds the lead in the SEC East at 2-0, with Florida and Georgia tied at 1-1, while everyone eligible for the conference title in the West (except Mississippi State) is undefeated in SEC play. That, however, won't last long. Realistically, the East is down to UT and Georgia already (with Florida with an outside shot if UT collapses down the stretch), while it's still anyone's ticket to Atlanta in the West.

Only four games this week, all of which are East versus West showdowns, three of which are on TV. Starting at the JP game and working later in the schedule:

FLORIDA [3-2/1-1] 27, Ole Miss [2-2/1-0] 18 [JP/GamePlan]
Unless the Rebels' red zone offense drastically improves or the secondary figures out how to limit big plays, Chris Leak will look like the second coming of Johnny Unitas in the Swamp on Saturday. A must-win for both coaches (and for either team to have a shot at the SEC title game).
Vanderbilt [1-4/0-2] 21, MISSISSIPPI STATE [0-4/0-1] 10
Two SEC losing streaks are on the line here in Starkville. I see absolutely no evidence of life out of the Bulldogs, so I have to favor Vandy by default.
GEORGIA [3-1/1-1] 35, Alabama [2-3/1-1] 14 [CBS].
Bama's been all over the map this season. Georgia hasn't. 'Nuff said.
Tennessee [4-0/2-0] 31, AUBURN [2-2/1-0] 17 [ESPN].
Auburn has yet to prove it can win a game against decent opposition. UT, er, actually has won games against decent opposition.

Till next time…

By the way, Pete Holiday has a preview of the UT-Auburn matchup at the SEC Fanblog as well.