Friday, 12 September 2003

SEC Week 3 prognostications (and Week 2 recap)

Well, time for me to admit shame... and then promptly go on to produce _more_ bad predictions. On to the self-loathing:
Ole Miss [1-0/1-0] 24, MEMPHIS [1-0] 21
Congrats to Memphis, Danny Wimprine, Tommy West and Joe Lee Dunn for putting it to a Rebel squad that still has to prove it can play four quarters. The Rebels were clicking in the second half, but the failed TD bomb from Eli really sucked all of the life out of the team and the Rebel secondary got burned badly in response.

Blaming Cutcliffe for the loss is probably too simplistic, but after three years of playing like he still has a running threat in the backfield instead of capitalizing on Manning's strengths it's quite appropriate as well.

Virginia [1-0] 35, SOUTH CAROLINA [1-0] 27
SC really showed up for this one, much to my astonishment.
GEORGIA [1-0] 38, Middle Tenn. State [0-1] 17
At least I got something right, although MTSU didn't play as tough as I'd have expected. Distinctly possible that Georgia is underrated.
Auburn [0-1] 21, GEORGIA TECH [0-1] 17
The good news for Tommy Tuberville is that there'll already be an opening at Ole Miss once he gets fired...
Marshall [1-0] 24, TENNESSEE [1-0] 17
Marshall played UT close, but the MAC beat up on other Big Six competition instead.
ARKANSAS [0-0] 42, Tulsa [0-1] 14
VANDERBILT [0-1/0-1] 31, UT-Chattanooga [0-1] 14
Are the 'Dores legit? Maybe if they played in the Sunbelt.
Oklahoma [1-0] 35, ALABAMA [1-0] 17
On the plus side for Bama, they actually played with heart. Not that it mattered in the final outcome...
KENTUCKY [0-1] 35, Murray State [1-0] 10
Well, at least I can predict the games against I-AA opposition...
MIAMI (Fla.) [1-0] 49, Florida [1-0] 21
Florida played much better than I'd have expected, but ex-Gator Brock Berlin led a 28-unanswered-point rally against the Gator defense in the second half. Ouch.
ARIZONA [1-0] 21, Louisiana State [1-0] 17
The Bayou Bengals looked legit out in Tucson. But can they look legit when the Georgia Bulldogs come calling at the end of the Net month?

Net result: nada, since no SEC games were played. Ole Miss still (absurdly) leads the conference on the basis of its 3-point win over Vandy in August. However, now we have some SEC football to shake things up a bit...

This week's picks (home in CAPS, TV and record in brackets, in kickoff order):

TEXAS [1-0] 31, Arkansas [1-0] 17 [ABC]: The old SWAC foes face off in Austin. Arkansas may be competitive in the SEC West, but UT-Austin is likely to wipe the floor with them unless Arkansas can stop UT's offense.

VANDERBILT 17 [1-1/0-1], Auburn [0-2] 16 [JP/GamePlan]: One of the SEC's many Harvards of the South faces off against another Harvard of the South. Vandy has already proved it can win a football game and hang with an SEC foe; Auburn has done neither. Auburn loses as a result of Tuberville going for two; trickeration won't save Tommy now... SEC upset special of the week, except it's probably not really an upset at this point.

GEORGIA [2-0] 35, South Carolina [2-0] 24 [CBS]: The good news for Lou Holtz is that USC has looked very good so far. The bad news is that Georgia has looked even better. The winner gets bragging rights in the SEC East, at least for a week.

FLORIDA [1-1] 62, Florida A&M [1-1] 3: A first meeting between A&M and the Gainesville squad turns out more-or-less like A&M's meetings with FSU turn out... very badly for A&M.

OLE MISS [1-1/1-0] 42, Louisiana-Lafayette [0-2] 7: The Rebels take out their frustrations on one of the many University of Louisiana schools, and in the process prove exactly nothing about how they're likely to play when Texas Tech comes to Oxford on September 27.

ALABAMA [1-1] 31, Kentucky [1-1] 20 [ESPN]: Kentucky isn't Oklahoma, but they do give Bama some problems on the way to Mike Shula's first win in Tuscaloosa.

LOUISIANA STATE [2-0] 65, Western Illinois [2-0] 14: Welcome to Death Valley. (WIU is currently ranked #1 in Division I-AA.)

TULANE [1-1] 56, Mississippi State [0-1] 54 (6 OT): Former SEC member meets ought-to-be-former SEC member in a showdown in front of six people at the Louisiana Superdome.

And that, as they say, is the way it is.