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SEC Football-Television Schedule Week Ten

Oct 31, 2014 -- 1:54pm

Week 10

DateTime (ET)MatchupNetwork
Sat, Nov 112:00 PMLouisiana-Monroe at Texas A&MSEC NETWORK
Sat, Nov 13:30 PMFlorida at # 11 GeorgiaCBS
Sat, Nov 14:00 PMKentucky at MissouriSEC NETWORK
Sat, Nov 17:00 PM# 3 Auburn at # 4 Ole MissESPN
Sat, Nov 17:00 PMOld Dominion at VanderbiltESPNU
Sat, Nov 17:15 PMArkansas at # 1 Mississippi StateESPN2
Sat, Nov 17:30 PMTennessee at South CarolinaSEC NETWORK

 

Arkansas vs. Mississippi State: Who Has the Advantage?

Oct 31, 2014 -- 6:51am

By Gary Brown

Follow on Twitter at: @cfbupdate

Arkansas will travel to Starkville, Mississippi Saturday to face the Mississippi State Bulldogs in a game that will be televised on ESPN 2 at 6:15 p.m.

Here is a preview of what to expect in the game.

When Arkansas Runs the Ball

On first down Arkansas has busted 44 running plays for 10 yards or more this season. They have also averaged 5.7 yards per carry on first down. Having success on the ground will be key to the Razorbacks hopes in this game, because it allows the Razorbacks to use more of their offense on subsequent plays. The key to a successful ground game will depend on the ability of the Razorback offensive line to create enough of a seam for Jonathan Williams through the middle.

Mississippi State has a strong front seven. In SEC play the Bulldogs are averaging seven tackles for a loss per game. This means they are getting plenty of penetration and disrupting plays before they get started. While Arkansas is wanting to make hay on first down running the ball, they will face a stingy group from Mississippi State. The Bulldogs only allow 3.51 yards per carry on first down, good for second in the conference. Along the defensive line State will play nine players during the game and as many as six linebackers. The player to watch is Benardrick McKinney. He is a hard hitting linebacker with a strong NFL future ahead.

Advantage: Mississippi State

When Arkansas Throws the Ball

When talking about the Razorback passing attack, or lack thereof, everyone wants to point the finger at QB Brandon Allen. While he may not always be accurate on the deep ball, there is also rarely much separation from the defense for his receivers. Despite this, Allen is still ahead of such SEC heavyweights as Auburn’s Nick Marshall and Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace in yards per game in SEC play. Tight end Hunter Henry leads the teams in average per catch and has the longest reception this season for Arkansas. That is not typical for a college football team.

A weakness of this Mississippi State team has been giving up long pass plays. In SEC play they have allowed a league leading 50 completions for ten or more yards. Only South Carolina has given up more. They have also allowed nine plays of forty or more yards. It is a surprise to many that this team is last in conference games in pass defense giving up 329 yards per game through the air. A plus for the Bulldogs pass defense is they do get pressure on the quarterback and lead the SEC in conference games with sixteen sacks. Against Arkansas the Bulldogs need to get their rush with the front four. If they are using linebackers on the blitz, then the Razorback tight ends could be in for a busy day.

Advantage: Mississippi State

When Mississippi State Runs the Ball

QB Dak Prescott is a Heisman front runner and we all know what a weapon he is. The name that most people are not familiar with is Josh Robinson. In SEC games the RB has averaged eight yards per carry and grinds down opposing defenses with his 149.8 yards per game. Robinson is not slowed down much by ranked teams as he has averages 147 yards per game when the Bulldogs have faced their toughest opposition. Prescott is a strong compliment to Robinson with an average of 98 yards on the ground in SEC play. After the Kentucky game he was seen in a walking boot indicating he might be a little gimpy heading into this game. The Mississippi State line is plenty big, and experienced, with four of the starters being either juniors or seniors.

Brooks Ellis is expected back in this game and that should be a boost for a Razorback defense that will need all hands on deck this week. The Razorback defensive front has big play ability with Darius Philon and Trey Flowers, but this unit will need physical play from the linebackers to slow down the Bulldogs running game. The Bulldogs tend to run the ball straight at a defense with Robinson, so Arkansas will need strong contributions from Taiwan Johnson and Bijohn Jackson.

Advantage: Mississippi State

When Mississippi State Throws the Ball

The Bulldogs leads the SEC in scoring offense putting an average of 41.2 points on the board in conference play. Prescott triggers success in the passing game with his 249.5 yards per contest. His favorite target is De’Runnya Wilson. For the season Wilson has caught six of the Bulldogs seventeen touchdown passes and averages 17.5 yards per catch. Jameon Lewis and Gabe Myles are also dangerous weapons for Prescott. There is an opportunity for the Razorbacks with pressure as the Bulldogs allow 2.5 sacks per game in SEC play. These opportunities are created as Prescott holds the ball too long thinking he can escape with is legs.

Advantage: Mississippi State

Special Teams

The Kickoff team for Arkansas is the fourth best in the nation averaging 26.4 yards per kick, but speedster Korliss Marshall is suspended for a violation of team rules. The good news is that the Razorbacks may have found a field goal kicker in Adam McFain who made a 49 yard attempt against UAB last week. The Hogs are hoping punter Sam Irwin-Hill regains his consistency from last season.

For Mississippi State, special teams are solid, but not spectacular. The Bulldogs are very good at kickoff coverage and get touchbacks about half the time on kickoffs. On field goals they are solid from inside thirty yards, but have not demonstrated an ability to score points from over forty.

Advantage: Arkansas

Coaching

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema has a plan and is working it steadily by building the Hogs in the mold of his Big Ten teams at Wisconsin: big and physical. There is more work to be done, but the foundation for future success is being laid.

Bret Bielema Career Record: 74-37

Dan Mullen has led the Bulldogs to their first ever number one ranking and has the team poised for a national title shot through strong player development. There are times when he makes questionable decisions, like a fake punt that failed from deep in his own territory early in the game against Auburn when his team had all the momentum.

Dan Mullen Career Record: 43-28

Advantage: Push

The Call

Is this game about Bulldog Dak Prescott or Brandon Allen of Arkansas?

For Arkansas to win, Allen will have to be effective throwing the football, and with the Hogs passing game not being very efficient, it is questionable if this will happen. Keon Hatcher will have to step his game up to help Allen out and somehow another wide receiver will have to become an option. If Arkansas is a one dimensional offense in this game, they will lose.

Is Dak Prescott dinged up? If so, how much so does he need to be to give Arkansas a strong chance of winning? His ability to run and throw is what keeps defenses off balance and if he is hobbled at a level that limits his ability to run, it could give the Razorbacks a chance to be a little more creative defensively. Trey Flowers and company can give Arkansas a big boost if they force Prescott to stay in the pocket and not allow him to be creative on the move.

Final Score

Mississippi State 32   Arkansas 21

 

 

SEC Football Predictions for Week Ten

Oct 30, 2014 -- 8:08pm

From Gary Brown

Follow on Twitter at: @cfbupdate

The College Football Playoff Selection Committee has shown their respect for the SEC with three of the top four teams in their poll coming from the conference. This weekend features a head to head elimination game for Auburn and Ole Miss, plus a possible elimination game for Florida coach Will Muschamp.

Here are the week ten SEC predictions. All times are central.

ULM (3-4) at Texas A&M (5-3, 2-3 SEC)
11:00 a.m. | SEC Network

QB Kenny Hill was a Heisman contender after week one and many pundits tagged the Aggies as the best team in the nation. That was a long time ago. Hill is in a battle for his starting position with Kyle Allen and the horrid October is finally over for Kevin Sumlin and his team. The Warhawks are an average Sun Belt team and that should be good enough to get the Aggies back in the win column.

Winner: Texas A&M

Florida (3-3, 2-3 SEC) at #11 Georgia (6-1, 4-1 SEC)
2:30 ET | CBS | Jacksonville

It does not matter that Todd Gurley will still be serving an NCAA suspension in this game. Georgia freshman RB Nick Chubb is carrying the load just fine and Hutson Mason is starting to make plays with his arm without Gurley in the backfield. Florida will start Treon Harris, and Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt probably has plenty in store for the first time starter. The big question: have the Florida players given up on their embattled coach?

Winner: Georgia

Kentucky (5-3, 2-3 SEC) at Missouri (6-2, 3-1 SEC)
3:00 PM ET | SEC Network

Kentucky will be looking to become bowl eligible in this game and Missouri will be looking to find a rhythm for their struggling offense. Wildcats quarterback Patrick Towles is turning into a genuine difference maker and had a very solid outing against number one Mississippi State. Missouri is second in SEC games in total defense and their special teams are solid. The best way to pick a game like this is to go with the team that has shown an offensive spark at times and that is the Wildcats.

Winner: Kentucky

#3 Auburn (6-1, 3-1 SEC) at #4 Ole Miss (7-1, 4-1 SEC)
6:00 PM ET | ESPN

Someone is going to drop out of the top four and most likely end their quest for a national title in this game. Bo Wallace made critical mistakes late against LSU and Hugh Freeze showed the moment might have been a bit too big for him. Auburn had to spend lots of energy to take down South Carolina last week and both of these teams may be just a little tired heading into this game. The edge goes to the run defense of the Rebels…think how K-State slowed the Tiger ground game. For Auburn to win QB Nick Marshall will have to make plays downfield against a strong Ole Miss secondary.

Winner: Ole Miss

Old Dominion (3-5) at Vanderbilt (2-6, 0-5 SEC)
6:00 PM ET | ESPNU

A player to watch in this game is Monarch QB Taylor Heinike. In his second year as a starter he has thrown 54 touchdowns and for 6,308 yards. He may be the most exciting offensive player on campus since Nancy Liberman played basketball for the women’s Monarch team. What is not fun to watch is the Old Dominion defense that gives up 40.5 points per game. Even Vanderbilt should be able to score on this team.

Winner: Vanderbilt

Arkansas (4-4, 0-4 SEC) at #1 Mississippi State (7-0, 4-0 SEC)
6:15 PM ET | ESPN2

To win this game Arkansas QB Brandon Allen must make some explosive plays in the passing game. In SEC play the Hogs only have six pass plays for thirty or more yards. That puts them at number twelve in the conference. The good news is that Mississippi State has given up seventeen. While Dak Prescott is critical to the Bulldogs success, RB Josh Robinson might be the best weapon on hand for Dan Mullen’s team.

Winner: Mississippi State

Tennessee (3-5, 0-4 SEC) at South Carolina (4-4, 2-4 SEC)
6:30 PM ET | SEC Network

Butch Jones is still trying to find an SEC win and the South Carolina game might be the perfect opportunity. Josh Dobbs played a solid game for the Vols against Alabama last weekend, but with a week of film to watch it might be that the Gamecocks are better prepared than Bama was for the dynamic playmaker. You have to wonder what the mental mindset will be this week for South Carolina after their tough game with Auburn. Call it a hunch, but look for an upset in Columbia.

Winner: Tennessee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEC Power Rankings: Week Nine

Oct 30, 2014 -- 8:04am

From Gary Brown

Follow on Twitter at: @cfbupdate

There are now nine weeks of games in the book and week ten will continue the drama that is the SEC West.  Here are the power rankings for this week with a stat (from conference games only) for each school.

Mississippi State

The Bulldogs are a well-disciplined team and lead the SEC in fewest penalty yards per game with just eighteen for 131 yards. Not a sexy stat, but speaks to their maturity.

Trend: Neutral

Ole Miss

For the season Ole Miss is plus eleven in turnover margin, tied with Georgia for the SEC’s top spot. The Rebels have gained fourteen and lost just three.

Trend-Down

Alabama

Nick Saban’s team leads the SEC in defensive fourth down conversions allowing none in eight attempts. They are the only team nationally that has not allowed one in 2014.

Trend: Neutral

Auburn

The Tigers are the top red zone defense in the SEC allowing opponents to score only 68.8% of the time. Why did Auburn beat South Carolina? Two red zone turnovers by the Gamecocks are one big reason.

Trend: Up

Georgia

Good defense gets off the field on third down. The Bulldogs have held opponents on eighteen of sixty-one attempts for an SEC best 29.5% conversion rate.

Trend-Neutral

LSU

When you feature a power running game field position matters. That is why leading the SEC in punt return average is significant for the Tigers who go for 17.7 yards per return.

Trend: Up

Kentucky

While the Wildcats are fourth in pass defense giving up 186.8 yards per game, they are the SEC’s most efficient team against the pass.

Trend: Down

South Carolina

Teams have converted 100% of their fourth down attempts against the Gamecocks. Why not give it a shot against the South Carolina defense. They are number twelve in total defense.

Trend: Down

Texas A&M

The Aggies SEC opponents have only committed seventeen penalties against them. The fewest in the SEC. Only Alabama has gained fewer yards in penalties.

Trend: Down

Missouri

The once high flying Missouri offense is dead last in total offense in the SEC averaging just 232.8 yards per game. The Tigers have scored just seven touchdowns on offense, but are averaging 21.8 points per game. Missouri is averaging 4.3 points per game by defense or special teams.

Trend: Down

Arkansas

The Razorbacks are the only SEC team to have not made a field goal in conference play. They are also the only school to have missed two extra points.

Trend: Down

Tennessee

Good news, bad news. The Vols lead the SEC with seven made field goals in as many attempts. The bad news, Tennessee has only scored four touchdowns in the red zone on ten attempts. Fewer than even Vandy.

Trend: Down

Florida

For all the talk about how bad the Florida offense is, the Gators lead the SEC in red zone offense converting all fifteen trips into points. They have ten touchdowns and five field goals.

Trend: Down

Vanderbilt

The Commodores have averaged 33,911 in attendance at all home games this season. This is 23,231 less than the second lowest SEC team, Kentucky.

Trend: Anchors WAY, WAY down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEC Football-Television Schedule Week Nine

Oct 24, 2014 -- 6:54pm
DateTime (ET)MatchupNetwork
Sat, Oct 2512:00 PMUAB at ArkansasSEC NETWORK
Sat, Oct 253:30 PM# 1 Mississippi State at KentuckyCBS
Sat, Oct 254:00 PMVanderbilt at MissouriSEC NETWORK
Sat, Oct 257:15 PM# 3 Ole Miss at # 24 LSUESPN
Sat, Oct 257:30 PMSouth Carolina at # 5 AuburnSEC NETWORK
Sat, Oct 257:30 PM# 4 Alabama at TennesseeESPN2

 

SEC Preview: Week Nine

Oct 24, 2014 -- 1:27pm

By Gary Brown

Follow on Twitter at: @cfbupdate

Think about this. Alabama still has to face Mississippi State. Auburn still has to play Ole Miss. The Tide and Tigers have to meet. Ole Miss and Mississippi State have a game at the end of the season. Before all those things happen there will be LSU, Georgia and other roadblocks to a championships for all the SEC contenders. Oh, and don’t forget that Georgia is also legitimate.

Here is a glimpse at week nine in the SEC.

All times are central.

UAB (4-3) at Arkansas (3-4, 4-4 SEC)
11:00 a.m. | SEC Network

(Complete UAB-Arkansas Preview Here)

This is a good week for the Razorbacks to get their swagger back. UAB may have scored the most points of anyone on Mississippi State this season, but that was WAY back in week two. The Blazers will struggle to stop the power running game of the Hogs and that will be the difference in this game.

Winner: Arkansas

#1 Mississippi State (6-0, 3-0 SEC) at Kentucky (5-2, 2-2 SEC)
2:30 p.m. | CBS

It seems that every item written about Kentucky must start with the phrase “much improved.” They are still Kentucky and will have lots of work to do to make a bowl, although the game with Missouri should give them a lock. The only SEC team to not put 30 points on the board against the Wildcats was Vandy. Mississippi State will be looking to keep their foot on the accelerator and should have no problem making QB Dak Prescott look good to the Heisman voters.  

Winner: Mississippi State

Vanderbilt (2-5, 0-4 SEC) at Missouri (5-2, 2-1 SEC)
3:00 p.m.  | SEC Network

In conference games these are the two poorest excuses for offenses the SEC has. Missouri averages 21.0 points per game and only gains 182 yards per SEC outing. Vandy scores an average of 15.2 points per game while generating 252.5 yards of offense. The edge in this contest goes to Missouri for their defense which only allows 22.3 points per game while the Commodores give up 37.5.

Winner: Missouri

#3 Ole Miss (7-0, 4-0 SEC) at #24 LSU (6-2, 2-2 SEC)
7:15 PM ET | ESPN

A night game in Baton Rouge is a real test for these Rebels, even if this is not the LSU team of the past few years. The Tigers have shown improved play the last two weeks, but those wins have come against Florida and an overrated Kentucky team. LSU has settled into an offensive line rotation and that has paid big dividends in the running game. Ole Miss has the best defense in the nation and the ability to make the LSU offense one dimensional. Bo Wallace is still playing solid and as long as he is not turning the ball over, then the Rebels will be in the hunt. Expect a good game.

Winner: Ole Miss

South Carolina (4-3, 2-3 SEC) at #5 Auburn (5-1, 2-1 SEC)
6:30 PM ET | SEC Network

Expect Auburn to pound the ball, pound it some more and keep on pounding in this game. South Carolina wilted against Kentucky down the stretch as the Wildcats lined up in the wildcat offense and dared the defense to stop them. This game has “long night” written all over it for Steve Spurrier’s team. The again, so did the Georgia game. A home crowd should be a big boost for the Tigers.

Winner: Auburn

#4 Alabama (6-1, 3-1 SEC) at Tennessee (3-4, 0-3 SEC)
6:30 PM ET | ESPN2

Tennessee is last in the SEC in scoring offense averaging just 14.7 points per game in conference games. The band has taken to playing Rocky Top whenever their QB is sacked so they can get the musical number in the requisite number of times. As far as defense goes, Bama second in scoring D, first in rushing defense and fourth in passing defense. The Vols do feature a decent defense and Blake Sims has not been nearly as good on the road as he is at home. Can the Vols challenge in this game? Yes, but it would take them going against their current trends in a whole bunch of areas.

Winner: Alabama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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