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SEC Packets: Week Two Schedule and Picks

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Sorry about getting this up so late. There was some miscommunication between Nico and I about who was going to post it, so our bad.

Opponents OTS
11-0
Nico
11-0
Todd
9-2
Alabama at Vanderbilt
9/8 - 11:30am CST
Nashville, TN
Lincoln Financial

OTS:
This could be a very close game, no doubt about it. Vanderbilt is a solid squad, and they are looking to make their mark this year, beginning with Alabama. However, 'Bama is bigger, stronger, has more talent, and has more depth. This was a very close game a year ago, but I doubt the red zone turnovers happen two years in a row, and Alabama wins with relative ease. That said, I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't think that a loss here for the Tide was a legitimate possibility.

Nico:
I'm just ready for this one to be over. There's a lot of upset chatter floating around out there, Vandy players talking about this one being circled on their calendars for a long time, etc. I know this much though, I'm not driving four hours to see them beat us for the first time in 25 years. I think we'll win, but I'm sure it'll be just as unnerving as last year.

Todd:
My offseason jitters over this game have subsided after seeing both teams in action, albeit against terrible 1AA competition. I imagine we'll get burned a few times by Bennett and Nickson, and this will be another in a long line of hard fought contests for the Commies, but I'm confident enough in our own offense to feel like we'll put up more points than they will.

Opponents OTS
11-0
Nico
11-0
Todd
9-2
Georgia vs South Carolina
9/8 - 4:45pm CST
Athens, GA
ESPN2

OTS:
I'll give Georgia a lot of credit, I expected them to spin their wheels, but they played better than any other team in week one, and did so against a solid Oklahoma State squad. South Carolina played as poorly as anyone, and while Mitchell will return this week, even Spurrier is wondering if he over-estimated his squad. The absence of Kregg Lumpkin will hurt, but Georgia has a slew of talented tailbacks, and will do well. Georgia wins in a close one.

Nico:
I don't think South Carolina will be good enough to win the SEC this year (and even Spurrier is backing off of such statements), but they're good enough to screw up a few people's seasons along the way. That being said, I think Georgia is too much right now for South Carolina, especially in Athens.

Todd:
I've been high on Georgia since the spring, and they proved why last Saturday. I've also been pretty high on SC, and think their offense will look much better with Mitchell back, but their defensive front was embrassed plenty of times against the Ragin' Cajuns. I'll take UGA's offense over their D.

Opponents OTS
11-0
Nico
11-0
Todd
9-2
Ole Miss vs Missouri
9/8 - 5pm CST
Oxford, MS

OTS:
After narrowly holding off lowly Memphis last week, Ole Miss heads back to Oxford to play Missouri, and to be quite frank they seem no better than they have been the past three years. The Tigers are a pretty good team, and they could very well contend for the Big 12 North. This game will be closer than a year ago, but it will have a familiar ending: an Ole Miss loss.

Nico:
Mizzou. I just don't think Ole Miss has it in them to beat them.

Todd:
Ole Miss got lucky last weekend, but then again so did Mizzou. If anyone could find a way to screw this up, it's Gary Pinkel, but the O really only has one miracle win in him a year, and the last two years he wasted them on Memphis early on. He'll probably do the same this year.

Opponents OTS
11-0
Nico
11-0
Todd
9-2
Florida vs Troy
9/8 - 5pm CST
Gainesville, FL

OTS:
The Trojans are a pretty good football team, and Arkansas can attest to that. However, Florida is, well, Florida, and they'll roll with relative ease. Troy will play them tough most likely, but Florida emerges 2-0 with Tennessee headed to the Swamp.

Nico:
I always want Troy to do well. They're my Sun Belt team of choice, but they aren't winning this one. Having Arkansas and Florida back to back is tough on SEC teams, but that's way more than a Sun Belt team can handle.

Todd:
I went with Troy last week and got burned (well, they did put up a good fight, so maybe singed?), but I don't think they can hold the Gators in check for a half like they did Arkansas. Too much speed and too many different offensive weapons from the Gators, and then add that Troy had to suspend a key cog in their defensive machine today, and this one could be ugly.

Opponents OTS
11-0
Nico
11-0
Todd
9-2
Kentucky vs Kent State
9/8 - 5pm CST
Lexington, KY

OTS:
Another week, another huge day for the Kentucky offense. It'll be closer than last week, but still a comfortable Kentucky win.

Nico:
I have a friend that's a Kent State alum. She tells me the standard joke about them is "Kent read, Kent write, Kent State!" Might as well add "Kent play football worth a crap to that list."

Todd:
Phil Steele is pretty high on the Golden Flashes, and they did open with a win over a BCS opponent (okay, they beat Iowa State...), but the UK offense is too much for them to handle.

Opponents OTS
11-0
Nico
11-0
Todd
9-2
Mississippi State at Tulane
9/8 - 6pm CST
New Orleans, LA
CSS

OTS:
The Bulldogs are atrocious, but Tulane is just as bad, if not worse. The Green Wave went 4-8 last year, their head coach was fired, and they are almost completely void of talent in 2007. I'll pick Mississippi State to suck slightly less than Tulane, but don't be surprised if this goes the other way. This has the potential to be one of the worst football games you'll see this year.

Nico:
I'm going to go with MSU on this one. I don't know why, but I am. I figure there's no way Henig can be that bad again and am thinking that he's going to working hard to keep his job and Tulane is just the type of team to do that against.

Todd:
Nico and I went out to Legion Field to watch the Bulldogs face off against the hometown Blazers last year after the Arkansas debacle, and we were pretty sure that a game called by Sylvester Croom and Watson Brown would be one of the worst offensive displays we would ever witness. Then, the rest of Alabama's season happened, and we were given better example after better example week after week. This game should rival any of those. I'm going with State here, though something tells me I'm going to regret it on Sunday.

Opponents OTS
11-0
Nico
11-0
Todd
9-2
Tennessee vs Southern Miss
9/8 - 6pm CST
Knoxville, TN

OTS:
The Vols will closely avoid imploding early on, and will get the win over USM. Sure, Bower will have his guys ready to go, and they may very well win it. However, Tennessee looked pretty decent against Cal, and if they can play like that again, it should be enough to beat Southern Miss.

Nico:
Southern Miss gives an SEC team fits for a while and eventually superior talent and depth save the day. I'd laugh really hard if the Golden Eagles pull it off though.

Todd:
Damion Fletcher should have a banner day against the Vols after what Forsett did to them, but with all the talk of the poor shape of the UT defense, their offensive performance really isn't getting it's due. Plus, Fletcher is the Southern offense, so if UT can stack the line, shut him down, and make them throw the ball, this could be a shutout.

Opponents OTS
11-0
Nico
11-0
Todd
9-2
Auburn vs South Florida
9/8 - 8pm CST
Auburn, AL
ESPN2

OTS:
Against Kansas State, Auburn showcased everything that I've said about them for months and months. They have a very poor offense, and their defense is really all they have. Truth be told, South Florida is a better team than Kansas State, and you can rest assured that they won't beat themselves like the Wildcats did. I expect Mike Ford in particularly to have a good night, and Auburn will fall for the first time on their way to a 7-5 or 8-4 season.

Nico:
I'm tempted to pick USF in this one. They knocked off West Virginia last year in Morgantown. I was at the '05 game where they absolutely pounded Louisville. They can beat you...and beat you badly. They can also pull stunts like only beating FIU by one point. It all depends on which USF shows up. They might get a scare, but wingnut and co. will pull another late come from behind win.

Todd:
You know, as much as I want to pick USF here, for pretty much all the reasons OTS just said, every time I pick against Auburn because they looked crappy the week before, they pull that patented Teagle magic and fall bass ackwards into a win (just like they did against K-State). So I'm going with Auburn, and I really hate it.

Opponents OTS
11-0
Nico
11-0
Todd
9-2
LSU vs Virginia Tech
9/8 - 8:15pm CST
Baton Rouge, LA
ESPN

OTS:
I know everyone has a love affair with VT, but the Hokies simply aren't that great. Even last year in the weakest ACC since Florida State joined the conference, they couldn't even beat out Georgia Tech to get to the ACC Championship Game, as the mediocre Yellow Jackets took them down by almost three touchdowns. This year they return everyone, but looked terrible against ECU. Their supposedly great defense gave up almost 300 yards of offense, and their rushing attack mustered a grand total of... 30 yards. All of that against Eastern Carolina, and then they are going to go into Baton Rouge and beat LSU? Not quite. LSU wins here, with relative ease.

Nico:
VaTech always seem to be media darlings and they consistently win a lot of games, but they also seem to inevitably screw it up too, often late in the season. I think LSU is going to lend a hand in lowering their expectations early for the '07 campaign.

Todd:
As bad as we thought LSU looked against Mississippi State, Va Tech looked about a hundred times worse against ECU. Beamer Ball won that game, but it was only good for seven, and they'll need more than that in Baton Rouge.

SPECIAL BONUS PICKS

We're branching out here at RBR by selecting four non-SEC matchups each week that have piqued our curiosity and giving our picks and thoughts on them as well. This week's flavors:

Opponents OTS
11-0
Nico
11-0
Todd
9-2
Miami at Oklahoma
9/8 - 11am CST
Norman, OK
ABC

OTS:
The Hurricanes are an improving team, but Oklahoma looks in great shape. If they can consistently get quarterback play like they did in the season opener, I'd probably pick this team to meet USC in the national championship game. Stoops and co. realize how big this game would be for their program, and for spring-boarding their team into the national spotlight. I understand that North Texas isn't a powerhouse, but any time your offense puts up 79 points and over 600 yards of offense, you are in good shape. Sam Bradford looked unstoppable. Oklahoma wins with ease against the Hurricane.

Nico:
Oklahoma. I ranked them #1 on my BlogPoll ballot because they hammered their opening weekend cupcake to a degree that few others did. While they obviously won't destroy Miami to the same degree, they'll win and the contest won't be as close or as epic as many are predicting.

Todd:
The Canes D will be stout as always, and they certainly won't let OU put up 79 points on them. But the OU D will be just as stout, and they won't let the Miami offense put up 31 on them like Marshall did. In a few years, this will probably be a great game, but not this week.

Opponents OTS
11-0
Nico
11-0
Todd
9-2
Oregon at Michigan
9/8 - 2:30pm CST
Ann Arbor, MI
ABC

OTS:
Here's the tough one, of course. And I'm going with Michigan. Yes, I know, if they couldn't beat Appy State, how can they beat Oregon? Well, the truth is, Appy State is a very good football team, and there's a lot of Division 1-A teams that they would beat. I'm glad that we didn't have them on the schedule this past Saturday, to say the very least. Moreover, Oregon didn't look good at all either, as they turned in an average-at-best performance against Houston. Truth be told, Oregon might would have fallen to Appy State, too. Bottom line, Michigan has more talent and depth than Oregon, and that's almost indisputable. This will be a relatively close game, but as long as Mike Hart stays healthy (and his two quarter absence is really what killed the Wolverines), Michigan will get it back together and show everyone that they aren't done just yet. Lloyd Carr is gone at year's end, but don't expect Michigan to go into some Dubosian shell after a season opening upset.

Nico:
Yes, I know about the whole AppState fiasco, how could I not? That doesn't mean Michigan is going to lose every game they play this year though. There probably won't be a more determined football team in the country than Michigan on Saturday.

Todd:
I'm tempted to go with a Michigan team looking to salvage their pride, but Oregon's spread attack is too much like the one Appy State used to shame the Wolverines. Michigan will bounce back, there is no doubt about it, but this will probably be a high scoring affair as both teams have suspect Ds. I think the Ducks outshoot them in the Big House.

Opponents OTS
11-0
Nico
11-0
Todd
9-2
UCLA vs BYU
9/8 - 5:30pm CST
Los Angeles, CA

OTS:
I don't know much about BYU, and am not particularly impressed with UCLA. I'll go with the Bruins, though, don't really feel like researching BYU at the moment.

Nico:
I'm not going to pretend that I know much of anything about either of these teams right now, I'm purely going on the fact that UCLA has more buzz about them right now.

Todd:
This is kind of a toughie. The Cougs are in a rebuilding year, but they looked like they should handle it just fine against UCLA's fellow Pac-10 member Arizona last weekend. Still, I think UCLA has the offensive firepower to overcome BYU.

Opponents OTS
11-0
Nico
11-0
Todd
9-2
Texas vs TCU
9/8 - 6pm CST
Austin, TX

OTS:
Everyone sees this as the upset, but not me. TCU is a quality team, and no one should be overly shocked if they pull out the victory, but Texas is a national powerhouse. I believe people are making much ado about nothing with Texas' struggles with Arkansas State. For one, Texas was preparing for this game, rest assured, and it was really nowhere near as close as the 21-13 score indicated. Texas led 21-3 going into the fourth quarter, and Arkansas State's touchdown came off of a drive that the Longhorns stopped them but was extended due to a face mask penalty on an incomplete pass (odd, I know), and it came with less than a minute remaining in the contest. Rest assured, Texas will bring its A-game to this one, simply because they know with a win over TCU they easily roll 5-0 into the Red River Shootout, and a win there puts them firmly in the national championship race. Moreover, TCU has a freshman quarterback (Andy Dalton), and while standout TCU defensive end Tommie Blake will play, injuries will likely keep him less than 100 per cent. The 'Horns silence the critics in Austin.

Nico:
Horns. 'Nuff said.

Todd:
Man I wish this game was on TV. I want to pick TCU so bad here. They're riding a five game win streak against the Big 12, Texas has a lot of questions to answer....so...tempting...must not...go for...upset....