This Week = Money

On Remote | Gate 21

"Separation" Saturday?

Last week? Weak. This week? Matchup-wise, it's the opposite. I have yet to hear to cliche that ESPN has dubbed this coming week. "Separation Saturday" sounds typical enough...

That's really what this weekend is, particularly in the SEC East and the Big XII XI. In the East, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee all face "must-wins" according to CBS analyst Gary Danielson. The Vols and Dawgs go at it head-to-head, while Florida hosts LSU in their yearly grudge match.

In the Big XI (inspiration from Pat Forde on ESPN), you of course have the Texas-Oklahoma Cotton Bowl showdown, but also Missouri plays host to the surprisingly unbeaten, chest-bumping Oklahoma State Cowboys.

These three games form quite the nice triple-header for your viewing pleasure. There's some other quality football on, and as always that's where I come in. I should say now that this will be the longest "On Remote" preview to this point. Don't worry, it's alllllllllllll worth it!


SEC Football | Gate 21 SEC Games

South Carolina at Kentucky (12:30, RayCom): I was wrong on South Carolina last week, as Chris Smelley threw all over Ole Miss' defense in the Chickens' 31-24 win in Oxford. The question is can a Carolina QB put together two straight consistent weeks? Kentucky has a better D than Ole Miss, and the Cats' strength is their front seven.

Despite coming off their first loss of the year, Kentucky should have gained confidence from last week's game at Alabama. If the Cats offense improves a little, or even limits its mistakes, this team could be dangerous down the road this year. These two always seem to play pretty close games, and Kentucky shot themselves in the foot both last week and in Columbia last year. Still I think Carolina's QB inconsistency will be the difference in a Kentucky win.

Vanderbilt at Mississippi State (2:30, ESPN GamePlan): So I was wrong on Vandy too. A win in Starkville would put the Dores at 6-0 for the first time since 1928. Yes, 1928. It's that kind of year. Last year, State was the Alabama State Champions. They have a chance to claim Tennessee the next two weeks.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="190" caption="Bobby Johnson has Vandy on the verge of bowl eligibility"][/caption]

As fundamentally strong as Vanderbilt is and as bad as Mississippi State's offense is (ie, worse than Auburn's), Vandy should SHOULD continue their historic year. Oh yeah, a sixth win would mean the Dores' first non-losing season since 1982.

Tennessee at Georgia (3:30, CBS): Last time we saw Georgia, they were getting smacked at home by Alabama. The Vols are trying to avoid an 0-3 start in the SEC. Basically, it's an SEC East elimination game, but isn't every week?

As everyone knows, Tennessee has won three of the last four, the last two in Athens, and the last two years by a combined 86-47. The revenge factor comes into play, but Georgia's banged up and the Vols have no offense. How healthy is Knowshon Moreno? The Dawg defense took a hit with the loss of Dannell Ellerbe, and appears to have a weakness along the offensive line. Tennessee just plain likes to shoot their toes off in the most frustrating of ways I won't go into. Nick Stephens, meet the fire.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="325" caption="Yet another reason to miss Mr. Ainge: he was 3-0 against Georgia"][/caption]

I have low expectations. Very low. Tennessee seemingly matches up pretty well, but most reasonable Dawg fans (an oxymoron, I know) will remind you of David Cutcliffe's absence. Coach Fulmer has struggled - mightily - against Mark Richt without Cut (two wins against UGA without Cut: '99 and '04). He doesn't have Cut anymore. T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Not just this week, but this entire season for the Vols.

Tennessee's defense keeps it close, but I just don't see Tennessee getting enough offense to win Saturday. Think Auburn. I'm expecting another frustrating Saturday...

Arkansas at Auburn (5:00, ESPN GamePlan): So much for the Spread Eagle. Probably using the fan's vote, Auburn fired Tony Franklin Wednesday, probably meaning the beginning of the Kodi Burns era and Chris Todd and the bench and headphones/clipboard becoming best of friends. Playing Arkansas should also help, as the Hogs are bad enough that even Tennessee could score on them (I think). Though they are bad, they played Florida much, much tougher than the 38-7 final showed, and I expect Petrino to get an upset at some point...

LSU at Florida (8:00, CBS): Personally, this is one of my favorite SEC games each year. The athletic ability on the field between these two is ridiculous. The coaches (and their egos) are a great match-up. And it's always a game Florida could very well lose - and I could watch Florida lose every day.

That said, I like LSU in this game, and here's why: I've said it before and I'll say it again - LSU has the SEC's best lines (Bammer is a close second). Florida's lines? Probably their weakest aspect, due to the athletes everywhere else. While LSU has some questions in the secondary, they should be able to keep it close and be able to wear down Florida with Craig Scott and that offensive line, much like they did at Auburn. If you haven't figured it out yet, I really like this LSU team - as in I think they're the best in the SEC.


OH THERE'S MORE!

Tonight's game has some intrigue. For Vols fans, fellow underachiever/coach-on-the-hot-seat Clemson/Tommy Bowden travel to Wake Forest in an important game in the ACC Atlantic, where Florida State is also in the mix (the Noles are off this week after beating Miami).

The NEW Weekly Duke Update: After being shutout by Georgia Tech last week, Duke has granted Cut a one-week release to be Tennessee's offensive coordinator for the Georgia game. UGA is screwed and there are rumors of a forfeit. Yeah, WE WISH. Duke hosts Miami next week. Meanwhile, Lawvol's Tar Heels, fresh into the rankings, host Notre Dame. C'mon, UNC...

Throwing conference affiliations aside, here are the other great games in chronological order...

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="100" caption="Colt McCoy"][/caption] [caption id="" align="alignright" width="90" caption="Sam Bradford"][/caption]

Texas vs. Oklahoma in Dallas (12:00, ABC): Ah yes, the battle of the two outstanding QBs who look like they are still in middle school - Texas' Colt McCoy and OU's Sam Bradford. My deal with Texas is that they are generally underachieving. They are in Texas. They have recruits fall into their lap from Texas, and Louisiana, where LSU is the only competition. Yet Mack Brown hasn't won much without Vince Young. OU has the edge defensively, and the Texas secondary is ripe for Bradford and his seemingly countless receiving targets.

And Bob Stoops has Mack's number. While the QB matchup is essentially a push and the athletes on the field are also at a high level like the LSU-Florida matchup, I like OU. Also, why is this game being played at 11am local time? I know they have the Texas State Fair, but that's too early for such a big football game....

Michigan State at Northwestern (3:30, ESPN2): Don't laugh. MSU is ranked and Northwestern is unbeaten. Both have zero Big Ten losses. A State win puts them firmly into the mix heading into mid-October. A Wildcat win continues the "Revenge of the Nerds" theme dominating the season's first six weeks. I like Sparty...

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="101" caption="Mmm...53.4 ppg"][/caption]

Oklahoma State at Missouri (8:00, ESPN2): Quietly, Okie State is 5-0. Missouri is just sick on offense. The 'Boys aren't too shabby on offense either, so first to 60 wins. That would be Mizzou. Missouri is second in the nation in points. Oklahoma State is third. Hello fireworks...

I've been all "over" the Tigers these past weeks, and as you know by now I almost went there. Obviously the offense is unstoppable with Jeremy Maclin, Chase Coffman, and runnings back are always productive (Tony Temple last year, Derrick Washington this year). Defense was the issue, but there was improvement as the Tigers held Nebraska, who scored 30 on Virginia Tech, to just 10 measly points. Not gonna be much chest-bumping on the OSU sidelines Saturday...

Penn State at Wisconsin (8:00, ESPN): Is Penn State the best team in the Big Ten? So far, it's almost a certainty. Big Test #1 is Saturday night in Madison, where band-less Wisconsin is coming off a heart-breaking late loss to Ohio State. I like the Lions to continue their roll, though I'm not very confident in Wisky losing two straight home games after a two-pus year streak of never losing. The Lions are in Columbus the 25th.

Whew! That was quite a bit. College football = awesome.


Images Courtesy of: Mark Humphrey / AP (Daylife)Tom Mihalek / AP (Daylife)MackBrown-TexasFootball.comOU Official Athletic SiteDave Weaver / AP (Daylife)

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