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LCB SEC Picks: Game of the Week

November 20, 2010


(13) Arkansas v (22) Mississippi State @ 7:00 on ESPN:
Langston: Not a whole lot on the SEC front this week in important match-ups. The Vols have a chance to continue their surprising push to become bowl eligible behind true freshman Tyler Bray, and the way they've played of late they should have no problem with Vanderbilt and their horrendous secondary. Bama already played, it was a gimme against a first-year program that my current school (and two-year old program) beat to a pulp earlier this season. South Carolina plays Troy, a decent non-AQ team who's been on the wrong end of some close games, most notably a three-point loss to Oklahoma State; making this a tougher than average "auto" win game. LSU plays conference ragdoll Ole Miss. And Florida plays everyone's favorite FCS team, Appalachian State. Since their upset win over Michigan in 2007, the pride of Boone has played two FBS teams and lost both times, a blowout to LSU in 2008 and a barnburner against East Carolina in 2009. Florida should get more than it bargained for when scheduling a FCS team, but even with their idiotic three-QB system they will roll thanks to the talent disparity and Big Blue's oversight (Appy St isn't sneaking up on anyone ever again) in scouting. Now let's get to the game of the week.


Arkansas has a chance for something special, a spot in the Sugar Bowl. Say what you want about bowls and playoffs, but that would be a program changing invite. It would also return them to the level of success they enjoyed before Houston Nutt's departure. They would first need to win their last two (this game and next week versus LSU) and Auburn needs to win the Iron Bowl, but it's in their peripheral. On the other hand, Mississippi State has a chance to do something they haven't done in a long time, win 9 games. This could set up a berth in the Cotton Bowl, which would be their biggest game in a decade and their first appearance in the Dallas bowl game since 1998. If they do that and win the Jerry Jones bowl, bringing them to 10 wins on the year, they will have won almost half as many games this season as they did during the entire Sylvester Croom era (W/L record of 21-38) of 2004-2008. It would also mark one of the most impressive turnarounds for a program in recent memory, and remove the label of auto-win cupcake on the SEC schedule.

The high-octane offense of Arkansas should make it tough for Mississippi State to keep up. The Bulldogs haven't been able to score over thirty against an SEC team all year, relying on their terrific running game and Vick Ballard to keep pace. As for the Hogs, they make scoring look rather rudimentary, scoring thirty in all but two games. If the Bulldogs can pound the ball and shorten the game, they may have a chance to pull this one out. But that won't happen. Ryan Mallet and the boys from Fayetteville have the offense rolling, and the Hog defense has begun to show life late in the year. I think the Bulldogs put up a good fight, but in the end, they will not be able to keep up with their paltry 106th ranked passing offense. Hogs 45, Dogs 28.

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