SEC Predictions & Recruiting Rankings

Posted Sep 18, 2009

Some good college football on tap for this weekend, but a lot of fans will turn their attention to the game in Gainesville as Urban Meyer throws a welcoming party for Lane Kiffin and the Volunteers. Read where the SEC schools rank in recruiting along with the SEC publishers/writers predictions of this week's match-ups.

SEC Recruiting Rankings:
3. Tennessee
4. Alabama
5. LSU
7. Georgia
9. Florida
25. Auburn
26. South Carolina
27. Vanderbilt
51. Ole Miss
52. Mississippi State
57. Arkansas
70. Kentucky (16-2)

11:21 a.m. CT, SEC Network/ GamePlan

Kentucky 24, Louisville 10 — But what’s the latest buzz with the basketball coaches?

Trent Richardson
Freshman of the Week
Alabama 40, North Texas 14 — The Mean Green lost its quarterback, and Alabama has found one.

Florida 35, Tennessee 14Urban Meyer wants to pour it on, but Vols make it tough for a while.

LSU 41, Louisiana-Lafayette 10 — One day LSU may not want to play the in-state schools, but for now it’s safe.

Vanderbilt 24, Mississippi State 17 — Better than average Vandy team could assure State of SEC cellar.

South Carolina 42, Florida Atlantic 13Steve Spurrier’s rediscovered offense has a field day.

Georgia 31, Arkansas 30 — If this turns into a defensive struggle, I’m turning in my picking privileges.

Auburn 31, West Virginia 10 — West Virginia doesn’t have Pat White, and Auburn has an offense. (17-1)

Georgia at Arkansas, 6:45 p.m. CT, ESPN

Kentucky 28, Louisville 10 - A backyard rivalry, but there is a reason that Rich Brooks is sleeping better than Steve Kragthorpe right now. His Cats are better than the Cards and although Louisville's offense might score this year in this game, it won't be much.

Alabama 52, North Texas 14 - It would have been fun to see just how North Texas freshman QB sensation Riley Dodge fared against the Crimson Tide defense, but he's hurt and the Eagles are certainly going to be now.

Florida 42, Tennessee 21 - Rocky Top all night long? I don't think so. Really shouldn't rile up Tim Tebow and the other super heroes.

QB Ryan Mallett
LSU 42, Louisiana-Lafayette 14 - The Ragin Cagins got a nice home win over Kansas State last week, but this is a little bit more big boy football and it won't surprise the Tigers.

Vanderbilt 21, Mississippi State 14 - The Commodores enjoy a home victory as the Bulldog fans continue to look forward to basketball season.

South Carolina 38, Florida Atlantic 13 - The Gamecocks finally get to take exhale with a breather.

Ole Miss 44, Southeastern Louisiana 10 - Southeastern Louisiana won 69-20 last week, but Union is most certainly not thje Rebels for the Right Reverend Houston Nutt.

Arkansas 28, Georgia 24 - Should be a tremendous night football game in Fayetteville with the difference likely the fact that Bobby Petrino and his staff have been preparing for Georgia since last spring and the Bulldogs for the Razorbacks since Sunday.

Auburn 24, West Virginia 21- Kodi Burns is living large in Gus Malzahn's Wildcat offense and Pat White is with the Miami Dolphins. Thus, the Tigers - being at home - slip past the Mountaineers in a good one. (ITAT) (16-2)

West Virginia at Auburn, 6:45 p.m. CT, ESPN2

Antonio Coleman
Defensive Lineman of the Week
Louisville 10, at Kentucky 28--The Wildcats look like they have turned the tables in this in-state rivarly.

North Texas 3, at Alabama 45--The Green hasn't been very Mean for a while.

Tennessee 7, at Florida 48--Don't tug on Superman's cape, don't...

Louisiana-LaFayette 20, at LSU 31--Both teams are 2-0, but the Ragin' Cajuns are 0-21 all-time vs. the Bayou Bengals.

Miss. State 21, at Vandy 28--The Commodores look to be a solid team this year.

Florida Atlantic 13, at South Carolina 31--South Carolina won the previous meeting 45-6 in 2006, but this one should be closer.

Georgia 27, at Arkansas 31--Ryan Mallett should test the Bulldogs on Saturday night.
West Virginia 27, at Auburn 34--In a rematch from last season, Auburn will offer a bigger challenge to the Mountaineers this time. (5-1)

Tennessee at Florida, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports

Louisville 10 at Kentucky 31 – Rich Brooks has earned a ton of respect in my mind and continually has his team playing above their heads.

Tim Tebow
Offensive Player of the Week
North Texas 7 at Alabama 42 – Tide is better than I gave them credit for.

Tennessee 10 at Florida 200 – Urban Meyer won't call off the dogs until the final whistle. Florida is just one of several SEC schools I expect to make the Vols their whipping boy due to Kiffin's mouth and recruiting tactics.

Louisiana Lafayette 10 at LSU 24 – LSU not living up to it this year.

Mississippi State 13 at Vanderbilt 27 – Vandy at home and playing above their talent level.

Florida Atlantic 7 at South Carolina 35 – South Carolina finds some special teams coverage units to go with their solid defense and new found offense.

Southeastern Louisiana 3 at Ole Miss 34 – Only the flu can slow Ole Miss down...oh wait.

Georgia 13 at Arkansas 31 – Petrino has his first round quarterback, and the Dawgs lost theirs and a first round running back. Now they are second guessing the offensive line.

West Virginia 17 at Auburn 28 – Big East pretenders stay away. (5-1)

Louisville at Kentucky, 12 p.m. ET, ESPNU Network/ GamePlan

Louisville 13 at Kentucky 27:- Mike Hartline shows that game one wasn't a fluke as he throws three TD passes in a victory.

North Texas 7 at Alabama 41:- As Alabama's newcomers become more comfortable, the Tide becomes more dangerous.

QB Mike Hartline
Tennessee 21 at Florida 52: - The Gators show their teeth in a route of the Volunteers in Gainesville.

Louisiana Lafayette 9 at LSU 34:- LSU plays it conservatively as they defeat their fellow Cajuns.

Mississippi State 17 at Vanderbilt 24: - Vandy scores on the last possession of the game to eek out a close one.

Florida Atlantic 3 at South Carolina 31: - Gamecocks defense gave up a lot of points to the Bulldogs, and the defense wants to redeem itself.

Southeastern Louisiana 7 at Ole Miss 33: - Ole Miss starts slow, but romps by the fourth quarter.

Georgia 28 at Arkansas 17:- Georgia pulls away at the end of a close one.

West Virginia 21 at Auburn 17:- The Mountaineers roll into Auburn and methodically get the win. (13-3)

Louisiana Lafayette at LSU, 6 p.m. CT, ESPNU

Louisville 14, Kentucky 24: Can Steve Kragthorpe get his first win over Kentucky in three attempts as Louisville's head coach The ground game has determined this game in season's past, so look for both teams to pound it out - and the Wildcats to come out ahead.

North Texas 7, Alabama 38: The Crimson Tide let FIU hang around for a bit last Saturday, but the game was never in contest. Expect much of the same this weekend.
Tennessee 6, Florida 49: The long-awaited battle between Urban Meyer and Lane Kiffin has arrived. Meyer comes out on top, and Tennessee looks like it has a long way to go after the Gators dominate both sides of the ball from start to finish.

Rahim Alem
Defensive Player of the Week
ULALA 17, LSU 35: The Tigers' struggles on the defense continue as they adjust to new coordinator John Chavis' scheme. On the other side of the ball, Jordan Jefferson goes another game without an interception.

Mississippi State 10, Vanderbilt 24: Vanderbilt bounces back from a loss in Baton Rouge with a comfortable win over the Bulldogs, who suffer defeat in their second straight conference road game.

FAU 14, South Carolina 35: The Gamecocks fell just short of a big-time conference win over Georgia last weekend. Time to regroup against FAU before Ole Miss comes to town.

SELU 3, Ole Miss 45: After a week rest, the Rebels let it all out on the Lions. Jevan Snead hits Shay Hodge for a pair of touchdown grabs early, and the rest is history.

Georgia 17, Arkansas 24: The Bulldogs squeezed one out last week, but Bobby Petrino's Razorbacks have been setting up the game plan for this one all preseason. Ryan Mallet's biggest stage awaits..

West Virginia 17, Auburn 14: Jordan-Hare is a tough environment to play in, but the Mountaineers have the speed and talent to compete with a strong Tiger secondary. If the Auburn offense doesn't click early, West Virginia could keep Toomer's Corner rather quiet. The Tigers are the favorites, but Gene Chizik's first big game is a tricky one.

Gene' (4-2)

Mississippi State at Vanderbilt, 6 p.m. CT, FS South/ GamePlan
Kentucky 28 Louisville 17: Both teams come in off a bye week, and UK was clearly better in week one. Home field advantage and a pretty stingy Wildcat defense should prove to be too much for the Cards.

Alabama 35 North Texas 7: I like this Alabama team, but I am not sold on the QB play. They need to get everyone on the same page before conference play starts.

Florida 28, Tennessee 9: I am sure there are some who expect the Gators to hammer the Vols. Tennessee will be ready to play, but they don't have the talent on the roster or on the coaching staff to run with Florida. You can recruit talent. I am not so sure how to fix the other problem.

QB Chris Relf
LSU 38 UL-Lafayette: I am not real sure how good this LSU team really is. Two weeks and two very unimpressive showings by the Tigers. With all due respect to Washington and Vandy, LSU should have won easily. It looks like the Tigers are on the down side of a talent cycle.

Mississippi State 20 Vanderbilt 17: The Bulldogs handed Vandy their first defeat of the season last year. I expect the same this year if MSU can fix a leaky defense that gave up close to 600 yards last week.

South Carolina 31 FAU 3: It looks like the Gamecocks fixed their offensive issues in week two. They will get to tinker some more this week in a glorified scrimmage.

Ole Miss 42 Southeastern 3: Coming off a bye week where the Rebs were pounded by the flu, the schedule proves kind for Ole Miss. An early lead should allow for plenty of reps for eveyone on the roster.

Georgia 28 Arkansas 24: Arkansas has had two weeks to get ready, but I am not sure if they have the talent on defense to close the deal. Georgia looked really good last week on offense, but they will need to get some stops to win on the road this week.

Auburn 31 WVU 17: This just in, Auburn is good. The next few weeks will tell us how good they really are, but the Tigers can move the football. Auburn should be 4-0 when they roll into Knoxville. (16-2)

Southeastern Louisiana at Ole Miss, 6:30 p.m. CT, CSS/ GamePlan

Louisville 21, Kentucky 38: This rivalry seems to intensify every year and will be no different this year, but in the end, the Wildcats will flex their muscle and eat the Cardinal.

Jerrell Powe
Named starter this week
North Texas 3, Alabama 52: A bloddletting.

Tennessee 24, Florida 44: The bookies have made this a 38-point game. Don't buy into that. Florida will win, and pretty big, but not by 38.

Louisiana Lafayette 14, LSU 55: This in-state bribery will end up being just that, the big, bad Tigers helping the finances of their (little) sister school with a nice check and a nice butt-kicking.

Mississippi State 10, Vanderbilt 14: Which offense is more inept? The vote here is MSU's.

Florida Atlantic 20, South Carolina 31: The Gamecocks will win, but not before a tussle with Howard Schnellenberger's squad.

Southeastern Louisiana 17, Ole Miss 42: The Rebels are coming off an open week that ravaged the team with flu and their opener against Memphis that was more struggle than expected for a couple of quarters. That being said, Ole Miss 42, SEL 17.
Georgia 21, Arkansas 24: Who is the mirage and who is for real? That will be revealed in this game. Home field will be the difference.

West Virginia 24, Auburn 28: Tough call. We'll go with the SEC, but nothing would surprise us in this game. (15-3)

Florida Atlantic at South Carolina, 7 p.m. ET, South Carolina PPV/ GamePlan

Kentucky 27 - Louisville 17: Kentucky continues to get progressively better under Rich Brooks, while their in-state rival Louisville seems to get progressively worse since the departure of Bobby Petrino.

Heath Batchelor
Starting left guard
Alabama 48 - North Texas 6: At least North Texas will leave with a handsome paycheck.

Florida 63 - Tennessee 9: The must-see “game” of the weekend won’t be watching these two teams battle on the field, it will be watching Lane Kiffin squirm on the sidelines as he’s humbled in front of a national television audience. Urban Meyer will keep his foot on the gas in this one until the clock hits zero.

LSU 41 - La. Lafayette 13: LSU rolls…

Vanderbilt 24 - Miss. State 17: This will be one of the better matchups of the weekend in SEC play, but Vandy’s physicality will wear down MSU and the ’Dores will protect their home turf.

South Carolina 48 - Florida Atlantic 17: We saw the emergence of sophomore quarterback Stephen Garcia last week in Athens. This week, the Gamecocks will work out the kinks and not settle for field goals in the red zone against FAU.

Ole Miss 45 - Southeastern Louisiana 13: The conference schedule begins next week for the Rebs.

Georgia 38 - Arkansas 37: This game will live up to the hype with fireworks galore in the Ozarks. In a back and forth shootout, the Bulldogs will sneak out with a narrow victory.

Auburn 30 - West Virginia 23: Auburn’s offense continues to click as Gene Chizik gets the first statement win of his tenure on The Plains. (16-2)

Tennessee at Florida, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

Kentucky 27, Louisville 17: Louisville is better than the Big Blue's other non-conference foes (Miami of Ohio, Louisiana-Monroe and Eastern Kentucky), which means the Cardinals have at least a faint pulse.

Alabama 41, North Texas 17: Playing North Texas a week after playing Florida International ... is that legal?

Florida 38, Tennessee 10: Urban Meyer called off the dogs last year against Phil Fulmer. He won't be so merciful against Lane Kiffin.

Eric Berry
Ready for the Gators

LSU 31, Louisiana Lafayette 7: After struggling with Washington and Vanderbilt, the Tigers finally get to win comfortably.

Vanderbilt 27, Mississippi State 24: Sure, they're perennial also-rans, but these two might give us the most exciting SEC game of the entire weekend.

South Carolina 41, Florida Atlantic 7: The Gamecocks showed loads of defense in Week 1, loads of offense in Week 2. They're due to show both in Week 3.

Ole Miss 38, Southeastern Louisiana 7: Did the Rebels really need an open date to tune up for this mismatch after thrashing Memphis in Game 1?

Arkansas 31, Georgia 27: Razorback QB Ryan Mallett is so eager to face the Dawgs' defense he probably can't sleep.

Auburn 34, West Virginia 27: Has anyone else noticed that Gus Malzahn is producing points at Auburn the same way he did at Tulsa? (16-2)

Mississippi State at Vanderbilt, 6 p.m. CT, FS South/ GamePlan

Kentucky 31, Louisville 23: Two rivals go at it. Got to go with the home team here.

QB Larry Smith
Alabama 35, North Texas 10: North Texas looks improved, but Alabama should be able to handle them.

Florida 70, Tennessee 7: You reap what you sow and this game will prove that.

LSU 42, Louisiana Lafayette 7: Tiger fans will finally get the blowout win they've been looking for.

Vanderbilt 21, Mississippi State 17: Vandy not as ripe for upset as last year in Starkville.

South Carolina 38, Florida Atlantic 10: Easy win for the Gamecocks.

Arkansas 31, Georgia 27: Pigs hold off the Dawgs in a backyard brawl.

Auburn 28, West Virginia 21: Auburn's offense is clicking and the team looks much improved.

From media relations of the SEC:

* SEC has five teams ranked in both Associated Press and USA Today polls this week. The league has four teams ranked in the top 9 of both polls (Florida No. 1 in both; Alabama No. 4 in both; Ole Miss No. 5 in AP/#6 in USA Today; LSU No. 9 in AP/No. 7 in USA Today).

* The SEC has a 13-2 (.867) non-conference record after two weeks of the 2009 season, the best winning percentage in the nation. The Big Ten is second at 18-4 (.818).

* After two weeks of the regular season, the SEC has filled its stadiums to 98.89 percent. In 13 home games, a total of 1,026,987 fans have attended SEC games, an average of 78,999 per game.

* The four-point winning margin for Georgia (41-37) over South Carolina is a microcosm of how close the series has been this decade. In 10 meetings between the two schools since 2000, the average winning margin is 8.50 points per game, which is the sixth closest of all SEC series in the 2000s.

* SEC teams are 19-2 when scoring first this season. The only two losses were Georgia falling to Oklahoma State and South Carolina falling to Georgia.

* Alabama's Leigh Tiffin has moved into a tie for 10th in SEC history in career field goals made (59). South Carolina's Chris Culliver has moved into 9th in SEC history in career kickoff return yards with 1,791.

* Florida's Tim Tebow leads all active NCAA FBS players in the following career statistical categories - Rushing TDs (45), Touchdowns responsible for (117) and most touchdowns scored (45).

Tennessee's Eric Berry leads all active NCAA FBS players in interception yards (467) and interception returns for TD (3).

Alabama's Javier Arenas leads all active NCAA FBS players in number of punt returns (100), punt return yards (1,395), punt returns for TDs (6).

The Tide's Leigh Tiffin is also the NCAA FBS active leader in field goals made (59) and attempts (84).

South Carolina's Eric Norwood leads all active NCAA FBS players in sack yardage (200).

* Vanderbilt (3.10) has the SEC's most experienced offensive line while Arkansas (6-5, 318) and Ole Miss (6-4, 317) have the league's largest.

* SEC teams are outscoring opponents 202-64 in the fourth quarter.

* SEC defenses have held opponents to 3-downs-and-out on 41.4 percent of drives (111 of 268). Five SEC defenses have stopped opponents 3-and-out on better than 50 percent of opponents drives - Tennessee (18 of 27); Florida (16 of 29); Kentucky (7 of 13); Ole Miss (9 of 17) and Vanderbilt (14 of 28).

* SEC teams have scored 96 offensive touchdowns and have given up 38 this season. SEC teams have scored 7 defensive touchdowns already this season. SEC defenses have allowed just 13 passing TDs and 19 rushing TDs this season. Four SEC teams have not given up a passing TD this season; Two SEC teams have not given up a rushing TD this season.

Complete list of recruiting rankings [click here].

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