SEC Weekend Primer
By Jeremy Hillman
Follow us at Twitter.com/SouthernPigskin. Become a fan at the SouthernPigskin.com Facebook Page
Half of the conference will play games against FCS competition this Saturday.
With just two weeks left in the 2012 regular season, we are getting down to the final games that will decide this season’s conference championship game participants and the bowl pecking order for the league.
This weekend, there are a slew of cream puffs, with seven Southeastern Conference teams playing lower-level FCS opponents. However, there will still be fun football to watch, with good matchups in Starkville, Columbia, Baton Rouge and Nashville.
Last season, I finished the season 81-14 picking SEC games straight up and finished 49-36 in games I picked against the spread. Below, I keep track of how I am doing in 2012:
Week 11 Straight Up Picks: 4-3
Week 11 Against The Spread: 4-3
Total Season Straight Up Picks: 72-16
Total Season Against The Spread: 48-36
Here is a look at my preview and predictions for week 12 of the SEC football season:
Arkansas at Mississippi State (12:21, SEC Network)
Predicted Game MVP: Mississippi State CB Johnthan Banks
The matchup: The Bulldogs were riding high a few weeks ago with a 7-0 record and a lofty national ranking. However, three lopsided losses over the past few weeks have brought the program back to Earth a bit. To be fair, those losses were to good top-20 nationally ranked teams. Arkansas is not a ranked team and may be just what Mississippi State needs to get back on track. State QB Tyler Russell will be able to throw on a very porous Razorback secondary that is allowing over 290 passing yards per game, last in the conference in pass defense. Arkansas and QB Tyler Wilson will also be throwing the ball effectively, and will rack up the yards and point as well. The difference will be the ball hawking Bulldog defensive backs that will have at least two interceptions on the day. Home team gets a much needed win.
Predicted Score: Mississippi State 31 Arkansas 27 (line: Mississippi State -6)
Ole Miss at LSU (3:30, CBS)
Predicted Game MVP: LSU DL Sam Montgomery
The matchup: Ole Miss has had a nice season and has exceeded most people’s expectations from a competitiveness standpoint. They need just one win in their last two games to be bowl eligible. Trouble is, the Rebels will be underdogs in both contest. LSU will be able to run the ball and QB Zack Mettenberger has been playing better in recent games and could have another nice outing against an Ole Miss defense that is allowing over 240 pass yards per game. The Rebels just won’t have enough offense against a solid LSU defensive unit that ranks second in the conference in total defense to be able to keep pace in this ballgame. The Tigers win, pulling away late
Predicted Score: LSU 30 Ole Miss 13 (line: LSU -18.5)
Syracuse at Missouri (7:00, ESPNU)
Predicted Game MVP: Missouri LB Will Ebner
The matchup: Missouri needs this win to get to six wins and qualify for a bowl game. With Texas A&M next weekend, this may be its last realistic chance at that needed victory. Syracuse is playing well of late, with a big win over top-10 ranked Louisville last week, and will be a challenge for the Tigers. The Orange offense has averaged 39 points per game over the past four weeks and can be dangerous. However, the Tigers showed they can score points too in last week’s high scoring win over Tennessee. With a back and forth battle expected, I will go with the home team — Mizzou edges Cuse and will go bowling.
Predicted Score: Missouri 29 Syracuse 28 (line: Missouri -5)
Tennessee at Vanderbilt (7:00, ESPN2)
Predicted Game MVP: Tennessee WR Justin Hunter
The matchup: Vanderbilt has everything going for it in this Saturday's game against Tennessee—a four game winning streak, the fifth ranked defense in the conference, a dangerous wide receiver on offense in Jordan Matthews, and a home crowd. However, one big missing piece may be Commodore starting RB Zac Stacy, as he is banged up. If he misses any significant portion of this game, this game could be a bit closer than some expect, as the Volunteers' passing offense will do some damage. Yet, the Vol’s running game will continue to struggle. At the end of the day, even if Stacy is out, look for backup RB Brian Kimbrow to pick up the slack for the Dores’, and for the Vanderbilt passing game to connect on enough big plays against a Tennessee defense that looks to have quit, to win this huge home game.
Predicted Score: Vanderbilt 28 Tennessee 24 (line: Vanderbilt -4)
Cupcakes (I would like to, again, state my disappointment that these types of games are ever scheduled in college football):
Alabama 52 Western Carolina 0
Florida 34 Jacksonville State 6
South Carolina 51 Wofford 3
Georgia 48 Georgia Southern 7
Auburn 45 Alabama A&M 10
Texas A&M 56 Sam Houston State 13
Kentucky 28 Samford 10