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Post Opponent watch

Tuesday October 7, 2008

Georgia Southern (3-3) —

Central Michigan (3-2): CMU had a heartbreaking loss to Purdue that many of us watched in Tempe, but the Chippewas have won a pair of MAC games by the skin of their teeth to remain undefeated in conference. They return from a bye week to host an improved Temple. THIS WEEK: Temple

South Carolina (4-2): After some ugly home wins against Wofford and UAB, quarterback Chris Smelley stepped up and led the Gamecocks to a nice 31-24 road win at Ole Miss. That improved passing attack will get a big test this week in Lexington as they’ll face a Kentucky defense that was effective against Alabama. THIS WEEK: @ Kentucky

Arizona State (2-3): A blocked field goal against UNLV started ASU on a three-game losing streak, and now Rudy Carpenter is injured and questionable. The good news? There is none. This weekend’s trip to USC was billed preseason as a possible Pac-10 title game between last season’s co-champions, but the Trojans are now 25-point favorites. A likely loss at Southern Cal will have the Sun Devils at 2-4, 1-2 in the Pac-10, and playing out the rest of the season hoping for a bowl of some significance. THIS WEEK: @ Southern Cal

Alabama (6-0): And after the sixth win, they rested. Bama got a small scare from Kentucky last week, but the game wasn’t that close. Alabama’s defense was as good as it’s been all year, and they THIS WEEK: BYE

Tennessee (2-3): Jonathan Crompton has given way to Nick Stephens, and the sophomore will make his first road start at Georgia. THIS WEEK: @ Georgia

Vanderbilt (5-0): The fact that Vandy is a significant road favorite for an SEC game this week pretty much says it all. They’re winning ugly, but they’re winning, and every week we get another one of these "first 3-0 SEC start since the Reformation" milestones. Mississippi State has had a rough go of it so far, but they did put up a respectable result against LSU. Will they make the mistakes on which Vandy has feasted in the rest of their conference wins? Just wrap your head around an SEC road game being called a possible "trap" game for the Commodores. Will they have to go to the second-string QB for the third straight game? THIS WEEK: @ Mississippi State

LSU (4-0): Maybe it was the weather screwing around with their September schedule, but considering that they’re the defending national champion and in the Top 5, isn’t it odd how under the radar LSU seems at this point in the season? Most Georgia fans have seen relatively little of LSU. Their one high-profile game – a thrilling win at Auburn – coincided with our game at Arizona State. Charles Scott has been a consistent rock in the backfield as the new quarterback comes along, and of course the defense is pulling its weight. No more hiding this week; yet another SEC game with national implications takes place in Gainesville. THIS WEEK: @ Florida

Florida (4-1): The Gators once again turned to the model established in the Miami game: get out to a small lead, hold off a lesser opponent with good defense, and pour it on late. They had few problems with Arkansas and are feeling pretty darn good about themselves at the moment. If there was one area of concern, Michael Smith had a nice 133-yard game for Arkansas and was able to find room up the middle several times. The Gators are getting some bodies back to help shore up the interior, but their run defense will get a bigger test against LSU. With a bye week looming, Meyer can afford to pull out all the stops for a very big game. THIS WEEK: LSU

Kentucky (4-1): The Wildcats put up a good showing at Alabama, but the Wildcats continue to have big questions on offense. Two of the best defenses in the SEC go at it this weekend in Lexington, and Kentucky just doesn’t have the firepower to respond if they find themselves down again. You just don’t see a lot of points being scored in this game, but South Carolina’s improvement in the passing game has to worry UK fans in search of the team’s first SEC win. THIS WEEK: South Carolina

Auburn (4-2): Big problems on the Plains. Auburn’s offense can’t get out of first gear, and the defense can only do so much. It looked as if Ben Tate was more than enough to beat Vandy, but he was a non-factor down the stretch. Clearly folks aren’t happy with the Tony Franklin experiment, and things aren’t much more clear than they were last week when everyone declared the spread era over at Auburn. The good news is that most any team can get a feel-good win against Arkansas. I wonder if many Auburn fans will look across the sideline and wonder what life would have been like had the Petrino deal worked out in 2003. Things are shaky at Auburn but not Arkansas bad. THIS WEEK: Arkansas

Georgia Tech (4-1): Tech continues to put up winning results against some pretty plain competition. Last week the defense held off Duke long enough to get the offense going, and a 3-0 game in the third quarter turned into a 27-0 final. THIS WEEK: Gardner-Webb. Seriously.

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