The Fearless Friday Forecast as we reach the midway point of the 2010 season (Man, that was fast!)
1. Alabama at South Carolina: South Carolina has never beaten the No. 1 team in the nation. ESPN’s College Game Day will be there. The game will be nationally televised on CBS. It’s certainly the biggest game in Steve Spurrier’s six years in Columbia. Some games are tough to break down. This one is not. If South Carolina can slow down the running game just a little bit, the Gamecocks have a chance to put some pressure on Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy. If McElroy, who had two interceptions against Arkansas, has an off day the Gamecocks have a shot. There is a reason McElroy is undefeated as a starting quarterback. He knows how to win these kinds of games. Alabama 24, South Carolina 10.
2. Tennessee at Georgia: Let’s dub this one the “Desperation Bowl.” Both teams really need a win after very tough losses last week. I’m not sure how Georgia’s team is going to respond–if they respond at all–after four straight losses. I’m not sure if Tennessee is completely over last week’s crazy loss to LSU. Georgia gets the edge at home and wins with a Blair Walsh field goal at the buzzer. Georgia 17, Tennessee 14.
3. Virginia at Georgia Tech: Georgia Tech is very much a work in progress and will need to tighten up in several areas in order to beat the Cavaliers. The Yellow Jackets have to get pressure on Virginia quarterback Mark Verica and make him uncomfortable. They will. Georgia Tech 24, Virginia 14.
4. LSU at Florida: The Les Miles Traveling High Wire and Mass Confusion Show makes an appearance at The Swamp, where the Gators are still smarting from a beat down at Alabama last week. This is going to be a very ugly football game because neither team really has a coherent offense. Florida is average. LSU is awful. LSU will be in this game all the way because the Tiger defense is so good. It will be a low scoring game because both coaches know their offense can lose the game and will thus be very conservative. Florida wins the game when LSU mismanages the clock and fails to kick a potential winning field goal. Florida 14 LSU 13.
5. Auburn at Kentucky: After a quality scrimmage last week against Louisiana-Monroe, Auburn starts a string of four straight SEC games against Kentucky, Arkansas, LSU, and Ole Miss. The Tigers have a rising star in quarterback Cameron Newton, the nation’s No. 2 most efficient passer. But it is the Auburn defense that is really exceeding expectations and will force three Kentucky turnovers. Auburn 35, Kentucky 24.
6. Florida State at Miami: It comes down to quarterback play. Jacory Harris of Miami makes big plays but he tends to throw interceptions. He has eight in only 119 passing attempts. Florida State’s Christian Ponder has only three interceptions in 129 attempts. It is tempting to go with Florida State because the Seminoles lead the nation with 25 quarterback sacks. But I just like Miami at home. Miami 24, Florida State 20.
7. Clemson at North Carolina: Both teams have lost a conference game and so both need a win in order to stay competitive in their respective divisions. I just think that with all of the issues going on at North Carolina (five defensive starters are still out due to various investigations) the Tar Heels don’t have enough steam to beat a pretty good team like Clemson. Clemson 27, North Carolina 21.
8. Michigan State at Michigan: Coach Mark Dantonio had a mild heart attack after Michigan State’s win over Notre Dame on Sept. 25 and was in a hospital bed for last week’s big win over Wisconsin. He returns and will coach in the press box at Michigan, who has the Heisman Trophy frontrunner in quarterback Denard Robinson. Robinson has been unstoppable this season and is just 95 yards away from the 1,000-yard mark. This will be a shootout because the Wolverines can’t stop anybody. Michigan 38, Michigan State 35.
9. Texas A&M vs. Arkansas (Arlington, Tex.): This will be a battle of two very good quarterbacks. Ryan Mallett of Arkansas is second in the nation, averaging 359.5 yards passing per game. Texas A&M’s Jerrod Johnson has a gun for an arm but tends to throw a lot of interceptions. He threw 62 passes in last week’s loss at Oklahoma State but had an interception to set up the winning field goal for the Cowboys. There will be at least 90 passes thrown in this game and the number could be closer to 100. The winner will be the team that can get a couple of defensive stops. That would be Arkansas. Arkansas 42, Texas A&M 37.
10. Southern California at Stanford: USC (4-1) can’t win the Pac-10 because of NCAA probation but the Trojans can have someting to say about who does. USC got beat at the buzzer last week by Washington and now has an opportunity to hand Stanford (4-1) it’s second Pac-10 loss of the season. The Cardinal had a 21-3 lead on Oregon last week and got beat 52-31. I just like Jim Harbaugh’s Stanford team to be tougher than the Boy Wonder who’s coaching the Trojans. Stanford 31, USC 24.
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