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5. Louisville 1-1 @ Pitt 2-0: Louisville officially joined the ACC on July 1st, 2014. UL & Pitt have played 17 times, Pitt leads the series, 9 wins to 8 for Louisville. As ACC members, they have met only once, in 2015, Pitt won, 45-34!
Louisville is in the Atlantic Division of the ACC, while Pitt plays in the Coastal Division. The ACC has 14 teams (15 this year … ND) in football and unlike the B-10, P-12, or the B-12 (who play 9 CG) the ACC plays only 8 conference games. This explains why Pitt & Louisville have met only once in 6 seasons and in fact, this is a Covid-19 game, as the teams were not schedule to play in 2020!
Pitt Head Coach (HC), Pat Narduzzi, believes this is the best front 7 that he has had in his 6 years at Pitt. The D is led by a trio of outstanding linemen, DE Patrick Jones, NT, Jaylen Twyman & DE, Rashad Weaver, Phil Campbell leads the way @ LB, and all everything, SS, Paris Ford patrols the back end! The Offense is led by QB, Kenny Pickett, who passed for over 3000 yards last season, 13 TD to 9 INT, while completing 61% of his passes!
Louisville in its showdown with Miami, looked completely, confused on D. UL’s DC, Bryan Brown’s defense gave up back to back 75 yards TD’s and a 40 yard plus pass play, in which no one was within 15 yards of the receiver. They have a lot to resolve in preparing to play Pitt, to say the least!
The Offense played well against Miami! They will need to play at least as well to have any chance vs this Pitt Defense. QB, Micale Cunningham passed for 307 yards on 26 / 36, a 72% completion rate, and a ratio of 3 TD’s to 1 Pick! He will need to do this very good work again, if they are to move the ball against Pitt. Yet, it won’t matter, if the D fails to show up again!
Louisville @ Pitt, ACCN / 11:00, Pitt -3.5!
4. Florida 0-0 @ Ole Miss 0-0: The coaches are a good enough reason to watch this game, Danny Mullen @ Florida & Lane Kiffin @ Ole Miss!
These clubs have met 24 times, somewhat surprisingly, Ole Miss leads the series 12-11-1. Their last meeting was in 2015, a 38-10 tail-whippin’ the Gators put on the Rebels, in Gainesville! Two weeks before that game in 2015, Ole Miss rolled up the Tide, 43-37 and were favored, but 4 Rebel TO’s later, well … not so much Favored!
Ole Miss went a disappointing 4-8 last year, yet return 13 starters, including their QB, (8 on offense & 5 on Defense) John Rhys-Plumlee! Rhys-Plumlee plays more with his legs & feet then with his arm, it will be interesting to see how his skill set plays out with the Lane Train!
Florida is coming off an 11-2 season, losing to only, LSU, 42-28 & UGA, 24-17. The Gators return 12 starters 6 on offense (including their QB, Kyle Trask) & 6 on defense.
This will be Florida’s first visit to Vaught-Hemingway since 2007. The Gators went in a big favorite (-23) and put up 500 plus total yards, yet barely got out with a win, 30-24!
Danny Mullen is 5-4 vs his old rival, Ole Miss, from 2009 through 2017 when coaching @ Mississippi State and playing the Rebels in the EGG Bowl! This time Mullen, clearly, Mullen has the better roster as the teams prepare to square off on Saturday!
Florida @ Ole Miss, ESPN / 11:00, Florida -12.5
3. Kentucky 0-0 @ Auburn 0-0: The Tigers are 26-6-1 all time vs the Cats; winning 17 of the last 18, by an average of 13 points per game. Auburn had won 15 in a row from, 1967 through 2005 until, finally, in 2009, Kentucky got a win, 21-14 and then proceeded to lose the next 2 games (2010, 37-34 & 2015, 30-27)!
UK HC, Mark Stoops, is 44-44 @ Kentucky (before he got to Kentucky, if you had given those guys a ball with points, they would stare @ it, try to bounce it, shoot baby hooks with it, and basically had no idea as to happened to the round ball) in the SEC! With the exception of Saban, he has done as good a job as anyone in that league!
His counterpart, Gus Malzahn, is beginning his 9th year @ Auburn, he is currently 62-31 @ Auburn & 71-34 overall. Gus is 2-1 in his last 3 Iron Bowls’ vs College Football’s Flagship (not yet Clemson), Alabama!
Kentucky returns 15 starters (8 on O & 7 on D) Terry Wilson will start at QB, he started 2 games a year ago before going down with a season ending injury. Auburn will counter with 10 returning starters (5 on O & 5 on D), However, they do return true freshmen QB, Bo Mix, who started all 13 games a year ago! WR, Anthony Schwartz is widely regarded as the fastest player in all of college football!
Kentucky @ Auburn, SECN / 11:00; Auburn -9.5
2. Mississippi State 0-0 @ LSU 0-0: I keep hearing & reading that LSU had 14 players drafted in the 2020 draft, yet I could only find 13, finally in the 7th round (& I should have known) there was a Sullivan causing a math error! Either way, the Tigers did break Alabama’s record of 12 players taken in an NFL draft.
Five Tiger players were taken in the 1st round: (QB, Joe Burrow; LB, K’Lavon Chaisson; WR, Justin Jefferson; LB, Patrick Queen; & RB, Clyde Edwards-Helaire. In the 2nd Round: 2 players were taken, Safety, Grant Delpit & CB, Kristian Fulton! 3rd Round: 3 players were selected, G, Damien Lewis; C, Lloyd Cushenberry; & LB, Jacob Phillips. 4th Round: 2 players were taken off the draft board, OT, Saahdig Charles & DT Rashard Lawrence. 6th Round, LS (long snapper) Blake Ferguson and in the 7th round: WR, Stephen Sullivan!
I know this has nothing to do with Saturday’s game, yet, I wanted to list this for you. so we all got a sense of how much LSU lost and the enormity of trying to get that many replacements ready to play with no spring and an amended summer! Talent, yes, everywhere. Experience, you’ll need the Hubble Telescope to find it! Don’t forget, QB coach/OC, Joe Brady & DC, Dave Aranda have also left! Eddie (Orgeron) will be needing a whole lot of Jambalaya to get through this transformation!
All this coupled with the arrival of Washington State’s Mike Leach in Starkville, Mississippi. Baton Rouge is about to experience its first Air Raid. The only similarity Leach has with State of Louisiana is he thinks he’s a pirate, the reality is; he “ain’t” and there aren’t any!
This is must see TV come Saturday!
Mississippi State @ LSU, CBS / 2:30, LSU -19
1 Tennessee 0-0 @ South Carolina 0-0: This, in my humble opinion, is the best game of the day. Will Muschamp is entering his 5th year @ USC (University of South Carolina, they actually had a 6 year court battle with the other USC and lost to Southern Cal when the U.S. Patent & Trademark office ruled that the West Coast USC had priority when it came to the marketing of the SC logo)) and is one game above 500 @ 26-25! This is not going to fly in Gamecock country!
Meanwhile, Jeremy Pruitt, is beginning his 3rd year @ Tennessee and is also one game above 500 @ 13-12! However, Pruitt won his last 6 games in 2019, including a whipping of the Gamecocks, in Knoxville, 41-21. A game that SC was favored in by 4 points!
This game is, in no small part, all about perception! Pruitt’s team is perceived to be on the rise, while Muschamp’s team is thought to be ‘treading water’!
The SEC East Division royalty, when I started the site in 2009, included Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, & South Carolina. Overtime, the East became a 2 team show, Florida & Georgia and the other 5 programs being placed in no particular or consistent hierarchy. Today, the prevailing thought is that the 4 best team’s in the East Division are UGA, FL, UT and Kentucky and some would argue the team in the other Columbia (Mizzou), is the better program!
This year the SEC is playing a 10 game, conference only Schedule! SC has its normal run of the East (Florida, Georgia, UT, Kentucky, Mizzou, & Vandy) & has drawn LSU, Auburn, A&M & Ole Miss in its crossover games with the West Division. In my opinion, Muschamp needs to win 6 games to hold on to his job and it better start on Saturday with a win, @ home, over the Volunteers. I think SC (on paper, as U know in the real world upsets happen)) can beat UT, UK, Vandy, Mizzou, & Ole Miss, but where do they get the 6th win? UGA?; The Gators?; Auburn?; LSU? or A&M? This USC ride in 2020 is one of the most interesting and unpredictable this season?
UT & SC have met 11 times since 2009, the Gamecocks hold a 1 game edge, 6 wins to the Volunteers 5! Muschamp & Pruitt have split their 2 games, SC won in 2018, 27-24 & UT won, as mentioned, in 2019, 41-21!
South Carolina is coming off a 4-8 campaign, while Tennessee was 8-5 last year. UT returns 17 starters (9 on O & 8 on D) SC brings back 13 (7 on O & 6 on D). Both team’s QB return; UT’s Jarrett Guarantano (152 completions of 257 attempts for 59% completion rate; passed for 2158 yards with a ratio of 2-1, 16 TDs’ / 8 INT), while SC’s Ryan Hilinski ( 238 Completions of 405 attempts for 58% completion rate; passed for 2387 yards with a ratio of slightly better than 2-1, 11 TD’s to 5 INT’s). UT returns more players and recruits better than Carolina (UT is ranked 16th on SCFP and SC is rated @ 19) Yet, I do not believe these slight differences between the teams give Tennessee an overwhelming advantage!
Welcome back SEC and let the madness begin!
Tennessee @ South Carolina, ABC / 6:30, UT -3!