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Intriguing SEC Match-ups for Week 3, Renewed Energy in Rocky Top

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5. UAB at No. 8 South Carolina

5. UAB at No. 8 South Carolina
Photo by Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE

South Carolina should win this game easily; however, new Blazers coach Garrick McGee was the offensive coordinator for Arkansas last season, when Arkansas blew out the Gamecocks 44-28. While UAB did lose to Troy last week 39-29, they successfully threw the ball all over the field. It remains to be seen whether the offense can be successful against a tough SEC defense. UAB is ranked No. 16 in passing offense, and junior quarterback Jonathan Perry has been a big part of that with 317 yards passing.

The stars of the Blazers team are the wide receivers, featuring senior Patrick Hearn who had seven catches for 107 yards, and junior Jackie Williams who had seven catches for 157 yards. They will challenge one of the best cornerbacks in the country in junior Jimmy Legree, which should be the matchup of the day.

South Carolina should be fine offensively, whether starting junior quarterback Connor Shaw starts or not. Backup sophomore quarterback Dylan Thompson came in and threw for 330 yards last week against East Carolina and should be able to put up a similar performance against the Blazers. The defense has once again been a strength, with senior linebacker Shaq Wilson leading the team in interceptions and also has 10 tackles on the season.

UAB has no answer for South Carolina junior halfback Marcus Lattimore, who has responded well, despite missing six games last season due to a torn ACL.


4. UL-Monroe at Auburn

4. UL-Monroe at Auburn
Photo by Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

The Warhawks have a chance to upset their second SEC opponent in two weeks when they take on Auburn this Saturday. Auburn's defense is just as bad as Arkansas', and there is no reason to believe that UL-Monroe, the No.2 ranked passing offense in the country, won't succeed on Saturday. UL-Monroe junior quarterback Kolton Browning threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns in their win over Arkansas, and also ran for 65 yards. Auburn has had problems all season defending the athletic wide receivers and that could be an issue on Saturday with 6'-2" junior wide receiver Brent Leonard, who has 11 catches on the season for 112 yards.

Auburn has struggled on offense and defense, and will need better production from sophomore quarterback Kiehl Frazier. Frazier has been awful through the first two weeks of the season, having thrown only one touchdown to four interceptions.

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3. No. 14 Texas at Ole Miss Rebels

3. No. 14 Texas at Ole Miss Rebels
Photo by Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE

Ole Miss sophomore quarterback, Bo Wallace, has ignited the Rebels offense in the passing game and in the running game, providing the type of dual-threat player that can give a defenses fits. Wallace has thrown for 438 yards, five touchdowns, and only one interception in two games, and leads the team in rushing with 135 yards. The running game as a whole has been dominating, albeit, against weak competition in Central Arkansas and UTEP. They come into this game ranked No. 9 in the country in rushing yards per game, due to the efforts of Wallace, as well as senior backup quarterback and halfback Randall Mackey with 116 yards, and junior halfback Jeff Scott with 113 yards.

Texas has also had an easy start to the season, defeating Wyoming and New Mexico. Sophomore quarterback David Ash has played well after a miserable season in 2011, that saw him throw 4 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. This year, he has managed the games well, while the Longhorns have been running the ball and playing great defense.

The Longhorns defense has only allowed 17 points in two games and currently rank No. 8 in the country in points per game. They will have to be stout in order to stop the running game of the Rebels. Junior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat has dominated the line of scrimmage with 14 tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble. Ole Miss has to control Jeffcoat in order to keep their running success on track.

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2. No. 1 Alabama at Arkansas

2. No. 1 Alabama at Arkansas
Photo by Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE

Last week, Arkansas was No. 8; this week, Arkansas is unranked, which is the largest drop in AP rankings history. That is what happens when you lose the game, and your starting quarterback, to UL-Monroe. Starting senior quarterback Tyler Wilson suffered a head injury in the first half against the Warhawks and will not play this week against Alabama.

Alabama has had no let down from their National Championship win last year, starting this season with a thrashing of then No. 8 Michigan in Week 1. The only way Arkansas has a chance of staying in the game is if their defense plays better. Last week, the Razorbacks defense gave up 412 yards and 3 touchdowns to UL-Monroe junior quarterback Kolton Browning. This week, Arkansas is going against an even better quarterback in junior AJ McCarron, who has 418 yards and 6 touchdown in two games.

Alabama's defense has been outstanding; they constantly frustrated Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson and are the No. 5 scoring defense in the country. Alabama junior C.J. Mosley has been the best player for Alabama so far this season. He has 18 tackles, an interception, and a sack on the season.

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Game of the Week: No. 18 Florida at No. 23 Tennessee

Game of the Week: No. 18 Florida at No. 23 Tennessee
Photo by Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

This is the only match up in the SEC featuring two ranked opponents (there's a total of two ranked college football match ups total this week), and it is also the second week in a row that ESPN College Gameday will be at a Florida Gators football game. Adding to the intrigue will be the night time atmosphere from the fans inside of Neyland stadium.

Last week, the Gators got a win in their SEC opener, topping Texas A&M 20-17. Coming into this game, Florida is starting with sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel again, who played well against the Aggies. Driskel, however, must get rid of the ball sooner, and the offensive line must do a better job of protecting him, as he was sacked eight times last week. Florida will have to lean on SEC leading rusher Mike Gillislee in order to keep sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray off the field.

Tennessee's SEC opener is against the Gators, after consecutive wins over North Carolina State and Georgia State. This year's Vols squad appears to be the best Tennessee team that coach Derek Dooley has had during his tenure in Knoxville, even after the dismissal of big time wide out Da'rick Rogers. Bray has been on a roll since the season started, throwing for 643 yards and five touchdowns.

Florida's defensive backs will be put to the test the whole game.


More SEC >>  Five Key Questions Facing the SEC in Week Three

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