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Hot Reads: Saturday nears, and we smell upsets

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If Ole Miss can beat Alabama, the sky is the limit this season. But a strong performance from quarterback Bo Wallace is the one thing the Rebels must have. (Source: Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics) If Ole Miss can beat Alabama, the sky is the limit this season. But a strong performance from quarterback Bo Wallace is the one thing the Rebels must have. (Source: Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)
  • AlabamaMore>>

  • Saban wraps up WVU game, previews FAU

    Saban wraps up WVU game, previews FAU

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:59 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:59:01 GMT
    The focus for the second ranked Alabama Crimson Tide heading into their game against Florida-Atlantic is strictly on improving as individual players and as a team as a whole.

    The focus for the second ranked Alabama Crimson Tide heading into their game against Florida-Atlantic is strictly on improving as individual players and as a team as a whole.

  • Karle's Korner: The Crimson Tide's odd couple may just have the last laugh!

    Karle's Korner: The Crimson Tide's odd couple may just have the last laugh!

    Monday, September 1 2014 2:09 PM EDT2014-09-01 18:09:29 GMT
    Perhaps it was the fact that Alabama's new offensive coordinator was coaching from the sideline. Perhaps it was that screen grab with less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter that went viral.
    Perhaps it was the fact that Alabama's new offensive coordinator was coaching from the sideline. Perhaps it was that screen grab with less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter that went viral.
  • What We Learned from the SEC in Week 1

    What We Learned from the SEC in Week 1

    Sunday, August 31 2014 1:51 PM EDT2014-08-31 17:51:41 GMT

    For a while, it looked like the college football world was going to be upended in the first week of play, but it all worked out according to plan in the end.

    For a while, it looked like the college football world was going to be upended in the first week of play, but it all worked out according to plan in the end.

  • Hot ReadsMore>>

  • Hot Reads: Preseason nominees for the 2014 Chinstrap Awards

    Hot Reads: Preseason nominees for the 2014 Chinstrap Awards

    Thursday, August 28 2014 7:00 AM EDT2014-08-28 11:00:25 GMT
    Don't worry. We'll be a lot nicer to the players in the SEC than the Emmy voters were to Netflix. We kind of have to - it's highly unlikely an actor could power clean the equivalent of a human being.
    Don't worry. We'll be a lot nicer to the players in the SEC than the Emmy voters were to Netflix. We kind of have to - it's highly unlikely an actor could power clean the equivalent of a human being.
  • Hot Reads: Ranking the defenses in the SEC

    Hot Reads: Ranking the defenses in the SEC

    Wednesday, July 16 2014 12:55 PM EDT2014-07-16 16:55:17 GMT

    With offenses becoming increasingly explosive, plugging the holes is more imperative than ever. It's no surprise Alabama and Florida top the list, but the rest of the rankings may surprise you.

    With offenses becoming increasingly explosive, plugging the holes is more imperative than ever. It's no surprise Alabama and Florida top the list, but the rest of the rankings may surprise you.

  • SEC Media Days dazes media, fans

    SEC Media Days dazes media, fans

    Monday, July 14 2014 1:30 PM EDT2014-07-14 17:30:02 GMT
    The long, dark night that has persisted since the end of football season is almost over. SEC Media Days, that glimmer of hope before life begins again anew, kicks off this week in Hoover, AL. 
    The long, dark night that has persisted since the end of football season is almost over. SEC Media Days, that glimmer of hope before life begins again anew, kicks off this week in Hoover, AL. 
  • GeorgiaMore>>

  • What We Learned from the SEC in Week 1

    What We Learned from the SEC in Week 1

    Sunday, August 31 2014 1:51 PM EDT2014-08-31 17:51:41 GMT

    For a while, it looked like the college football world was going to be upended in the first week of play, but it all worked out according to plan in the end.

    For a while, it looked like the college football world was going to be upended in the first week of play, but it all worked out according to plan in the end.

  • Champ Bailey, Michael Sam among NFL cuts

    Champ Bailey, Michael Sam among NFL cuts

    Saturday, August 30 2014 7:50 PM EDT2014-08-30 23:50:40 GMT
    By ARNIE STAPLETON AP Pro Football Writer For the first time in his career, Champ Bailey was told he isn't good enough.
    By ARNIE STAPLETON AP Pro Football Writer For the first time in his career, Champ Bailey was told he isn't good enough.
  • Hot Reads: Preseason nominees for the 2014 Chinstrap Awards

    Hot Reads: Preseason nominees for the 2014 Chinstrap Awards

    Thursday, August 28 2014 7:00 AM EDT2014-08-28 11:00:25 GMT
    Don't worry. We'll be a lot nicer to the players in the SEC than the Emmy voters were to Netflix. We kind of have to - it's highly unlikely an actor could power clean the equivalent of a human being.
    Don't worry. We'll be a lot nicer to the players in the SEC than the Emmy voters were to Netflix. We kind of have to - it's highly unlikely an actor could power clean the equivalent of a human being.

(RNN) - The Pittsburgh Pirates are going to the playoffs. It has absolutely nothing to do with this column, and Hot Reads has no rooting interest in them, but the historical significance of the feat has to be something akin to the discovery of penicillin.

If Kansas City had clinched, there would have been enough bliss spread around the country to make people forget about Obamacare. Almost enough? A significant amount? Maybe not, but still.

We don't know what's on the radio where you are, but for some reason Karma Chameleon is blaring in the background here, and the annoyance could not be more volatile.

Let us pull out ye ole register of gentlemanly contests between football representatives from Southern institutions of higher learning, and we shall learn a thing or two.

In plain English, let's see what's on the slate for SEC games this weekend.

SEC vs. SEC

Ole Miss at Alabama, 6:30 p.m.. ET Saturday

It was widely thought that Alabama's bout with heavyweight contender Texas A&M could have been the biggest SEC game of the season, with the exception of the championship game in Atlanta.

The chances are high that won't be true. Why, you ask?

Shocker alert coming in 3… 2… 1… The Rebels have the best chance of anyone this season of beating the Crimson Tide.

It seems like a pretty large leap to make that statement. It would also be a huge blow to a state that prides itself on being barely ahead of Mississippi in just about everything - diabetes cases, progress in race relations - and oh yeah, football, where the margin is not quite as narrow.

If the Aggies could actually stop anyone from scoring (Or maybe even slow them down. We're not picky.), the Fightin' Manziels would be 2-0 vs. Alabama.

Well, think of Ole Miss as a version of Texas A&M with a defense and better talent on offense. Scary, right?

There are matchup nightmares all over the field for Alabama, starting on the outside. It's not totally fair to criticize Alabama's secondary, Yes, they have allowed an alarmingly high 250 passing yards per game, but the bulk of that average came in the Texas A&M game against a Heisman winner.

Consider this, though. The Aggies have one receiver who can truly be called a threat, and Alabama could not stop him. The Rebels have three or four of those guys.

Let's put this in perspective. Ja-Mes Logan had the second-most receptions for Ole Miss last year. This season, he is fourth in total catches through three games.

The worrisome thing about Alabama is that it's allowing more than 100 rushing yards per game. That's the matchup that could decide this game because Ole Miss, led by tailback Jeff Scott, is second in the SEC in rushing.

Of course, Alabama has the J-Boys - A.J. McCarron and T.J. Yeldon - an offensive line that seems like it is progressing from crawl to walk, and receivers second to none.

All this being said, there is one true key to the outcome of this game - Bo Wallace. He is a talented dual-threat quarterback and has all the weapons around him to pull off an upset. But he has not yet delivered in a major game.

If he plays like the guy last year that threw first and thought second, the outcome will be predictable. But if he plays like the guy this year who has been savvy, cool and confident, we'll be talking about Ole Miss as a team that has arrived to the big time.

LSU at Georgia, 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday

It must be the weekend of really talented quarterbacks who are finally putting it together. Before Wallace tests his mettle against Alabama, Zach Mettenberger will have a homecoming in Athens.

Consider this a faceoff of the best two quarterback prospects the NFL's unofficial minor league has to offer.

LSU and Georgia are third and fourth in the SEC in scoring this season, but don't look for this game to turn into a shootout. Unlike the Bulldogs, the Bayou Bengals can actually play defense. LSU has just three interceptions this season, but it's three times as many as Georgia.

The Georgia defense is gaining a reputation for having a lot of talent and playing with very little discipline. That's a problem because the five guys protecting Mettenberger and Co. are as good as anyone in the country, and they play with a mean streak.

If the Bulldogs want any chance to win this game, they better have a sterling start. The Tigers have outscored opponents 62-3 in the first quarter, and they haven't trailed an opponent for a single second all season.

Home field advantage? Not so much. Georgia is 31-45-2 against ranked opponents in Athens. Dawgs fans probably knew that, and they're probably tired of hearing it. Sorry.

There's life outside the SEC?

South Alabama at Tennessee, 12:21 p.m. ET Saturday

In successive weeks Hot Reads touted Tennessee as a team that could hang with Oregon and probably beat Florida.

After they got dump-trucked each time, I felt like the guy that sees his girlfriend without makeup for the first time and goes "Whaaaaa…"

An upset against South Alabama? Don't laugh.

It doesn't seem likely since the Volunteers have never lost to a Sun Belt team. But the Jaguars have a decent offense and a decent defense. Tennessee can claim neither of those things.

The Jags have a little confidence coming off two straight wins, the most recent against Western Kentucky. You may remember the Hilltoppers have already beaten an SEC team this season. It was Kentucky, but whatevs.

Knoxville has been a brutal place for coaches to survive recently.

Someone remind me again. Why'd they fire Phillip Fulmer?

Stat of the Week

+11: Arkansas is leading the SEC in sacks per game and sacks allowed per game, making it the only team in the country to lead its conference in both categories. The plus-11 differential is the highest in the league and third-highest in the FBS.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • Southeastern ConferenceMore>>

  • What We Learned from the SEC in Week 1

    What We Learned from the SEC in Week 1

    Sunday, August 31 2014 1:51 PM EDT2014-08-31 17:51:41 GMT

    For a while, it looked like the college football world was going to be upended in the first week of play, but it all worked out according to plan in the end.

    For a while, it looked like the college football world was going to be upended in the first week of play, but it all worked out according to plan in the end.

  • Marshall, Johnson, No. 6 Auburn top Arkansas 45-21

    Marshall, Johnson, No. 6 Auburn top Arkansas 45-21

    Saturday, August 30 2014 10:30 PM EDT2014-08-31 02:30:45 GMT
    Jeremy Johnson passed for 243 yards and two touchdowns in the first half and Nick Marshall returned from suspension with a 19-yard scoring run to lift No. 6 Auburn to a 45-21 opening victory over Arkansas on Saturday.
    The Auburn offense didn't slow down a bit, even with Nick Marshall a spectator for half the game.
  • Sims starts, No. 2 Alabama beats WVU, 33-23

    Sims starts, No. 2 Alabama beats WVU, 33-23

    Saturday, August 30 2014 9:40 PM EDT2014-08-31 01:40:52 GMT
    Blake Sims was good enough to finish his first start at quarterback for Alabama, getting plenty of help from Amari Cooper, T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry, and the second-ranked Crimson Tide held off West Virginia...
    Blake Sims took a seat on the bench next to Jake Coker after leading Alabama to a score and the two chatted for a few minutes before it was time for the offense to go back on the field.
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