Here are the SEC games this week and a brief key to each game. I will begin our daily blog coverage from Miami on Thursday leading up to Monday nights BCS Championship game. Make sure you also check out SEC Tonight and CSS all weekend for reports from the big game.
Key to victory for SEC teams this week
Vanderbilt vs. NC State- Start fast.
Jordan Rogers has played well during the Commodore six game win streak.
The Wolfpack have given up 113 points in the first quarter this season and only 182 in the rest of the game. Vanderbilt will need to crank it up early behind Jordan Rogers. He has thrown 9 of his 13 touchdown passes in the first half.
LSU vs. Clemson- Win first down.
Tajh Boyd completes 72 of his passes on first down. The Tigers will look to throw quickly and use tempo to slow down the LSU rush. The Tigers are 5-0 in this bowl game all-time. Since 2009 the LSU is 39-2 when scoring 20 or more points in a game. The Tigers are 69-5 when leading after the 3rd quarter under Les Miles.
Mississippi State vs. Northwestern- Slow down the run.
The Wildcats spread to run and do it very effectively. Northwestern ran for 2,771 yards and 28 touchdowns this season. In their three losses they averaged 180 yards a game and just 4.46 per carry. Thats 50 yards less than their average per game (230 yards) and one half a yard per carry less per attempt(4.99).
South Carolina vs. Michigan- Force turnovers.
The Wolverines will throw picks and turn the ball over. To do that the Gamecocks must first shut down the strong Michigan running attack. Once they do that and make them one dimensional the game will turn in their favor. In the Wolverines four losses this season they were - 9 in the turnover margin.
Georgia vs. Nebraska- Take away Martinez.
Taylor Martinez leads a strong rushing attack for Nebraska.
With the loss of John Jenkins the Dogs will be tested to stop Nebraskas powerful run game. However the plan needs to be make everyone else beat you and not Taylor Martinez. I would expect Jarvis Jones to be assigned to Martinez on run plays and his pass rush should make him uneasy. In the Huskers three losses , Martinez had one touchdown and six interceptions.
Florida vs. Louisville- Run the ball effectively.
The Louisville Cardinals defense was 7th in the Big East versus the run. The Gators averaged nearly 195 yards rushing per game which was third best in the SEC. The Cardinals gave up 213 yards per game and four rushing touchdowns in their two losses.
Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma- Stop the run.
The Sooners only had two losses, but both Kansas State and Notre Dame shut down the run. They averaged just 53 yards in those two losses. Texas A&M was in the middle of the pack of the SEC at 7th in rush defense which was 39th nationally. One way to take away the run is to play from ahead in which the Aggie offense will look to start fast. In the last seven games the Aggies are averaging 16.3 points per game in the first quarter.
Ole Miss vs. Pittsburgh- Keep Ray Graham out of the end zone.
Ray Graham is the key to the Panther success.
Pittsburghs outstanding all purpose running back on had 2 rushing touchdowns in the six losses this season. In the six wins he found the end zone 9 times. Pittsburgh is playing great defense down the stretch as well. The Rebels usually start fast and will need to play from ahead to keep the game at their tempo.