Gators vs. Cocks for SEC East

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Mitch Light offers his predictions on the ten biggest games of the week.

Mitch Light offers his predictions on the ten biggest games of the week.

By Mitch Light

South Carolina (+6.5) at Florida
It’s winner take all in the SEC East this Saturday in Gainesville. South Carolina, seeking its first-ever trip to the league title game, is only 2–2 since knocking off No. 1 Alabama in early October. The Gamecocks struggled in every phase of the game in a 41–20 loss at home to Arkansas last Saturday night. Stephen Garcia completed less than 50 percent of his passes (for the first time this season), Marcus Lattimore was held to a season-low 30 yards, and the defense was torched for 443 yards. Florida, meanwhile, has hit its stride offensively. Using a nifty three-quarterback rotation, the Gators have scored 89 points the past two weeks in wins over Georgia and Vanderbilt. Their winning streak should be at three very soon.
Florida 34, South Carolina 21

Penn State (+18) at Ohio State
Joe Paterno picked his 400th win last weekend, as Penn State overcame a 21–0 deficit in the second quarter en route to a 35–21 win over Northwestern. Getting win No. 401 will be a bit more difficult. Ohio State dropped off the radar a bit with its loss at Wisconsin last month, but this is still a very good team. Since that loss in Madison, the Buckeyes beat Purdue and Minnesota by a combined score of 101–10. Also, they’ve had a week off to prepare for Penn State. The Nittany Lions seem to be energized with Matt McGloin taking the majority of the snaps at quarterback, but Ohio State is simply too good on both sides of the ball.
Ohio State 30, Penn State 14

USC (+4) at Arizona
Arizona’s Pac-10 title hopes took a big hit last weekend with a 42–17 loss at Stanford, but this is still a big game for the Wildcats. With a trip to No. 1 Oregon and a rivalry game with Arizona State looming, they need to take care of business this weekend. A victory over USC will clinch a third-straight winning season in Pac-10 play — something that hasn’t happened at Arizona since the early 1990s. USC, on the other hand, is hoping to avoid its first losing conference season since 2000, the final year of the Paul Hackett era. The Trojans (and their 97th-ranked defense) play their final three league games on the road — at Arizona, Oregon State and UCLA.
Arizona 34, USC 27

Clemson (+7) at Florida State
Good luck trying to get a read on the ACC. Virginia Tech has separated itself with a 5–0 league record, but there are five teams with two losses and two others with three. Florida State had a golden opportunity to seize control of the Atlantic Division but lost at NC State and at home to North Carolina in consecutive weeks. The Noles have shown signs of being an elite team but can’t find the consistency necessary to take that next step. Clemson has recovered from an 0–2 start in league play to win three of its past four. Now at 3–3, the Tigers will be in great shape in the division race with a win at Florida State. That, however, will be difficult. The Tigers are 0–4 on the road this season and have struggled to score against solid competition.
Florida State 24, Clemson 14
 

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