SEC schools traditionally have filled up on cupcakes before the conference schedule came into play. This year, however, a good amount of teams are challenging themselves making the usual snoozer of a week one into must see TV. Here’s a preview of every game with a prediction.
Thursday September 1 Games:
#20 Mississippi State Bulldogs at Memphis Tigers
This game could be interesting. Miss St. is returning 15 starters from last years surprising squad. And they play at The Liberty Bowl in Memphis. But the talent head coach Dan Mullen has put together along with a veteran roster will outmatch this Memphis team. Memphis is coming off a one win season, loses a lot from last years team. Too much cowbell. Mississippi State wins 49-7.
Kentucky Wildcats at Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
The Hilltoppers are coming off a 2-10 season under first year head coach Willie Taggart. They should improve a ton in this season. They’re starting to collect some talent to pull off an upset of a team of Kentucky’s caliber, just not this season. Kentucky is led by First Team Preaseason All-SEC LB Danny Trevathan, but will be breaking in a lot of talent on offense after losing their Mr. Everything Randall Cobb. Interesting that this game is played in Bowling Green, the home city of WKU. SEC still beats Sun Belt everyday. Kentucky wins 24-10
Saturday September 3 Games:
Utah State Aggies at #23 Auburn Tigers
It wasn’t all that long ago that the Utah State Aggies came into Alabama and nearly upset a team. That team was the Crimson Tide and not the defending national champion Auburn Tigers. Auburn’s lost a ton, but they’ve reloaded very well. If you’ll remember, this is around where they started last year. Auburn needs to focus on this game, however, and not the next weeks game against SEC West foe Mississippi State Bulldogs. Auburn will take a while to find their groove, but the Aggies are coming off their 13th straight losing season. It continues with this game. Auburn wins 35-10.
Kent State Golden Flashes at #2 Alabama Crimson Tide
This game should be pretty lopsided. The Golden Flashes have lost their last four games to ranked opponents 134-10. Alabama’s defense could play against an NFL offense and RB Trent Richardson should carry the offense while they break in a new QB. Alabama should light things up to the tune of 56-7.
Brigham Young Cougers at Mississippi Rebels
Normally, this would be a marquee game. Houston Nutt has had some pretty good teams over the years at Ole Miss and Bronco Mendenhall has had his fair share of success as well. This game is played in Oxford, which gives the Rebs a little bit of an edge. But I actually think BYU comes in and takes this one from the home team, 24-21.
Montana Grizzlies at Tennessee Volunteers
It’s what second year head coach Derek Dooley calls “year one”. Tennessee has some talent on this team, but they’re still not ready to compete with the upper half of the SEC East. But they totally and completely overmatch the Grizzlies who will be making a pretty long trip to get whipped. Tennessee starts off well, 48-10.
East Carolina Pirates at #12 South Carolina Gamecocks
ECU does have a history of winning, but regressed last year under first year head coach Ruffin McNeill, going 6-7. South Carolina is stacked with possibly the best WR in Alshon Jeffrey and RB in Marcus Lattimore in the SEC. Now only if they had a QB that had their head on straight to give them the ball. South Carolina also strengthens its defense with the number one overall recruit Jadeveon Clowney. ‘Cocks are the sexy pick for the SEC East and they start off well, 49-14.
Missouri State Bears at #15 Arkansas Razorbacks
Arkansas is my sleeper pick for the West. They play some tough games, but QB Tyler Wilson played well when inserted for Ryan Mallet last year. And they bring back their whole bunch of outstanding wide receivers. They lose a little bit of momentum with the loss of stud RB and Heisman darkhorse Knile Davis for the season. Their defense will be better this season and it better be if they want to contend. Hogs are too much for the Bears, 63-14.
Florida Atlantic Owls vs. #22 Florida Gators
There will be a more detailed preview of the game in the Florida Gators section coming up on Friday, but I’ll give you a little hint right now. Florida’s has a ton of talent, but they’re short on depth. It won’t matter when they play the Owls, 48-3.
Elon Phoenix at Vanderbilt Commodores
I honestly didn’t know what Elon was before this game. And the fact that their nickname is the Phoenix furthers the enigma. Anyways, first year head coach James Franklin was head coach in waiting at Maryland before he was named Vandy’s head coach. But then Ralph Friedgen, the head coach Franklin was waiting for, was pushed out. But Franklin gets to put his mark on the bottom-feeder SEC school that has actually been competitive within recent memory. Last time I checked the ‘Dores are still in the SEC and can play football and both “Elon” and “Phoenix” were unbeknownst to me before I tried to write this. Franklin’s debut is successful, 38-3.
#5 Boise State Broncos vs. #19 Georgia Bulldogs
Ah yes! Here are the primetime games! I can’t decide which team this game means more to: Boise State because they need perfection to even be considered for a BCS bowl or Georgia because this game sets the tone of their season. And if they don’t start out well and contend for the SEC East, their head coach Mark Richt could be looking for a new job next season. This game is pretty much a home game for the Bulldogs, playing in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Boise State has a knack for pulling games like these out, but they haven’t done it against an SEC team. Especially in their territory. Dawgs end the Bronco’s dream season in a thriller, last second Blair Walsh FG 27-24.
#3 Oregon Ducks vs. #4 LSU Tigers
And the game we’ve all been salivating over. Who can believe that two legitimate national championship contenders go head to head in week one. I give LSU a ton of credit for playing some really tough out of conference games. They play national runner up Oregon in Arlington at Cowboy Stadium and Big East favorite West Virginia in Morgantown. I go back and forth with this game. It’s strength versus strength. The Ducks offensive speed against LSU’s nasty defense. Two suspensions loom heavy in this game. LSU QB Jordan Jefferson because of his bar fight shenanigans and Oregon’s best defensive player Cliff Harris acting like he’s Jimmie Johnson going 118 on a suspended license in a rental car. Advantage LSU because they have a QB with experience in Jarrett “Pick-6″ Lee. In all honestly, Lee played well last year despite throwing seven interceptions for touchdowns the previous year. Lee’s the difference maker in a low scoring affair, much like last years national championship. Tigers over Ducks 17-14.
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