By Zach Pugh @RadioZachcfb on August 10, 2014
The Southeastern Conference is filled with bitter rivalries unmatched by any other conference in the nation. Understanding the amount of passion for football down south is impossible unless it’s witnessed firsthand. Every season there are a plenty of games that decide the fate of teams, and while no game should be overlooked, there are a handful to feel especially excited about.
Vandy has begun a new era with a new head coach. Fans and pundits are equally eager to see how well the program fares without James Franklin in charge. Derek Mason steps into his first conference game against a team in Ole Miss that looks to play sleeper in the SEC West.
No Johnny Manziel and no Jadeveon Clowney, but this will be the debut game on the new SEC Network. Who starts behind center for the Aggies might be a mystery, but both teams are contenders in their divisions. Starting off the season with a win against a quality opponent goes a long way.
The Egg Bowl may not feature conference championship implications often, but the battle for football supremacy in Mississippi matters to the state. The Bulldogs have won four out the last five matchups. The Rebels will be waiting in Oxford, MS to change the recent trend.
The Tigers have a great chance of being 4-0 when they face off against South Carolina and will be eager to prove last year was no fluke. Mizzou can put themselves in the driver's seat in the SEC East early with a victory over one of the favorites in the division.
Head coach Will Muschamp expects his team to be in the SEC Championship, but he’ll have to help his team conquer a three-year skid against the Bulldogs. Depending on which program is asked this will be the 92nd meeting, and if the Gators offense shows life, this could be a deciding game in the SEC East title race.
Many prognosticators believe the SEC East will come down to the Bulldogs and Gamecocks. This early season bout can place the winner in position to control its own destiny. Hopefully Steve Spurrier will take a couple jabs at the Dawgs in the week leading up to the game.
This game could feature both teams in the top 10. It will be LSU’s first road test of the season. LSU is hanging around quietly in the preseason predictions, but they’re a talented bunch and will be a factor in deciding the SEC West title. If they take down Auburn, the conversation will then shift to feature the Bayou Bengals.
When Ricardo Louis scored on a deflected 73-yard pass from Nick Marshall, it became very clear 2013 just wasn't the Dawgs’ year. The Bulldogs have the College Football Playoff on their mind this season and will be ready to take down a team that pierced their hearts last season.
Put aside the fact the Iron Bowl is a bit of big deal in the state of Alabama. The returning players on the Bama roster who stood on the sidelines last season when Chris Davis raced up the field into the end zone after a missed Tide field goal probably still have nightmares, but their chance for redemption will come soon enough.
In the recent years, this game has meant something not only to the SEC West title, but nationally as well. Over the last six years no rivalry has meant more to college football. There’s no reason to expect any less in 2014.
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