The LA Times‘ Chris Dufresne has a piece up laying out the ten college football games he can’t wait to see this season. It’s a fun list with a lot of compelling games – at least they look compelling in May. I’m going to steal the idea, but get more parochial with it by just listing games involving Southeastern Conference schools.
So here’s my group of the ten regular season games involving SEC teams that I want to see most right now. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the ten best conference matchups, or that they’ll be the ten most memorable games of the year. They’re simply the ones that I have the most interest in watching today.
10. Mississippi State at Auburn (9/12). The first newbie coach vs. newbie coach game of the season. Early prediction: the final score will not be 3-2.
9. South Carolina at Tennessee (10/31). A home stop on Junior’s “Can You Feel The Love?” tour, this is a game that Spurrier needs to win if he wants his program to be considered relevant in the SEC East. Or at least more relevant than UT’s.
8. UCLA at Tennessee (9/12). I think this is going to be a fascinating game, and not just because last year’s debacle turned out to be the beginning of the end for Fulmer. A Tennessee win means that Vol Nation starts crowing about how it proves that the Laner’s the right guy. You’ve also got the Norm Chow-Junior face off, and you know the pupil would love to school the master here.
7. LSU at Georgia (10/3). It’s a measurement game for both schools, right?
6. Florida at LSU (10/10). We should know who the national contender is after this game.
5. Virginia Tech-Alabama (9/5). Big non-conference season opener for both teams. After last year’s big win against Clemmins, you’d have to think that ‘Bama has at least a psychological advantage coming in.
4. Florida-Georgia (10/31). With a bye week, you gotta believe.
3. Alabama at Mississippi (10/10). It’s Ole Miss’ first big test of the year. How does the Nuttster handle the spotlight?
2. Georgia at Oklahoma State (9/5). It’s weird to be putting an OOC game this high. But aside from it being the season opener, it’s Big XII vs. SEC and it’s also an opportunity to see if Mark Richt has figured out how to survive losing two stars in the first twelve picks of the NFL draft.
1. Tennessee at Florida (9/19). The thing about this game is that you’ll watch even if it gets out of hand. My prediction is that UT gets soundly beaten, but not as badly as last year, and Junior loudly proclaims the result to be a moral victory proving that the Vols are on the right track and that the Gators have something to fear. That’ll irritate the hell out of Meyer and the Gator Nation. If you’re Kiffin, you take your victories where you can this season.