Saturday, August 30

SEC Week 1 Games (kind of)

Apparently I need to fly more; it’s the only time I actually write anything. Still, with James going and writing about all the exciting games, I figured I’d continue the long-established trend of spending way more time talking about the SEC at the expense of lesser conferences (Jim Delaney, you’re awesome!) – so let’s talk Week 1 games across the SEC. Maybe I’ll actually put this post up on time, but I doubt it.

South Carolina v. NC State
Yeah, this one’s already happened, but if I would’ve written something like: South Carolina QB struggles, is replaced by South Carolina QB who does much better, all the while NC State shits their pants, would you have known if I wrote it on Friday or Wednesday? My point exactly.

Vanderbilt @ Miami (OH)
Hey, at least some SEC teams travel for opening week! Fittingly in this case, it’s the bottom-of-the-barrel Commodores. To be brunt, I didn’t expect them to kick the Indians Redhawks teeth in like they did, but I guess Chris Nickson is due a good game every two years or so. Then again, I thought he could be a poor man’s Tebow last year, which was wrong on more levels than I can even begin to fathom.

Florida v. Hawaii
This game would’ve been entertaining as all hell last year – picture the Sugar Bowl, only without the Georgia secondary and with a front seven that has to actually blitz to put pressure on the QB – but sadly, June Jones and Colt Brennan have both left. This means the Warriors to get play in the Swamp at the end of October, when the heat index will be, oh, 140 or so. Yeah, have fun with that.

Georgia v. Georgia Southern
I’d give Georgia shit for scheduling this, but having seen the rest of their schedule, never mind. They’ll keep everyone healthy and won’t win by as big a margin as you’d expect, but that’s because Richt will rest everyone from the second quarter on. It’s like the preseason, but it counts.

Arkansas v. Directional (West) Illinois
Let’s get the cupcakes out of the way while we’re at it; I don’t expect Arkansas to be any good, but I have no idea where Western Illinois even is. Wonder if this is near East St. Louis, in which case these guys would be straight thuggin’, bitch. As it is, they’ll get wrecked and this will be the only time all season Casey Dick looks like a semi-decent QB.

Auburn v. UL-Monroe
ULM is the better of the ULUCrew, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot against an Auburn team I’ll willingly admit I have an unhealthy obsession with. If the Tigers are smart, they don’t unveil everything and approach this game looking a hell of a lot like they did before the Clemson game last year; power game on the ground, rely on Tate, Lester, and Fannin, and pass just enough to get a little bit of experience. No sense in getting worked up yet.

Mississippi State @ Louisiana Tech
Apparently everyone’s playing Louisiana this week or something. Weird. Either way, this will be a closer-than-you’d-guess game, but pretty hideous. In other words, I’m not sold that Wesley Carroll is any good or that the Bulldogs have any WRs, period – even if there are people lining up there. The Bulldog defense should be nasty enough to carry them, though.

LSU v. Appalachian State
Who knows when this game will actually be played – it moved from 5 PM to 11 AM today, meaning LSU fans have six hours of drinking to make up (when asked, LSU fans responded with, “WOOOOOOOO [puke]”, so they seem to be okay). As for the game, I almost wish LSU was a bit worse than they actually are, as I think their first two games (they play next week against Troy) could be pretty fun games if they weren’t so obviously outclassing their opponents. Maybe they can trade schedules with Alabama or something, but that’d probably be too much to ask.

Ole Miss v. Memphis
This is kind of a one-sided rivalry – Ole Miss wrecks Memphis, Memphis gets pissed, gets up for the game next year, gets wrecked, repeat until done. Ole Miss actually leads the series 45-10-2, but it certainly seems closer than that. Memphis was inexplicably terrible last year, but they should be a bit better this time around. The only problem with that is you can say the exact same about Ole Miss. As a result, I’d expect Ole Miss to win, but like the last few years, it won’t be by more than a touchdown, but I also see no reason to think either team will score less than 28. This could easily be a candidate for “Stupidly Entertaining Game of the Week.”

Kentucky @ Louisville
Last year, Kentucky beat an incorrectly-ranked #9 Louisville team; obviously, they weren’t that good, and both teams head into this game with a plethora of unanswered questions. Louisville’s been remarkably quiet given how much noise was generated about them over the last few years, which could mean Steve Kragthorpe finally has a handle on things. He’s a smart, offensive-minded coach and I expect the Cardinals to be markedly better this year. Actually, I expect Louisville to win here (in what could probably be termed a mini-upset). Kentucky still has a ton of questions on offense, and with the turnover both these teams faced last year, I’ll trust the more experienced QB – in this case, Louisville’s Hunter Cantwell.

Alabama v. Clemson (in Atlanta)
And here’s the other SEC loss of opening weekend. If Clemson can make it through their non-conference schedule unscathed (and not inexplicably decide to blow games by passing 75% of the time; yes, Cullen Harper is good, but you have the two best RBs in the ACC, freaking use them), they should walk in-conference. No other ACC team has even close to the offensive firepower they have, and their defense isn’t going to be bad enough to hurt them. Alabama is still probably a year away at this point, but they’ll keep it closer than it should be due to talent. Along the same lines, we may see a record for “Gayest Articles Written about a QB-WR Duo”, as we’re already up to double digits for the John Parker Wilson-Julio Jones combo. LFB will stay on top of this story as it unfolds, because any opportunity to call a Tide player gay simply can’t be missed.

Tennessee @ UCLA
Your Labor Day main event features a redefined team against the Red Cross International. Seriously, UCLA is already wrecked and the season hasn’t started yet; their best bet to win is to turn the game into a Raycom-style ACC affair. For the uninitiated, that means ugly, ugly, hideous, nasty, defensive play and an offense that might pass once every five drives. Tennessee, of course, shouldn’t have a problem playing that way, although I think everyone’s underestimating the Bruins a little bit. Not a ton, but a little bit, and that’s enough to have me a little worried. I think Tennessee wins here, but it’s closer than a lot of people give it credit for.

Next up: we finally see a SEC in-conference game! Quality opponents need not apply.

As an aside, since we’re still in flight up here, I must say seeing inter-cloud lightning from above the clouds is pretty freaking cool. I’m not going to lie.