Our SEC panelists tell us which non-conference SEC game they're most looking forward to watching. And there's a catch -- it cannott involve the team each panelist covers.
And The Valley Shook (LSU): Virginia Tech vs. Alabama. Bama is likely going to win this game, and probably by multiple touchdowns, but college football is all about personal connections. Not only do I hate Alabama with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns, but my brother is a Hokie. I've been to Lane Stadium, I've rubbed the Hokie Stone, and I know the words to their ridiculous fight song. While VT is not my team, I still want them to do well, and I'd love for them to upset Bama. Besides, if they lose as expected, I can still trash talk my brother about the inherent superiority of the SEC. It's a win win.
Rocky Top Talk: Fittingly, both the intriguing games involve Clemson (I like both the Georgia and South Carolina matchups); if I had to pick one, I'd go UGA-Clemson because it'll tell us a lot in the first week. Well, it'll tell us a lot in the first week, and then one of these teams will go 8-4 (pro tip: it'll be Clemson, because they're due for one of those seasons), and then we'll realize that the things we thought in the first week were wrong, like every other conclusion we make in the first week ever.
Good Bull Hunting (Texas A&M): LSU at TCU. LSU should be down a little, and TCU should be up from last season. This game will set the tone for the SEC vs. Big 12 debate this year. I predict this game will be competitive in the first half, then LSU will pull away. I'd also like to watch Ole Miss at Texas, but I don't get Longhorn Network, and I hope to be out of my mind from celebrating a win over Bama.
Rock M Nation (Missouri): Clemson-South Carolina. Because that game could have REALLY REALLY high stakes (or none at all). But hey, in June, you're aiming high (and Bama-VT is not going to be pretty).
Team Speed Kills (SEC): Georgia vs. Clemson. First, just to see how good Georgia's defense is going to be in the only game it will play before South Carolina. With any luck, it will be a high-scoring game that will give the South Carolina offensive staff lots and lots of points of attack. Second, this is a game that a South Carolina fan really can't lose. If Clemson loses -- well, it's always fun to watch a game when Clemson loses. If Georgia loses, it could be the beginning of a bad season for the Dawgs. And we still get to watch Georgia lose. We'll just conveniently ignore the fact that Clemson, you know, won. (I'm pulling for Georgia, for the record.)
Alligator Army: Georgia at Clemson. Georgia's rebuilding defense getting an immediate stress test against an offense that can do all sorts of things with a lot of talent is fun; the significant chance that Georgia loses yet another season opener (which would be its third season-opening loss in five years) is wonderful.
Arkansas Expats: Ole Miss at Texas. I can't say the Alabama or LSU games, because they're being played in NFL Stadiums, and that kills part of the fun for me. Georgia and Clemson should be fun, but I'm not as interested as I would be if Arkansas played Georgia this year. So I'll say Ole Miss at Texas. The Longhorns blew out the Rebels last year, but then Ole Miss got better and Texas got worse. It'll be interesting to see if Ole Miss has continued progressing or if Texas has actually gotten their act together.
A Sea of Blue (Kentucky): Definitely Clemson at South Carolina. That should really be a barn-burner, and it is truly possible that Clemson will be favored in Columbia. How weird would that be?
TCU's Casey Pachall. Ronald Martinez, Getty.
Red Cup Rebellion (Ole Miss): Probably LSU vs. TCU. Both will be very stout defensively this year, so it should be a very physical, low-scoring affair. Both LSU and TCU have conference title aspirations and will be looking to use this game as a way to make a statement. I did pick LSU to come out ahead in this one, but it really is a tossup in my mind.
College and Magnolia (Auburn): Clemson-Georgia to start the season should be fantastic. Both teams have ridiculous offenses and shaky defenses, and with it being the first game of the season, the offenses should be even further ahead of their defensive counterparts. I expect Georgia to win because, you know, Clemson, but either way, there should be a ton of points and a close finish.
Roll Bama Roll (two respondents):
Slice of Life- I am going to go with Georgia at Clemson. Georgia lost a ton of talent on the defensive side of the ball, and the Clemson offense is always a threat. Should be a good opportunity early to see how well the Bulldogs' veteran offense can cover for a defense that may need some seasoning.
bammer- Living in north Florida I'll be paying close attention to the FSU/UF game. Watching FSU and UF fans sulk after defeat is always amusing However, the early season match-up against Clemson and UGA will be a good test to see if UGA has put the SECCG behind them. Also, if UGA loses to Clemson, founded or not, prepare for the "Is Richt on the hot seat?" talk to start up again.
Garnet and Black Attack (South Carolina): Definitely Georgia at Clemson. This will be a great chance for Carolina fans to get a glimpse of what their two biggest rivals will look like this season, one of which we're playing the following week. Plus, this is the renewal of a relatively storied rivalry, and thus should be intrinsically interesting for everyone. Florida-Florida St. is the other one that jumps out at me. With both programs good again after a few years of lopsided contests, that series is going to feature some good games in the coming years.
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