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Top 10 SEC conference games on the 2024 schedule

On3 imageby:Jesse Simonton07/14/24


With the latest round of conference realignment and the dissolution of divisions in every power league, we’re in store for some crazy-good games in the 2024 season. 

The non-conference slate is littered with marquee matchups, but fans are in store for some fantastic new league games and several rivalries renewed. The SEC slate is so loaded this season that the Iron Bowl — which had an all-time finish in 2023 — just missed my Top 10 list for best conference games this season. 

Truly, the schedule is that good. 

Here are my Top 10 SEC conference games in the 2024 season:

Kirby Smart, Kalen DeBoer
Joshua L. Jones | USA TODAY NETWORK – Gary Cosby Jr. | Tuscaloosa News | USA TODAY NETWORK

1. Georgia at Alabama (Sept. 28)

The Bulldogs have lost all of two games in the last three seasons — both to the Crimson Tide. Kirby Smart had a Nick Saban problem, but his mentor is no longer running the show in Tuscaloosa. Can Kalen DeBoer continue to be a thorn for UGA, though?

Both teams have marquee non-conference games earlier in September (Georgia vs. Clemson, Alabama at Wisconsin) and both have an idle date before the monumental matchup to end the month. This could be the first of multiple meetings between the two budding rivals. It has Game of the Year potential, too. 

2. Texas at Texas A&M (Nov. 30)

It’s been 13 long seasons since the Lone Star Showdown, but the bitter rivalry renews this autumn. Blessed be. 

The Thanksgiving weekend game could carry all manner of stakes — a signature win opportunity for first-year Aggies’ head coach Mike Elko, a potential College Football Playoff berth on the line (maybe for both teams?!?!) and a possible trip to the SEC Championship. These two program have legitimate disdain for one another — just ask Jim Schlossnagle. Message Board Genius could be an all-time appointment viewing for the loser of the first SEC game between Texas and Texas A&M.

3. Georgia at Texas (Oct. 19)

Two of the top 2024 national title favorites will square off in mid-October in what should be a majestic atmosphere (F1 is also in Austin that weekend) and a gorgeous helmet game. Georgia and Texas have two of the best rosters in the country, and the former Nick Saban assistants (Kirby Smart vs. Steve Sarkisian) will meet as head coaches for the first time. 

Considering the hype and stakes around a likely Top 5 matchup, this game (which again might be the first of several meetings) could be a springboard showcase for Heisman Trophy hopefuls Carson Beck or Quinn Ewers

4. Tennessee at Oklahoma (Sept. 21)

This is a matchup ripe with storyline and intrigue. It’s Oklahoma’s SEC debut. It’s former 5-star Nico Iamaleava’s first-career road start. It’s Iamaleava vs. Jackson Arnold — two sophomore phenoms. The game also centers around the return to Norman for Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel, who has a complicated relationship with his alma mater despite winning a national title with the Sooners. 

The Vols and Sooners are two programs with CFP hopes in 2024. With a pair of inexperienced quarterbacks in a spotlight game, this could come down to which pass rush can dominate the other team’s offensive line. Led by James Pearce, Tennessee had 41 sacks in 2023 (No. 8 nationally), while OU reloaded at edge via the transfer portal this offseason. 

5. Alabama at LSU (Nov. 9)

These teams played an instant classic under the lights in Death Valley two years ago, and here’s guessing we get another primetime affair in Kalen DeBoer’s first game against LSU. With the dissolution of divisions, this rivalry game will no longer decide the SEC West, but it certainly has playoff implications. 

Brian Kelly scored a huge win over Nick Saban in his first season with the Tigers, but he’s struggled to produce similar results against the other top teams in the SEC. Going up against DeBoer’s offense — particularly Alabama’s offensive line and ground game — will be a major test for LSU’s new-look defense, which swung and missed on some interior tackle targets this offseason. 

6. Ole Miss at LSU (Oct. 12)

Last season’s game between the Rebels and Tigers were a Disney fireworks show — a 55-49 final with more than 1,300 total yards. LSU lost a game in which its Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jayden Daniels had over 500 total yards and five touchdowns. 

Considering the rest of Ole Miss’ 2024 schedule (no Texas, Alabama, Texas A&M, Tennessee or Missouri) there are not many other opportunities for marquee victories — but a win in Tigers Stadium would more than qualify. Meanwhile, a second-straight loss to the Rebels would not behoove Brian Kelly, whose relationship with the Tigers’ faithful is already growing a bit strained.  

7. Missouri at Alabama (Oct. 26)

The Tigers were one of the darlings of the SEC in 2023, coming out of nowhere to win 11 games and beat Ohio State in a New Year’s Six Bowl game. Eli Drinkwitz is now looking to capitalize on last season’s momentum with a trip to the College Football Playoff. With a SEC slate that’s extremely manageable compared to their conference counterparts, a win in Tuscaloosa could go a long way in securing a much-needed signature win to impress the committee come the end of the season. 

For the Tide, the Mizzou game is sandwiched between a tough pair of rival road games at Tennessee and LSU. DeBoer needs to handle business at home if Jalen Milroe & Co., wish to make a return to the playoffs this fall.

8. Texas vs. Oklahoma (Oct. 12)

Longhorns’ AD Chris De Conte is right: This is one of the best atmospheres in all of college football. It may be an SEC game now, but Red River still carries a lot of weight in the regular season. Oklahoma won in the final seconds last season, giving Brent Venables his biggest win to date and sending Sarkisian to 1-2 in the series. 

The Sooners have a rough schedule in Year 1 in a new league (Tennessee, Auburn, Texas, Ole Miss, Missouri, Alabama and LSU all on the slate), but this is a chance for Venables to prove his program remains in the same tier as a Texas team believed to be on the rise under Sarkisian.

9. Alabama at Tennessee (Oct. 19)

This was the Game of the Year in 2022, and while the Third Saturday in October will be a bit overshadowed by Georgia at Texas, the Tide vs. the Vols is still a game that carries serious implications. 

By midseason, has Nico Iamaleava settled in as Tennessee’s quarterback? Has the Tide’s retooled defense coalesced into a Top 10 unit again? Is Jalen Milroe a Heisman Trophy contender operating DeBoer’s scheme — or just another guy and possibly in danger of losing his job to Ty Simpson? This rivalry game should provide a lot of answers about how the second half of the season might play out for both teams.

10. Georgia at Ole Miss (Nov. 9)

The last of Georgia’s three tough road games concludes in Oxford. The Bulldogs trounced the Rebels 52-17 last season, racking up over 600 yards at 10.1 per play. The beatdown was so brutal that Lane Kiffin openly discussed the need to upgrade Ole Miss’ offensive and defensive lines in the offseason — which is precisely what he did with the transfer portal

Under Kiffin, the Rebels have been really good in recent years winning the games they’re supposed to. Now can they engineer a home upset and possibly secure a spot in the CFP (and SEC Championship?)

Honorable Mention: Auburn at Alabama, Tennessee at Georgia, Alabama at Oklahoma, Texas A&M at Florida and Oklahoma at Missouri