The beginning of SEC football is still over 100 days away, but the juices got flowing after some interesting comments from both Jimbo Fisher and Nick Saban on a random week in May. In the most Bane voice ever: “Let the games begin”.
Those who weren’t stuck in a cave know by now that Saban said that Texas A&M paid for their entire No. 1 recruiting class and Fisher quickly responded by calling his former boss both a “God” and a “narcissist” while claiming innocence and ended his relationship with the GOAT.
Twitter caught fire on Thursday as Fisher held an impromptu press conference with all eyes going from seeing John Daly on the leaderboard at the PGA Championship to a live stream in College Station where the former Florida State head coach responded with fire. Immediately, the college football community all looked ahead to the date when A&M travels to Bryant-Denny Stadium to take on Alabama.
The best thing about college football is that for 15 consecutive Saturdays in the fall we get to consume multiple games oftentimes for 13 consecutive hours. The best regular season in sports is easily consumable, and every year there are a couple of Saturdays that stick out from the rest due to what comes together when the schedule times things just right.
On Oct. 8 there are some other premier games — Ohio State at Michigan State, Florida State at NC State, BYU vs. Notre Dame — but all eyes will be focused on the SEC or the “best league in ball” dubbed by Fisher on the second Saturday in October. That is perfect timing as the leaves start to change and the cool temperatures roll in.
KSR has dug into the schedule and has discovered an SEC slate with seven conference games. There are no teams on bye and the schedule is jam-packed with intriguing matchups. Call Doc Brown because we need a time machine.
Texas A&M at Alabama
Two of the best rosters in college football will lock horns, and Texas A&M got the better of Alabama last year with the biggest win of the Jimbo Fisher era. We know all the storylines going into the matchup, and it seems like a lock that College GameDay will be in T-town to get the party started. CBS gets the option to host one day-night doubleheader per season, and this is now the heavy favorite to be the pick. We should be getting this game under the lights in prime time.
Arkansas at Mississippi State
A rivalry is slowly building between these two programs with both Mike Leach and Sam Pittman entering year three. Pittman has gotten the best of Leach to this point as the Hogs pulled off a big road upset in 2020 and squeaked by the Bulldogs in a game filled with missed kicks last season. Both teams could be sneaky contenders in the SEC West to reach double-digit wins. However, it will be hard for either program to have a good season without beating the other. There will be high stakes at Davis-Wade Stadium for an underrated SEC game.
Auburn at Georgia
The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry is the second-most played rivalry game in college football with Auburn and Georgia meeting for the 127th time in 2022. Georgia leads the all-time series 62-56-8, but the Bulldogs have won five in a row in the series and are 6-1 under Kirby Smart. Bryan Harsin is very much on the hot seat as these two programs are headed in opposite directions. Due to the history, don’t be surprised if CBS makes this their afternoon pick.
Missouri at Florida
Two years ago, Dan Mullen ran out onto the field during a scuffle between the two teams and appeared to get into a yelling match with some Tigers. After the game, Mullen became a knucklehead as the Florida head coach conducted a press conference in a Darth Vader costume. Missouri returned the favor with a victory over Florida in 2021 that likely was one of the final nails in the coffin for Mullen’s tenure in Gainesville. Mizzou players and Eliah Drinkwitz held their press conference while holding a toy lightsaber. No Mullen takes some of the venom away, but there appears to be some growing animosity between these two SEC foes. That can turn into some fun football between rebuilding programs.
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt
Just hear me out on this one. Vanderbilt has two bye weeks this season due to opening up the season with Week Zero. One of them lands before hosting Ole Miss. Before their SEC West gauntlet begins, Lane Kiffin’s program has to make the trip to Nashville. The Commodores played Ole Miss tough last season, and if Clark Lea is going to snap his program’s long SEC losing streak this is one of the obvious candidates. Don’t be surprised if the Rebels get a scare.
South Carolina at Kentucky
Kentucky is 7-1 against South Carolina since 2014. Shane Beamer is trying to get the Gamecocks to climb the ladder in the SEC East. The Big Blue Nation relishes the recent dominance over the Gamecocks, and Carolina fans cannot understand why their program can’t beat Kentucky anymore. Add in that both teams have NFL prospects at quarterback — Will Levis and Spencer Rattler — and you have an intriguing division matchup that could have a good combination of star power and teams that don’t really like each other. This smells like your classic Saturday night special on the SEC Network with Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers, and Cole Cubelic on the mics.
Tennessee at LSU
For the first time since 2010, Tennessee will be making the trip to Death Valley. There will be orange in droves at Tiger Stadium as Brian Kelly gets a chance to record a big home win early in his LSU tenure. Both programs have high expectations entering the year, and an unfamiliar helmet battle will create a fun watch. A win by the Vols would give the meeting on Oct. 15 with Alabama at Neyland Stadium a huge jolt.
Bonus: Texas vs. Oklahoma
The next two teams to be added to the SEC also play their biggest games of the season on this Saturday, and this seems like the last Red River meeting before the Longhorns and Sooners are SEC foes. In true Texas-Texas A&M fashion, the Aggies have already stolen some thunder from this game, but there will still be plenty of build up. Brent Venables is making his head coaching debut in the series, and former No. 1 recruit Quinn Ewers is looking to lead the burnt orange back to national prominence. Expect Big Noon Kickoff on FOX to be on the call as we get a huge game to get the fall Saturday started.