SEC Football: 6 Best Opening Week Matchups for SEC Fans
There's nothing like that feeling you get when college football is approaching. You get all queasy in the stomach when the schedule comes out, and before you know it, the rankings are out and Week 1 is beginning.
In the AP poll, the SEC has five teams ranked in the top 10, so you can imagine how some of these opening matchups will pan out. The SEC will certainly be competitive this season, especially with some of the in-house changes that have occurred.
Good football means good times, and as a fan of the SEC, we're in for A LOT of good times in the opening week. Let's take a look at some of the best matchups in the opening week.
Tennessee vs. NC State
Tyler Bray looks to open the season the right way with a win against NC State.
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Tyler Bray and the Tennessee Vols will play some Friday night football against Mike Glennon and NC State.
Both quarterbacks are good signal-callers, but the edge goes to Glennon in accordance with the numbers.
Last season, Bray had seven starts and threw for a total of 1,983 yards, 17 touchdowns and six interceptions—not bad for a sophomore.
However, Glennon had a better season (in five more games). He threw for 3,052 yards, 31 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Although NC State has the slight edge at QB, the Vols have receivers by the name of Da'Rick Rodgers and Justin Hunter—either of which could have a big game, one of which is expected to have a big game.
I'm going to say this game will be a nail-biter, but it's definitely a game to watch for SEC fans.
Jacksonville State @ Arkansas
Tyler Wilson will prove to be too much for Jacksonville.
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Arkansas senior quarterback Tyler Wilson will square off against the unfavorable underdogs in Jacksonville State.
Wilson accumulated 3,638 yards last season with the Razorbacks. There's no reason for us not to believe he won't throw for over 200 yards in this game, especially with wideout Cobi Hamilton in the picture.
Hamilton will certainly contribute to some of those yards; The senior wide receiver finished last season with 542 yards, but this season he'll look to increase that. What better way to start than against Jacksonville State?
In short, this will be an offensive onslaught lead by Tyler Wilson. Expect to see a high-scoring game on the Hogs' part of the scoreboard. Jacksonville State is just no match for Arkansas' offensive game.
Bowling Green @ Florida
Senior running back Mike Gillislee will provide the run support for the Gators.
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A combination of Florida's strong defense and above average offense is what will make this game a great matchup for opening week.
The Gators defense will prove to be too much for Bowling Green quarterback Matt Schillz.
Florida linebacker Jonathan Bostic will do everything in his power to pressure Schillz, and as a result giving the Gators more offensive touches.
The more opportunities Gators QB Jacoby Brissett has, the deadlier he becomes, especially when he finds his groove and gets the ball to the hot hands of Andre Debose.
However, the Falcons have looked to improve their defense, and this might be the season that happens. Bowling Green defensive tackle Chris Jones will focus on stopping the Gators run game, and if they avoid missing tackles, the job might get done.
It should be a good game, possibly closer than anyone really thinks, but the potential is there.
North Texas @ LSU
Alfred Blue looks to put the Tigers above and beyond their opponent—North Texas.
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If you're a fan of LSU or simply enjoy high scoring football games, this will be the one for you.
Head coach Les Miles will look to make a statement in LSU's opener—and a statement will be made.
LSU's offense will run through North Texas like it's not anyone's business.
Quarterback Zach Mettenberger will improve last season's 72.7 completion percentage, and running back Alfred Blue looks to silence the naysayers, while wide receiver Odell Beckham is on the receiving end of Mettenberger's passes.
However, last season North Texas averaged 197 yards per away game, but they also played a bit sloppier away—fumbling three times and losing one of those. This, in combination with an absent defense, is what will result in LSU delivering a shellacking.
I'm not going to knock North Texas's football program because they have come a long way, but they're not ready for LSU—certainly not in Week 1.
Clemson vs. Auburn
The Tigers look to make themselves favorites as they take on Auburn.
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This will be one of the games people wake up the next morning talking about. It's going to be that good!
Clemson WR Sammy Watkins is suspended, so it'll be interesting to see if Jaron Brown can do enough to pick up the slack and lead the way in receiving.
Auburn is built on its defense, which is headed by defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. With Corey Lemonier on one end of the defense and Nosa Eguae on the other, the pressure is on Clemson's offensive line.
What will make things appealing to viewers is just how Clemson's offensive line holds up—especially against Auburn's defensive end Lemonier, who recorded 9.5 sacks last season. You can guarantee he will look to be in Clemson QB Tajh Boyd's face.
Tune in to this game to get the full effect of what I'm talking about here.
Michigan vs. Alabama
Quarterback A.J. McCarron looks to dazzle those watching.
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This is probably the biggest game of the week. You can bet your bottom dollar that everyone's going to be tuned in to this one—even those not fans of the SEC.
Nick Saban is one of the best coaches in the game, and he'll show just why that's so. Junior QB A.J. McCarron will utilize all of his weapons, including RB Eddie Lacy, WR Kenny Bell and TE Michael Williams.
Let's no be fooled, though. Michigan has some potential here. You probably heard of QB Denard Robinson—you know the quarterback that threw 20 touchdowns last season? Oh yeah, you're right he did throw 15 interceptions too. Well, I guess that puts the load on the back of Fitzgerald Toussaint to pick up where he left off (1,041 yards last season).
This Week 1 matchup is the game to watch.