SEC Football: Highlighting Most Anticipated Early-Season Conference Matchups
With the start of the 2013 college football season will come another year of SEC dominance.
The last seven BCS national championship teams have come from the SEC and the conference routinely churns out elite NFL talent. And with Heisman Trophy candidates like Johnny Manziel and Jadeveon Clowney leading the way, college football fans can expect plenty more thrills from football's top conference this fall.
Without further ado, let's take a closer look at the three most anticipated early-season SEC clashes in 2013.
Sept. 7: No. 6 South Carolina vs. No. 5 Georgia
On just the second Saturday of the 2013 season, two national championship contenders will clash in Athens in what could potentially be a BCS Championship elimination game, assuming Georgia can survive Clemson on opening weekend.
Either way, the Bulldogs will have plenty of motivation to knock off the Gamecocks and spoil their hopes of running the table.
In 2012, Steve Spurrier's South Carolina squad routed Georgia in Columbia, jumping out to a 35-0 lead before going on to win by 28 points. That victory extended the Gamecocks' streak to three straight wins in this rivalry going back to 2010.
With both programs seen as the top two in the SEC East division this season, college football fans won't have to wait long to find out who the top dog really is.
This matchup will also provide many fans with a closer look at two potential Heisman Trophy candidates in Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
Sept. 14: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 7 Texas A&M
It's not the Game of the Century, but it's definitely the Game of the Season.
The two-time defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide will head to the land of Johnny Football, College Station, Texas, on Sept. 14 in the season's most anticipated matchup by far.
Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel stunned the Tide in Tuscaloosa last November, leading the Aggies to a 29-24 win over Nick Saban's No. 1 ranked squad with his legs and his arm. Now, college football's most polarizing player will have the opportunity to knock off the top-ranked Tide at home.
But Alabama's defense projects to be just as strong as it has in past seasons, meaning Manziel will have to overcome not only sky-high expectations, but Kirby Smart's nasty D.
Sept. 28: No. 12 LSU vs. No. 5 Georgia
Following two back-to-back matchups with top-10 teams Clemson and South Carolina, Georgia will get a break against North Texas before hosting LSU to close out the month of September.
Which matchup are you most excited for?
The two SEC powerhouses haven't met since the 2011 SEC Championship Game, which the Tigers won in convincing fashion, 42-10. Overall, Georgia has lost its last two meetings against LSU, last beating the Tigers in Baton Rouge in 2008.
With LSU projected to be undefeated coming into this matchup and with the possibility of Georgia being perfect as well, this is an SEC showdown that no SEC lover will want to miss.
Keep in mind that even if the Bulldogs lose to the Gamecocks in Week 2, a win over LSU three weeks later could catapult them back into the national championship discussion.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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