College Football Preview: Ranking the Week 1 SEC Games You Can’t Miss

RM Herold@@BR_RollinFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2010

College Football Preview: Ranking the Week 1 SEC Games You Can’t Miss

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 07:  Jordan Jefferson #9 of the Louisiana State University Tigers against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    College football is finally here. And the SEC, land of the BCS Champs, start their games as well.

    Some of them are breaking in new defenses, some are fielding new quarterbacks.

    All of them are trying to find that special chemistry that will make them king of the conference, which usually means king of college football.

    But let's be clear here, some of the big guys will take a pounding in the media for scheduling little sisters of the poor, but that's why we're here to rank them and give props to the guys who stepped out and took some chances.

Tennessee-Martin at Tennessee

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    BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 14:  Head coach Derek Dooley of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs reacts after a call during the game against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  The Tigers defeated the Bulldogs 24-16.  (P
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Lane Kiffin is gone, so Tennessee feels like they have already won their opener.

    First-year coach Derek Dooley feels like he is up to the task of replacing the controversial one year coach.

    This should be a great way to kick his regime off.

    Running back Tauren Poole should also help with the transition.

9.Louisiana-Lafayette at Georgia

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    ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 21:  Head coach Mark Richt of the Georgia Bulldogs against the Kentucky Wildcats at Sanford Stadium on November 21, 2009 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Georgia is going to be starting a new quarterback in Aaron Murray and be without running back Washaun Ealey who was arrested a few days ago.

    Top all that off with the combined total of eight player arrests in the off season and you can see why the team is probably a bit tense.

    They get to take it out on The Ragin' Cajuns who are 0-12 against their last 12 ranked opponents.

8. Miami (Ohio) at Florida

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    GAINESVILLE, FL - APRIL 10:  Quarterback Trey Burton #13 of the Florida Gators runs for a touchdown as former Gator Chris Leak, L, and quarterback John Brantley #12 look on during the Orange & Blue game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on April 10, 2010 in Gai
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Tebow won't be there so why even play it?

    Just kidding. The world is excited to see what John Brantley can do, that's why.

    And with the offensive weapons he has at his disposal this could be a fun game for him.

    But don't be surprised if the running game takes over, though.

    See,the RedHawks had the second-worst rushing offense in the Football Bowl Subdivision last season.

    Meaning they aren't a Division I school. And being that they were that bad in the lower division means the Gators might be able to run a bit.

    And by the way, Miami of Ohio finished the season 1-11.

7. Auburn vs. Arkansas State

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    We are almost at the good games, folks. This one was scheduled it seems, to get a good scrimmage in before the SEC games begin.

    Nonetheless, this will be the great debut of new quarterback Cam Newton for the Tigers.

    The fact that this is at home and Arkansas State isn't that good means this could be one of the higher scoring games of the week.

6. Ole Miss Vs. Jacksonville State

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    PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli #8 of the Oregon Ducks jogs off the field during the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 96th Rose Bowl game on January 1, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    This is another game that will be more interesting because of personnel than because of the football on the field.

    SEC fans get to see new comer and former Oregon starter Jeremiah Masoli suit up for the Rebels.

    Jacksonville State shouldn't be much of a problem for Huston Nutt's team, but watching his new quarterback still makes this game more interesting than some of the others.

5. San Jose State at Alabama

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - APRIL 17: Quarterback Greg McElroy (12) of the University of Alabama looks for a receiver during the Alabama spring game at Bryant Denny Stadium on April 17, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images)
    Dave Martin/Getty Images

    This game would be lower on the list, as in, definitely a can't miss if it weren't for recent developments.

    Now that Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram is out because of a knee injury, we get to see how the Champs look without him.

    Will they be a passing team or is Trent Richardson everything they say he is? The true test for the Tide won't come until the following week when they play Penn State.

    Without the added drama of seeing how the team plays without Ingram, this game would be as low on the must see rankings as San Jose State's chance are at the upset.

4. Vanderbilt Vs. Northwestern

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    GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 7: Running back Warren Norman #27 of the Vanderbilt Commodores rushes upfield against the Florida Gators on November 7, 2009 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Vanderbilt's last head coach resigned almost seven weeks ago.

    That doesn't seem like a lot of time for a team to get ready for their season opener, but that is exactly what Robbie Caldwell has been forced to try and do on the fly.

    And to top it off they are facing a team that is on the upswing. No longer is Northwestern one of the doormat of the big ten.

    They were within three points of Auburn in last year's Outback Bowl. And Vanderbilt doesn't have the talent Auburn does.

    One thing the Commodores to have going for them is running back Warren Norman, the Southeastern Conference's freshman of the year.

    But like everything else, his status is up in the air, since he had to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee last week.

    Without Norman, this could get ugly.

3. South Carolina Vs. Southern Miss

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    TUSCALOOSA - OCTOBER 17:  Head coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks watches the scoreboard during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 17, 2009 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  The Crimson Tide beat the Game
    Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    This is one of the better games of the week for two reasons:

    A) The Ole Ball coach, Steve Spurrier is on one sideline

    2) USM coach Larry Fedora guaranteed a victory for his squad.

    According to the Clarion-Ledger  Fedora said "Every college football fan in the entire country will be watching us - watching the Golden Eagles beating South Carolina,"

    Sounds like a guarantee to me. Trash talk this early? I love it.

    Also, the gamecocks have a few players under investigation and might have to lean on a few freshmen like Connor Shaw and Marcus Lattimore for big plays.

2. Kentucky at Louisville

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    LEXINGTON, KY - SEPTEMBER 26: Quarterback Mike Hartline #5 of the Kentucky Wildcats looks to pass during the third quarter of the game against the Florida Gators at Commonwealth Stadium on September 26, 2009 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Ge
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Lots of debuts for this one.

    The two head coaches, Kentucky’s Joker Phillips and Louisville’s Charlie Strong, who are said to be great friends, both make their head coaching debuts.

    Also Louisville opens it's new stadium for all to see.

    Nothing but brand spanking newness everywhere.

    It's a shame someone has to lose.

    Kentucky starts a 5th year senior, Mike Hartline, at quarterback. He might be the difference in one of the most competitive games of all on the SEC docket.

1. LSU Vs. North Carolina

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 07:  Jordan Jefferson #9 of the Louisiana State University Tigers against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    This was and still might be the game of the week. Both teams are ranked in the top 25 and both are very talented.

    The only question on everybody's mind is how many key players will North Carolina be missing due to the NCAA investigation?

    I'm sure Chick-fil-A didn't have looming suspensions on their minds when they chose this as their kickoff game.

    To the Tigers credit, they are saying the right things. Jordan Jefferson pretty much summed it up when he said he hopes that LSU gets to play the the Tar Heels full squad.

    It's certainly the number one most intriguing game.