Serious Southeastern Conference football fans have had Saturday, Nov. 19 circled on their calendars. Like many of you, I’ve looked forward to this Saturday for weeks and can’t believe it’s finally here. We’re in for a real treat with premier, big-time matchups, intense conference rivalries, and several non-conference battles filled with intrigue. It is without doubt the biggest weekend of SEC football all year.
With so many big games come monumental upsets, and those hoping for a mid-November BCS meltdown might just get it come Saturday.
In fact, I believe the stars are aligned for a historic weekend in college football and, in particular, the SEC. I’m going so far as to boldly predict several upsets in games below the radars of national pundits. I’m sticking my chin out and laying it all on the line. As the ancient Roman proverb teaches us, fortune favors the bold, and I’m clearly in this for fortune, so here are my bold SEC predictions this week:
Kentucky vs. Georgia: The Dawgs, probably the most underrated team in the nation, are on a roll with a spot in the SEC Championship on the line. The most consecutive conference wins in Mark Richt’s tenure, Aaron Murray breaking Georgia’s record for TD passes in a season, yada yada yada. No one gives Kentucky a chance. That’s why the Wildcats are due to shock the world, and that’s why I’m picking Kentucky to shatter Georgia’s SEC East dreams.
The Citadel vs. South Carolina: The Citadel Bulldogs hail from the Southern Conference in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA). The Citadel will be hungry coming off a homecoming loss to rival Samford last week. South Carolina knows it’s probably headed to the Chick-fil-A Bowl or something similar, and doesn’t care. I’ll go with the Bulldogs over the Gamecocks in this one.
Furman vs. Florida: The Furman Paladins (a Paladin is a trusted military leader or champion of a cause; I looked it up) visit the Swamp hoping for the biggest win in school history. Also from the Southern Conference of the FCS, Furman dropped a close one to Elon last week. But these Gators are bad enough to lose at home to Furman. And they will.
Mississippi State vs. Arkansas: MSU head coach Dan Mullen a/k/a Cousin Eddie drives the Winnebago to Arkansas and makes himself right at home in Little Rock. His disappointing Mississippi State team knocks off the Hogs. Now you’re talkin’, Eddie!
Georgia Southern vs. Alabama: The Crimson Tide still feels sorry for itself over the LSU loss. Georgia Southern is a powerhouse from — you guessed it — the Southern Conference. The Eagles from Statesboro will get Alabama at low tide looking ahead to next week’s Iron Bowl at Auburn. Plus, Georgia Southern has nearly identical uniforms as Alabama’s, except they’re blue. Clearly Georgia Southern has the edge to pull off the upset.
Samford vs. Auburn: Further filling the coffers of the FCS Southern Conference, the Samford Bulldogs visit a highly underachieving Auburn team. (For those keeping score at home, nearly half of the entire Southern Conference plays SEC teams this week.) It turns out Auburn will honor Samford head coach Pat Sullivan before the game for the 40th anniversary of his Heisman Trophy winning season as Auburn’s quarterback. Because Auburn looked pitiful against Georgia last week and because it’s just weird to honor the opposing team’s head coach before the game, Samford walks out of Jordan-Hare Stadium a winner.
LSU vs. Ole Miss: The Rebels/Black Bears win one for Houston Nutt and throw the BCS into a chaotic tailspin. By the way, did you hear that Ole Miss fans are lobbying for Peyton Manning as their next coach? I’m sure Peyton is packing boxes in Indy as we speak, calling his Hall of Fame career quits and preparing for his move to Oxford.
Vanderbilt vs. Tennessee: A Tennessee senior said this week that the Vanderbilt game defines the Vols’ season. That’s how rough a year it’s been for Tennessee. I’ll go with the ‘Dores to keep Tennessee winless in the SEC.
Now, be honest. Making the gigantic assumption that you’ve read this far, at what point did you pull a John McEnroe and exclaim, “You CANNOT be serious!” If you think the above predictions are serious, then, as George Strait famously sang, I’ve got some oceanfront property in Arizona. The “bold” predictions are from what Seinfeld fans would call the bizarro world. But faced with by far the least compelling SEC football weekend of the year, what else was I supposed to do?
Best of luck to your SEC team and we’ll get back to big boy football next week. Meanwhile, I’m in the market for a Furman vs. Florida ticket. It should be a barn burner.
Ben Prevost, a lawyer in Atlanta, is a life-long fan of SEC football. Send him your thoughts at SECbanter@hotmail.com.