The SEC takes a backseat to the rest of the college football world this Saturday. But even though there aren't any premier matchups, there are still some intriguing storylines.
Here are five things to watch for this weekend in the SEC.
Long live the Mad Hatter: For the first time since New Year’s Day 2005, LSU will have somebody other than Les Miles as its head coach. That’s a span of 4,291 days -- or 11 years and nine months. College football will miss Miles because of his personality and his antics, but LSU must quickly turn its attention to a Missouri team that has one of the more potent offenses in the SEC. Interim coach Ed Orgeron has been in this position before; he guided USC to a 6-2 record as interim coach in 2013, and he’ll make his case to be the permanent LSU coach beginning Saturday night.
Can Tennessee avoid a letdown? It wouldn’t be all that surprising to see Tennessee come out flat against Georgia on Saturday. The Volunteers are coming off arguably the biggest win since Butch Jones has been there, and sometimes after a signature win like that, there can be a hangover the next week. Georgia didn’t look like much of a contender last week at Ole Miss, but every week is different. And running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are always capable of putting up big numbers regardless of the opponent. Remember, it was the Tennessee game last year when Chubb tore his ACL. Don’t think he doesn’t remember that. Chubb is questionable, however, with a sprained ankle.
Saban, Stoops reunited: Here’s your random trivia for the day. Alabama coach Nick Saban recruited Kentucky coach Mark Stoops as a player when he was an assistant coach at Michigan State. Stoops ultimately signed and played for Iowa. They will meet again Saturday with Saban’s Alabama team a heavy favorite over Stoops and Kentucky. Aside from Alabama’s true freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts, the only thing worth watching in this one will be whether the Crimson Tide will cover the ridiculous 35-point spread.
Gators, Aggies hit the road: Going on the road to face a couple of cellar dwellers in the SEC East might not sound like a daunting task, but Florida and Texas A&M still have to handle their business. They can’t get caught looking ahead. The Gators will travel to Vanderbilt to play a Commodores team that almost beat them last season. And the Aggies are returning to South Carolina, where two years ago they stunned the college football world with a dominant 52-28 win over the No. 9 Gamecocks on opening night. If nothing else, Vanderbilt and South Carolina have defenses that will make it difficult for Florida quarterback Austin Appleby and Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight.
Ole Miss seeks revenge from last year: Typically, Memphis isn’t a team you circle on the calendar when you play SEC teams every week. But Ole Miss hasn’t forgotten what happened last season, when they went to Memphis and were simply outmatched. Paxton Lynch is gone to the NFL, but new Memphis quarterback Riley Ferguson, a Tennessee transfer, is putting up huge numbers through the first month under first-year coach Mike Norvell. The good news for the Rebels is that if it does turn into a shootout, they still have Chad Kelly on their side.