If you’re a fan of an SEC team, chances are you know where you’re going to be on fall Saturdays. But what if you were given the chance to go to any game involving an SEC team each week of the season? That’s the scenario we envisioned for the ultimate SEC road trip.
College football reporters Edward Aschoff and Sam Khan Jr. take their picks of which game they would attend if given the choice of any involving an SEC team, each week this season. Today, we look at the September games:
Week 1 (Aug. 31-Sept. 4)
Aschoff: Michigan vs. Florida, AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas) -- Why not head to Jerry World for a Week 1 spectacle that will involve Jim Harbaugh and an SEC team? Florida might not have the national appeal that Harbaugh has, but the Gators could win three straight SEC East titles. This should be the first glimpse of Malik Zaire and a chance for both Florida and Michigan to make a major statement.
Khan: FSU vs. Alabama, Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta) -- It doesn’t get much better than having two preseason top-five teams squaring off to open the season in a brand new facility in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. I’m guessing the stadium is going to be pretty sweet. Plus, the two coaches (Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher) are plenty familiar because they used to work together and there are College Football Playoff implications involved.
Week 2 (Sept. 9)
Aschoff: Georgia at Notre Dame -- Kirby Smart is taking his up-and-coming Bulldogs on the road to see Touchdown Jesus. This Irish team isn't getting near the attention as last year's team, but this won't just be a walk in the park for the Dawgs. Georgia is the early favorite to win the SEC East and we'll get to really see how far quarterback Jacob Eason has come in his second year, in a hostile environment.
Khan: TCU at Arkansas -- Last year, these two teams played a wild, back-and-forth game in Fort Worth, Texas, which Arkansas pulled out a 41-38 win in double overtime. Both teams’ quarterbacks are back (TCU’s Kenny Hill and Arkansas’ Austin Allen), so it could be another fun shootout in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Week 3 (Sept. 16)
Aschoff: LSU at Mississippi State -- Do not sleep on this game. LSU is getting a lot of preseason love, but are we really sure about a team that has a new head coach, questions at quarterback and a totally revamped front seven? Mississippi State has that dark horse feel to it. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is a stud and the defense could get a jolt with a handful of junior college transfers. This will be a big test for LSU.
Khan: Tennessee at Florida -- No doubt, this is the best game on the SEC schedule in Week 3. It’s a conference game with a lot of meaning, because it’ll serve as a litmus test for both teams and give one a leg up in the SEC East race. Also, after Florida dominated the series for a decade, Tennessee finally broke the streak last year, so there’s a new storyline this time around.
Week 4 (Sept. 23)
Aschoff: Florida at Kentucky -- OK, before you unfollow me on Twitter, hear me out. This game has upset written all over it. Florida has won 30 straight over the Wildcats, but this year just feels different. Florida has taken some hits on defense and will yet again have a new starting quarterback. Kentucky has a lot of offensive firepower and an improved defense. That stadium should be rocking when the Gators arrive.
Khan: Arkansas vs. Texas A&M, AT&T Stadium (Arlington) -- I’ve had the pleasure of covering this game the past three years and it has always been fun. In 2014 and 2015, the games were hard-fought contests that went to overtime. Last year, the Aggies pulled away in the second half, but there were still plenty of on-field fireworks. I suspect it’ll be entertaining as usual and Jerry World is a great place to take in a football game if you’ve never been.
Week 5 (Sept. 30)
Aschoff: Ole Miss at Alabama -- This isn't just about the great tailgating wars you'll see in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The Crimson Tide might have one of the most versatile offenses in America, but that defense is replacing a ton of talent up front. Alabama will be a heavy favorite over the Rebels, but don't totally count out a team with nothing to lose.
Khan: Georgia at Tennessee -- Neyland Stadium should be rocking for this one, because this game has been great the past few years. There was the dramatic Georgia overtime win in 2013 (which included a late game-tying drive and a dramatic overtime fumble at the goal line), a 21-point Tennessee comeback in 2015 and of course, last year’s Josh Dobbs-to-Jauan Jennings Hail Mary. This is the place to be in Week 5.