Thanks to some help from the folks at ESPN's Stats & Info department, a little bit of this and a little bit of that as we point toward Saturday's games in the SEC:
There will be four SEC teams using first-time starting quarterbacks on Saturday. Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn and Ole Miss don't have a returning quarterback that has a collegiate start under his belt. Kentucky’s Morgan Newton (9 starts after Thursday's game), Tennessee’s Matt Simms (8 starts) and Tyler Bray (5 starts) have less than 10 returning starts.
Georgia is opening up against a top 5 team (Boise State) for the first time since 1965 when it beat No. 5-ranked Alabama 18-17 in Athens. It will be the first of two big games to start Georgia’s season. The Bulldogs host No. 12-ranked South Carolina next week. Georgia is just one of three FBS teams to play consecutive currently ranked opponents to start the season and the only team from a BCS conference to do so. The others are East Carolina and Florida Atlantic.
The first defensive possession for Georgia on Saturday will warrant special attention. The Bulldogs were the only FBS team last season to allow at least four touchdown drives of 75 yards or longer on the opening possession of a game.
Boise State, on the other hand, was one of the best defenses in college football last season at not giving up the big play. The Broncos were fifth nationally in giving up plays of 10 yards or longer. They gave up just 127, trailing only TCU (102), West Virginia (119), Texas (125) and Boston College (126).
Georgia has lost seven of its last eight games to nationally ranked opponents.
According to research done by Mark Wallington at UNLV, Tennessee is one of just five schools in the FBS to not have at least one senior starter on the offensive line. The others are UNLV, Texas A&M, Georgia Tech and Arizona. The Vols have four sophomore starters (LG Alex Bullard, RT Ja’wuan James, RG Zach Fulton and C James Stone) and one junior (LT Dallas Thomas) penciled in as starters on the offensive line going into the Montana game.
South Carolina and SMU are the only two schools in the FBS that return a 3,000-yard passer (Stephen Garcia), 1,000-yard rusher (Marcus Lattimore) and a 1,000-yard receiver (Alshon Jeffery). The Gamecocks also return four starters on the offensive line for a total of 70 career starts. Center T.J. Johnson has 27 career starts, Tackles Kyle Nunn (16) and Rokevious Watkins (14) and guard Terrence Campbell (13) also return. Redshirt freshman A.J. Cann is slated to make his first career start against East Carolina.
LSU is 28-1 in nonconference games under Les Miles (since 2005). The Tigers’ only nonconference loss was to Penn State in the Capital One Bowl following the 2009 season.
LSU senior quarterback Jarrett Lee, who steps in for the suspended Jordan Jefferson, has not had a lot of success the last two seasons throwing the ball down the field. Lee has completed just 5 of his 26 throws that were 15 yards or longer with no touchdowns and one interception.
Vanderbilt sophomore receiver Jordan Matthews is looking to catch a touchdown pass for the fifth consecutive game. The last Commodore player to post touchdowns in five straight games was running back Cassen Jackson-Garrison in 2005.
Florida is one of four teams in the AP Preseason Top 25 that has a head coach making his debut, joining Stanford, Ohio State, and West Virginia. This is the first time in the BCS era that four ranked teams in the preseason AP Poll have coaches making their debuts.
Arkansas has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 17 straight games, the longest active streak in the SEC and the eighth-longest active streak in the country.
A pair of true freshmen could end up being key playmakers for Auburn this season and will be unveiled Saturday in the opener against Utah State. Receiver Quan Bray is listed as a co-starter along with redshirt freshman Trovon Reed at punt returner, while running back Tre Mason has been impressive enough this preseason that he's going to be part of the backfield rotation along with Mike Dyer and Onterio McCalebb.