Week 1 was packed with kickoff classics, network-launching games and more in the SEC.
Week 2 things slow way, way down as the high-profile nonconference matchups like Wisconsin, West Virginia and Clemson are replaced with the Florida Atlantics and Eastern Michigans of the world.
But the first weekend in September won’t be without a few bright spots -- even if we had to look high and low to find them.
In case you didn’t catch the first installment of this series, which will run every Monday until its completion, its purpose is to provide a rundown of the league’s action and give you our pick for the top one-two matchups every week.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at Week 2:
Saturday, Sept. 6
Florida Atlantic at Alabama
Nichols State at Arkansas
San Jose State at Auburn
Eastern Michigan at Florida
Ohio at Kentucky
Sam Houston at LSU
UAB at Mississippi State
Missouri at Toledo
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt
East Carolina at South Carolina
Arkansas State at Tennessee
Lamar at Texas A&M
Alex Scarborough’s pick: East Carolina at South Carolina and Arkansas State at Tennessee
Who says we don’t care about the mid-majors in the SEC? Sometimes we pay attention to the little guy, especially when the little guy finished 10-3 a season ago.
OK, maybe I’m just lazy and my mind doesn’t want to leave the Palmetto State, where it was a week ago for South Carolina-Texas A&M. Maybe I just want to hear more Steve Spurrier-isms. But in all seriousness, why not stick around to potentially see an upset?
East Carolina isn’t a prime time team, but you might remember its 5-point loss to Virginia Tech or, better yet, its blowout wins over North Carolina, Tulsa and North Carolina State last season -- won by a combined score of 155-83. If you were hungry for football in late December, you might have caught its 37-20 win over Ohio in the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl. In other words, the Pirates are not to be trifled with.
And because I want to make this a real upset special kind of weekend, I’ll be sure to watch Arkansas State-Tennessee.
The Vols could be in for real trouble with this one. Butch Jones isn’t doing himself any favors bringing in a program that’s won 28 games over the past three seasons. And considering the fact that Tennessee doesn’t return a single starter on the offensive or defensive line, doesn’t have an established quarterback and will be coming off a tough season-opener against a Utah State team that won nine games a season ago, it’s a safe bet that Arkansas State will be getting everyone’s full attention.
Greg Ostendorf’s pick: Ole Miss at Vanderbilt
The potential upsets are intriguing, but if we’re taking the ultimate SEC road trip, then why not choose the lone SEC matchup between Ole Miss and Vanderbilt? The game will be at LP Field in Nashville, the home of the Tennessee Titans, and if the past two years were any indication, it could very well come down to the final play.
In 2012, the Commodores rallied back from a 17-point second-half deficit and scored a touchdown in the final minute to win, 27-26. And who can forget last fall's thriller to open the season? The lead changed hands three times in the fourth quarter, but it was Jeff Scott’s 74-yard touchdown run with 1:07 left that put the Rebels ahead for good.
What’s next in this budding SEC rivalry?
Looking back, neither Alex or Edward picked a sneaky good Boise State-Ole Miss matchup as your destination in Week 1, so this will also be our first look at the Rebels and quarterback Bo Wallace. He’s one of the top returning signal-callers in the conference, and if he can stay healthy, he could be in for a big year. And how will the super sophomores look? They were all the buzz in last season's game, and I don’t expect it to be any different this fall.
On the other side, it will be the first SEC game for new Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason. The Commodores get Temple in Week 1, but this game will be much more telling as what can be expected in Mason’s first year in Nashville.
Don’t expect College GameDay to make the trip, but this should still be an intriguing matchup between two teams who have grown familiar with each other over the years.