The season is almost here. To get you ready, we counted down the top 10 SEC games for the upcoming season. Enjoy.
1. No. 3 Alabama at No. 6 Auburn, Nov. 28
Is there any surprise which game is No. 1? The Iron Bowl has decided the SEC champion in five of the past six seasons, and with both Alabama and Auburn ranked in the top 10, there’s no reason to think it will be any different this year. Oh, and the previous time these two played at Jordan-Hare Stadium, we saw maybe the greatest finish in college football history.
2. No. 3 Alabama at No. 9 Georgia, Oct. 3
It’s the first time Alabama has played at Georgia since the “blackout” game in 2008, and both teams are ranked in the preseason top 10. Black uniforms or not, the atmosphere will once again be electric, and that doesn’t bode well for an inexperienced quarterback making his first start on the road. Good luck to whoever wins the starting job at Alabama.
3. No. 9 Georgia at No. 6 Auburn, Nov. 14
You’re probably sensing a trend with the first three games all featuring Alabama, Auburn or Georgia, but there’s a reason all three are ranked in the top 10. This one will have a difficult time living up to the 2013 edition and the “Prayer at Jordan-Hare,” but many are predicting it to be a preview of the SEC championship game.
4. No. 17 Ole Miss at No. 3 Alabama, Sept. 19
Ole Miss shocked the college football world last season when it took down Alabama at home, and trust me, the Crimson Tide have not forgotten. Since Nick Saban took over in Tuscaloosa, he has lost to the same team in back-to-back seasons only once. The Rebels have the talent to pull off another upset, but it won’t be easy on the road.
5. No. 6 Auburn at No. 14 LSU, Sept. 19
The same day Alabama hosts Ole Miss in a critical SEC West clash, Auburn travels to LSU, where it has not won since 1999. Is this the year the streak ends? Auburn would hope so, considering the degree of difficulty in its final six games, but if LSU loses back-to-back games early in the year, its season could be over before it begins.
6. No. 9 Georgia at No. 25 Tennessee, Oct. 10
Finally, an SEC East showdown makes the list, and it’s an intriguing one. If Tennessee wants to break through and win the division, it starts here. The good news is that the Volunteers get Georgia one week after the Bulldogs play what should be a slugfest against Alabama, and the game happens to be at Neyland Stadium. Advantage, Tennessee?
7. No. 14 LSU at No. 3 Alabama, Nov. 7
It wasn’t long ago when this game was easily the best the SEC had to offer -- a matchup of perennial powerhouses that wouldn’t be decided until the fourth quarter. We could be in store for another showdown this season. There’s a chance neither team reaches 20 points, but that’s what you come to expect in this rivalry. That’s what makes it great.
8. No. 18 Arkansas at No. 25 Tennessee, Oct. 3
Momentum is a funny thing in college football, and these two teams have it. Despite finishing 7-6 a year ago, both Arkansas and Tennessee are ranked to start the season and both have been tabbed as contenders in the SEC. Sure, they might be a year away. But then again, they might not. We’ll find out who’s ready to take that next step when they meet in Week 5.
9. No. 24 Missouri at No. 9 Georgia, Oct. 17
With all the talk around Georgia and Tennessee, it’s easy to forget about Missouri in the East. Yet all the Tigers have done is win the division two years in a row. What’s maybe more impressive is that they haven’t lost a road game since 2012. That streak will be put to the test at Georgia in a game that could decide the East.
10. Texas A&M vs. No. 18 Arkansas (in Arlington, Texas), Sept. 26
Arkansas and Texas A&M are both capable of winning the West, but not everybody can make it to Atlanta. Something has to give. This is a game in which the winner stays in the hunt, and the loser is likely out. It’s a barometer to see where both teams stand as they head into the buzz saw that is the SEC.
Five other must-see games
No. 14 LSU at Mississippi State, Sept. 12
No. 17 Ole Miss at Florida, Oct. 3
No. 3 Alabama at Texas A&M, Oct. 17
No. 6 Auburn at No. 18 Arkansas, Oct. 24
No. 14 LSU at No. 17 Ole Miss, Nov. 21
Five best nonconference games
No. 6 Auburn vs. Louisville (in Atlanta), Sept. 5
No. 3 Alabama vs. No. 20 Wisconsin (in Arlington), Sept. 5
Texas A&M vs. No. 15 Arizona State (in Houston), Sept. 5
No. 19 Oklahoma at No. 25 Tennessee, Sept. 12
No. 9 Georgia at No. 16 Georgia Tech, Nov. 28