Published September 13, 2012 - 9:45am
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Here are the six major storylines in the SEC this weekend:
SEC fallen powers trying to rise up: It’s Tennessee-Florida week, people. The two former SEC East powers have fallen from their historical state, and this game through the 90’s and early 00’s had a big say in the East division. But that hasn’t been the case for a few years now. However, both enter this weekend ranked for the first time since 2007. Florida happened to win that game 59-20, and the Gators strut their seven-game winning streak against the Vols. Tennessee hasn’t been ranked since the first week of 2008. Florida fans and Tennessee fans alike are hopeful and optimistic to come away with a win. The lights don’t get any brighter than College GameDay and ESPN football on a Saturday night. This could go down to the wire.
Marquee takes a back seat: If you had asked me the marquee game to watch in the early season, I would have told you Alabama-Arkansas. But that game takes a backseat this weekend because of the Hogs’ embarrassing defeat against Louisiana-Monroe. Arkansas, ranked #8 at the time, completely dropped out of the top 25 this week as the #1 ranked Tide looms ahead. The good news is the Hogs get Bama in Fayetteville, but the bad news it will likely be without starting quarterback Tyler Wilson because of a concussion he suffered last weekend against ULM. The Tide’s defense is licking their chops at the thought of bull rushing a weak Arkansas offensive line. Assuming Wilson won’t play, will the Razorbacks even mount a charge?
Conference Pride: Good ole’ SEC pride is on the line this weekend in two separate SEC home games. Missouri hosts Pac-12 foe Arizona State, and Ole Miss hosts the Texas Longhorns. Both are big matchups for the SEC, as both games are more under-the-radar games. Missouri and ASU is a battle between two spread offenses that are up-tempo. Texas plays the leading offensive team in the SEC in Ole Miss. Quarterback Bo Wallace will try and do the unthinkable this weekend in Oxford. SEC! SEC! SEC!
Desperation Mode: Two SEC teams have started out in the hole at 0-2, and it’s desperation time for both. Auburn has lost to Clemson and Mississippi State in very undramatic and unremarkable fashion. Vanderbilt had momentum coming into 2012 but lost their first two games to South Carolina and Northwestern. Auburn hosts ULM, and Vandy hosts Presbyterian. The Tigers and Commodores are desperate for wins against two lesser foes.
Clubbing Baby Seals: Look for several SEC teams to put beat downs on some inferior opponents. LSU will dominate Idaho, while Mississippi State goes on the road to Troy. MSU should manhandle Troy, too. The East really gets to hammer on some lesser foes. Georgia will drub FAU, and Kentucky will smack WKU (I have faith in you, Wildcats!). And finally, South Carolina should spank UAB. All of these games should be locks. Look for all of these teams to exert their SEC will on the poor seals. Make it happen.
Keepin’ It In Texas: Conference newcomer Texas A&M faces SMU in Dallas. Texas A&M hasn’t lost to the Mustangs since 1984, and they look to improve that record this weekend. Kevin Sumlin was 4-0 against SMU while at Houston. But one thing that makes this a big ole Texas celebration is that former Longhorns’ quarterback Garrett Gilbert plays for the Mustangs. We’re going to keep it all in Texas this weekend. Look for the Aggies to get back on track.