Published January 17, 2013 - 11:00am
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Ninety percent of every SEC non-conference game lives in the first week. The conference lineup is fantastic, and it’s going to be hard for the media to figure out which game they will actually see and hard for the fans to watch all of them.
Nonetheless, it’s a very sexy non-conference extravaganza:
Georgia at Clemson
QB Battle: Two Heisman-worthy quarterbacks return for their senior season to chase a conference championship and national championship. A loss virtually eliminates either from a national championship berth.
Alabama vs. Virginia Tech (Atlanta)
Chick-fil-A Bowl: VT senior quarterback Logan Thomas returns in time to clash with #1 Alabama in his final opening game of his final season. The Tide are trying to further cement their dynasty with another run at a national championship and make it four of the last five.
LSU vs. TCU (Arlington)
Battle of the three syllable teams: LSU and TCU will try and muster enough offense in the house that Jerry built for his beloved Cowboys. LSU lost 10 underclassmen to the draft, while TCU returns nine of 11 on their defense.
North Carolina vs. South Carolina
A Border Battle: The battle of the Carolinas will be a dandy of a game, with two offensive-minded head coaches in Steve Spurrier and Larry Fedora. This is a big-time bragging rights game, not to mention an ACC-SEC throwdown.
Mississippi State vs. Oklahoma State (Houston)
A Recruiting Battleground: MSU and OSU recruit Texas all the time, and each will get to further their brand in one of the Texas’ biggest cities and most fertile recruiting grounds. MSU has a chance to pull an early-season shocker.
Kentucky at Western Kentucky
An in-state rivalry: Why is this game awesome? Well, Bobby Petrino now coaches WKU, and he’ll be coaching against Kentucky – the program that should have hired him.
Washington State at Auburn
Offensive Pioneers: Mike Leach always makes for an interesting game, and combined with Gus Malzahn, we have two offensive-minded head coaches who love to keep their foot on the gas pedal. Leach will throw it 100 times, and Malzahn will run it to match him.
Other week-one games:
- Ole Miss at Vanderbilt
- Rice at Texas A&M
- Austin Peay at Tennessee
- Murray State at Missouri
- Toledo at Florida
- Louisiana-Lafayette at Arkansas