Looking ahead to the SEC’s week one schedule for 2014

Last year, the SEC’s week one schedule was an electrifying out-of-conference extravaganza.

Related: SEC Spring game schedule

This year, two different conference games are featured the first week of the season, with Arkansas traveling to Auburn and Texas A&M opening the season at South Carolina on the new SEC Network.

Conference Games

Texas A&M at South Carolina, August 28th
Opening night: This is the conference game that officially kicks off the SEC Network. Sure, I’d love to see Johnny Manziel and Connor Shaw play head-to-head, but maybe we’ll get to see that on Sundays one day. The Aggies and Gamecocks will have new quarterbacks directing the offense led by an up-and-coming star in Kevin Sumlin against a seasoned and salty Steve Spurrier.

Related: 2014 SEC Strength of Schedule

Arkansas at Auburn, August 30th
A tale of two teams: Auburn and Arkansas seem to be heading in different directions as programs. Bret Bielema will try and turn over a new leaf for the Hogs, while Gus Malzahn will try and continue Auburn’s impressive revival.

Intriguing Non-conference Games

Ole Miss vs. Boise State (Atlanta), August 28th
Get it started: The last time Boise played an SEC team, they took down Georgia in Atlanta 35-21. Now, the Broncos get a shot at Ole Miss, who could be a darkhorse contender. The rest of the SEC will know right away what to expect of Ole Miss after seeing the Rebels take on Boise State.

Clemson at Georgia, August 30th
Rematch: Clemson outlasted Georgia in 2013, and the Bulldogs now get their chance with a loaded roster looking for revenge. Clemson lost QB Tajh Boyd and WR Sammy Watkins and will rebuild the offense.

Alabama vs. West Virginia (Atlanta), August 30th
Rewind two years: Alabama scheduled West Virginia when they looked like an up-and-coming team, not the 4-8 disaster we saw last season. The schedule actually works in Alabama’s favor, as the Tide look to make another run at a championship, starting with the Mountaineers. Nick Saban is a West Virginia native.

LSU vs. Wisconsin (Houston), August 30th
SEC vs. Big Ten: Two upper-tiered teams in their respective conferences will do work in Houston to start the season. Wisconsin is figured to be a very good team, and LSU will be replacing some key components on offense.

Utah State at Tennessee, August 30th
Underrated game: Tennessee and Utah State create an interesting matchup, and Butch Jones’ club once again has a brutal schedule. So, beating the Aggies will be virtually a must in order for the Vols to play in a bowl game. There aren’t many gimmies on the 2014 schedule, and Utah State certainly isn’t one of them.

Other week one non-conference games: