Nobody does country music like we do it in the South.

There’s a song or 200 for every situation or occasion. With that in mind, we picked one that best fits each SEC team’s current state of mind entering the 2016 season.

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We begin with every SEC coach’s ode to that coveted 5-star recruit or missing piece graduate transfer: Blake Shelton’s “God Gave Me You.”

Money lines: But you stay here right beside me
And watch as the storm blows through
And I need you …

Why it works: Can’t confirm, but this might have been Kirby Smart and Kevin Sumlin’s actual pitch to Jacob Eason and Trevor Knight.


Song: “How do you like me now” by Toby Keith

Money lines: When I took off to Tennessee
I heard that you made fun of me
You never imagined I’d make it this far
Then you married into the money girl

Why it works: This might as well be Lane Kiffin’s personal anthem. Also a shout-out to all the haters who tossed the Tide’s title hopes aside after last year’s early loss to Ole Miss.

(Note: “This is how we roll” by Florida Georgia Line also fits but seemed too obvious.)


Song: “Need you now” by Lady Antebellum

Money lines: Picture perfect memories,
Scattered all around the floor,
Reaching for the phone ’cause, I can’t fight it any more
And I wonder if I ever cross your mind
For me it happens all the time

Why it works: Brandon Allen had one of the best seasons in Razorbacks history, and now he’s gone. Bret Bielema has to move on, find another Farrah Fawcett-hot recruit, but he’ll always have 4th-and-25.


Song: “What was I thinking” by Dierks Bentley

Money lines: I know what I was feelin’
But what was I thinkin’

Why it works: Sean White was one of the best passers in his class and picked the one program in the SEC that still thinks it’s 1970. Yes, he’s been named the starter, but he also started and lost the job last season. Just a terrible match of player and scheme. Maybe there was a beauty from south Alabama to blame?


Song: “Don’t think I don’t about it” by Darius Rucker

Money lines: When we make choices, we gotta live with them
Heard you found a real good man and you married him
I wonder if sometimes I cross your mind
Where would we be today
If I never drove that car away?
But don’t think I don’t think about it …

Why it works: You might think this is about Will Grier and his choices, and it could be. But this is about the Head Ball Coach, who has had to live with his decision to leave Gainesville. Florida rebounded and eventually found Urban, and it worked out. Until he left. All’s well that ends well. The Head Ball Coach is back in The Swamp.


Song: “You belong with me” by Taylor Swift

Money lines: If you can see I’m the one who understands you
Been here all along so why can’t you see
You belong with me
You belong with me

Why it works: Smart could dedicate this song to everybody who joined him from Alabama, including Maurice Smith.

Extremely strong consideration for Zac Brown Band’s “Sic ’em on a chicken,” which is hysterical and exactly what Smart wants to do to his old buddy/teammate/basketball rival, South Carolina coach Will Muschamp. He probably likes his chicken fried, too.


Song: “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus

Money lines: There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side
It’s the climb

Why it works: Kentucky hasn’t seen the top of the SEC mountain since 1977. That’s the last time they’ve seen the right side of .500 in the conference. And in Mark Stoops’ case, it is about how fast he can get there.


Song: “Stay” by Florida Georgia Line

Money lines: And all I want … Is to tell you I love you and make you wanna stay.
There’s gotta be a way, ’cause going on without you is killing me everyday.

And if I wrote you a love song and sang it to you every day, would it ever be enough to make you wanna come back home and stay?

Why it works: Leonard, if Les told you he loved you ….

Mississippi State

Song: “How am I supposed to live without you?” by Michael Bolton

Money lines: Tell me how am I supposed to live without you
Now that I’ve been lovin’ you so long
How am I supposed to live without you
How am I supposed to carry on
When all that I’ve been livin’ for is gone

Why it works: Technically, Bolton wasn’t a country singer, but let’s not let details destroy a special moment. We really have no idea how Dan Mullen has the strength to carry on without Dak Prescott, the greatest Bulldog of all.

(Or Nick without Kirby, Bret without Sam … sorry, anybody have a tissue?)


Song: “Think of you” by Cassadee Pope and Chris Young

Money lines: We were the life of the party
We used to be the ones that they wished they were
But now it’s like they don’t know how to act
Maybe they’re like me and they want us back

Why it works: Missouri was the envy of the East, winning back-to-back division titles in 2013 and 2014. Now? Gary Pinkel is gone, and a lot of the Tigers’ hopes are too.

Ole Miss

Song: “What hurts the most” by Rascal Flatts

Money lines: What hurts the most was being so close
And havin’ so much to say
And watchin’ you walk away
And never knowin’ what could’ve been

Why it works: Ole Miss was a crazy 4th-and-25 conversion from going to the SEC Championship Game, and then watched Laquon Treadwell, Laremy Tunsil and Robert Nkemdiche walk away to the NFL.

South Carolina

Song: “It won’t be like this for long” by Darius Rucker

Money lines: It won’t be like this for long
One day soon we’ll look back laughing
At the week we brought her home
This phase is gonna fly by
So baby just hold on
It won’t be like this for long

Why it works: Nobody is more connected to an SEC football program than Rucker is to his Gamecocks. For Muschamp, the challenge is to hold on long enough that he can look back at what’s likely a rough 2016 and smile.


Song: “Somewhere on a beach” by Dierks Bentley

Money lines: I went wheels up on a runway
And that ticket was a one-way

I’m somewhere on a beach
Sipping something strong …

Why it works: Clearwater Beach is 20 miles from Raymond James Stadium, site of the 2017 national championship game. Tennessee played in Tampa last season, in the Outback Bowl, and started talking about a return trip for a bigger prize as soon as the game ended. If Tennessee pulls this off, nobody will be sleeping for a week.

(Yes, we know Kenny Chesney worshipped Condredge Holloway, is Peyton’s guy and essentially a VFL. “Boys of Fall” is a football song full of SEC moments. “Don’t blink,” is a message Butch should be telling Team 120. Again, too easy.)

Texas A&M

Song: “Something bad” by Miranda Lambert

Money lines: Stand on the box, stomp your feet, start clapping
I got a real good feeling something bad about to happen (ooh)
Drinks keep coming, throw my head back laughing
Wake up in the morning don’t know what happened
Whoah, something bad
Whoah, something bad

Why it works: Few things are more Texas than Lambert, who is from Longview, a small East Texas town near I-20. Something bad has been happening for a while in College Station. That will continue — only this season, Aggies fans — and Sumlin — hope it’s to their opponents.


Song: “Crazy town” by Jason Aldean

Money lines: Pay your dues and you play for free
And you pray for a honky tonk destiny …

It’s a crazy town, full of neon dreams
Everybody plays, everybody sings
Hollywood with a touch of twang
To be a star you gotta bang, bang, bang

Why it works: Nashville is the capital of country music and Aldean got his start, like most of the others, just down the street from Vanderbilt University. Football recruits arrive with similar dreams, and with several players in the NFL, the Commodores are starting to realize them.