Greg McElroy makes his picks for the 5 best SEC matchups in 2024
Greg McElroy is itching to get to the 2024 football season. In that way, he’s like just about every other college football fan.
The SEC revealed its 2024 matchups on Wednesday night — a league schedule praised by many as largely balanced and stuffed full of incredible contests between big-name brands. Oklahoma and Texas will be in the league for the first time, and the SEC made sure to get at least 1 of the newcomers on every other SEC team’s schedule.
Depending on how the order works out, the SEC seems likely to have the best game on TV each weekend.
On Thursday, McElroy broke down the 5 matchups he’s looking forward to the most on the Always College Football podcast. He did offer the caveat that the games had to be “relatively new” matchups, even though a showdown between a pair of SEC heavyweights topped the list.
No. 1: Alabama vs. Georgia
McElroy’s take: “It should be an incredible matchup between 2 of the best in the sport.”
Since a September 2008 meeting in Athens went to the Crimson Tide, Alabama and Georgia have only met in the regular season twice. Alabama has won both games.
But things have started to tilt more in favor of the Bulldogs in recent years. Georgia has won back-to-back national championships, the first of which came over Nick Saban’s Alabama team in the 2022 title game. The 2 sides didn’t meet in the SEC title game last season either. Instead, it was LSU, which was handled by Kirby Smart’s squad.
No. 2: Texas A&M vs. Texas
McElroy’s take: “There’s no love lost in that rivalry. Those 2 programs hate each other more than just about anybody.”
The game was played every year from 1915 right up until the Aggies left the Big 12 for the SEC in 2012.
Texas leads the all-time series 76-37-5. But A&M went 15-13 against the Longhorns from 1984-2011 and won 3 of 6 leading up to its move to the SEC.
No. 3: Texas vs. Georgia
McElroy’s take: “Might be Arch Manning’s first year as the starting quarterback. Arch Manning chose Texas over Georgia. A lot of tentacles when evaluating that game.”
With Quinn Ewers believed to be entrenched as the Texas starter in 2023, the wait for No. 1 2023 recruit Arch Manning could extend into next season. Texas will look to build on last year’s 8-5 mark under Steve Sarkisian, and that means Sark is rolling with the more experienced option at quarterback. Ewers was the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2021 class, so it’s not like Sark is making too bold a move in leaving Manning on the bench.
But it’ll no doubt build up the anticipation for the quarterback with the legendary last name. Expectations will be high. And there is no better proving ground than sharing a field with the Georgia Bulldogs.
Plus, Texas and Georgia have played only once since 1984.
No. 4: Oklahoma vs. Alabama
McElroy’s take: “A game we haven’t seen in 20 years. I look forward to that matchup as well.”
Oklahoma and Alabama have faced each other only 6 times in history. The last meeting was an Alabama pasting of then-coach Lincoln Riley and Heisman winner Kyler Murray in the College Football Playoff in 2018. The time before that? A historic and stunning OU win in the Sugar Bowl in 2014.
The 2 sides played a home-and-home in 2002 and 2003 as the only regular-season meetings between them. Oklahoma won both.
No. 5: Arkansas vs. Texas
McElroy’s take: “Texas does not view Arkansas as a rival. But I can promise you Arkansas views Texas as one.”
Texas leads the series 56-23. But they’ve only met in the regular season once since 2008. Arkansas took a 2021 meeting in Fayetteville 40-21, upseting the then-No. 15 Longhorns and setting the table for a 9-win campaign.
— Always College Football (@AlwaysCFB) June 15, 2023