Predicting the upsets on the 2017 SEC schedule
Upsets are part of the game. They happen every year. No program is exempt, not even powerhouse SEC programs.
It also keeps things interesting, and with that in mind let’s look at the upcoming schedule and the games that could present themselves as possible upsets.
WEEK 1: GEORGIA TECH OVER TENNESSEE
The post-Joshua Dobbs era could get off to a shaky start with Georgia Tech on Labor Day in Atlanta. That offense can be a handful to defend and the Vols might need a game or two to get comfortable with a new quarterback. Those are generally recipes for an upset and this game has all the earmarks. One early line has the Vols as 6-point favorites.
WEEK 2: AUBURN OVER CLEMSON
Auburn kept it close last year against the Deshaun Watson-led eventual national champs. While Clemson breaks in Watson’s replacement, Auburn might also start a newcomer in Jarrett Stidham. However, Stidham isn’t an unknown commodity. The same can not be said for whoever Clemson tabs. This is a game that could propel Auburn to national prominence.
WEEK 3: PURDUE OVER MISSOURI
Jeff Brohm brings a lot of excitement to West Lafayette and Purdue boils over with enthusiasm at the chance to upend a team from the SEC on their home turf. Missouri continues to struggle to build its program.
WEEK 4: KENTUCKY OVER FLORIDA
The 30-year wait is over. Commonwealth Stadium will spill over when the Wildcats finally get a victory over Florida. Hey, Tennessee broke its streak last season against the Gators. No, it’s nowhere near the lopsided series as the one with Kentucky, but streaks are made to be broken — and it’s time.
WEEK 5: SOUTH CAROLINA OVER TEXAS A&M
The Gamecocks pull the minor upset as the East continues to prove that it has supplanted the West as the SEC’s dominant division. Will Muschamp gets a much-needed victory while Kevin Sumlin’s seat becomes red hot as the Aggies slump into mediocrity and struggle to make a bowl game with a new quarterback.
WEEK 6: ARKANSAS OVER SOUTH CAROLINA
O.K. so the East isn’t ready to dominate the West just yet. The Razorbacks earn a key victory here as they ramp up the system under Bret Bielema and keep his seat lukewarm. The Gamecocks are caught by surprise, or maybe still hung over from the big win the previous week.
WEEK 7: AUBURN OVER LSU
This series has been traditionally dominated by the home team. But Auburn pulls the stunner if its offense is clicking on all cylinders as it should be by Week 7. LSU will play just well enough to lose a close one because it can’t compete at the quarterback position with the better teams in the SEC.
WEEK 8: ARKANSAS OVER AUBURN
Running the gauntlet in the SEC West is about the most unenviable task as there is in college football, which makes the run Alabama is currently on all the more impressive. The Razorbacks pull the upset at home and keep the SEC West a jumbled mess behind the perennial frontrunner, Alabama.
WEEK 9: MISSISSIPPI STATE OVER TEXAS A&M
The Bulldogs make it two in a row over the Aggies for the first time since winning consecutive games from Texas A&M in 1913 and 1915. That might seem like a long time to wait, but the teams have only met seven times since then and only twice before joining the SEC. So Mississippi State is simply making up for lost time while the Aggies could be looking for a new coach at the end of the season if this prediction holds true.
WEEK 10: WESTERN KENTUCKY OVER VANDERBILT
The Hilltoppers have played themselves into a powerhouse role in Conference USA. Whether that’s saying much, or anything at all for that matter, Western Kentucky is capable of pulling off a big win on the road at the house of a SEC opponent. They’ll build on a bowl victory over Memphis and travel to Nashville to run past the Commodores.
WEEK 11: KENTUCKY OVER VANDERBILT
Again, not sure how much of an upset this would be other than the fact that Kentucky is on the road. The Wildcats will do just enough to outscore the Commodores as both teams look to earn enough victories to qualify for a bowl game.
WEEK 12: LSU OVER TENNESSEE
The Tigers get a big win on the road, further jumbling up what is usually a wild, wild East Division race. By this time of the season the Tigers should be salty and looking to play in a major bowl game while the Vols try to keep pace in their division.
WEEK 13: AUBURN OVER ALABAMA
The SEC West once again comes down the final game between these two storied rivals. This time the Iron Bowl goes to an Auburn team that has settled into a juggernaut offensively. The Tigers outscore the Tide and go on to play for the SEC Championship.