We are creeping ever closer to college football! As you’re reading this on Aug. 20 (because I assume y’all read this as soon as it posts on Fridays), we are only 8 days away from actual college football!

No, the SEC doesn’t start until Tennessee and Bowling Green play on Sept. 2, but at this point, I’m pumped for any games. Plus, with all the drama at Nebraska this week, that Week 0 game against Illinois should be entertaining at least.

For now, though, let’s dive into your questions for this week’s SDS Mailbag:


What’s your best bet for Week 1 SEC games?

I’ve got the LSU at UCLA game circled for a few reasons. First, I think it’s going to be really cool to see the Tigers playing at the Rose Bowl against the Bruins. Second, the DraftKings Sportsbook has the Tigers as only 4-point favorites.

I love that bet. I know people are high on UCLA this year, but let’s do this exercise. Picture UCLA in the SEC West. Are we talking about them as a top-3 team in that division? No. We are not.

We’d be talking about the Bruins and whether they’d be able to finish ahead of Arkansas, Auburn and Mississippi State at the bottom of the division standings. So, based on that, and based on the Max Johnson-to-Kayshon Boutte connection, I’m all-in on LSU covering the 4-point spread. I have them winning by double-digits.

I don’t think LSU is a top-2 team in the SEC West this year, but I like an above-average SEC team to beat an above-average Pac-12 team, even if the SEC team is playing a thousand miles from home.


You have to pick 1 SEC head coach, 1 offensive coordinator (who isn’t also a head coach) and 1 defensive coordinator (who also isn’t a head coach) to make up an all-star coaching staff. Who do you choose?

Well, for head coach, I’m obviously going with Nick Saban. He’s won 7 national titles. It’s kind of a no-brainer. But, he’s also the best game week prepper there’s ever been. He does his work from Monday-Friday. As we saw when Steve Sarkisian led the Tide to a blowout win in last year’s Iron Bowl, Saban isn’t even necessary on Saturdays. He’s the GOAT because of what he does in the days leading up to the game.

For an offensive coordinator, it’s pretty tough. The guys I want — Lane Kiffin, Eli Drinkwitz, Dan Mullen, Mike Leach — are all head coaches. Even though he doesn’t call plays, I think I’d go with Jeff Lebby at Ole Miss. He has a big say in what goes on with the Rebels’ offense, and I think he’ll be a play caller soon enough. He knows what he’s doing, as evidenced by how great the Rebels’ offense was last year under him and Kiffin. I’ll take a flyer on Lebby.

At defensive coordinator, I’m going with Mike Elko at Texas A&M. He’s done a great job with the Aggies and keeps getting mentioned as a head coaching candidate. So, while I can still choose him, I’m going to. I think his defense is going to be incredible this fall.


What’s the best tailgate game? Cornhole, or something else?

Well, cornhole is definitely on the Mount Rushmore of tailgate games. Anything where you can hold a beer and still compete at a high level is something I’ll do.

Throwing a football around is also fun, but that’s not exactly as easy to do while holding a beer. So, I’d also say beer pong is up there on the Mount Rushmore of tailgating activities.

Mount Rushmores have 4 things, so I’ll go cornhole, beer pong, tossing the football around and bocce ball as the best tailgate games. I’m open to suggestions in the comments about what could replace bocce, though. So get at me!


What is the most backhanded compliment you have ever received? Had a guy at the gym tell me today that he liked my nose and that I should “keep it this way.”

Well, that’s a strange compliment to pay someone. Especially at the gym. And completely unprovoked.

I guess the most backhanded compliments I get are in the comments section on this site. Sometimes, I’ll get people who say “this is a really good article … for a Mizzou grad.” The “for a Mizzou grad” thing is always funny to me.

It’s mostly used as an insult, but when it’s used as a backhanded compliment, that’s always pretty funny to me.

Fortunately, no one has ever publicly commented on my nose. I guess I should consider myself lucky?

Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.