SEC West's biggest subplots: Week 1
It’s finally here: Week one!
Can you believe it? You just endured a long off-season, and it’s now time to experience the best regular season in all of sports.
The SEC West appears top-heavy entering 2014, with Alabama and Auburn sitting at the top, but teams like LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Texas A&M are looking to ruin somebody’s season. Let’s not forget about Arkansas either, as the Hogs have a massive chip on their shoulders.
Here’s a look at the SEC West subplots for all week one action:
Could shake up the SEC: Texas A&M travels to South Carolina to open the SEC football season, and the Gamecocks have an 18-game home winning streak and are 10.5 favorites. The Aggies could be the SEC’s biggest unknown this season, and that isn’t a bad thing. TAMU could come out thrashing teams, but we just don’t know about it yet. Should the Aggies upset the Gamecocks on the road, it could send shockwaves through the SEC East and West.
SEC West showdown: Auburn vs. Arkansas is the story of the hare and turtle, as Gus Malzahn leads the high-speed Tigers at home against the pro-style-minded Razorbacks. Bret Bielema is anxious to get back on the field after losing nine straight games to close the 2013 season, and Auburn has much to prove as well and will try to prove last season wasn’t just a fluke. Nonetheless, the Tigers are big favorites, but could Arkansas surprise some folks? Getting off to a 1-0 start in conference play will be an exciting storyline.
Eliminating a conference: LSU has a chance to nearly eliminate the Big Ten from the College Football Playoff. Think about it…Ohio State may have been eliminated Braxton Miller, and Michigan State travels to Oregon in week two. Then, there’s Wisconsin, who has a cakewalk after playing LSU. Les Miles hasn’t named a starting quarterback, and he reconfirmed this week that Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris will both play, along with a cast of exciting freshmen. Honestly, if you’re looking for an upset, this could be the one to watch. The Tigers are favored over the Badgers, and this will be a fun non-conference showdown.
Neutral site kickoff classics: Alabama and Ole Miss both kick off the season in Atlanta. The Crimson Tide plays West Virginia, and Ole Miss takes on giant killer Boise State. Alabama is a huge favorite, while Ole Miss is expected to cruise as well. The biggest storyline for Alabama will be which quarterback plays the most: Jacob Coker or Blake Sims, as Saban has not named a starter yet. Ole Miss, on the other hand, has a statement to make against Boise. Should the Rebels have a strong showing, they will gain even more momentum and ink before hitting their toughest schedule stretch.
Big game for the state: Dan Mullen has continuously stated how much the MSU-Southern Miss game means to the school and the state, but MSU should clobber Southern Miss. All eyes will be on Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs’ offense, particularly the offensive line. Damien Robinson has already been lost for the season on the offensive line, and replacing Gabe Jackson will also be an interesting evolution to watch. The Bulldogs should roll right through their non-conference schedule the first three games that feature Southern Miss, UAB and South Alabama.