Thursday, September 4th
South Carolina at Vanderbilt
The 24th ranked Gamecocks travel to Nashville for an important test for both teams. South Carolina needs to prove it can field an effective offense and that it's defense can stop a team with a pulse, while Vanderbilt, still dealing with low preseason expectations, needs to prove that it's surprising blowout of Miami, OH was not a fluke. Look for South Carolina to attack Vanderbilt's young front seven (and to avoid throwing the ball close to all-world CB DJ Moore), and for Vanderbilt to try take advantage of South Carolina's speed issues at linebacker by getting speedy QB Chris Nickson in space on the edges. I'll have more on this game later today or tomorrow morning.
Saturday, September 6th
Southern Miss at Auburn
Although Southern Miss is better than LA-Monroe, this game shouldn't be a problem for the Tigers. However, their offense needs to show some of the promised improvement if they're going compete for an SEC crown.
Central Michigan at Georgia
You've gotta feel sorry for the Chippewas. The Dawgs will be looking for blood as they try to put on a good showing for the disrespectful pollsters.
Ole Miss at Wake Forest
Outside of Carolina-Vandy, this is probably the biggest SEC game of the week, even if Florida-Miami gets more attention. The Rebels will try to continue the SEC's dominance of the ACC, but they're taking on what is perhaps the only ACC team that looked good last week. Houston Nutt's 'Wild Rebel' offense looked good against Memphis, but will face a stiffer test against an opportunistic Wake defense that produced five turnovers against Baylor. Despite losing some talent from last year's team, Wake's offense is nothing to scoff at either. Led by efficient QB Riley Skinner, the Deacs should be able to score some points on Ole Miss's untested defense. Look for a high-scoring, close game here.
Norfolk State at Kentucky
The Wildcats shouldn't have any problems here, but they need to work on some offense issues in this game.
Tulane at Alabama
A gimme game for a team that looked very good last weekend.
LA-Monroe at Arkansas
Upset special, folks! Will Arkansas become the next Alabama? The Hogs looked pitiful last week as they came from behind to beat lowly Western Illinois, and while LA-Monroe isn't a great team, they're probably better than Western Illinois, so the Hogs are going to have to get better quick. However, I expect they will; Casey Dick actually played well last week, and if his receivers can learn to catch the ball and the Hogs can develop something of a running game, they should get better. But this one is still one to watch.
Southeastern Louisiana at MSU
The Bulldogs lost to LA Tech last week and will be looking for some answers. Luckily, FCS team Southeaster Louisiana should give them a chance to solve some problems.
Miami at Florida
Miami has won six in a row against the Gators, but I doubt these young Canes are ready to face this talented Gators squad. Maybe in a couple of years, but not yet. Look for Tebow and company to pick apart a talented but inexperienced Canes defense. Still, Florida needs to play well here; a few mistakes could lead to disaster.
Troy at LSU
Tigers will roll.