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SEC Week 1 Preview

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Mostly cupcakes, as you’d expect, but there’s some healthy food in the mix too.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Game of the Week

No. 6 Washington vs. No. 9 Auburn (Chick-fil-A Kickoff)

3:30 p.m. Saturday (ABC)

A top-10, East-West matchup in Atlanta is the good stuff. The winner of this one positions themselves early as a College Football Playoff threat, and for the Pac-12, Washington may be its only hope. The Huskies are experienced, and the War Eagles have a fearsome defense. Always a fan of high-stakes showdowns in Week 1.

Full schedule

Northwestern State at Texas A&M

8:30 p.m. Thursday (SECN)

We won’t be able to take too much away from this one, but it’s officially the start of the Jimbo Fisher era in College Station.

Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech (Advocare Texas Kickoff)

Noon Saturday (ESPN)

Too bad it’s on concurrently with South Carolina’s game, because this could be an interesting one with both teams known for their high-powered offenses. Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury might be on the hot seat this season and the Rebels still can’t go bowling, but this could have some fireworks.

Austin Peay at No. 3 Georgia

3:30 p.m. Saturday (ESPN)

The best we can hope for here is that Austin Peay’s infamous chant gets some air time.

Tennessee vs. No. 17 West Virginia (Belk Kickoff)

3:30 p.m. Saturday (CBS)

This was my runner-up for game of the week because I find it fascinating — as much from a fan culture standpoint as the teams on the field. New Volunteers coach Jeremy Pruitt will get a trial by fire in Charlotte against the potent Mountaineers.

Central Michigan at Kentucky

3:30 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU)

The Chippewas are not your typical cupcake, and are capable of putting a scare into Power 5 teams. The Wildcats might need to chew thoroughly before swallowing to avoid a choking hazard.

UT Martin at Missouri

4 p.m. Saturday (SECN)

What kind of insane video game stats will Drew Lock and company ring up this time?

Eastern Illinois at Arkansas

4 p.m. Saturday (SECN)

Hey look, another introduction for a new coach in the league. Remember Chad Morris? He’s in charge of the Razorbacks now.

Stephen F. Austin at No. 18 Mississippi State

7:30 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU)

Aaaand yet another SEC team will be breaking in a new coach against lesser competition, as Joe Moorhead of Penn State fame takes the reigns for the Bulldogs. What will State look like without Dan Mullen?

Charleston Southern at Florida

7:30 p.m. Saturday (SECN)

Speak of the devil, this kicks off the Dan Mullen era in Gainesville. No doubt plenty of breathless hot takes about Florida being Back will emerge from this one.

Middle Tennessee at Vanderbilt

7:30 p.m. Saturday (SECN)

The Commodores handled the Blue Raiders last year, 28-6, to spark their hot start before meeting the buzzsaw that is Alabama. Speaking of...

Louisville vs. No. 1 Alabama (Camping World Kickoff)

8 p.m. Saturday (ABC)

The nightcap features the defending national champions in a contest that unfortunately would have been much more exciting if Lamar Jackson still had eligibility for Louisville. As it stands, the Cardinals are a 25-point underdog, but props to them for scheduling this regardless.

No. 8 Miami vs. No. 25 LSU (Arlington, Texas)

7:30 p.m. Sunday (ABC)

Week 1 wraps up with this marquee Top 25 matchup before the Labor Day holiday. Both teams boast good defenses with rebuilding offenses, so this could be the type of low-scoring game that’s either intensely gripping or borderline unwatchable. We’ll find out.