Are you ready for some football?!!

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, August 30th, 2014

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By Robert Cortinez
rcortinez2@hotmail.com
The 2014 SEC Football Schedule kicks off Thursday at 6pm ET with a conference game on the brand new SEC Network — #21 Texas A&M at #9 South Carolina.
There are two more games on Thursday night, Boise State vs. Ole Miss and Temple at Vanderbilt, followed by eight games on Saturday and one on Sunday.
Based on the preseason AP rankings, the two biggest games of the weekend are #16 Clemson at #12 Georgia and #14 Wisconsin vs. #13 LSU.

2014 SEC Football Schedule – Week 1
Thursday
#21 Texas A&M @ #9 South Carolina
Line:  (-10.5)  
Steve Spurrier’s teams at South Carolina have traditionally started slow out of the gate.  Last year’s 11-2 squad barely beat Kentucky and the Univ. of Central Florida at Williams Brice Stadium and then lost to Tennessee and Georgia in the Gamecock’s first six games.  South Carolina’s 2011 and 2013 11-2 teams also had some early games that were close that should have been blow-outs.  The outcome of this game should be all Gamecocks but if the Aggies can keep it close, it will be a good sign for the rest of A&M’s games during their rebuilding season.
Prediction: ‘Cocks  31  Ags  23

Boise St. vs. #18 Ole Miss
Line: -10  (at Georgia Dome)
This intriguing match-up will be  played at  the Georgia Dome for the seventh year of the Chik-Fil-A Kick-Off Classic.
Boise State has played four SEC teams in the past 10 years and lost all four games.  New Broncos head coach Bryan Harsin inherits  a team that was 8-5 in 2013 but was unable to beat any of the big boys.
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze is hoping to have a break-through SEC season in his third year at the Rebel’s helm.  The Rebels had quality wins in 2013 over LSU, Texas and Georgia Tech during their 8-5 season.  Look for senior QB Bo Wallace to start his dark-horse Heisman campaign in style with the home crowd advantage in Atlanta.
Prediction: Ole Miss 37  Boise State 10
Temple @ Vanderbilt
Line:  Vandy -13.5  
Vanderbilt is the biggest question mark for this year’s SEC teams.  New head coach Derrick Mason is an unknown quantity and the football confidence instilled in this proud academic institution from former coach James Franklin is fragile to say the least.
The Temple Owls are coming off a two-win  2013 season but were competitive in their match-ups against quality teams last year.  The Commodores shouldn’t have a problem with their 2014 home opener.
Prediction: Vanderbilt  24  Temple 13

Saturday 8/30
Tennessee-Martin @ Kentucky
Line:  NL
Kentucky opens the season with FCS middle of the pack Tennessee Martin. The Skyhawks return 12 redshirt seniors from last year’s team that had a winning season for the fourth time in five years.
The Wildcats need to start fulfilling the promises of Mark Stoop’s instant scoring “Air Raid” offense and notch a blow-out win to begin the season.   Look for Stoops to put a healthy SEC whuppin’ on their smaller neighbors from across state lines.
Prediction: Kentucky 38 Ut-Martin 14

S. Dakota State @ #24 Missouri
Line:  NL
Missouri lost one regular season game last year, finishing  their season ranked in the Top 10.  However, in 2014 Mizzou barely cracks the top 25 and is gettng zero chance to repeat as SEC East champs.  South Dakota State has a tailback, Zack Zennner, who has gained over 2,000 yards two years in a row and is trying to become the first college RB to three-peat 2,000 yards.  The Jackrabbits are a perennial powerhouse in the FcS but should be no more than sacrificial lambs for a pissed off Tiger Team in Columbia.
Prediction: Missouri 43 S.Dakota St. 13

W. Virgiina v. #2 Alabama
Line:  -26.5 (at Georgia Dome)
Alabama head coach Nick Saban is playing it coy, and as of this writing, refuses to name a starter at QB to replace Heisman runner-up A.J. McCarron.  So for now, Tide fans have to settle for “co-starters” in senior Blake Sims and Florida State transfer Jacob Coker.
West Virgina is still trying to get their Big 12 legs underneath them after bolting the Big East two years ago.  Mountaineer QB Clint Tricket recently revealed that his first kiss was Saban’s daughter when the two were six years old and his dad was Nick’s assistant at LSU.  West Virginia will need more than some musket-love to beat the Tide and their powerful running back  triumverate led by T.J. Yeldon.
Prediction: Alabama 31 West Virginia 10

Arkansas @ #6 Auburn  
Line:  Auburn -20.5
The Auburn Tigers were less than two minutes away from a BCS national championship last year after going winless in the SEC in 2012.  Razorback fans are fervently hoping for the same type of turn-around in 2014 after going winless in SEC games last year.  Not going to happen this year.  The Hogs will be better and bring back a trio of battle tested SEC running backs but are still a year away from competitive play in the SEC.
Auburn HC Gus Malzahn will start his back-up QB in the Tiger’s SEC opener, but will insert national championship runner-up QB, Nick Marshall in short order.   Auburn will take the pigs down but it’ll be closer than the bookies think.
Prediction:  Auburn 24  Arkansas 13  

#16 Clemson @ #12 Georgia
Line:  Georgia -7.5
In 2013, Georgia had more injuries to a BCS school’s starters than any other college in the country.  Even with all the injuries, the Bulldogs were  two games away from a 10 win season which included an immaculate game winning TD reception in the Auburn loss.  ACC stalwart  Clemson has beaten SEC opponents in its last two season openers, including Georgia at full strength last year.  This year in Athens, Bulldog HC Mark Richt will give the Tigers an SEC beat down to kick-start Georgia’s SEC East title run
Prediction:  Georgia 35  Clemson 21

Idaho @ Florida  
Line:  Florida -36
The Idaho Vandals picked up Arkansas former head coach’s kid brother, Paul Petrino, as their head coach last year.  Idaho lost all but one game in Petrino’s first season and are simply a pitiful football team.  Florida is looking for a breakthrough with a healthy Jake Driscoll back at QB and a hungry defense.  The Gators will barely break a sweat against this cupcake.
Prediction:  Florida 51  Idaho 6

Southern Mississippi @ Mississippi State

Line:  Miss. State -30.5
The Southern Mississippis Golden Eagles have fallen to deep depths since their glory days of their 12-2, 2011 season.  This once proud Southern Mississippi team (can you say Brett Farve?) has won only one game in the last two years for a combined 1-21 record.  On the other hand, Mississippi State is coming off four straight bowl games and are hungry to show the world that they are worthy to compete for the SEC west championship.  Bulldog QB Dak Prescott was picked in front of his Mississippi neighbor Bo Wallace as a pre-season SEC second teamer.  Time to prove the pundit’s right.
Prediction: Dogs 27  Eagles 14

#14 Wisconsin v. #13 LSU
Line: LSU -5 (Houston Reliant Stadium)
This game will mark the first meeting between these two tradition rich football schools.  The Badgers got screwed out of 10 win season by the referees in the last year’s Arizona State game.  The Bayou Bengals went 10-3 in 2013 but had a chance at 11 or 12 wins, getting losses in two SEC contests by a combined six points.
Wisconsin’s O-line is massive and will try to overpower the Tigers in the trenches. The SEC will show its strength in this inaugural  match-up by showcasing LSU’s team speed and  defensive prowess.
Prediction:  LSU 20  Wisconsin 14

Sunday  8/31
Utah State @ Tennessee
Line: Tennessee -6
Tennessee will beat Utah State in Knoxville to begin its slow rise back to respectability.  Last year’s monumental victory over South Carolina gives Tennessee coach Butch Jone’s team the gritty mentality that these Volunteers need to get to  next level of SEC play.
The Volunteers are expected to play a plethora of freshmen and will face Utah State team that was 9-5 in 2013 which included a Poinsetta Bowl victory over N. Illinois.  The edge goes to Tennessee with 100,000 orange clad fanatics cheering them to victory.
Prediction:  Tennessee 29  Utah state 24

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