A Closer Look At The 2016 SEC Most Anticipated Conference Matches
Alabama at Ole Miss, Sept. 17The Rebels have won two in a row against the Tide and Nick Saban will be keen to change the narrative in this SEC opener against Ole Miss. Given that this will be Bama’s first true road game within the first five weeks of the season, everyone will be watching the Alabama Crimson Tide closely, using this game as yardstick to measure the team’s worth and strength. With Ole Miss having a more experienced QB than Bama in Chad Kelly, along with an above-average defense and home advantage, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rebels make it three in a row against the Tide and their young inexperienced QBs.
Florida at Tennessee, Sept. 24The Gators and Vols have treated us to some ugly and seat-gripping thrillers over the last several seasons, but the story in this series has seemingly remained constant in recent times, with Florida always having the last laugh. Notably, the Gators are coming into this series with an 11-game winning streak over Tennessee. Will this be the year for the extremely experienced Vols, who are considered as the top threat to Bama’s SEC Championship hopes, to get the stubborn Florida monkey off their backs? Only one way to find out; be sure to tune in to this cracker of a game.
Ole Miss at LSU, Oct. 22The fact that LSU will be playing Alabama after this game means the Tigers could easily mess up their concentration on this Mississippi game as they focus more on the Crimson Tide game. And if that happens, it will highly likely be to their own demise, considering the Rebels have won two of the last three meetings in this series. That said, the Tigers will get one week off after this Mississippi game, which should give them more than enough time to prepare for the Tide, so prioritizing their focus on this tricky Ole Miss encounter shouldn’t be a big deal. Oh, and Forunette and QB Brandon Harris will both have extra chips on their shoulders after being frustrated by Ole Miss’ defense in last year’s 38-17 loss to the Rebels in Oxford. By the way, the Tigers lead this all-time series, commonly known as the Magnolia Bowl, by a 59-41-4 edge over the Rebels.
Alabama at LSU, Nov. 5It doesn’t get bigger than this. With the otherworldly Leonard Fournette on one side looking to avenge last year’s loss to Bama, and the Tide looking to extend their five-game winning streak over the Tigers in “The Saban Bowl,” you can be rest-assured that there will be a lot of on-field killing going on in Death Valley during this marquee Week 10 fixture.
Auburn at Georgia, Nov. 12The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry hasn’t recently been what it was in the past, but things could be different this season, as Georgia’s new head coach Kirby Smart in 2016 inherits a talent-filled team and looks to return the Bulldogs back to the SEC elites. Given that this will be Georgia’s last game, it could easily come with title implications for the Bulldogs in the SEC East (and maybe even title implications for Auburn too, assuming the Tigers exceed the average expectations on them this season. And even if the Tigers won’t be in title contention, the future of head coach Gus Malzahn could be on the line, setting up a befitting scenario for a thrilling contest.
Auburn at Alabama, Nov. 26Whether or not Alabama and Auburn will be in top shape, the Iron Bowl will almost certainly remain to be the spectacle that it has been since time immemorial. Obviously, beating Bama in its own backyard will be a tough ask, but with football, you just never know what will happen. Oh, and did we say that Georgia’s star running Nick Chubb will be returning for his final year with the Dawgs as he looks to impress the 2016 Heisman Trophy voters and improve his chances for a possible high first-round NFL pick in 2017? Well, there’s that too, which should act as an extra source of motivation for Chubb and the Bulldogs to give their best in this must-watch SEC game. Here are the other highly-anticipated SEC games to watch out for in 2016:
- LSU at Auburn, Sept 24
- Tennessee at Georgia, Oct. 1
- LSU at Florida, Oct. 8
- Alabama at Tennessee, Oct. 15
- Georgia vs. Florida, Oct. 29