The college football season gets another week older, and many eyes will be focused on the SEC. Here is a rundown of the key storylines to watch for around the conference as Kentucky faces off with South Carolina in a huge conference showdown.
1. How Will Kentucky Handle Success?
Well Wildcat fans, it finally happened. For the first time since Andre’ Woodson was slinging that ‘ole pigskin around the Kentucky Wildcats have finally made a significant impression on college football.
After last weekend’s amazing beat down of Mississippi State, the No. 17 Wildcats are now ranked in the top 25 for the first time in over a decade. It’s been a long, long time coming but fans around the Bluegrass now have a football program they can be truly proud of.
The only question left to be answered now that Kentucky has finally arrived is just how long will the honeymoon last? Well the first opportunity to answer that question will be tonight when the Gamecocks come to Lexington.
South Carolina comes into the matchup looking for their first big victory of the season thus far as defeating Coastal Carolina and Vanderbilt isn’t impressing anyone. Also, a loss for the Gamecocks almost guarantees that they will not be making the SEC Championship game as it would be their second conference loss in September.
Best believe that Will Muschamp and company will pull out all the stops to get a big road win. However, I don’t see it happening. To be frank, I’ve been on record saying that Jake Bentley is an overrated quarterback and I think it will show tonight.
Believe it or not, only one other team has allowed less points in conference play than Kentucky has so far and that’s LSU. This Wildcat defense is elite whether you like it or not. Kentucky will win this game tonight and I think they will do so with some anger.
Kentucky DE Josh Allen may have had his best game from 2018 thus far, aside from Florida a couple weekends ago. The one thing he’s improved on from 2017 is the ability to produce a higher level lean and tilt from the waist down, which allows him to carry speed through corners. pic.twitter.com/CJTzJwUNDc
— Gavino Borquez (@GavinoBorquez) September 26, 2018
This is the wrong time for a team to come to Lexington to play a football game. I’ve been slow to believe the hype, but I’m all in now. These cats are dangerous.
2. The Dan Mullen Bowl
Well this will be awkward.
Dan Mullen will lead his Florida Gators into Starkville in a prime time matchup against his old Mississippi State team. Is it too bold to say that the thing I’m looking forward to most today is if the Bulldog faithful will welcome back Mullen with open arms or with boos?
it's easy to find people in Starkville who will loudly boo Dan Mullen. yet for the Mullens, there will always be the dog groomer, massage therapist and kindergarten teacher.
on the complicated breakup that includes an apparent miscommunication re the exit https://t.co/xRbKT8E257
— Will Sammon (@WillSammon) September 27, 2018
Either way, I think that will be more interesting than the game at hand. Somehow, the spread on this matchup is just seven points which I think is ludicrous.
Yes, I know that Dan Mullen knows his old team well. However, I don’t think that will be enough to overcome the discrepancy in talent that exists between these two teams. Don’t forget that Starkville is an insanely frustrating place for teams to play at. Those cowbells are going to get to Feleipe Franks for sure.
Despite a terrible loss to Kentucky, I think that the Bulldogs will bounce back in a big way and easily cover the spread in this one.
3. LSU on Upset Alert?
In a day with very, very little chances at big upsets I think that LSU is the one SEC team that should be worrying right now.
Every. Single. Season. There is a team that seemingly comes out of nowhere and dominates the month of September. However, by the end of October that team has already flamed out. In my opinion, I think LSU is destined to become that team this year.
The only question I have is when will they start their downward spiral? Personally, I think we will see a high-powered Ole Miss offense keep this game somewhat close into the second half.
The Rebels without a doubt have the best wide receiver group in the entire country and their Hawaiian quarterback Jordan Ta’amu is the real deal folks. This will be strength on strength as Ole Miss’s lethal passing game will be matched up with the LSU defense which is one of the best in the nation.
— Demetric D. Warren (@DemetricDWarren) September 22, 2018
Every weekend I select one game to completely stay away from predicting and this week its LSU vs. Ole Miss. The Tigers have the much more talented team and they are at home, so they should obviously win. However, I just have a weird feeling that Ta’amu is going to make some amazing passes. Keep your eyes tuned in on this game because it should be a wild one.
4. The Aggies Look to Make a Statement
Texas A&M is off to quite the weird start this season. Out of all the teams from the SEC, the Aggies are the one squad that I just don’t have a good feel for yet.
On one hand they are 2-2 on the season and they have only scored 23 points in conference play. On the other hand, their losses are to the two best teams in the nation by a combined 24 points which isn’t all that bad.
This week will not reveal anything about the Aggies that we don’t already know. They face off against the Arkansas Razorbacks who have easily been the worst team in the conference so far which means they should cruise to an easy victory.
The road doesn’t get any easier for Texas A&M as they still have four ranked squads left on their schedule. The Aggies badly need to blow this sad excuse of an SEC team out of the water for morale’s sake.
Outside of Benny Snell Jr., running back Trayveon Williams has been the most impressive halfback so far in the conference thanks to his blistering speed. So far Fisher has gotten the most out of him and quarterback Kellen Mond.
Of the top 25 FBS running backs in 2018 with the most rush attempts, @PennStateFball's Miles Sanders leads all with 27% of his rush attempts going for 10+ yards. The next best is @AggiesFootbaIl running back Trayveon Williams at 21%.
— SportSourceAnalytics (@SportSourceA) September 24, 2018
Now that we know they can play with the likes of Clemson, I need to see the Aggies take care of business and blowout a bad team. I trust ole Jimbo to do just that.
5. A lack of Marquee Matchups
As indicated by the title of this column, there just isn’t any big team matchups this weekend in the SEC. All six ranked teams in the conference are playing at home against unranked opponents.
The best squad that any of these six teams will face is either South Carolina or Ole Miss, and that should speak for itself.
However, do not fret for there is still plenty to watch this weekend. Yes, Alabama is about to annihilate Louisiana but don’t act like you aren’t going to turn that on to watch Tua Tagovailoa absolutely shred a Sun Belt defense.
…well that was FAST.
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 22, 2018
If that does not fit your fancy you could watch Georgia destroy Tennessee at home. And who knows, Southern Miss might be able to keep it close with Auburn heading into halftime (probably not, but hey I’m trying here).
From top to bottom, this will be one of the quieter weekends in the SEC. But the beautiful thing about college football is that you must always expect the unexpected. You never really know when utter chaos will unleash itself upon this wacky, crazy sport.