Published 9:16 am Sunday, June 29, 2008
Are you ready for football?
By Chandler Myers
June is rolling along, July is coming quick and before you realize, it will be Aug. 30. Why is this date important? Who can come up with the answer to the not-so-million dollar question?
The answer lies 66 days away and for diehard football fans whether they cheer for Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas or another school around the SEC.
While some teams play before or after this day, the 30th is the official opening day of college football.
Opening day is approaching for the college football season and here is to hoping that it is a great one.
Let’s look into the future and see what takes place for all 12 SEC schools on opening day.
This sports editor’s alma mater opens up with Clemson on Aug. 30 and it will be a tough contest with one of two outcomes. It will either be a low scoring defensive battle or both teams will use the offenses they both have and score a lot of points. Either way it ends up Alabama wins by 6.
Auburn opens up with Louisiana-Monroe and will try to avoid the monster upset that troubled Alabama late last season. This one might be close moving into the second quarter, but expect Auburn to pull away after halftime. Auburn wins by 24.
Bobby Petrino gets his feet wet in his first game coaching the Arkansas Razorbacks when they play Western Illinois. Barring total disaster this game will be over early, real early.
Reigning BCS champions the LSU Tigers open up with the three-time Division 1 FCS champion Appalachian State Mountaineers. Last year I said they would beat Michigan and they did, but this year I think they will hang with LSU through three and then fall back. LSU by at least 17 points.
Ole Miss and first-year coach Houston Nutt play Memphis and while he is a good coach, he has an average team that could be in trouble if they do not find a rhythm early. This will be a tight game early, but the Rebels will win by 10.
Last season Sylvester Croom finally made it over the hump and Mississippi State went to a bowl and beat both Alabama and Auburn. The Bulldogs open up with Louisiana Tech and should find this game to be easier than it might have been a couple years ago. Expect a fairly large deficit with Croom’s team winning by 28.
On the eastern side of the SEC, Florida opens with last years Cinderella: Hawaii. Urban Meyer returns a great deal of talent on both sides of the ball and the Warriors have a new coach. This is not the same team from a year ago and Florida will take advantage. Gators win easily by 35.
Georgia opens the season on Aug. 30 with Georgia Southern and the ‘Dawgs’ will quickly put the Eagles in their place. Mark Richt’s shuts out this tiny school by 42.
Rich Brooks has a fantastic job in turning the Wildcats around and Kentucky looks to improve again this year. As usual they start out with rival Louisville on Aug. 31 and this is always a close contest. This game will be eerily similar to last year’s 40-34 slugfest, but Kentucky will pull out another win against the Cardinals. Kentucky wins by three points.
South Carolina was supposed to turn the corner last year according to Steve Spurrier, but that did not happen. 2008 sees the Gamecocks start off with North Carolina State on Aug. 28 and anyone watching will see ‘the ol ball coach’ reach into his visor of tricks and find a victory. South Carolina wins this game by 17.
Tennessee makes a trip to the West Coast Sept. 1 to take on UCLA. The team despised by the majority of the conference will not return to Rocky Top with a win. Rick Neuheisel will win his first game at the helm in Pasadena. UCLA wins by 10.
Vanderbilt starts another season looking to end their streak of bowl games missed. The Commodores start off on Aug. 28 against Miami of Ohio. Bobby Johnson and his team have enough experience to start the season right. Vandy wins this game by 24.
Chandler Myers is sports editor of the Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org