In this crazy, upside-down world we have endured in 2020, not much has been normal, but on Saturday, SEC football returns, and fans across the southeast couldn't be happier- well, maybe if they were being allowed to attend their games- to have it back.
While the limited numbers allowed to attend will give a different feel to the games, the players on the field, their jersey's, mascots, and coaches will still be representative of their team and universities, and it's going to be a fun Saturday with real college football being played.
To celebrate this week, and the others to follow in the SEC, Commodore Country begins week one by predicting the winners of each of the seven conference games throughout the season.
While points spreads are fun and make things more interesting, in the interests of simplicity, we will not be picking against the spread, but merely the game winners for each match-up.
Florida Gators at Ole Miss Rebels: 11.00 and can be seen on ESPN Video
Dan Mullen's Gators are the favorites to claim the SEC East title while Lane Kiffin enters his first season in Oxford, trying to retool and rebuild the Rebels. It won't be a great first home game for the Lane Train.
Kentucky Wildcats at Auburn Tigers: 11.00 am and can be seen on the SEC Network.
The best match-up of week one in the SEC belongs to the Cats and the Tigers as the Plains will be rocking-with limited fans, of course- for this one. The Kitties from Lexington are my surprise team this season and bring one of the best offensive lines in the conference. A healthy Terry Wilson at Quarterback into Jerdan-Hare to face sophomore QB Bo Nix in his second season as the starter for Gus Malzahn's team. This is the only match-up of top-25 teams this week in the conference, and it should be a great start to the season.
WINNER: Kentucky in a slight upset.
Mississippi State Bulldogs at LSU Tigers: 2:30 pm and can be seen on CBS.
The Mike Leach era in Starkville kicks off with a road trip to Death Valley for a date with the defending national champs. These aren't the same Tigers from a season ago, of course, with graduations and early departures having taken 14 starters from last season on to the next level. The Bulldogs are in a rebuilding mode, and while Leach and his gimmicky offense could give the Tigers some troubles, this one will come down to entirely too much Tigers.
Georgia Bulldogs at Arkansas Razorbacks: 3:00 pm and can be seen on the SEC Network.
New Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman was the offensive line coach last season at Georgia, but on Saturday, he will coach some of his former pupils as the Top Hog in Fayetteville. It won't matter because Kirby Smart and his band of ravenous Bulldogs will feast on BBQ in this one.
Alabama Crimson Tide at Missouri Tigers: 6:00 pm and can be seen on ESPN.
New Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz coaches his first game for the Tigers at home against the team picked to win the SEC this season. Remember the last time Bama visited Columbia? Tide defensive lineman LaMichael Fanning suplexed Tigers running back Russel Hansbrough as Bama ran over, around, and through the rainy Missouri weather for a convincing win. Expect more of the same, minus the suplex this time.
Tennessee Volunteers at South Carolina Gamecocks: 6:30 pm and can be seen on the SEC Network alternate channel.
Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp is fighting for his job this season while the Vols of Jeremy Pruitt is fighting for respect. This could be one of the better games of the day or evening as it were. It is also one of the most difficult to predict.
WINNER: Tennessee in a battle.
Vanderbilt Commodores at Texas A&M Aggies: 6;30 pm and can be seen on the SEC Network alternate channel.
The Vanderbilt defense should be much improved this season, with eleven returning players with starting experience on that unit. Still, the Commodores will also start a true freshman in Ken Seals at quarterback against Jimbo Fisher's bunch. The Aggies are also looking for respect and feel as though they are ready to challenge Alabama for the West title. This will be a good starter for the Aggies.
WINNER: Texas A&M