Is the slow countdown to college football already killing you?
Well, let’s torture you a little more. The SEC West is always filled with many of college football’s best games of the year, and the thought of what classic showdowns are ahead is enough to make any football fanatic go crazy.
So, with five weeks left of waiting, let’s take a look at the top 10 games that are awaiting us in the SEC West.
10. Clemson at Auburn – Sept. 3
The first weekend of the college football season is filled with several great matchups, and Auburn certainly has a chance to make a statement. With the Tigers entering 2016 with Gus Malzahn on the hot seat, a win or close loss to defending ACC champion Clemson could go a long way in determining how things shake out for Auburn this fall.
9. LSU vs. Wisconsin – Sept. 3
There is no denying the expectations surrounding LSU heading into the fall, and the Tigers get an opportunity to make a big statement when they face Wisconsin on the opening weekend at Lambeau Field. With all the offseason waves made between the SEC and Big Ten, there will also assuredly be some conference bragging rights on the line.
8. Ole Miss at Arkansas – Oct. 15
It’s hard to deny how far Ole Miss has come under the direction of Hugh Freeze, but the only thing Freeze and the Rebels haven’t been able to overcome is Bret Bielema’s Razorbacks. Arkansas handled Ole Miss in 2014, and last year, the Rebels were a 4th-and-25 away from winning the SEC West and likely keeping Alabama out of the College Football Playoff. Ole Miss will undoubtedly have revenge on its mind when it travels to Fayetteville.
7. LSU at Texas A&M – Nov. 24
Since Texas A&M entered the SEC, the Aggies have not been able to defeat LSU, but they have been close. With the Tigers forced to play this year’s annual game in College Station, Texas A&M will get another crack at LSU, and there could be plenty on the line. Obviously, the Tigers head into 2016 with national title hopes, and the Aggies are a darkhorse pick to win the SEC West.
6. UCLA at Texas A&M – Sept. 3
Speaking of being a darkhorse, the expectations surrounding Texas A&M will likely depend on how the Aggies start in their huge season opener against UCLA. The Bruins are one of the favorites in the Pac-12, so a big performance against UCLA could go a long way toward propelling Texas A&M into a legitimate contender in the SEC West after Week 1.
5. Ole Miss vs. Florida State – Sept. 5
If the awesome slate of games on the opening Saturday wasn’t good enough for you, Ole Miss and Florida State will give you a second serving in a Labor Day game in Orlando, Fla. The Seminoles will be preseason favorites, and many will wonder if the Rebels can bounce back after losing three first-round NFL draft picks. When the dust settles, we’ll know more about Ole Miss after the season opener.
4. Alabama at Tennessee – Oct. 15
Until proven otherwise, Alabama will enter each season as the proverbial favorite in the SEC West. Heading into 2016, Tennessee is projected to win the SEC East. So when the two teams clash in the “Third Saturday in October” showdown, it will be the most anticipated game in the rivalry in quite some time.
3. Ole Miss at LSU – Oct. 22
In one of the oldest rivalries in the SEC, the drama surrounding Ole Miss and LSU’s annual game has certainly risen during the past few seasons. In 2014, the Tigers ended the Rebels’ quest for a perfect season, and in 2015, the Rebels got revenge in a blowout affair. This season’s contest could have SEC West title hopes on the line if both teams can escape some tricky early games.
2. Alabama at LSU – Nov. 5
During the past several seasons, the most anticipated game heading into each football season is Alabama vs. LSU. However, the Crimson Tide have won the past five contests in the rivalry. If there were ever a season the Tigers would get the best of Alabama, it should be this season. LSU is among many experts’ picks to win an SEC title, and with the game set to be played in Baton Rouge, the stars could be aligning for LSU.
1. Alabama at Ole Miss – Sept. 17
The only team to defeat a Nick Saban-coached team three years in a row is Purdue. Of course, that was when Saban coached at Michigan State, but Ole Miss is looking to join the Boilermakers in accomplishing that feat when the Rebels host Alabama in Week 3. Although the Crimson Tide have come back to win the SEC in each of the past two seasons, there’s no doubt the two consecutive losses have gotten under the skin of the Alabama faithful.