You want to look like a genius this week while sitting awkwardly on a barstool and watching Week 1 of the SEC football with your friends?
We’ve got you covered with some facts regarding the conference’s opening weekend.
Kirby Smart could join Mark Richt and Ray Goff as the only first-year Georgia coaches to win their debut dating back to 1964. Vince Dooley lost his first game in 1964 to Alabama and Jim Donnan wound up on the wrong side of a 11-7 score to Southern Miss between the Hedges in 1996. Goff debuted with a win over Baylor in 1989, while Richt was victorious in his first Georgia game in 2001 against Arkansas State.
‘BAMA UNDER THE DOME
Alabama enjoys opening its seasons under the dome — especially during the Nick Saban era. Since Saban took over in 2007, the Crimson Tide are 6-0 in Week 1 matchups held indoors. Alabama is 21-7-1 all-time in domes, including 13-4 under Saban’s watch. Southern California might have a 2-5 record all-time against the Tide, but is 21-11-1 against the rest of the SEC —minus the one win vacated thanks to Reggie Bush. The Trojans are 4-0 against Tennessee, 3-0 against both Georgia and Texas A&M and 3-1 versus Arkansas. They also hold 2-1 marks against Auburn and Missouri, and are 1-1 versus LSU and South Carolina. The only other SEC team with a winning record against USC is Florida (1-0).
SOUTH CAROLINA ROAD FUTILITY
If Will Muschamp wins his debut as South Carolina’s head coach, he’ll help erase one of the program’s more dubious active streaks. A Week 1 win in Nashville over Vanderbilt will be the Gamecocks’ first road victory in the SEC since beating Florida on Nov. 15, 2014, in Gainesville. The Gators fired their head coach after that loss. The coach? Will Muschamp.
LSU BADGERS THE BADGERS
LSU’s Week 1 matchup against Wisconsin in Green Bay comes with more than just the excitement of a few potential Lambeau Leaps. The Tigers and Badgers meet for the fourth time in the fourth different stadium. LSU has won all three prior contests. LSU followed up a 38-28 win over Wisconsin during the 1971 season in Madison by downing the Badgers a year later in Baton Rouge. The teams met again at Houston’s Reliant Stadium in Week 1 of the 2014 season, with then-No. 13 LSU walking away with a 28-24 win over a No. 14 Wisconsin team.
TENNESSEE HAS AN APP FOR THAT
Tennessee will see its share of firsts when it kicks off the season on Sept. 1 against Appalachian State. The game will mark the Volunteers’ first Thursday home opener in 120 years. The last time Tennessee played host to a Thursday home opener was on Oct. 22, 1896, when it defeated Williamsburg Institute by a 10-6 margin. Williamsburg, for those keeping score at home, is now called University of the Cumberlands. The game will also mark the first contest against the Mountaineers, a curious stat given that Appalachian State is located just 160 miles east of Knoxville in Boone, N.C.
If the only interconference matchup (South Carolina at Vanderbilt) from this week’s slate of games is removed, the SEC holds a combined 88-28-4 all-time record against its Week 1 out-of-conference opponents. The only team at or below .500 historically against its opening foe is Texas A&M, which faces UCLA. Those teams have split the four games they’ve played dating back to 1940.
OLE MISS ON UNFRIENDLY TURF
History is not on the side of Ole Miss when it comes to home openers in Orlando. Florida State, the Rebels’ Week 1 foe, has a seven-game winning streak and is 8-0-2 all-time in “The City Beautiful.” The trip to Orlando is the first by an SEC team during the regular season since Florida dropped Mississippi State 29-7 on Sept. 28, 1991, in the Texaco Star Classic. You can find that game’s poster on eBay.
UMASS VS. SEC
Massachusetts will double its all-time games against the SEC this year with three contests against conference foes. The first of these games takes place in Week 1 against the Florida Gators — the Minutemen’s first visit to the Sunshine State since a 1964 loss to East Carolina in Orlando’s Tangerine Bowl. It’s just the third time UMass has even played a team from Florida, with previous bouts against Florida International (2015) and Florida A&M — losing to the Rattlers in the 1978 NCAA I-AA National Championship game. UMass will also face Mississippi State at home and South Carolina on the road. Vanderbilt is the only other SEC team UMass has faced. The Minutemen went 0-3 against Vanderbilt from 2012 to 2014.
ODOM ERA STARTS ON ROAD
Barry Odom’s head coaching debut with Missouri comes with a bit of an historic backdrop. The Tigers are 81-39-5 all-time in Week 1, but have not gone on the road for an official season opener since 1996. Back then, Larry Smith was the coach as Mizzou fell to No. 8 Texas by a 40-10 score. All told, the Tigers have gone on the road to kick off a season just 25 times in the program’s 125 years, including just twice since 1990. The game against West Virginia will be Missouri’s first trip to Morgantown since the 1993 campaign.
TIGERS VS. TIGERS
Until recently, the Auburn-Clemson rivalry has been fairly one-sided with the Tigers, err, we mean, Auburn winning 14-straight contests between 1952 and 2010. But the Tigers, err, we mean, Clemson won the last two meetings in 2011 and 2012. The most recent contest between the two schools featured the debut of several players who went on to star for Auburn, including WR Sammie Coates, LB Kris Frost, OL Greg Robinson, WR Melvin Ray and OL Avery Young.