The kickoff fanfare is over with—the season is in full swing, and it’s time for conference play in the SEC. The day will start with a road test for LSU against tens of thousands of cowbells and end with Tennessee’s annual challenge to sneak past a field of angry alligators. The conference landscape will start to take shape over these next couple of weeks as the contenders separate themselves from the pretenders. Here are three bold predictions for this Saturday:
1. South Carolina covers against Georgia
No one is giving the South Carolina Gamecocks a chance against the reigning national champions in Athens this afternoon, but the Georgia Bulldogs haven’t been challenged at all this season and are prime to be caught sleeping. The first SEC game of the year could be a lot closer than most people think, though I still think Georgia will win. South Carolina’s going to give them their best punch, and it might wind up being “just” a two-score win for Georgia rather than three or four scores.
2. Florida will beat Tennessee
At first picking 1-1, unranked Florida Gators to beat the top-15 Tennessee Volunteers team that went 11-2 last season seems kind of silly, but there’s more to this matchup than that. Before last year’s Tennessee home win with that spectacular, Hendon Hooker-led team, Florida had beaten the Vols year in, year out 16 out of the last 17 seasons, and this year’s game is at The Swamp at a time Florida is starving for a big win. Plus, Tennessee just barely squeaked it out last year, even though they were way better. Tennessee will struggle today, and unless the Gators just don’t have their number anymore (like with a certain Blue and White team...), they’ll probably score the upset.
3. Kentucky will obliterate Akron
Predictions call for a 20-point UK win. Make that 30. Or 35. The offense hasn’t had a lot of bite two weeks in, but today the Kentucky Wildcats are going to hang 50 on the board. The Zips are perennially one of the worst teams in college football, and last week gave it everything they had just to win at home against FCS Morgan State by three. After a lackluster performance against EKU last week, Stoops is going to make sure the Cats come out firing on all cylinders before SEC play and head into halftime with at least a three-touchdown lead.