The wait is almost over for the 2015 College Football Season! We will have kickoff on Saturday, September 5th! While the first week of college football is not much to be pined for as SEC fans, as all of our Southeastern Conference teams face non-conference openers, there are, however, a few hidden gems on the schedule that you might want to watch!
The table is obviously broken down into the SEC West and East, their Week 1 Opponents, but I’ve also added an SEC Win/Loss/tough game outcome prediction. The columns with a ‘t‘ in the Win/Loss column predict either a Win or a Loss, but a tough one! The (n) means a neutral-site game. As it turns out I don’t predict any losses for the SEC on week 1; however, there might be some nail-biters!
|SEC WEST||WEEK 1 OPPONENT||SEC W/L/t|
|Ole Miss||UT Martin||W|
|Mississippi State||@ Southern Miss||W|
|Texas A&M||Arizona State (n)||Wt|
|SEC EAST||WEEK 1 OPPONENT||SEC W/L/t|
|Missouri||SE Missouri St.||W|
|South Carolina||UNC (n)||Wt|
|Florida||New Mexico St.||W|
There are FOUR total opponents that will make tough games for our SEC teams in the first week of college football – 1 in the East; 3 in the West.
Starting in the West, the mighty Crimson Tide face off against the Wisconsin Badgers at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Wisconsin could be a formidable opponent for Alabama; the stress factor and right of passage into the 2015 season is certainly on the line for Nick Saban, his coaching staff, and freshly-revamped team from last year. With quarterback uncertainties plaguing the SEC ad nauseum, this opening game will show us the true grit of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Both teams have a strong defense and running game, it will be how effectively the Tide can move the ball down field with its new QB at the helm and how he syncs up with them as a game manager. Alabama was 12-2 (7-1 SEC) in 2014, with Wisconsin just shy of that record at 11-3 (7-1 Big Ten). I think Nick Saban has got the Badgers number on this one!
The Auburn Tigers v. the Louisville Cardinals will be another interesting game to watch, this one may be a bit more fast-paced. This should be an exciting, in-the-air passing game. The Cardinals went 9-4 (5-3 ACC) in 2014 compared to the Tigers 8-5 (4-4 SEC) so you know Louisville will be gunning for some SEC glory to open their 2015 season – especially as the Auburn Tigers are on the trendsetting watch list of teams under Gus Malzahn and and their star QB Jeremy Johnson.
Of all the Week 1 games that have the potential to be anomalies and upsets for the SEC is Texas A&M v. Arizona State. I put this game in the Win column for Texas, however, I’m still a bit uneasy about that!!! In 2014 the Arizona St. Sun Devils went 10-3 (6-2 Pac-12) in 2014 compared to Texas A&M’s 8-5 (3-5 SEC) record. Bringing in John Chavis to shore up their defensive incapabilities will be essential in taking on Arizona State in this opening week confidence-builder for the Aggies. So much is at stake for this Texas A&M team this season and even though some analysts have them projected to better there 3-5 SEC record from last year, I’m not one of them.
Last but not least is the South Carolina Gamecocks v. University of North Carolina Tar Heels game. Quite simply, Steve Spurrier needs to win this game! If the Gamecocks are to salvage any respectability in the SEC and come out with any semblance of a balanced season, it starts on opening week for them. To lose to an ACC team that went 6-7 (4-4 ACC) in 2014 would be a foreboding sign of things to come for South Carolina and their fairly tough 2015 SEC schedule.
While I do have Wins for all the SEC opening week 1 games, there are a few that fans should keep an eye out for. The Texas A&M versus Arizona State game is really the one to keep track of in terms of the overall health of the Aggies. The Alabama v. Wisconsin game is going to be a victory to quiet all of the Bama-haters out there who are too quick to write the Crimson Tide off for 2015.
CHECK OUT MY 2015 SEC TEAM-BY-TEAM PROFILE AND SCHEDULE ANALYSIS BELOW!
The SEC West teams and coaches are:
Arkansas Razorbacks (Bret Bielema)
Texas A&M Aggies (Kevin Sumlin)
LSU Tigers (Les Miles)
Ole Miss Rebels (Hugh Freeze)
Mississippi State Bulldogs (Dan Mullen)
Auburn Tigers (Gus Malzahn)
Alabama Crimson Tide – Roll Tide! (Nick Saban)
The SEC East teams and coaches are:
The Missouri Tigers (Gary Pinkel)
The Vanderbilt Commodores (Derek Mason)
Kentucky Wildcats (Mark Stoops)
Tennessee Volunteers (Butch Jones)
Georgia Bulldogs (Mark Richt)
South Carolina Gamecocks (Steve Spurrier)
Florida Gators (Jim McElwain)
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