The Southeastern Conference is set to kick off its 10-game, league-only schedule, making this Saturday the most normal-feeling yet of a most unusual season.
As of Wednesday, all the SEC openers were still on. The Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conference were also scheduled to have all their teams playing this weekend — until Tuesday, when Notre Dame and Wake Forest was postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak among Fighting Irish players.
The first week of the SEC season features the debuts of four new coaches, including Lane Kiffin at Mississippi taking on No. 5 Florida and Mike Leach at Mississippi State visiting defending national champion and No. 6 LSU.
“I don’t know who has the toughest schedule in the SEC, but the toughest schedule that’s ever been played in the history of college football is going to be one of the teams in the SEC this year,” said Leach, who is taking his Air Raid offense to Starkville after successful stops at Texas Tech and Washington State.
Eight SEC teams begin the season ranked, but only two play each other Saturday. A sneaky good game between No. 23 Kentucky and No. 8 Auburn could determine just how seriously we need to take these teams as division contenders.
Wildcats vs. Tigers is one of three games matching ranked teams this weekend. With the Big Ten still a month away from starting its season — and the Pac-12 and Mountain West looking likely to follow in late October/early November — this is as normal as college football will get for while.
No. 2 Alabama (minus 27)) at Missouri
Tigers drew the Tide and LSU when the SEC revised its schedule. It’s been nine years since Mizzou joined the conference but it’s still tough to be the new guy … ALABAMA 45-10.
Kansas State (plus 28) at No. 3 Oklahoma
Wildcats upset the Sooners last year and last won in Norman in 2014 … OKLAHOMA 42-28.