Looking at Week 1 games in the SEC


Shane Shackleford

By Shane Shackleford, Sports Columnist



After what seems like an eternity, the Southeastern Conference can get back to what it knows — football.


All 14 schools (except maybe Vanderbilt) have at least some reason to look forward to the 2020 campaign.  Some have new coaches, some have high expectations, and some have national championship aspirations.


Fans from across the south are talking about something other than the COVID-19 pandemic, which is a welcome relief at least temporarily.


Let’s look at the Week 1 games and take a peek at how they might shape up, shall we?


23 Kentucky at 8 Auburn – As we have already discussed in a previous article (you DID read it, right?), this game could be a real indicator of how the UK season could shape up.  The prediction here is the Cats’ combination of power football, experience, and depth begin to pay off in SEC play.

PREDICTION- Cats 30, War Eagle 24


5 Florida at Ole Miss – Welcome back to the SEC Lane Kiffin.  After a hiatus as the head man at Florida Atlantic, Kiffin returns to the conference as the head ball coach in Oxford.  Awaiting him are the Gators who have national championship aspirations.  Unfortunately for ol’ Lane, the Gators have too much of everything.

PREDICTION- Gators 34, Rebels 17


Mississippi State at 6 LSU – Another hearty welcome to new Bulldog coach Mike Leach, a former offensive coordinator at UK.  Given time, Leach will have his signature Air Raid working in Starkville.  Unfortunately, though, the defending national champs await him.  Just too much Tigers in this one.

PREDICTION- Tigers 42, Dawgs 10

4 Georgia at Arkansas- The Hogs have a new coach in Sam Pittman, the former offensive line coach at Georgia.  Pittman will bring stability to Arkansas in time, but knows full well how tough his opener is.  I think the Hogs will compete early, but the depth and experience of UGA is just too much.

PREDICTION – Dawgs 49, Razorbacks 10


2 Alabama at Missouri- Welcome Eliah Drinkwitz, the new play caller at Mizzou.  Awaiting him in Columbia is the monster that is the Alabama Crimson Tide.  Once again, the Tide is loaded for a run to another national championship, while the Tigers will still be going through its growing pains in a new system.  Sorry Coach Drinkwitz, no AAC foe here.

PREDICTION- Roll Tide 49, Tigers 17


Vanderbilt at 10 Texas A&M – Is this the year where the Aggies make the step into the national championship conversation?  Coach Jimbo Fisher has the depth and experience to possibly do so.  Unforthuately for the Commodores and coach Derek Mason, this could be the beginning of a long season in Nashville.

PREDICTION- Gig ‘Em – 40, Vandy 6


16 Tennessee at South Carolina – This is my game of the week in the SEC.  The Vols come in with momentum after finishing 2019 on a winning streak under coach Jeremy Pruitt.  USC, however, slid heavily to a dismal 4-8 mark.  Without question Gamecock coach Will Muschamp’s job is riding on this season.  A win could be a springboard, a loss to UT could start a freefall.  I’m going with the more physical Vols in a squeaker.

PREDICTION- Rocky Top 24, Cocks 21


Shane Shackleford is a regional sports columnist from Speedwell, Tenn. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and at A Sea of Blue, KySportsStyle.com Magazine and Harlancountysports.com.