Week 1 of the SEC season begins with all 14 teams in action and games spread over four days over Labor Day weekend. Heck, even Vanderbilt is 1-0 thanks to a road win over Hawai’I last Saturday.
There are no conference games to open the season, but there are two games that correspond to the Top 25 teams. No. 3 Georgia faces No. 11 Oregon in Atlanta, a game that pits the national champions against their former defensive coordinator Dan Lanning, who is now Oregon’s head coach.
The other is Cincinnati, which was the first Group of 5 team to reach the College Football Playoff last season. The Bearcats are No. 23 and head into the season opener at No. 19 Arkansas.
Staff members from All Aggies, Mizzou Sports Talk and The Grove Report provide their predictions for each SEC game this week.
Ball State at Tennessee (6 p.m. CT Thursday, SEC Network)
Matthew Postins, staff writer: Ball State could give Tennessee trouble early. But not too late. Tennessee 36, Ball State 17
Cole Thompson, staff writer: Ball State has been on the rise the past two seasons. So is Tennessee. Hendon Hooker has an evening with Cedric Tillman at Kneeland Stadium. Tennessee 48, Ball State 17
Louisiana Tech at Missouri (7 p.m. CT Thursday, ESPNU)
Matthew Postins, staff writer: This game can be a lot of fun. I’m really interested to see what Sonny Cumbie has done with the LA Tech offense. But do the Bulldogs have the defense to slow Mizzou? Missouri 33, LA Tech 30
Cole Thompson, staff writer: Should the Tigers be alert? No question. Will they lose? Probably not as long as QB Brady Cook didn’t throw it right into the hands of a Bulldog defender. Missouri 31, Louisiana Tech 17
Connor Zimmerly, staff writer: Missouri is slowly working its way back into SEC contention. The Tigers may be a year away, but they should be good this season. Thursday night’s opener against Louisiana Tech is an interesting challenge, but expect the Tigers to start their season with a strong win in Week 1. Missouri 38, Louisiana Tech 10
Sam Houston at No. 6 Texas A&M (11 a.m. CT Saturday, SEC Network)
Matthew Postins, staff writer: Sam Houston is one of the top FCS teams in the country and is preparing to move to Conference USA. But that will be bad for the Bearkats. There are no two ways around it. Texas A&M 63, Sam Houston 10
Cole Thompson, staff writer: The Bearkats have lost one game in two years. Of course, the Aggies should pay attention, but the level of competition between the two schools is a night and day difference. Texas A&M 41, Sam Houston 13
Connor Zimmerly, staff writer: The sky is the limit this season for Texas A&M, as some analysts see them as national title contenders. However, the Aggies have a sneaky tough non-conference schedule. While Sam Houston State should be a relatively comfortable win for the Aggies, sleeping on this Sam Houston State team could spell trouble. Texas A&M wins on the road, but this might be a better game than some think. Texas A&M 49 Sam Houston State 17
No. 11 Oregon at No. 3 Georgia (2:30 p.m. CT Saturday, ABC)
Matthew Postins, staff writer: As intriguing as the local knowledge argument is for new Oregon head coach Dan Lanning, I think Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has spent the last eight months eliminating every trend Lanning might THINK he knows. Georgia 31, Oregon 17
Cole Thompson, staff writer: Even if the game was in Eugene, the ducks are cooked. Georgia isn’t the same squad as the national championship, but it’s good enough to beat Bo Nix for the fourth straight season. Georgia 34, Oregon 21
No. 23 Cincinnati at No. 19 Arkansas (2:30 p.m. CT Saturday, ESPN)
Matthew Postins, staff writer: Cincinnati lost a lot from last year’s incredible College Football Playoff team. But they are not a shell of last year’s team. Neither does Arkansas. This might be the best match of the weekend. Arkansas 33, Cincinnati 30.
Cole Thompson, staff writer: Luke Fickle still leads the program, so the Bearcats will make this challenge. However, the Razorbacks lost one offensive lineman, one running back and replaced star receiver Treylon Burks with OU transfer Jason Haselwood. Pigs run business in Fayetteville. Arkansas 34, Cincinnati 20
Troy at No. 21 Ole Miss (3 p.m. CT Saturday, SEC Network)
Matthew Postins, staff writer: Even the entry of a new Ole Miss quarterback will take care of the job. Ole Miss 34, Troy 18
Cole Thompson, staff writer: Now known as “Transfer U” thanks to the portal, Ole Miss will struggle early against the Trojans, but will find its balance in the second half. Far from a perfect game, but it could be worse in Oxford, right? Ole Miss 34, Troy 17
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No. 7 Utah at Florida (6 p.m. CT Saturday, ESPN+)
Matthew Postins, staff writer: Bad weather for Florida. This is the best Utah coaching team Kyle Whittingham has ever assembled. And Florida coach Billy Napier is making his Gators debut. He will quickly learn that they don’t like to lose in The Swamp. Utah 27, Florida 21
Cole Thompson, staff writer: I have Utah going into the College Football Playoff as the No. 2 seed. What does that mean? The Utes won’t lose a game in 2022. Utah 34, Florida 20
Miami (OH) at No. 20 Kentucky (6 p.m. CT Saturday, ESPN+)
Matthew Postins, staff writer: Again, Miami (OH) is a solid MAC team. But “solid” MAC teams don’t win those games. Kentucky 37, Miami (OH) 21
Cole Thompson, staff writer: A new offensive coordinator forced a rusty first quarter before handing the keys to Will Levis to set Kroger Field on fire. Cats at 90 … but really more like 21. Kentucky 41, Miami OH 10
Mercer at Auburn (6 p.m. CT Saturday, ESPN+)
Matthew Postins, staff writer: Auburn will end up being a dumpster fire. But it won’t be this week. Auburn 63, Mercer 17
Cole Thompson, staff writer: This is Bryan Harsin’s watch in 2022. He survives Week 1 on The Plains over Mercer. Will he make it through Week 2? Auburn 34, Mercer 3
Elon at Vanderbilt (6 p.m. CT Saturday, ESPN+)
Matthew Postins, staff writer: I’m not emotionally prepared for a 2-0 Vanderbilt team. But here we are. Vanderbilt 33, Elon 10
Cole Thompson, staff writer: Vanderbilt picked up a Week 0 win over Hawaii. The Commodores beat Elon in Week 1 at home. Fire the cannons for the winning streak! Vanderbilt 28, Elon 7
Utah State at No. 1 Alabama (6:30 p.m. CT Saturday, SEC Network)
Matthew Postins, staff writer: I know the internet is endless, but we all know what’s going to happen here, right? Alabama 67, Utah State 13
Cole Thompson, staff writer: The good news? Utah State will score at least 10 points. The bad news? That comes in the fourth quarter against Alabama’s third-ranked defense. Alabama 49, Utah State 13
Memphis at Mississippi State (6:30 p.m. CT Saturday, ESPNU)
Matthew Postins, staff writer: Memphis is trying to get a Power 5 league interested in him. A win over MSU will help. But it’s unlikely. Mississippi State 36, Memphis 21
Cole Thompson, staff writer: I’m one of the guys who thinks the Bulldogs have a chance to finish with nine plus wins. The reason? Their protection. More will know what I’m talking about by the fourth quarter at Davis-Wade Stadium on Saturday night. Mississippi State 34, Memphis 7
Georgia State at South Carolina (6:30 p.m. CT Saturday, ESPN+)
Matthew Postins, staff writer: USC is unlikely to fumble twice in one week. I mean, handing over the best mascot name ever is enough of a waste for one week, right? South Carolina 44, Georgia State 17
Cole Thompson, staff writer: Beamer ball back? Beamer ball back. The Roosters feature Spencer Rattler, who looks like the 2020 version of himself in Columbia. South Carolina 38, Georgia State 10
Florida State at LSU (6:30 p.m. CT Sunday, ABC)
Matthew Postins, staff writer: All I know is FSU still isn’t that good, it’s night in Death Valley and the Tigers don’t usually lose when it’s night in Death Valley. LSU 33, Florida State 17
Cole Thompson, staff writer: A new era in LSU football begins Monday night with plenty of Brian Kelly-accented shenanigans. It ends with him proving why he’s a top five coach in the sport against an improved Seminoles roster. LSU 31, Florida State 13
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