Are you ready for some big-boy football? Saturday is Sept. 8, the day college football fans have been waiting for. Leave the yard work and assorted honey-dos until Sunday, because marquis matchups beckon.
Several involve Southeastern Conference teams. The good ones are on television.
Here’s a brief look at each with a prediction.
South Carolina at No. 11 Georgia (5:45, ESPN2): Steve Spurrier owned the Bulldogs while at Florida, winning 11 of 12 from 1990-2001, but now that the visored one is at South Carolina (1-0), UGA (1-0) has won back to back games against its nemesis. Matthew Stafford is no longer a fragile freshman. The Dogs can start making plans to celebrate between the Hedges. My pick: 24-17, Georgia.
Virginia Tech at LSU (9:15, ESPN): Virginia Tech (1-0) is college football’s feel-good story in the wake of last spring’s shooting spree in Blacksburg, but emotion aside, the Tigers’ defense is just too good. LSU’s offense looked pedestrian against Mississippi State, but the defense will make it easy to rustle up a few touchdowns. My pick: 21-13, LSU.
Troy at No. 4 Florida: Troy’s a lot better than Western Kentucky, but the probable return of key players Brandon James, Lawrence Marsh, Markihe Anderson and Jacques Rickerson will help plug holes exposed last Saturday in the season opener. Troy (0-1) can score. Florida (1-0) will score more, a lot more. My pick: 42-17, UF.
Alabama at Vanderbilt (12:30 p.m., Lincoln Financial): Alabama has won 19 straight against the Commodores. Make it 20, but it won’t be easy. My pick: 17-14, Alabama.
Kent State at Kentucky: For those who care, the Wildcats will roll. My pick: 52-14, UK.
Southern Miss at Tennessee: The Volunteers can’t stop anyone, but that probably won’t matter against USM. My pick: 35-20, UT.
South Florida at Auburn (9 p.m., ESPN2): Auburn (1-0) barely survived Kansas State. The Tigers probably will squeak by again. My pick: 17-16, Auburn.
Mississippi State at Tulane (7 p.m., CSS): A must-win game for MSU’s Sylvester Croom, who appears to have added ample discipline, but not enough talent. My pick: 24-23, MSU.
Missouri at Ole Miss: Ole Miss escaped Memphis last week with a 23-21 win, but Ed Orgeron still has some work to do. My pick: UM, 28-17.