The Final Four is this weekend and The Masters is next week, but it’s never too early to talk SEC football around here.
So for the next few weeks we’re going to look at the conference and the schedules each team will face. Today, we look at the Swing Games. Everyone’s definition of a Swing Game is different. To me, it’s the game that doesn’t necessarily define a season like a rivalry game, but it’s a game that each team needs during the weekly grind to gain momentum. A loss and the season can go in one direction. A win and it changes the way you look at that team.
Florida: Ole Miss, Oct. 3.
Florida will be going on the road the next two weeks and will need this one to have a successful season. The last time these two teams played in Gainesville was the Tebow Pledge game.
Georgia: Missouri, Oct. 17.
It’s easy to point to the earlier South Carolina game, but this is the one the Bulldogs will need to be a contender in the SEC East. After all, the Tigers have won the division the last two years.
Kentucky: Tennessee, Oct. 31.
OK, Wildcats, are you ready to make a statement? A lot of football will already be played by this point in the season, but if Kentucky is to be taken seriously, a win over the flavor of the preseason would be a huge boost.
Missouri: South Carolina, Oct. 3.
This is the first big game for the East champs after opening with three patsies and then Kentucky. If the Tigers can win this game, it sets the stage for the rest of the season.
South Carolina: North Carolina, Sept. 3.
After all of the talk about Steve Spurrier’s future, the Gamecocks need to get started fast and they will face a solid team on a Thursday night in Charlotte, N.C., to open the season.
Tennessee: At Florida, Sept. 26.
Let’s face it. Any talk about the new and improved Vols will hinge on how they fare against a team that has beaten them 10 straight times.
Vanderbilt: Georgia, Sept. 12.
If the Commodores want anybody to take them seriously, a big early upset would help. Georgia will be vulnerable because it’s early.
Alabama: Ole Miss, Sept. 19.
For the Tide to defend their championship, getting revenge on the Rebels will be a key and set up the rest of the conference slate. A loss won’t kill their title hopes, but it will do some damage.
Arkansas: Auburn, Oct. 24.
This comes after an open date and will be a good indication of how much the Razorbacks have improved.
Auburn: At LSU, Sept. 13.
Let’s see what Will Muschamp’s defense can do in Death Valley. Talk about a tone-setter, this game will be huge for both of the Tigers.
LSU: Arkansas, Nov. 14.
It’s sandwiched between a pair of difficult road games and is a must-win game for Les Miles.
Mississippi State: At Missouri, Nov. 5.
The Bulldogs are going to try to build off last year’s season and have the tough West to deal with. But a win in Columbia could have a lot to say about how good this season will be.
Ole Miss: At Florida, Oct. 3.
Yep, it’s a Swing Game for both teams, especially with what each team has to face the rest of the season. The winner will have reason to celebrate.
Texas A&M: Mississippi State, Oct. 3.
The Aggies are supposed to be better on defense with John Chavis and this will be a chance to show it. We’ll know after this one whether A&M will be contenders or pretenders.
NEXT UP: The best SEC weekends.