The ultimate SEC road trip is back. The best games. The best venues. The best atmospheres. If you could pick your destination every Saturday, where would you go?
This year, we're taking two road trips, both hypothetical of course. Our writers might end up at the same game some weeks, but this should allow us to see more teams and more campuses across the SEC.
Let's check in on what's in store for Week 9.
Road trip 1: Ole Miss at Auburn
This one’s easy. While Tennessee-Kentucky and Georgia-Florida are interesting games, neither is likely to pit two Top 25 programs. In Ole Miss-Auburn, I get just that. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if both teams were ranked in the top five by the time this game comes around.
But there’s more to it than rankings. Given the way last season’s game went, there’s history here.
While nobody wants to see another injury like Laquon Treadwell’s decide the game, you have to hope this year’s rematch offers half as much excitement as the last. There were 66 points scored, 987 yards gained and more big plays than you could count on your fingers and toes.
There will be compelling matchups, too, with Carl Lawson vs. Laremy Tunsil, Treadwell vs. Duke Williams and Robert Nkemdiche vs. the Auburn offensive line. Jeremy Johnson won’t have it easy against Ole Miss’ talented defense and Auburn defensive oordinator Will Muschamp will surely have a few wrinkles to throw at whoever the Rebs’ starting QB will be, whether it’s Chad Kelly, DeVante Kincade or Ryan Buchanan.
What’s more, I’ll get to see all the highlights on the largest scoreboard in college football. Have you seen this thing? It’s so big, there’s a live stream dedicated to it. That’s 10,830 square feet of entertainment, my friends.
-- Alex Scarborough
Road trip 2: Florida vs. Georgia (in Jacksonville)
Auburn and Ole Miss might be the best game of the week, but I’m not passing on a chance to go to the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. That’s why this road trip is headed to Jacksonville, Florida, in Week 9 for the annual Florida-Georgia game.
Oh, and while I’m sure the press box at EverBank Field will be nice, can I request club seats? These things look more like beach cabanas than they do seats at a football stadium. I can’t imagine this type of experience at any current SEC stadium, even with some of the renovations taking place around the league.
This will also be Jim McElwain’s first taste of one of the SEC’s more underrated rivalries. Everybody talks about Alabama-Auburn, but Florida and Georgia fans despise each other. There’s no love lost between these two fan bases or between the players, for that matter. Who can forget the entire Georgia team celebrating on the field after scoring a touchdown in the 2007 meeting?
If only McElwain could pull off something like that in his first year.
I doubt anybody expects the new coach to beat Georgia his first year, but then again, who thought the Gators were going to win last year? There’s something about this rivalry. It doesn’t matter who is favored or by how many; it always seems to be competitive. Nine of the past 13 meetings have been decided by a touchdown or less.
A close game, a bitter rivalry, a huge party -- I can’t think of a better place to spend my Saturday. Plus it’s Halloween. Who knows what’s going to happen?
-- Greg Ostendorf