Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
It's close enough now that you can smell it. Four of the next five days will provide us with some real, live SEC football, beginning Thursday night when Vanderbilt travels to Miami (Ohio) and South Carolina hosts North Carolina State. This SEC smorgasbord extends through Monday night when Tennessee heads to the West Coast to take on UCLA in the Rose Bowl. Rubbing my hands and licking my chops, here are the top 25 things I can't wait to see this season in the SEC:
1. Larry Munson's call to arms: Munson's legendary voice sends the Georgia fans into a frenzy at Sanford Stadium just before the team hits the field with his "Glory, Glory to old Georgia" montage. Munson is truly an SEC treasure, and it's great to see him back for another season of calling Georgia's home games.
2. Pregame warm-ups for the Florida-Georgia game: Think there might be some jawing going on? The anticipation for this one is off the charts. Can't Nov. 1 go ahead and get here?
3. The first touchdown in the Florida-Georgia game: A wild end zone celebration a year ago after scoring the first touchdown turned the Bulldogs' entire season around. What can we expect this time?
4. Saturday night in Tiger Stadium: There's nothing like hearing the LSU marching band crank out those first few notes of "Tiger Rag." They don't call it Death Valley for nothing.
5. Julio Jones' first catch: When's the last time there's been this much anticipation about a freshman in the SEC? This kid is a treat to watch ... and a nightmare to defend. And he's all yours, Alabama fans.
6. (Insert any SEC team you wish) blasting Ohio State again in the BCS national championship game: Wonder if the Buckeyes would simply abstain this time if they come up against another SEC team in the postseason?
7. The Grove on a fall Saturday afternoon: It's among the best pregame settings in all of college football. The only thing that beats the tailgating on Ole Miss' campus is the stunning scenery.
8. Who's calling the plays at South Carolina: How long will it take for Steve Spurrier to take the play-calling duties back from Steve Jr.? Then again, is he really the Head Ball Coach if he's not calling plays? Isn't that sort of like Spiderman without the costume?
9. Tennessee's Eric Berry and Florida's Percy Harvin matched one-on-one on the perimeter: Talk about a couple of explosive athletes who live to compete.
10. Houston Nutt strolling the visitor's sideline at Reynolds Razorback Stadium: Here's betting he doesn't leave any sideline passes for the Springdale contingent.
11. Auburn in the spread offense: Seems like a bit of a gamble when you consider how successful the Tigers have been as a power football team under Tommy Tuberville.
12. Nick Saban back in Baton Rouge as the Alabama coach: Wonder if he stops by Mike the Tiger's cage for a chat?
13. Saban and Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning greeting each other prior to Saturday night's game: Maybe they will both pull up to the Georgia Dome in Escalades.
14. The new-look Tennessee Claw-fense: For the first time in 25 years, somebody outside of the Tennessee "family" will be calling plays for the Vols. Dave Clawson moves into that role after coming over from his job as the head coach at Richmond.
15. Bobby Petrino's impact on the SEC: Under Houston Nutt, Arkansas mashed it down everybody's throats. Now it's Petrino's turn to do his thing -- which is keeping defenses on their heels.
16. Ric Flair on the sideline at Williams-Brice Stadium: The Nature Boy and the Head Ball Coach are buds.
17. Anthony Dixon's shake: The bruising Mississippi State running back claims to have his "shake back" after trimming down from 250-something to 230-something. It's still fun to watch him plant defenders.
18. Tim Tebow running over a safety, even a linebacker, at the goal line: Even a year later, after 23 rushing touchdowns, it never gets old.
19. Georgia's Tasmanian Devil: Sophomore linebacker Rennie Curran is listed at 5-foot-11, but he's probably closer to 5-9. It doesn't matter, because he's one the surest tacklers in the league. If he gets his hands on you, you're toast.
20. Vanderbilt's D.J. Moore scoring three different ways: He's a true triple threat as a receiver, cornerback and kickoff returner. When's the last time somebody in the SEC scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams in the same season?
21. Ole Miss defensive tackle Jerrell Powe and Tennessee linebacker Gerald Williams finally playing in an SEC game: Powe is eligible and will play this weekend. Williams is still waiting on a ruling from the SEC.
22. Kentucky going to a bowl game for the third straight year: It hasn't happened at Kentucky since 1949-51 when Bear Bryant was coaching in Lexington. It would also be a fitting way for Rich Brooks to go out, if he so chooses, and hand it over to Joker Phillips.
23. Subpoena-gate Part XXVII: With Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer scheduled to give a deposition in Alabama on Sept. 25, two days before the Vols play at Auburn, maybe the lawyers on both sides can suit up and play a preliminary game.
24. John Parker Wilson making history: The Alabama senior quarterback has already surpassed such legends as Joe Namath and Ken Stabler in the Alabama record books, but he's on track to become the Crimson Tide's career leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns and total offense.
25. George Smith going out in style: Nobody epitomizes what college sports are all about any more than Smith, Vanderbilt's sixth-year senior receiver. His latest setback is a foot injury, but the football gods owe him.