Saturday, September 7, 2013
Saturday SEC roundup
By Edward Aschoff
A quick overview of this weekend in the SEC makes one think that today should be called "Cupcake Saturday." The conference has a relatively light load overall with all the tuneups spread out around the league, but if you dig a little deeper, you'll find that there are a couple of big games to headline the day for SEC.
The game of the week takes place in Athens, Ga., as No. 11 Georgia (0-1) hosts sixth-ranked South Carolina (1-0) at 4:30 p.m. ET in a game that will have major implications on the SEC Eastern Division race. The Gamecocks have won three straight against the Bulldogs, but that hasn't stopped Georgia from winning the East and making it to Atlanta for the SEC championship game the last two seasons.
Last week, these two teams went in opposite directions against ACC teams. The Gamecocks overwhelmed North Carolina at home with a 27-10 win, while Georgia suffered a heartbreaking 38-35 loss at Clemson.
The key for both teams will be controlling the line of scrimmage. South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney looks to improve upon a lackluster Week 1 start, while the Bulldogs' offensive line has to tighten up after giving up four sacks last week.
As far as the East is concerned, this is an important game for both teams, but a win or loss for either won't crown or crush anyone. Remember, Georgia made it to the SEC title game in 2011 after an 0-2 start that included a loss to South Carolina.
The other big game on the docket takes place in South Florida, as No. 12 Florida (1-0) faces rival Miami (1-0) at noon ET. This could be the last time we see these two teams play against each other during the regular season for a while. They'll have to make it count, and something tells me they will.
Both showed strong running games in Week 1, as a Duke Johnson-led Miami team rushed for 303 yards in a blowout win over Florida Atlantic, while the Gators put up 262 yards in the opening win over Toledo. Adding to Florida's running game is the return of starter Matt Jones, who missed the opener as he recovered from a viral infection. Everyone knows Johnson is an elite back, but Florida should have the defensive advantage, especially with starters Loucheiz Purifoy and Antonio Morrison returning.
For the Gators, the passing game still has a lot of questions. Florida opened things up a little bit more with Jeff Driskel and his receivers, but it still doesn't really feel like this passing game is very explosive yet. Time will tell.
Then there's Tennessee's home game with Bobby Petrino-led Western Kentucky. The Vols (1-0) demolished an overmatched Austin Peay team last week, but now they have a tougher matchup with the Hilltoppers in town. Butch Jones takes on the coach that the Vols said no to. And last week Petrino walked into Lexington, Kent., and beat Kentucky. Will Petrino take down back-to-back SEC first-timers?
Here's entire SEC lineup for today:
- Miami (Ohio) at Kentucky, 12 p.m. ET, FSN
- No. 12 Florida at Miami, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN
- Western Kentucky at Tennessee, 12:21 p.m. ET, SEC Network
- Toledo at Missouri, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU
- Alcorn State at Mississippi State, 3:30 p.m. ET, CSS
- No. 6 South Carolina at No. 11 Georgia, 4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
- SE Missouri St. at Ole Miss, 7 p.m. ET, PPV
- Sam Houston State at No. 7 Texas A&M, 7 p.m. ET, PPV
- Samford at Arkansas, 7 p.m. ET, PPV
- UAB at No. 9 LSU, 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU
- Arkansas State at Auburn, 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN
- Austin Peay at Vanderbilt, 7:30 p.m. ET, CSS