SEC: Ultimate road trip 2009
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
Pretend for a minute that somebody offered you a chance to make out your own schedule next season and catch any SEC football game you wanted over the course of the year.
Sort of a fantasy road trip.
Looking ahead, I've come up with my own, taking into account a realistic travel schedule and making sure that I saw every team in the conference at least once.
So here goes:
- Thursday, Sept. 3: South Carolina at North Carolina State
Our first look at the Gamecocks' impressive freshman trio of cornerback Stephon Gilmore, safety DeVonte Holloman and running back Jarvis Giles.
- Saturday, Sept. 5: Alabama vs. Virginia Tech (Atlanta)
The Crimson Tide jump-started their terrific season a year ago with a big win over Clemson in Atlanta. Can they do the same this season against the Hokies?
- Saturday, Sept. 12: Mississippi State at Auburn
Two new coaches. Two new offenses and a lot of unknowns. Wonder if the two teams will combine to score more than five points this time.
- Saturday, Sept. 19: Tennessee at Florida
For a rivalry that was dimming thanks to Florida's dominance, give credit to Lane Kiffin for opening his mouth and making things interesting again.
- Saturday, Sept. 26: Arkansas at Alabama
Arkansas is poised to have an explosive offense. Alabama is poised to have a suffocating defense. It's always fun to see Bobby Petrino and Nick Saban match wits.
- Saturday, Oct. 3: LSU at Georgia
The two teams combined for 90 points in last season's game, although the defenses should both be better in 2009. The Bulldogs will be coming off four straight tough games.
- Saturday, Oct. 10: Alabama at Ole Miss
Think the Grove will be rocking that day? The winner takes a big step toward the Western Division crown, and it's the Rebels' chance to show that they're the real deal.
- Saturday, Oct. 17: Arkansas at Florida
The first of two killer games on the road for the Hogs. After taking on the Gators in the Swamp, they head the next week to Ole Miss to face the Rebels.
- Saturday, Oct. 24: Tennessee at Alabama
The Third Saturday in October has evolved into the Fourth Saturday in October. But no matter when Alabama and Tennessee get together, it's always an SEC classic.
- Saturday, Oct. 31: Florida vs. Georgia (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Any game that has its own nickname (You know, the frowned upon "Cocktail Party" moniker) has to be a big deal. Few regular-season games, if any in college football, can match this one.
- Saturday, Nov. 7: LSU at Alabama
Will it ever not be a big game when Nick Saban goes against his old club? Plus, this could be one of the final pieces to the Western Division championship puzzle.
- Saturday, Nov. 14: Kentucky at Vanderbilt
The Commodores' win in Lexington last season clinched their first bowl trip in 26 years. This season's game may also have bowl implications for both teams.
- Saturday, Nov. 21: LSU at Ole Miss
Talk about a rivalry that has sprung back to life. The Rebels pounded the Tigers last season in Baton Rouge, and both teams think they have a championship-caliber club for 2009.
- Friday, Nov. 27: Alabama at Auburn
The Iron Bowl is one of those must-see games. It's a rivalry that never sleeps. It adds even more intrigue for the coming season with Gene Chizik taking over at Auburn.
- Saturday, Nov. 28: Florida State at Florida
The Gators have won five in a row against the Seminoles, and the last two haven't even been close. You know that can't sit well with Bobby Bowden and the folks in Tallahassee.
- Saturday, Dec. 5: SEC Championship Game
An Alabama-Florida rematch maybe? Or does Ole Miss break through and go for its first SEC title in more than 40 years? Is there anybody in the East that can unseat the Gators? Check back in December.