Texas A&M is beginning SEC play against the Auburn Tigers this week, and the Aggies are not alone. After seeing three SEC vs SEC games last week, 10 of the 14 teams in the SEC face a conference opponent this Saturday.
And because we have to rank everything these days, here is all of this weekend’s SEC games ranked in order of watchability (putting my fandom aside, obviously). Primarily to me, that means I think it will be a close game, but national relevance also plays a factor. LET’S DO IT!
1. No. 15 Ole Miss Rebels at No. 13 Alabama Crimson Tide
2:30 p.m., CBS
Line: Tide -7
Jalen Milroe has been re-inserted as Bama’s starting QB, and this feels like a huge test to see just how down this Alabama team truly is. Win, and the South Florida game a week ago feels like an aberration. Lose your second game in September, and the fourth game in the past three seasons to a former Saban assistant, and the narratives of the Bama dynasty crumbling will be full throat across the internet.
2. Auburn Tigers at Texas A&M Aggies
11 a.m., ESPN
Line: Ags -7
I wrote on Wednesday how this is a must-win game for Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies, and I hold to that. Starting SEC play off on the right foot is pivotal for a team that already failed it’s first big test of the season in Miami. There are no excuses left for the Ags. On the other side of the coin, it’s Auburn’s first real test of the season (unless you count Cal, which you shouldn’t). If the Tigers can pull it out, they go to 4-0 and the outlook of the Hugh Freeze era will be sky high (even if it crashes back to earth in the coming weeks).
3. Mississippi State Bulldogs at South Carolina Gamecocks
6:30 p.m., SEC Network
Line: Cocks -6.5
You may not have this one high on your list, but the sicko in me does. One of these teams will start off 0-2 in SEC play and I am here for that misery. If it’s South Carolina, they would actually be 1-3 in a season that many fans entered with a ton of optimism. Oof.
4. Memphis Tigers at Missouri Tigers
6 p.m. Sunday, ESPN
Line: Mizzou -5.5
This may seem like a G5 matchup you can gloss over, but this one feels RIPE for an upset. Mizzou had a massive walk-off victory against a ranked Kansas State team last Saturday, so a hangover after that huge win wouldn’t be shocking. And Memphis is good enough to take advantage of that hangover, sitting at 3-0 with wins over Bethune-Cookman, Arkansas State and Navy. I’m not outright calling for the upset, but the line alone tells you it’s a possibility.
5. Arkansas Razorbacks at LSU Tigers
6 p.m. Sunday, ESPN
Line: Geaux -17.5
Like the game above, the Hogs are trying to avoid starting SEC play 0-2, and it will be a tall task against an LSU team that very much looked on the right track in their dominant win over MSU last weekend.
6. UT-San Antonio Roadrunners at No. 23 Tennessee Volunteers
3 p.m., SEC Network
Line: Vols -20.5
UTSA doesn’t look quite like the upset-capable team we thought they might have been in the offseason, but then Tennessee, doesn’t look like the offensive juggernaut we thought they were either. The Vols are still the clear favorite, but if they struggle at all against what has proven to be a very average UTSA team, it could spell trouble for them the rest of the way.
7. Kentucky Wildcats at Vanderbilt Commodores
11 a.m., SEC Network
Line: BBN -13.5
I’m honestly surprised this line point spread isn’t bigger. While Kentucky hasn’t played anybody of note yet, you have to think they’ll roll over poor Vanderbilt. This game likely won’t be very interesting, but it can set up a very interesting one next week when the Wildcats host No. 25 Florida. Speaking of which...
8. UNC-Charlotte 49ers vs No. 25 Florida Gators
6 p.m., SEC Network+/ESPN+
Line: Gators -28
As mentioned above, this is just a check the box to get a juicy matchup of Florida vs. Kentucky in Week 5. Outside of Gator fans, it’s hard to envision many folks bothering to stream this one.
9. UAB Blazers at No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs
6:30 p.m., ESPN2
Line: Dawgs -42
This Georgia team that seemed to sleepwalk through it’s first three games, and they can likely hit the snooze button again for this one. UAB already has losses to Georgia Southern and Louisiana, so they’ve got pretty much zero shot against the two-time-defending national champs. In a week that’s loaded with great games, this is one you can likely skip.