Nov 10, 2012; Knoxville, TN, USA; A general view of the SEC logo on the field prior to the game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Missouri Tigers at Neyland Stadium. Missouri defeated Tennessee 51-48 in quadruple overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

SEC Football: Lack Of Marquee Matchups Won’t Mean Bad Football


College Gameday is posted up in Fargo, ND. And while the SEC on CBS will hype the Florida Gators hosting the Tennessee Volunteers like it’s still Florida-Tennessee, we all know it hasn’t really been FLORIDA-TENNESSEE in quite some time.

It’s a rough week for SEC football and college football in general when it comes to the marquee matchup, but that doesn’t mean that we’re in store for a week’s worth of snooze-fests on Saturday. Arizona State vs. Stanford might be the only game pitting ranked teams against each other, but there’s bound to be plenty of exciting football streaming through your 1080i and into your living room.

The SEC football schedule is bereft of “Oh, I’ve Gotta See This” games, but there are a few intriguing–if not sneaky good–games on the docket.

The aforementioned Florida vs. Tennessee matchup on CBS lacks the pomp and circumstance of the UT/UF matchups of the 90s that were always of national significance, but it still pits two fanbases that hate each other against one another. For Tennessee, it offers another barometer to see where they stack up within the conference (regardless of whether they win or lose) and for Florida, there’s an opportunity to wipe a tough loss to one rival away with the destruction of another.

At the same time, Bret Bielema’s undefeated Arkansas Razorbacks will face their first true test against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on the road. And while that still sounds like a joke despite the continued success of Rutgers, nobody has ever been able to joke about the seriousness of a trip to New Jersey, where weird and obtrusively obnoxious things have a tendency to happen.

In the third wave of games, Johnny Manziel, Kevin Sumlin and the Texas A&M Aggies will take on SMU, and while the game figures to be an absolute massacre, it will pit two entertaining offenses against each other. And, any time you’ve got June Jones and Johnny Football involved, you can be certain the pigskin will spend so much time in the air it’ll earn frequent flyer miles.

About 45 minutes later, what may be the most competitive game of this week’s SEC football slate features the Auburn Tigers traveling to Tiger Stadium under the cover of darkness to take on the LSU Tigers. And while it’s never safe to pick against Les Miles and LSU at home, specifically at night, Auburn could reshape the SEC West hierarchy by pulling off the improbable upset.

Then, later that night, the SEC and the Big Ten will match up when Missouri travels to Indiana in a game that will be played on the Big Ten Network. Indiana dropped a tough one to Navy in Week Two, but they still hope to gain bowl eligibility on the year, and a road test could tell us a lot about Gary Pinkel’s Missouri Tigers.

It’ll be an opportunity for Mizzou to showcase their offensive weapons (James Franklin, Henry Josey and Dorial Green-Beckham among others) in what figures to be a high scoring affair. And while the game doesn’t have a lot of national significance, it’s one I’ll personally be watching closely to get a gauge on what the Missouri Tigers are made of this season.

All totaled, despite a schedule that doesn’t elicit much anticipation and lacks that game to draw the television executives out of their coffins to engorge themselves on ratings, there are some games that could make SEC football interesting on Saturday. I guess we’ll have to watch and see.

Then again, you had me at College Gameday.

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