Every time there is a heat advisory in Gainesville, I count off the days until college football will be played.
As if it gets THAT much cooler in early September (high for opening day against Utah is expected to be 89).
It is in the dog days of summer that we start to think about the upcoming season and it will get here faster than we know it. Heck, SEC Media Days (and your first look at SEC coach Brian Kelly) are a mere 28 days away.
And I think that is one reason that football is so popular here in the South and especially the SEC – we really don’t have much else in July and August. By the time it gets to the first real week of games, we are salivating for a fix.
It’s coming and we think we know what games are must-see. Of course, you never know how things can change. Just ask Dan Mullen.
For this Dooley Dozen, let’s take a look at the 12 SEC games I can’t wait for. These are also the 12 games that will most likely decide which two teams are in Atlanta. So, we’re killing two birds with one ray gun (Mars Attacks reference).
Texas A&M at Alabama, Oct. 8
Oh, the hype we will have for this one. Grouchy Saban versus the Excitable Boy. When recruiting classes collide. Jimbo-Palooza in Tuscaloosa. OK, we have time to work on a good nickname for this game and we hope it lives up to the publicity it will receive. Or at least Saban and Fisher thumb wrestle for the opening kickoff.
Kentucky at Florida, Sept. 10
I don’t want to say this is a loser-leaves-town game, but it could well be. Florida has turned what was once a historic domination into a mess under Dan Mullen. On the other hand, you could say the series has turned because of Mark Stoops. Either way, the winner is going to feel a little like the winner of those ’90s games between Florida and Tennessee.
Arkansas at Texas A&M, Sept. 24 (Arlington, Texas)
We will find out pretty early whether or not Sam Pittman can keep the momentum he has going in Fayetteville. That’s the thing about TAMU’s schedule – by the time they get to that Alabama showdown, it may not be that big a deal. But that’s why we watch.
Alabama at Ole Miss, Nov. 12
Well, we’ve seen this one before back in the Hugh Freeze days. It feels like Lane Kiffin’s work in the transfer portal may pay off into a season where his play-calling gets Ole Miss over the ‘Bama Hump. Of course, that’s a big hump.
LSU at Auburn, Oct. 1
Remember when this game was such a big deal? Nobody is really sure what to expect from Auburn and LSU with Kelly is a mystery as well. All we know is that both teams have players we want to watch play the game.
Florida-Georgia, Oct. 29 (Jacksonville)
Let’s assume Anthony Richardson gets off to a good start with the Gators. And now he is going to face the one team he looked terrible against a year ago. There, fellas, your advances are written.
LSU at Texas A&M, Nov. 26
We all know how great this game can be because it changed the overtime rules a few years ago. This late in the season, it could be epic. We only know for sure it will be fun to watch.
Alabama at Tennessee, Oct. 15th
It feels as if Alabama has a ton of big games this season, in part because we think Tennessee could be a real threat in the SEC East. We will know early if that’s the case or if the Vols are doing their normal slow start, strong finish campaign.
Georgia at Kentucky, Nov. 19
If Kentucky is in position to make this a huge East game and if Will Levis is as good as NFL scouts think he is and if Georgia is a little off from last year, this could be mesmerizing. But those are a lot of ifs.
Florida at Tennessee, Sept. 24
If Florida’s game against Tennessee is a loser-leaves town, this one could be even more damaging to the team that doesn’t win. Three of Florida’s first four games are brutal for a first-year coach to have to handle.
Texas A&M at South Carolina, Oct. 22
Is South Carolina for real? This is one of the many games where we will find out. It will be interesting to see where both teams are at this point in the season and just how big this one could be.
Kentucky at Tennessee, Oct. 29