Like It Is

OPINION | WALLY HALL: SEC opens play with pair of headliners

Finally, football is here and the SEC has a full slate of games.

The biggest game is Georgia at Clemson; LSU, which spent part of the week practicing in Houston, may get an early test at UCLA, and Alabama hosting Miami in Atlanta is another headline game.

It seems curious Army at Georgia State and Louisiana-Monroe at Kentucky were more interesting to ESPN than Rice at Arkansas.

Rice at Arkansas will be streamed online at 1 p.m. on a day when the temperature is supposed to top out at 93.

Anyway, here are the first week's predictions:

Rice at Arkansas

The No. 1 goal for the Owls is to control the clock. The No. 1 goal for the Razorbacks is to control everything else and that will take care of the scoreboard. This could be a low-scoring game. With Texas coming to town next week, there's no way Sam Pittman reveals his entire offense. Arkansas rushes for 306 yards, passes for 219. Arkansas 27-17


A great in-state game with lots of interest. Butch Jones announces his starting quarterback just before the Red Wolves take the field for their first possession. ASU 38-31

Miami vs. Alabama (Atlanta)

On paper it looks like a test for the defending national champions. On the field it is same old, same old. Alabama 42-14

Akron at Auburn

Bryan Harsin begins his Auburn career with a rousing win over the very average to below average Zips. Auburn 49-10

Florida Atlantic at Florida

The Gators better bring their best game. The Owls return 20 starters from a 5-4 team. The state of Florida is producing so many great players that all the schools are benefiting. The Gators make halftime adjustments on offense and defense. Florida 38-31

Georgia vs. Clemson (Charlotte, N.C.)

It could be like a preview of the College Football Playoffs A great city hosting two teams expecting greatness. Like Alabama, the Bulldogs have a million-dollar quarterback thanks to NIL (name, image, likeness). Clemson scores first and last to hold on. Clemson 41-38

Louisiana-Monroe at Kentucky

If this isn't an automatic win for the Wildcats it will be a very long season. Terry Bowden is a good coach and it will be a shame to lose to a school that was winless last season. Kentucky 49-3


The Bruins opened a week ago with a win over Hawaii, but the fastest Rainbow Warrior probably couldn't outrun half of the Tigers. LSU 42-28

Ole Miss vs. Louisville (Monday in Atlanta)

The Rebels are going to give up points, but they also are going to score a lot. Ole Miss 56-42

Louisiana Tech at Mississippi State

Mike Leach has 16 starters returning and Skip Holtz has 17. This has the makings of a great football game. Mississippi State 42-38

Central Michigan at Missouri

The Tigers win the toss and everything else. Missouri 45-21

Eastern Illinois at South Carolina

Shane Beamer kick-starts his career with an easy win in front of a sold out crowd. South Carolina 35-17

Kent State at Texas A&M

It remains to be seen if the Golden Flashes returning 18 starters is a good thing or bad thing, but it definitely won't look good against a team that is most likely headed to the College Football Playoff. Texas A&M 72-14

E. Tennessee St. at Vanderbilt

What makes this game interesting is basically nothing. New Vanderbilt Coach Clark Lea spent his last two years of college playing fullback for the Commodores (he previously was a baseball player). He gets to start his career 1-0. Vanderbilt 35-0

Upcoming Events