Back when I announced the publishing schedule for the Fall, I wasn't thinking about the fact that there's no way to do recaps in that first week. There aren't any games to recap, and no ATVSSECOSPPOW to award. So, this week I am doing this feature on an accelerated schedule. As of right now, I expect this feature to normally appear on Thursdays.
SEC action starts on Thursday with South Carolina vs. NC State, but we don't play South Carolina this year, so we're going to move right along and let Team Speed Kills tell you whatever they think you need to know.
The first game of specific interest to LSU fans actually occurs on Friday, when Tulane hosts Tulsa at 7:00pm Central on ESPN. We get Tulane on Halloween night, and here is your first chance to get a preview of what Tulane looks like this year, as the game is on with no real competition for your viewing eye. If you're really excited about Tulane, you can check them out again on September 12 when they take on BYU. There actually will not be an SEC game on opposite that 2:30pm start time until a half-hour later when Tennessee and UCLA kick off, but we don't play Tennessee either.
Then we get to Saturday, and a pretty full slate of interesting games.
The early games feature SEC teams we don't play this year, as Kentucky hosts Miami(OH) on ESPN at 11:00am Central on ESPNU in what I think could be an interesting game. Tennessee takes on Western Kentucky on the former JP/Raycom/Lincoln-Financial broadcast, with a brand-spanking-new 11:00am broadcast time and 11:21am kickoff. Incidentally, I have always liked the morning games and I approve of the even earlier start time. More on that another day.
In the afternoon is when things get really interesting, and once we get to the early evening things get positively ludicrous. Starting at 2:30pm Central, one of 2 marquee games involving SEC teams starts up, as Georgia travels to Stillwater to play an explosive Oklahoma State team, televised on ABC. I am very interested in catching a glimpse of the 2009 Georgia Bulldogs, in particular their line play and how they stack up this year. I really think this Georgia team could be better than last year's team. Sometimes, the loss of a star player or two can actually help focus a deep and talented team.
You can also see Mississippi State take on Jackson State at the same time on ESPNU, and while Mississippi State is going to be an opponent of ours sooner rather than later, I can't imagine watching this game except during commercials of the Georgia game unless it gets into the second half and Jackson State is winning, or if it gets into the 4th quarter with Jackson State one score or less behind.
At 6:00pm, hopefully after the Georgia game has a chance to end, Louisiana Tech takes on Auburn on ESPNU. Yes, I know that this should not be a great game, but it includes not one but two future LSU opponents. Not to mention, it wouldn't shock me today if a visitor from the future told me that Derek Cooley, currently coach of Louisiana Tech, was eventually to become LSU's head coach. Try to check this game out for good scouting material until...
7:00pm when Alabama and Virginia Tech play in Atlanta on ABC. Obviously the marquee matchup of the day for any SEC West fan. We get to check out the 2009 version of most everyone's odds-on pick to win the West in a fair fight on a neutral field. It doesn't get much more exciting than that. I am still skeptical of Alabama's offensive line, and of their offense in general, and Virginia Tech should be a good proving ground for the unit.
Also around that time, three other future LSU opponents (Arkansas, Florida, and Vandy) play total patsies without television coverage.
Then we get to the main event for LSU fans, which will unfortunately start well before the Bama game ends.
But that's not all folks. On Sunday, Ole Miss travels to play Memphis at 2:30pm on ESPN. This particular incarnation of the Ole Miss Rebels should walk all over Memphis, or at least hang a lot of points on them. But last year's Ole Miss team gave up 453 total yards to Memphis. By playing a Sunday game, Ole Miss was pretty much forced to take a bye week in Week 2, which seems like an unwise move to me.
This is a very good slate of games, especially for an opening week. In the past, opening week was always such a let-down, because after 8 months of suffering we were subjected to a slate of games that resembled cattle going up the ramp to the killing floor. That seems to have changed. Then, next week, we get a few actual conference games!