Auburn plays Mercer this weekend! It’s Homecoming! Get back to the Plains and enjoy what should be a glorious pre-fall weekend with an assured win.
It’s days like this that we get to watch an easy Auburn victory, and then bask in the glory and excitement of everyone else having a tough go with whoever they’re playing. We were on pins and needles last week. No need for that two weeks in a row, especially this early in the season.
So what should you be watching? Well, we’ve got a couple games in the SEC and Top 25 that should be alright. Since Auburn’s right in the middle of the day, let’s just go in order.
Florida vs Tennessee - 2:30 pm CST - Gainesville, FL
A good portion of the SEC continues its early-season run against the Poughkeepsie School for the Blind and other members of that conference, but the first intriguing matchup in the league comes from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville for Florida and Tennessee.
Tennessee’s 2-0, with the opening win over Georgia Tech and then an easy victory against Indiana State last weekend, while Florida’s had just one game so far. The Gators fell to Michigan and then had their meeting with Northern Colorado canceled last weekend due to Hurricane Irma. This game will be played in Gainesville, and Florida will seek revenge for last year’s collapse in Knoxville.
The Gators aren’t particularly good on offense, and Jim McElwain seems like he’s not all that confident about this game, despite it being at home. Florida’s even about a 5.5 point favorite at this time, but I just don’t see that holding up, and I think Tennessee makes it two in a row as they plant the flag in the Swamp.
Missouri vs Purdue - 3:00 pm CST - Columbia, MO
At the exact same time Auburn’s on the field, our next opponent will also be in action against a Power 5 opponent. Missouri’s offense looked fantastic against Missouri State in the opener, but their defense gave up 43 points and looked horrible. Then last week, South Carolina shut down the Tiger offense on the way to a big win. This game will go a long way in telling us about Missouri, since Purdue’s offense has actually looked pretty fun as well, and we’ll have an idea of what Auburn will be able to do next week in CoMo. I really don’t know how to feel on this one, but I’m not sold on Mizzou, so I believe Purdue gets the win.
Mississippi State vs #12 LSU - 6:00 pm CST - Starkville, MS
It’s hard to know how to feel about either one of these teams right now. Yeah, LSU shut out BYU, but the Cougars have proven to be terrible. Mississippi State blew out La Tech last week, but that’s not any sort of real litmus test. All that we really know here is that someone’s 0 will go.
LSU’s defense is fantastic, and they’ll get Arden Key back this week, and so we’ll get to find out how Nick Fitzgerald (Ryan Sterritt’s NUMBER ONE QUARTERBACK IN THE SEC) will do against a real defense. We may also find out just how good LSU’s offense is, so there will definitely be some interesting questions answered here for a couple of future Auburn opponents.
Vanderbilt vs #18 Kansas State - 6:30 pm CST - Nashville, TN
This is an interesting one! Vanderbilt’s looked really good under Derek Mason so far, and they’ve even already got a CBS date with Alabama lined up for next week. If they can get through this game, the Commodores will be on the rise and able to meet the Tide at 3-0 apiece. The defense has allowed just six points through two games, and Kansas State is a complete unknown with games against nobodies through the first two weeks. The Wildcats are just 4.0 point favorites, so this could really go either way. Pull for Vandy so that the Tide are as scared as possible next week when they head to the pressure-cooker in Nashville next weekend.
South Carolina vs Kentucky - 6:30 pm CST - Columbia, SC
What we may see here is the best team in the SEC East playing at home in Columbia, trying to win its second conference game through the young portion of the season.
The Gamecocks have been as solid as you can be so far, taking out NC State in the opener, then shutting down Missouri last weekend to improve to 2-0. Jake Bentley’s playing like one of the league’s best quarterbacks, and he’s got an early All-SEC candidate in Deebo Samuel on the outside (also a scourge returning kicks). Meanwhile the Kentucky “They s’posed to be SEC” Wildcats struggled with Eastern Kentucky last weekend at home, so I expect South Carolina to have a pretty good weekend and improve to 3-0.
#14 Louisville vs #3 Clemson - 7:00 pm CST - Louisville, KY
Here we go. The best game on the week three slate comes from the Bluegrass State as reigning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson meets the stupid Clemson defense that’s racking up the sacks* and shutting down the opposition. Last year this was an instant classic, where Jackson led Louisville on a nearly-game winning drive, but the Cardinals failed on a fourth down inside the Clemson ten to lose 42-36.
Now, Jackson is stronger and somehow slipperier than even before, racking up over 1,000 total yards and eight touchdowns through the first two games. I’m not sold on Louisville’s defense, but Kelly Bryant’s not Deshaun Watson (yet) and so I don’t think he’ll put up 42 on the Cards. I’m also not sure who I want to win. I do really love watching Lamar Jackson play, but the more Clemson wins, the better it makes Auburn look. I’ll begrudgingly pull for Clemson, while hoping for a fun game and something magical from Lamar in the loss.
#4 USC vs Texas - 7:30 pm CST - Los Angeles, CA
The last time these two met, it produced what’s considered in some circles to be the greatest college football game of all time. Obviously we know that the Kick Six was better, but USC-Texas for the national championship at the Rose Bowl was fantastic, with Vince Young scoring in the final seconds to give the Longhorns their last title.
I don’t see a similar fortune for Tom Herman and his group this weekend, because the Texas defense gave up 51 points to Maryland in the opener. That was Maryland. This weekend it’s Sam Darnold, who came to life last weekend in an easy win over Stanford.
Come for the majesty of the rematch many years later, but I don’t anticipate that this game will be the classic in the same vein of the last meeting. USC wins easily.
*Punch me in the face, please.