Thursday, August 31, 2017

SEC football kicks off this week with full slate of season-opening games

SEC football will officially kick off tonight when Arkansas takes on Florida A&M in Little Rock, Ark. That game will be televised on the SEC Network, starting at 7 p.m.

Eleven games involving SEC teams will be played on Saturday, including six “neutral site” games. Missouri will play Missouri State in Columbia, Mo. at 11 a.m., and South Carolina will face North Carolina State in Charlotte, N.C. at 2 p.m. (ESPN). No. 17 Florida will play No. 11 Michigan at 2:30 p.m. in Arlington, Texas (ABC), and Mississippi State will play Charleston Southern at 3 p.m. in Starkville.

Kentucky will play Southern Miss at 3 p.m. in Hattiesburg, Miss. (CBSSN), and No. 15 Georgia will play Appalachian State at 5:15 p.m. in Athens, Ga. (ESPN). Ole Miss will play South Alabama at 6:30 p.m. in Oxford, Miss. (ESPNU), and No. 12 Auburn will play Georgia Southern at 6:30 p.m. in Auburn.

Vanderbilt will play Middle Tennessee at 7 p.m. in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (CBSSN), and No. 1 Alabama will play No. 3 Florida State at 7 p.m. in Atlanta (ABC). No. 13 LSU and BYU will wrap up the day’s action in a game set to start at 8:30 p.m. (ESPN). (As of Monday, the location and start time of the LSU-BYU game had not been determined due bad weather in that part of the country. It was originally scheduled to be played in Houston.)

The only SEC game set for Sunday is the game between Texas A&M and UCLA. They’re set to play in Pasadena, Calif. at 6:30 p.m. (FOX). The final SEC game of the Labor Day weekend will be played on Monday when No. 25 Tennessee faces Georgia Tech in Atlanta at 7 p.m. (ESPN).

With all of that said, here are my predictions for how I see this week’s slate of SEC games turning out. I like Alabama over Florida State, Auburn over Georgia Southern, Georgia over Appalachian State, Ole Miss over South Alabama, LSU over BYU, Kentucky over Southern Miss, N.C. State over South Carolina, Michigan over Florida, Arkansas over Florida A&M, Missouri over Missouri State, Mississippi State over Charleston Southern, Vanderbilt over Middle Tennessee, UCLA over Texas A&M and Tennessee over Georgia Tech.

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The NFL preseason schedule is winding down this week, and the first regular season game is scheduled to be played on Sept. 7 when the Kansas City Chiefs play the New England Patriots in Foxboro. A full slate of 13 games will follow on Sun., Sept. 10, and a pair of Monday night games will be played on Mon., Sept. 11.

The New Orleans Saints will kick off their regular season schedule when they play the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis on Sept. 11. The Atlanta Falcons will get going the day before when they play the Chicago Bears in Chicago. As of Monday, the Saints were 2-1 in preseason games, and the Falcons were 0-3. It’s hard to say whether this is any indication of what kind of teams they will have this year, but we’ll eventually find out soon enough.

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