Week Two of the 2017 college football season sees the first conference game in the SEC as South Carolina takes on Missouri. The other 12 teams all meet non-conference foes, however, so there are 12 chances for the SEC to come out on top.
As is always the case early in the season there are a bunch of nothing games such as LSU vs Chattanooga and Florida vs Northern Colorado. There are though a number of games that will be important if the SEC is going to get back to being considered the number one conference in the land.
Just like last week when we considered Week One, here are the three most important games for SEC schools over the second weekend of the 2017 season.
Sat. Sept. 9 – Arkansas vs TCU
Last fall the Razorbacks took down the Horner Frogs 41-38 in a wild and crazy double overtime thriller. The same result, with the same entertainment value in the game, would be perfect for the SEC school this time around too.
After a softball of an opener against Florida A&M, Arkansas will have to be at its best out of the gate against a Horned Frogs squad that no one quite seems in tune with this preseason. TCU is ranked anywhere between second and seventh in any Big 12 poll you will find, meaning that their ceiling is that of a 10 or 11 win team. Arkansas is another team with a varying projected outcome, so the safe money here is on a close (and high scoring) encounter.
Sat. Sept. 9 – Auburn at Clemson
How badly do you think Auburn wants to beat Clemson to say that they own a victory over the defending national champions? Especially given that the national title victory was over Alabama.
This will be the first test for Jarrett Stidham and the Auburn offense. The Stidham hype is continuing to grow – he is now up to sixth in the preseason Heisman rankings despite never having thrown an in-game pass for the Tigers – and this could be his coming out party. It will be a battle of top 10 teams, though it will be interesting to see exactly what Clemson is able to bring to the table after heavy losses (especially on offense) from the team that won it all last year.
Sat. Sept. 2 – Georgia at Notre Dame
This is the most in demand ticket of any game this fall. As of a couple of weeks ago, the cheapest ticket available on StubHub for the battle between the Bulldogs and the Fighting Irish was set at just under $500. That is a heavy price to pay for a game that features a school that was 4-8 last season (Notre Dame) and one that only beat Nicholls State of the FCS 26-24 (Georgia).
This is a new season though and as these two historically significant programs have met just once – in the 1981 Sugar Bowl – it makes sense that the level of interest is so high. Going on the road to South Bend will be tough for the Bulldogs, but a win here could kick start their season and put them on the path to the SEC East title.