#11 Georgia vs #13 Clemson: This game has been dominated by the Bulldogs having a 41-18-4 record all time against the Tigers. But, they don’t play this game every season. In 2013, the Clemson Tigers held on to beat the Georgia Bulldogs, 38- 35. Georgia had won 5 in a row before last season, but they hadn’t played since 2003.
Clemson lost star QB Tajh Boyd, and All American WR Sammy Watkins, but they do return one of the countries best front 7 on defense. New QB Cole Stoudt leads a potentially very good offensive team for the Clemson Tigers.
Georgia is in a similar boat losing long time star QB Aaron Murray. But, they do return the countries top RB in Todd Gurley. Hutson Murray takes over at QB and has a lot of potential. Defense is something of a mystery with new Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt coming over from Florida State. All American Middle Linebacker Ramik Wilson is back and ready to wreck havoc.
Georgia had a tough season in 2013. They lost so many players to injury including Gurley and Murray and most every other Running Back and Wide Receiver that they had. They lost a tough, close game to the Clemson Tigers and they lost a heartbreaking one to Auburn on a totally fluke play. What are the chances that they lose so many to injuries or that the ‘Prayer at Jordan Hare’ happens again? Slim to none are the odds of losing so much talent and so many close games, if I were a betting man.
This game should be really entertaining and I am picking Georgia in a hard fought close battle.
# 18 Wisconsin vs #8 LSU: This game could be fascinating. LSU has true freshman Leonard Fournette, but will this be his breakout game or will he watch from the sideline? Who will be the new QB for the Tigers? Anthony Jennings or true freshman Brandon Harris are supposedly in a dead heat for the QB job and both may play. Would be something if the LSU Tigers have true freshmen at both QB and RB. The Tigers have a really good Offensive Line, but little experience in the skill positions. Defense should be stout and powerful as always.
Wisconsin returns one of the top Running Backs in the country in Melvin Gordon, but can he average 8.08 yards per carry against a top defense like LSU?
Both teams should have brand new QBs because Wisconsin has replaced returning starter Joel Stave with Tanner McEvoy. McEvoy was a JC transfer last season that played at safety. McEvoy is 6-6, 225 and beat out Stave because he is a better athlete.
This game will come down to defense and I have to go with the LSU Tigers. Or, should I say geaux with the Tigers?
# 24 Texas A&M vs # 14 South Carolina
Like the other favored teams, the Gamecocks will have a new QB but will have a really good Offensive Line. Dylan Thompson has played more than the other QBs listed above and they have a more than solid Offensive Line led by AJ Cann and Corey Robinson. Mike Davis is one of the best Running Backs in the SEC and the country.
The defense lost super star Jadeveon Clowney, but they should still be very good.
Speaking of losses, the Aggie offense lost a lot of stars especially with Johnny Manziel, Mike Evans and Jake Matthews. But, they still have some talent on campus and Head Coach Kevin Sumlin will always field a great offense.
Question is, will he field a defense of any value. Last season, they were last in the conference. At Houston, his defenses were awful as well. He has recruited some talent but they are really young.
South Carolina has gone 11-2 for three seasons in a row and to do so again this season they are going to have to win games like this one. Steve Spurrier is one of the top coaches in the country and I believe they will prevail and be on their way to another 11 win year.
Other games of interest:
#1 Florida State vs #23 Oklahoma State: Would be a game of the week but should be a blowout.
Boise State vs Ole Miss: Bryan Harsin takes over at Boise.
North Texas vs Texas: Charlie Strong’s first game.
Ohio State vs Navy: Who replaces Braxton Miller?