SEC East Admiral Ackbar games for 2009

One of the most frustrating times for any fan is seeing their team lose a game it's clear they should win. It happens every year though, and frequently the warning signs are there beforehand. It's the dreaded "trap game" - the one sandwiched between two huge rivalries, the one with an unusually early kickoff, or maybe the one after a huge victory.

It's against an opponent you'd normally expect to beat, but for some reason when the time comes the performance just isn't there.

The trap game explains how Ole Miss can be good enough to surprise Florida in Gainesville and then find themselves losers at home to South Carolina the very next week. We can't spot all the traps in June, but a close look at each SEC team's schedule reveals their most likely unexpected danger spots. In honor of the immortal "It's a trap!" line from Return of the Jedi, we'll call these the Admiral Ackbar games of the year. This article covers the potential trouble for the SEC East - we'll hit the West in part two.

FLORIDA - Oct. 17 vs. Arkansas - Florida thumped the Razorbacks last season 38-7, and the Hogs will likely have an unremarkable record thanks to games against Georgia, Alabama, Texas A&M and Auburn leading up to this one. Since joining the conference, Arkansas has never beaten the Gators. Sounds like it should be a sure thing for UF, right?

This game sets up very similarly to the Ole Miss game last season, right down to the visitor's offense being run by a big name transfer quarterback in his first year. The Rebels came in at 2-2 off a loss to Vanderbilt, while Florida had won a critical game in Knoxville a week earlier. Ole Miss pulled the stunner in the Swamp. Arkansas comes right after the biggest Gator road test of the year in Baton Rouge and it'll be homecoming week as well. If Florida's on their game, they'll be fine against Arkansas. There's a lot of reasons it could be a bumpy ride, though.

GEORGIA - Sept 26 vs. Arizona State - It could be argued that Georgia's entire schedule is a trap, because it's brutal. This game stands out because of the Bulldogs having dominated the Sun Devils 27-10 in Tempe last year. With a road opener against likely top ten Oklahoma State followed by two SEC games before this and LSU coming in the next week, this has possible letdown written all over it.

SOUTH CAROLINA - Sept 19 vs. Florida Atlantic - The Gamecocks open with a pair of road games against North Carolina State and Georgia. Five days after FAU's visit, they've got Ole Miss coming in for a Thursday night ESPN showcase. Three years ago they beat the Owls by 32 in Columbia. It's a textbook scenario for overlooking a team, but FAU is no joke. They've won back to back bowls and have a four year starter with NFL potential at quarterback. South Carolina only beat Wofford 23-13 at home the week after the Georgia game last year. If they have a similar sleepwalking performance through this one, the Gamecocks will be picking up a loss.

TENNESSEE - Sept 26 vs. Ohio - No one knows for sure just what to expect from the early part of the Lane Kiffin adventure in Knoxville other than more secondary violations. UT will enter this one coming off of a home matchup with UCLA followed by their visit to Gainesville. The next week they have a very important game with Auburn. Tennessee will be a sizable favorite, but Ohio has shown they can be dangerous. They led Ohio State in the fourth quarter last season before falling in Columbus, and under Frank Solich have beaten teams like Pittsburgh and Illinois. It will be interesting to see if Kiffin has a Vol team that's shown it wasn't ready for games like UAB and Wyoming in recent years prepared for this one. If not, the honeymoon could be over really fast.

VANDERBILT - Oct 24 at South Carolina - This year's Vandy schedule has them going twelve weeks in a row without a bye or ever playing two home games in a row, and it's bound to cause some difficulties. They're the only conference team without a week off at some point. This visit to Columbia is the eighth game of the season, and falls in between home games with Georgia and Georgia Tech for the Commodores. After back to back wins against the Gamecocks this may be one they get caught overlooking a bit, although it's hard to imagine Vandy taking anyone too lightly.

KENTUCKY - NONE - The Wildcats have a curious schedule, with a bye week immediately after their opener followed by five tough games in a row. After that it's four very winnable games and then Georgia and Tennessee to end the year. There's just not a matchup this year where Kentucky would be expected to win that really fits the description of a trap right now.


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