This week's SEC match ups on TV

Each week BTH's Dean Legge previews the SEC contests that are being broadcast on the tube.

This week the SEC season really begins. With Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi State, Alabama, and Arkansas all on TV last week the SEC was well represented on the idiot box. Tennessee struggled early, but was too much for Syracuse. Bama had 15 penalties and allowed UCLA to escape Tuscaloosa with a win. Marshall flapped their mouths to the Mighty Gators and Florida put nearly 50 on the scoreboard. Arkansas looked awful and most certainly need to improve this week against the Vols. State looked very sluggish against Memphis in the first half and then took over with special teams and the running game to finish the Tigers off.

This week's TV games:

Tennessee at Arkansas

The Vols visit Arkansas after a decent, at best, performance against Syracuse last week. Arkansas looked terrible against UNLV, yet got the win almost despite themselves. This game has developed into a heated rivalry, at least on the side of the Hogs. Arkansas and Tennessee have had competitive games recently, with the exception of last season's beating by Tennessee. In 1998, Tennessee was dejected and was about to lose. The Vols were recipients of a gift when they recovered a fumble placed on the ground by Arkansas. The Vols took the ball down the field, scored and won the game. The next season the Hogs upset Tennessee in Arkansas to get revenge for the 1998 game. Last season, Tennessee jumped out to a quick and eventually huge lead and proceeded to make Arkansas look like a high school team.

Tennessee should win this game. But the Vols could be caught looking forward to the Florida contest and Arkansas could give them a game. Arkansas Head Coach Houston Nutt might find himself in hot water after this season if the Hogs don't get a marquee win this year. Tennessee might be Arkansas's best shot at that. The game kicks off at 8 pm on ESPN2

Ole Miss at Auburn

Welcome to the jungle. Auburn is trying a public relations blitz to get attention for nicknaming their stadium "the jungle". Although not really very original, Auburn's stadium is still very hard to play in. Eli Manning, the young Ole Miss quarterback, will take his hot arm down on the Plains to face the Tigers as a starter for the first time ever. Even though Manning played a weak opponent last week, he should still be lethal enough to cause damage to a better than average Auburn defense.

Auburn's defense did not allow their opponent last week to drive into Auburn territory. The key, or most interesting matchup will be the Tiger defense against the Ole Miss offense. The inverse is not near as interesting as both the Auburn offense and Ole Miss defense leave a lot to be desired. This game is a tough one to call, but because both are such important games for Georgia later in the season, perhaps the VCR should be rolling for this game.

South Carolina at Georgia

This is a must have for both teams. Last season the Cocks shocked the Dawgs in Columbia 21-10. Both teams come into this game ranked for only the fourth time ever. Carolina holds a 2-1 edge when both teams are ranked. But that is a misleading stat. Georgia has been ranked going into this game for the last four seasons, winning 3 of the four. Also Georgia has not lost to South Carolina in Athens since 1993. Georgia holds the all-time series lead by more than 25 games and is 23-5 against Carolina in Athens. But the odds makers like the Cocks and are making them a slim favorite.

Mark Richt enters the South Carolina game not yet truly tested. His face pasted no-huddle offense was very impressive against Arkansas State. But he knows that Carolina is on a much higher level than the Indians. Early season injuries and sloppy talking have hampered Lou Holtz's Gamecocks. Still, if Carolina wins this game the Cocks will have nearly evened up the SEC series record with the Dawgs and will have won two games in a row against the Dawgs, something that has not happened in more than a decade. If Georgia wins, it stands a good chance of being 4-0 going into Knoxville. Also with a win on Saturday night Georgia would have won 7 of the 10 SEC contests with the Cocks, a "would be" dominating mark.

The game is a toss up as far as I am concerned. The kickoff is at 7:45 on ESPN.

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