Let the proving begin:
WESTERN KENTUCKY AT FLORIDA: Tim Tebow's debut as a starting quarterback is generating the kind of hoopla normally reserved for Paris Hilton doing … well, whatever it is she does. Florida 34, Western Kentucky 14.
OLE MISS AT MEMPHIS: There are a lot of interesting matchups scheduled on college football's opening weekend. This isn't one of them. Go ahead and mow the yard. You won't miss a thing. Ole Miss 20, Memphis 14.
EASTERN KENTUCKY AT KENTUCKY: The Wildcats figured out a way to stop losing last fall. Now if they could just figure out a way to stop an opposing offense once in awhile. Kentucky 38, Eastern Kentucky 24.
WESTERN CAROLINA AT ALABAMA: If the Tide wins eight games this fall, Nick Saban will earn $500,000 per victory. Half-a-million dollars to beat WCU seems a little pricey to me. Bama 27, WCU 13.
TROY AT ARKANSAS: I don't know how Arkansas will respond after a tumultuous offseason but I know this: Houston Nutt won't be text-messaging any female TV broadcasters during the game. Arkansas 31, Troy 10.
RICHMOND AT VANDERBILT: The Spiders (6-5) actually won more games last year than the Commodores (4-8). Vandy has a secret weapon, however … a gigantic can of bug spray. Vanderbilt 28, Richmond 14.
LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE AT SOUTH CAROLINA: With Blake Mitchell suspended for skipping summer-school classes, the Gamecocks will be quarterbacked by Chris Smelley. Considering the opponent, that's strangely appropriate. Carolina 31, ULL 10.
KANSAS STATE AT AUBURN: Traveling from Manhattan, Kansas to Auburn, Alabama just to lose a football game is no fun. Fortunately, the Wildcats will expand their cultural horizons during the visit. Auburn 28, KSU 13
TENNESSEE AT CALIFORNIA: The Vols led 35-0 last year before calling off the dogs. Two Michael Vick jokes is my limit, so you'll have to make up your own punch line. Tennessee 31, Cal 24.
LSU AT MISSISSIPPI STATE (THURSDAY): In 2006 the Bulldogs didn't score a point until the third game of the season. Conversely, the Tigers scored 90 points in their first two games last fall. In their head-to-head meeting LSU breezed to a 48-17 victory over MSU and are 14-1 vs. the Dogs since 1992. There's a predominate pattern here and it's stripes. LSU 30, MSU 7.
WESTERN KENTUCKY AT FLORIDA: Urban renewal is going great guns in Gainesville where Coach Myers won a national championship in only his second season on the job, after leading Utah to an undefeated regular season in 2004. Now he's cast in the role of rebuilder and no one should be surprised if he's a big success. Tha'ts because he's proven to be so effective as a recruiter. Despite personnel losses that would devastate most teams' depth charts, Florida may actually have more talented players replacing them. They might suffer from an experience gap, especially early, but the Gators will remain a national force. Western Kentucky is a well paid prop. Florida 45, Western Kentucky 9.
OLE MISS AT MEMPHIS: This annual match-up is something of an oddity in that it's almost always competitive but rarely entertaining. With that precedent established expect more of the same Saturday. Ole Miss 16, Memphis 14.
EASTERN KENTUCKY AT KENTUCKY: This one has fried chicken and mint juleps written all over it. However the Wildcats are at home and will do the cooking which means the Colonels will come out extra crispy. This may be Kentucky's strongest squad since Tim Couch ruled the Blue Grass with his rifle right arm. He led the Cats to a 52-7 victory in over the Colonels the last time these teams met in 1998. Kentucky 38, Eastern Kentucky 10.
OKLAHOMA STATE AT GEORGIA: The Bulldogs get a benchmark game to open the season which can always be a risky proposition. An excellent match-up that favors the Dawgs because it's played between the hedges and UGA is 25-2 vs. non-conference opponents under Mark Richt with both defeats coming in bowl games. Georgia 24, Oklahoma State 20.
WESTERN CAROLINA AT ALABAMA: It's high Tide in Tuscaloosa and Nick Saban won't require a floatation device when he enters Bryant-Denny Stadium. He certainly won't need to intervene to keep Western Carolina on the short end of the final score. When these teams last played in 2004, Bama won 52-0 and that was with Mike Shula coaching. FYI: Catamount is french for Road Kill. Alabama 49, Western Carolina 7.
TROY AT ARKANSAS: Last year Arkansas opened the season against USC and absorbed a 50-14 beating. You've got to figure the Razorbacks will be a lot happier playing the Boys of Troy than the Men of Troy. Arkansas 33, Troy 10.
RICHMOND AT VANDERBILT: What kind of sports world is it when the Commodores, who haven't had a winning season since 1982 and are the worst draw in the SEC, get to play eight home games and don't go on the road until Oct. 6? Gilded Dores 27, Itsy Bitsy Spiders 20.
LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE AT SOUTH CAROLINA: The fact Louisana-Lafayette is the team most likely to play in an SEC home opener or homecoming contest, must have something to do with the Rajun Cajuns' 0-48 all-time record against SEC teams by a 35-point average margin of defeat. That's not likely to improve against the Gamecocks. South Carolina 45-10.
KANSAS STATE AT AUBURN: The Tigers usually open against tough opponents which helps explained why they are 2-3 in their last five kickoff contests. Certainly the Wildcats don't measure up to USC, which beat Auburn in two of those losses, but they can be a very dangerous opponent as defending national champion Texas learned last year in a 45-42 setback. This could be an upset special, but I'm sticking with the home team. Auburn 28, Kansas State 21.
TENNESSEE AT CALIFORNIA: Eric Ainge's fractured digit is the most famous pinky in Tennessee football history, supplanting former Vol JC signee Leon Pinky, a tight end who left town before playing a down back in 2003. How much effect Ainge's injury will have on this showcase contest is hard to say, but if it's a distraction it's a problem. The bigger problem is a California defense that is SEC fast and an outstanding set of offensive playmakers. Throw in a long flight to the coast, a three-hour time change, a revenge-minded opponent defending it's home turf and it becomes more of a challenge, especially for a team that is relying on a lot of inexperienced players in key roles. California 30, Tennessee 27.