The times and viewing options were announced today for the first three games of the season. Jacksonville State, you'll have to pay-per-view if you want to see the game outside of being there. Kickoff is 6 PM. The ULM game also kicks off at 6 PM and will be on ESPNU. And as expected, the giant leap up in competition (Alabama) will be on CBS at 2:30. All times, Central. I'll most likely follow the first over the internet and the second I am happy to say that I'll be there in person. And, of course, I'll be glued to the CBS broadcast of the Alabama game. So that's what we know about the Hogs. Here are a few other early games that I am looking forward to seeing or in two cases hearing about.
August 30th - 6 PM (South Carolina vs. Vanderbilt) ESPN - The Thursday night game returns! I love it. South Carolina will be the obvious favorite, but I think fans of other SEC East teams will have more confidence in Vanderbilt than maybe in years past after seeing what Franklin did in in his first year with the Dores. And the game is in Nashville. My early gut feeling, however, is that Lattimore makes the needed first down or the needed score and South Carolina prevails in a close one.
September 1st - 6 PM (Auburn vs. Clemson) ESPN - This is the kickoff game in the Georgia dome. It will be interesting to see how the Auburn offense runs without Gus at the helm. Slower, I expect. No Michael Dyer either. The last time we saw Clemson, West Virginia was scoring at will against them in the Orange Bowl. Some have mentioned Dabo for the Arkansas job. No, no, no. And I hope his likely loss to Auburn in the season opener will squash that notion if Jeff Long has really ever considered it. Arkansas in Danny Ford has already met its quota of hiring former Clemson coaches.
September 1st - 7 PM (Alabama vs. Michigan) ABC - This is the Jerry World game and the one I'll turn to after an hour of Tiger vs. Tiger. Hopefully we have Jacksonville State well in hand by this time and Hog fans at home can turn their attention to scouting Bama. How well will that defense be after losing all those starters? Can their backfield get traction with Bo Lacy, but no Trent Richardson and no Mark Ingram? My feeling is that even a weaker Alabama secondary will make life tough for Denard Robinson when it comes to passing and Alabama will just key off on the run. And A.J. showed in New Orleans that he can pass the ball, so I would expect Alabama to get a win in Dallas. And as a Hog fan, you need to root for that result. We want an undefeated Alabama to show up in Fayetteville on the 15th. The last time I saw these two play, I was watching them play in the Orange Bowl from my Dallas hotel room, having earlier in the day seen the Hogs beat Texas in the Cotton Bowl. Good memories. Good memories.
September 8th - 2:30 (Florida vs. Texas A&M) ESPN and (Georgia vs. Missouri) 6:45 ESPN 2 - Two of the old guard SEC teams go on the road to play the newbies. I'll have to hear about these two, for I'll be making way there or seated at War Memorial for the ULM game. Will the Old Guard go undefeated on the road? Hmm. If I had to say which had a better chance of getting a loss, I would say it is Florida going to College Station. And that's mainly because Florida's quarterback situation is not anywhere nearly as good as Georgia's in my estimation. With that said, I will root for Florida, what with A&M now being an SEC West team.
September 15th - 8:15 (Texas vs. Ole Miss) ESPN - Hopefully after the Arkansas / Alabama game I am in a great mood for more college football and will feel like turning over to see Texas make their first visit to SEC country since they played us in Fayetteville. Hog fans, my mother included, haha, it is okay to root for Ole Miss in this one. Houston Nutt is gone from Oxford. But I don't think our pulling for them is going to make a lot of difference in the outcome. Texas and Mack Brown should get a victory.