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SportsPulse: Mackenzie Salmon hooked up with Oklahoma State working again Chuba Hubbard and requested how he is dealing with enjoying this faculty soccer season all through a virus, in addition to how his present courting is with head trainer Mike Gundy.

USA TODAY

The SEC is about to jump proper into convention motion Saturday with seven matchups historically held later within the season. 

If missing any such marquee, national-impact video games that dot the SEC agenda in October and November, the league’s opening slate gives a primary take a look at protecting nationwide champion LSU and street video games for fellow School Soccer Playoff contenders Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

Total, the SEC’s arrival raises the standard of play around the Bowl Subdivision. 5 of the highest 8 within the Amway Coaches Ballot 

Each and every of the league’s seven video games function no less than one ranked staff, 

From first to closing, here is how the league’s opening weekend shakes out:

1. Mississippi State at No. five LSU

It is the debut for brand new Mississippi State trainer Mike Leach and an early likelihood for LSU to silence probably the most critics pegging the Tigers to fall wanting some other West department championship, let on my own a go back commute to the School Soccer Playoff. As anticipated, Myles Brennan has been named Joe Burrow’s successor at quarterback. However how shut will the Tigers resemble closing yr’s record-setting offense?

LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. (24) intercepts a move meant for Georgia vast receiver George Pickens all through the 3rd quarter of the 2019 SEC championship sport at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Picture: Jason Getz, USA TODAY Sports activities)

2. Kentucky at No. eight Auburn

The highlight is on Auburn quarterback Bo Nix and his building after an frequently spectacular however once in a while asymmetric freshman season; he is considered as one in every of school soccer’s possible breakout stars. Kentucky is robust on either side of the road, particularly with an offensive entrance with a couple of all-conference contenders. With Kentucky simply at the verge of the Best 25, a win at Auburn would ship the Wildcats hovering into the Coaches Ballot and complicate the SEC East race.

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three. No. 21 Tennessee at South Carolina

Whilst now not a sport with vastly necessary nationwide ramifications, that is an SEC matchup with considerable implications for the 2 methods concerned. A season-opening loss would value Tennessee a lot of the goodwill gathered via closing yr’s sturdy shut. Each and every sport is necessary for a South Carolina program recent off a disappointing 2019. In some way, even though, a Tennessee loss would echo greater than a South Carolina win — the Volunteers have to begin speedy to compare this yr’s expectancies.

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four. No. 6 Florida at Mississippi

Florida has been relatively lost sight of at the back of Georgia, the hot powerhouse from the East department, however the Gators are a sound playoff contender in trainer Dan Mullen’s 3rd season. But they are going to spend the opener once more outdoor the focus; the nationwide center of attention on this sport will as an alternative be on Lane Kiffin’s go back to the SEC.  

five. No. 2 Alabama at Missouri

Missouri’s Eli Drinkwitz, some other trainer beginning at a brand new faculty, attracts Nick Saban and the Purple Tide as his welcome-to-the-SEC second. The Tigers are vital underdogs. In the meantime, this most certainly sounds acquainted: Alabama is anticipated to go into the postseason at or close to the highest of the convention and poised to protected a playoff berth. Quarterback Mac Jones takes over for Tua Tagovailoa whilst the protection brings again big name linebacker Dylan Moses, who overlooked all of 2019 because of damage.

6. No. three Georgia at Arkansas

Georgia mustn’t battle with an Arkansas program within the early levels of what is going to be an in depth and onerous rebuild beneath new trainer Sam Pittman. (Arkansas is anticipated to be an underdog in each sport this season.) Any intrigue that exists stems from the Bulldogs’ fresh traits at quarterback: Wake Wooded area switch Jamie Newman opted out of the season, leaving redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis and Southern California switch JT Daniels in rivalry for the beginning task. With Daniels nonetheless running his long ago from a knee damage, Mathis is in place to play an enormous section in Georgia’s push for the convention identify.

7. Vanderbilt at No. 11 Texas A&M

The Commodores are anticipated to once more deliver up the rear within the East whilst A&M sits some of the 2d or 3rd tier of preseason playoff contenders. The Aggies have the items to take that step ahead beneath Jimbo Fisher however now not have the posh of a quite simple agenda, with video games in opposition to Alabama and Florida to start October and matchups with Auburn and LSU to finish the common season.

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