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SEC Non-Conference Games of 2018

PHOTO: AUBURN ATHLETICS

The start of the 2018 college football season is approaching.  We are about 30 days away before the season starts.

Across the landscape of college football, there are many exciting conference games in the SEC.  I believe this 2018 SEC college football season will be an exciting one to watch.

Considered one of the top football conferences in the country, before the SEC enjoys its gauntlet of conference matchups. There are some great non-conference matchups that SEC teams will face this upcoming season.  Whether it’s neutral-site games to begin the season or rivalries to end it.   The non-conference games in the SEC will not disappoint fans.

Here are some of the SEC’s best non-conference games for 2018:

Auburn vs. Washington- Sept. 1- Atlanta, GA   

We start off Week 1 in the season with an SEC vs PAC 12 matchup in the Mercedes- Benz Stadium. Both Auburn and Washington have very good senior quarterbacks that are looking to lead their teams to the College Football Playoff. Both teams are coming off losses at the end of the season especially Auburn.   The Mercedes-Benz Stadium has not been kind to the Tigers yet.  Auburn lost both the SEC Championship and the Peach Bowl to end the 2017 season.  Fans will enjoy the QB matchup of Jarrett Stidham vs Jake Browning.   This a game to watch during college football opening weekend.

LSU vs. Miami-Sept. 2- Arlington, TX

We have two known “storied” college football programs who haven’t played each other since 2005 when Miami lost 40-3. This will be a pivotal season opener for both teams.  Both teams will have young and inexperienced players in key positions on the field.   This season opener will be the start of the Ed Oregron era of football at LSU and the first time Mark Richt will face an SEC team since leaving Georgia in 2015.

Texas A&M vs Clemson-Sept. 8

Hello, Jimbo Fisher.  Welcome to the SEC and Aggieland!  For your second game of the season, here is another chance to take on Clemson the team that gave you the “blues” during the last several ACC seasons at Florida State. Fisher lost his final three games against the Tigers.  This will be a key early-season game for both teams. Clemson is playing in front of 100,000+ Aggie fans at Kyle Field.   Texas A&M will have the opportunity to prove whether they can play physical defense in the SEC against Clemson.  Kyle Field will be fired up for a chance to take down the 2016 national champions and get the “Jimbo Era” off to great start.

Mississippi State at Kansas State- Sept. 8

This is will be the first test of the season for Mississippi State.   They received a lot of recognition at SEC Media Days in Atlanta, GA.   This year’s Bulldogs were picked to finish third in the SEC West Division.  Mississippi State is returning 18 starters and a pair of defensive SEC first-team All-Americans in Jeffrey Simmons and Montez Sweat.   There is a lot of excitement around first-year head coach Joe Moorhead and these Bulldogs.

However, never underestimate Bill Snyder and playing a road game at Kansas State. The Wildcats’ track record in non-conference home games is very strong.  Kansas State will test this very physical Bulldogs’ defense.  But other SEC teams such as Vanderbilt beat Kansas State in Nashville last season, and Auburn won in 2014 at Kansas State.  Mississippi State will feel confident to come away with the win in Manhattan, Kansas.

Arkansas at Colorado State- Sept. 8

This game will be a measuring stick for the first-year head coach, Chad Morris to see how much of a rebuild is needed at Arkansas.  The Hogs only won four games in the 2017 season and looking to eclipse that win total in 2018. Colorado State is headed by former by former Georgia quarterback and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.

If Arkansas wins this Week 2 road trip, this could be a momentum builder for them in the 2018 season.

Vanderbilt at Notre Dame- Sept. 15

This year it’s the Vanderbilt Commodores heading to South Bend to take on Notre Dame.   We all know last season it was Georgia coming away with a spectacular win at Notre Dame.   Can Vanderbilt do the same this year in South Bend?  Coach Derek Mason seems to believe so.  Mason said at SEC Media Days, the Commodores aren’t worried about South Bend they play in the SEC.

Vanderbilt does have one of the conferences less spoken of quarterbacks in Kyle Shurmur leading the offense.   He tossed for 26 touchdowns while passing for 2,2823 with only 10 interceptions.  Their top rusher Ralph Webb is gone from a year ago and will be replaced by Khari Blasingame. Blasingame is a converted linebacker who has averaged 4.2 yards per carry over his career.  If Shurmur and the Commodores’ can pull off an upset win, this would give Vanderbilt some huge momentum this season.

South Carolina at Clemson- Nov. 24

Will Muschamp won nine games during his second season with South Carolina but has not stayed competitive in this rivalry known as the Palmetto Bowl.  Clemson has outscored the Gamecocks in the first two games under Muschamp.

However, South Carolina has reason to be very optimist to be competitive this season with Clemson.  The Gamecocks return quarterback Jake Bentley and playmaker wide receiver Deebo Samuel this season.

Other Notable SEC Non-Conference Games

Alabama vs. Louisville- Sept. 1- Orlando, FL

Georgia vs. Georgia Tech- Nov. 24

Tennessee vs. West Virginia- Sept. 1- Charlotte, NC

Florida at Florida State- Nov. 24

Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech- Sept. 1- Houston, TX

Kentucky at Louisville- Nov. 24

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