|Don't get caught looking at the SEC's stars, Aggies.|
In a conference as loaded as the SEC, it's tough to find many deceptively tough spots that qualfy as true "Danger Games." Nevertheless, here are five.
5. Syracuse at Missouri (Nov. 17)
Mizzou needs to figure out how this SEC scheduling thing works. While Syracuse may be a BCS team in designation only, a date with the Orange in the next-to-last game of the year has to be considered a tougher test than their conference mates’ opponents for the SEC’s traditional November “Slaughter Saturday.” The Tigers’ brass needs to get in touch with a Samford or a Wofford or something and make that happen.
The Tigers will be coming home from two consecutive division road games against Tennessee and Florida. The season finale is a trip to College Station. This is just a bad time for a non-conference game against anyone with a pulse.
4. Florida at Vanderbilt (Oct. 13)
A year ago, Vandy went into the Swamp and came close to pulling out a win. Now, the tables will be turned for loverboy James Franklin and his Commodores. Everyone knows you don’t just walk into (insert name of Vandy stadium here) and walk back out with a win now.
The Gators catch Vandy at a tough time. UF will be coming off of a huge home date with LSU, so avoiding a letdown here is tough and is exacerbated by the fact that South Carolina is on deck a week later.
This is a true sandwich game for Florida. Will Muschamp needs to watch out for indigestion.
3. LSU at Texas A&M (Oct. 20)
Know what makes life in the SEC so rough? Three-game stretches like this: at Florida, South Carolina, at Texas A&M.
That’s LSU’s schedule for the first three weekends in October. The Aggies probably won’t be the same quality of team as the other two this year, but they should benefit from the Tigers getting beat up by the Gators and Gamecocks in the SEC meatgrinder.
College Station should be amped for what is looking like a night game. The Bayou Bengals need to come to play.
2. Kent St. at Kentucky (Sept. 8)
Given the outlook for Kentucky this season, calling any game dangerous actually seems a little disingenuous. I’ll give you that.
This match-up has the feel of one of those early-season “huh?” games, though. The Golden Flashes will be coming to Lexington after a Thursday night tuneup to open the season against Towson. The Wildcats, on the other hand, will have a short week to prepare coming off a Sunday game against in-state rival Louisville.
Kent St. brings back eight starters on both offense and defense from a team that finished 2011 winning four of five games. That includes four starters on the offensive line and senior quarterback Spencer Keith.
Joker Phillips can’t afford a letdown game here for the sake of his job security.
1. Texas A&M vs. Louisiana Tech (Aug. 30)
Howdy! The big story in Aggieland this season - even bigger than the debut of new head coach Kevin Sumlin - is A&M’s new home in the SEC. The Aggies make their SEC debut a week after this this neutral-site opener, but they best not get caught looking past a dangerous Louisiana Tech team.
The Bulldogs return eight starters on offense, including veteran quarterback Colby Cameron and four members of the offense. They will be in charge of running Sonny Dykes’ Air Raid offense, the same system being installed by Sumlin at A&M. If the Aggies are misfiring early, they could be in serious trouble.