The SEC's requirement for members to play at least one non-conference team from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, Notre Dame or BYU* every season starts in 2016. Some really intriguing match-ups are slated for this season, most of them coming in the opening weekend. So, you know what this is. Let's get on with it.
SEC's Top 10 Non-Conference Games for 2016:
1 - Ole Miss vs. Florida State (Sept. 5 - Orlando) - This might just be the most important game for the Rebels since Eli Manning left. The nation is going to find out real quick what kind of team/program they have in Oxford. A rare Monday night football game. Prediction: FSU by 8.
2 - Georgia vs. North Carolina (Sept. 3 - Atlanta) Kirby Smart makes his head coaching debut against a dangerous Tar Heels team. How will the fan base react if the Dawgs take an L? UGA has many question marks heading into fall camp. Prediction: Nick Chubb gets less than 10 carries. UGA by 4.
3 - Alabama vs. Southern Cal (Sept. 3 - Arlington) A matchup of two of the most historic college football programs of all time. However, the Trojans are still mired in off-field issues. Prediction: "Sam Cunningham" will be name dropped in the first 10 seconds of the broadcast. Alabama by 9.
4 - LSU vs. Wisconsin (Sept. 3 - Green Bay) This should be a fun one mostly because the game is being played at historic Lambeau Field. Interestingly, the Bayou Bengals poached the Badgers DC Dave Aranda in the off-season. Predictions: Aranda will be a head coach somewhere real soon. LSU by 10.
5 - Florida at Florida State (Nov. 26) - Jim McElwain did an incredible job in his first season at the Swamp. What can he do for an encore with a QB (Luke Del Rio) who can actually pass the ball? Prediction: FSU by 3.
6 - Arkansas at TCU (Sept. 10) It is tempting to rank this one higher but the Hogs are wont to lose winnable games in September (4-11 vs. FBS teams, 1-9 vs. Power 5 pre-October over the last four seasons). Prediction: Christians by 12.
7 - Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech (Sept. 10 - Bristol) - This will be one of the more stranger settings as the game will be played on the infield at NASCAR's Bristol Motor Speedway. Promoters are expecting a crowd in the neighborhood of 160,000 for the game. However, fans will be so far from the field, it may be a big disappointment. Prediction: Everyone gets playing time. UT by 16.
8 - UCLA at Texas A&M (Sept. 3) It's the Battle of the Underachievers. There is so much talent in Westwood and College Station yet so many inexplicable losses. Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen started all 13 as a true freshman in 2015. He'll be one to watch. Prediction: Kevin Sumlin won't insert an unproven freshman QB into the game for absolutely no reason. UCLA by 6.
9 - Clemson at Auburn (Sept. 3) The first of a two game regular season for Clemson (the other being @FSU). Prediction: Auburn will play tough for awhile but in the end, Clemson by 10.
10 - Mississippi State at BYU (Oct. 14) It must have pained Dan Mullen to turn down Jackson State in order to schedule this game. Prediction: The Cougars are such a wildcard of inconsistency. This game could go either way but I'll say MSU by 2.
(In no particular order)
- South Carolina at Clemson (Nov. 26) Oh, the humanity. Prediction: Clemson by 28.
- Kentucky at Louisville (Nov. 26) This game might just decide whether Mark Stoops returns in 2017. Prediction: Louisville by 4.
- Georgia Tech at Georgia (Nov. 26) - UGA has dominated this series of late but every now and then ... Prediction: UGA by 17.
- Missouri at West Virginia (Sept. 3) - Mizzou is starting over and Dana Holgorsen WVU's tenure may be coming to an end. Prediction: WVU by 12.
* One solitary online reporter from ESPN claims to have an unnamed source who says the SEC will also accept Army as a fulfillment of this requirement. However, no other living being on Earth or in space stations have backed up this claim. So, don't even...
66 Days til Kickoff!