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SEC Banter: Week 1 full of disappointing matchups
Ben Prevost writes SEC Banter weekly for The Times during the college football season.

The new phone book’s here! The new phone book’s here!

It actually isn’t here, even assuming “it,” the phone book, still exists.

But I wanted to give a nod to an important movie, “The Jerk,” a critically-acclaimed film from 1979 that marked Steve Martin’s cinematic debut.

Martin’s character, Navin R. Johnson, sure was excited the new phone book arrived, and darn it if we, too, aren’t just as excited for SEC football.

Muted excitement is more accurate, however, as Week 1 offers as much splendor as the return of Endless Shrimp at Red Lobster (a burst of initial excitement that quickly wears off).

In fact, aside from perennially overrated No. 11 Oregon at No. 16 Auburn, Saturday’s slate reeks.

Toledo at Kentucky.  Yawn.  Georgia State at Tennessee.  Nap time.  Portland State at Arkansas.  Big puddle of drool.

The sleep-inducing schedule did its work on yours truly and wreaked a case of what some might call writer’s block.

With no storylines as inspiration, I could write instead about optimism and how SEC football is inherited through family but, let’s face it, no one wants to read that crap.

I could write about how I miss country music.  Real country music, not that modern pop stuff.  I’m talkin’ Willie, Waylon and the boys.

Or thoughts on food, like how those little brown cracker-ish Melba Toast pieces are by far the best part of Chex Mix.  I scour the bag for them and filter out the junk pretzels and other stuff.

Or how I can’t wait to grill some jalapeno pork sausage I honchoed from Junior’s Smokehouse in Wharton, Texas.  Give ‘em a call; they’ll set you up good.

Or ‘80s movies and how we can all learn from Ferris Bueller’s calculated risk-taking or Clark Griswold’s dogged determination to make memories for his family.

I could write about how much of a pain back-to-school is from a parent’s perspective.  Meetings, conferences, paper sign-up forms, the whole “how was your summer?” conversation.

I could write about all of that but, allegedly, this space is reserved for SEC football, so commentary on this weekend’s games is in order.

Texas State at Texas A&M: Cancel your plans tonight because we got the Bobcats of Texas State against the A&M Dorks. (If you knew Texas State’s mascot was the Bobcats, you win a free oven mitt and, if you know the movie reference I just made, you win another free oven mitt.)

Toledo at Kentucky: It’s just a 4-hour drive from Toledo, Ohio, to Lexington, Kentucky. Do the Toledo Rockets take a bus or hop on a Midwest Air DC-9 for the trip? Generally, my driving limit is 7 hours; what’s a football team’s limit?

Ole Miss at Memphis: With just over an hour from Oxford, MS to Memphis, TN, the Rebels are definitely bussing it to Graceland.

Duke vs. Alabama in Atlanta: Really?

South Carolina vs. North Carolina in Charlotte, NC: I think Charlotte is a BS town and for the life of me can’t figure out why the SEC Network is based there. It, along with the SEC’s offices, should relocate to Destin, FL. There, I said it.

Georgia Southern at LSU: The home team could lose this game. Georgia Southern won’t give two you-know-whats about playing in Death Valley. Those boys show up.  But the Bayou Bengals end up pulling away.

Oregon at Auburn: Rarely do SEC fans without allegiance to the Tigers pull for Auburn. In this one, we need Auburn to make the SEC proud and rout Oregon, who should succumb to the heat and humidity and birds flying ‘round the stadium and whatnot.

Other games are on the SEC schedule Saturday but they’re just too boring to merit coverage here. They reek, and they’ve wreaked a case of writer’s block on ol’ SEC Banter.

To get me through the boredom, I’m putting on some Waylon and searching for those little brown cracker-ish Melba Toast pieces in this bag of Chex Mix...

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