We’ve got five weeks of college football under our belts. That’s five weeks of tailgating at stadiums across the SEC, game parties at stately southern homes, and road trips from Texas to South Carolina and everywhere in between.
College football is distinctly social in the Southeastern Conference. The on-field action is always the main attraction, but the games provide the ideal backdrop for Southerners to do what they do best: socialize. From gathering around the table over barbecue in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in Knoxville, to hitting up Satchel’s Pizza in Gainesville, Fla. before the game, to simply getting together with friends and family, socializing is synonymous with SEC football.
Despite the group mentality of enjoying college football, however, serious SEC fans occasionally engage in certain anti-social behavior that borders on the outrageous. Other fans, while not necessarily anti-social, take elaborate steps not to miss a moment of their SEC team’s game. Take the quiz below to see if your SEC pride has crossed the line into problematic:
1. You convince the doctors that your wife and two-day-old baby girl are ready to leave the hospital and go home early. After all, it’s a Saturday in October and your team plays in the afternoon game on CBS.
2. You schedule your fall wedding to coincide with your team’s off week. You know that if your team was playing that Saturday, your friends either wouldn’t show or wouldn’t talk to you ever again.
3. You lock yourself in your house and watch all of your team’s games by yourself. No exceptions. None. End of story.
4. Closely related to No. 3, you decline so many invitations to watch your team’s game with friends that you’re labeled “one strange dude.”
5. You watch your team’s game twice in a span of eight hours. The second viewing is usually around midnight and is never, ever done after your team loses.
Note: The foregoing may or may not be based on the writer’s personal experience.
Whether you’re joining a big group of friends to take in a game this weekend or hunkering down at home, Week 6 in the SEC brings a bevy of quality match-ups. Join me as we glance at select Southeastern Conference games this Saturday.
Florida vs. LSU: The Gators limp into Death Valley with a wide-eyed true freshman quarterback making his first career start. With Florida beaten and beaten up by Alabama last week, conventional wisdom has the No. 1-ranked Tigers prevailing rather easily. But Florida always plays LSU tough in Baton Rouge and Will Muschamp will have his Gators more than ready. I’ll take LSU by the skin of its Tiger teeth.
Georgia vs. Tennessee: Who would have thought the winner of this game may be in the SEC East driver’s seat? Georgia, which hasn’t scored a second-half TD in its last 13 offensive possessions, needs four quarters of solid football to pull off the win at Neyland Stadium. I’ll take the Dawgs as UGA continues its fight to save Mark Richt’s job.
Kentucky vs. South Carolina: A week before the season began, I asked what was stronger in Columbia: South Carolina fans’ desire for an SEC championship or quarterback Stephen Garcia’s desire for a stiff drink? It appears the latter has won out as the Gamecocks’ offense has sputtered thus far. Still, I’ll take South Carolina over hapless Kentucky in this one.
Auburn vs. Arkansas: Both teams come off big road wins and look to challenge LSU and Alabama for the SEC West. I’ll take the Razorbacks in this one, largely because the Auburn team will be bored to tears from having spent 24 hours in Fayetteville, Ark., and they’ll simply want to get on the plane and leave. Who can blame them?
Best of luck to your SEC team this weekend. In the meantime, please don’t come to my house to watch football. I’ll be in lockdown mode and, with any luck, I’ll watch my team’s game again after midnight.
Ben Prevost is a contributing columnist for The Times. Contact him at email@example.com.