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SEC Banter: High expectations for Wild West Weekend
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The sixth Saturday of Southeastern Conference football ushers in October, my favorite month. Cool, crisp air, sharp blue October skies, and kids talking incessantly about Halloween weeks away from trick-or-treating. (“Daddy, can we eat ALL our candy on Halloween night? Please! Please!”)

October also heralds the arrival of big boy football and, fortunately for SEC afficionados, Saturday is absolutely loaded with blockbuster SEC West matchups carrying implications difficult to overstate.

Six SEC West teams ranked in the top 15 will square off, as No. 6 Texas A&M meets No. 12 Mississippi State at noon, No. 3 Alabama visits No. 11 Ole Miss at 3:30 p.m., and No. 15 LSU battles No. 5 Auburn as night falls at 7 p.m.

It’s been dubbed “Separation Saturday,” “Wild West Saturday,” or, as SEC Banter prefers, “Consume Junk Food and Booze in Excess Because There are Huge Games on Saturday.”

Regardless of the label, it’s a massive weekend in the SEC West and the first time in the sport’s illustrious history that a single division serves up so many top-ranked matchups in one day.

Saturday will alter the landscape of the most rugged, treacherous division in college football.

If you’re like me (which means you rock), your expectations are sky high for a twelve-hour, back-to-back-to-back marathon of the nation’s finest college football on display.

And therein lies the problem: expectations. Rarely are they met. The hype surrounding Saturday makes SEC Banter wonder whether it can live up to our lofty expectations.

Expectations. Mine are probably too high in general. For example, after endless commercials during endless SEC games, my expectations were through the roof for “endless shrimp” at Red Lobster, so I took the bait.

Let’s just say I was glad when endless shrimp ended.

Expectations. As a young buck, I had enormous expectations every Thursday night for the all-time undisputed best show in television history, “Magnum, P.I.” Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV’s exploits always exceeded my expectations. (Any truth to that rumor of a “Magnum, P.I.” movie? Please be true!)

Expectations. When Democrats controlled all of Washington a few years ago, some folks had dreamy expectations of unleashing the full power of the federal government to solve everyone’s everyday problems.

Thankfully, liberals have little in common with Saturday’s SEC West slate and, high as our expectations might be, this trio of top-ranked games should deliver.

Consume Junk Food and Booze in Excess Because There are Huge Games on Saturday begins with Texas A&M at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are slight favorites but SEC Banter sees the Agriculturals harvesting the raucous Starkville midday crowd and quieting the cow bells in a close one.

Next, just over 90 miles away in the Magnolia State, Alabama faces Mississippi in what is billed as the biggest game in the history of Oxford, Miss. The contest marks the first time that ESPN College GameDay visits Oxford, one of SEC Banter’s favorite fall settings. If you can’t enjoy yourself in the Grove before a big Ole Miss game, seek psychiatric help immediately.

The Rebels have heard all week that this is their moment. A chance to join the national conversation. A chance at relevance, the one thing Ole Miss has so desperately pined for through the years.

Tough expectations to meet, to be sure, and that’s why SEC Banter predicts the Tide rolls, and rolls big.

The day concludes with LSU traveling to the plains of Auburn. This rivalry has a fabled past of wacky, last-minute endings, which means Les Miles feels right at home.

But the Bayou Bengals’ quarterback is a true freshman making his first career start. I performed extensive online research and learned that the quarterback position is an important one on the gridiron. A true freshman’s first collegiate start at Jordan-Hare Stadium almost guarantees an Auburn win and, as I predicted last week, LSU will not win an SEC West game this season.

So, there you have it. Let’s hope this first October SEC Saturday meets our expectations.

In the meantime, Red Lobster invited me to dinner with the Democratic congressional leadership. We’re having — you guessed it — endless shrimp. Expectations are quite low, however, I convinced them to run endless episodes of “Magnum, P.I.” on the TV in the bar. There’s hope yet!

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