It’s finally here. The return of weekly rituals and traditions we hold near and dear. We’re passionate about it. We socialize around it. We prepare elaborate meals for it. We argue about it. It permeates our lives throughout the fall. Finally, the new season of “The Bachelor” kicks off this week!
Another reality show with a flair for the dramatic kicks off Thursday night as well: SEC football. Never before have I looked forward to watching a Vanderbilt game, but I honestly can’t wait for Steve Spurrier’s Sakerlina squad to face the Vanderbilt Fightin’ Franklins (that head coach James Franklin is a feisty piece of work, him).
The first week of SEC football brings a top-10 matchup, a few games of at least passing interest, and your usual week-one afterthoughts involving schools with words like Technical, College, State, North, or some other direction in their names.
Alabama plays Michigan at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Bama should roll in this clash of traditional powerhouse programs. Nick Saban started game-planning for this one as soon as the clock struck zero in last year’s BCS national championship game. Or, more likely, Saban turned his eyes towards Michigan after it was obvious that LSU had succumbed to the Tide — on the game’s first play.
Speaking of rolling tides, it wouldn’t be the first week of SEC football without a hurricane. Upon hearing of the dangerous path Hurricane Isaac was taking, LSU fans immediately took necessary precautions by running to the liquor store to ensure they had enough good stuff to last through Saturday’s North Texas game.
Isaac did postpone that big Texas A&M-Louisana Tech game you were all looking forward to. I’m not sure why A&M agreed to play that game at Louisiana Tech in the first place. Aggie fans hoping to scratch Shreveport off their bucket lists will have to wait until mid-October. I’m told the fall foliage in Shreveport is beautiful that time of year.
There’s no hurricane threat inside the Georgia Dome this weekend, where two SEC teams play in games garnering national attention. Tennessee squares off against N.C. State on Friday night. Vols head coach Derek Dooley needs a 1-0 start like Mitt Romney needs a convention bounce, like Jeff Bridges needed a White Russian in “The Big Lebowski,” and like Chevy Chase needed a bloody mary, a steak sandwich, and . . . a steak sandwich in “Fletch.”
The SEC-ACC festivities continue Saturday night in Atlanta when Auburn and Clemson meet again. This is actually an intrasquad scrimmage because Auburn and Clemson are the same school. Clemson is Auburn with a lake and I hear that Auburn is really, really similar to Clemson. Both are the Tigers and 99 percent of Auburn and Clemson alumni reside in Atlanta. At least it feels that way driving around town.
Therefore, I hereby renew my call that Auburn and Clemson combine to form one school, with the new institution to be called Clemburn. In fact, I predict the Clemburn Tigers will emerge victorious in Saturday night’s game.
The remainder of Saturday’s slate is about what you’d expect this time of year. We’ve got “directional” games involving Southeast Louisiana (at Missouri), Central Arkansas (at Ole Miss), Jackson State (is that in Mississippi?) and Jacksonville State (strangely enough, it’s in Alabama, not Florida).
Finally, Georgia welcomes Buffalo to Sanford Stadium. Seems like Georgia opens with Buffalo every other year. Very exciting. Might need a bloody mary and a steak sandwich to get through that one. Go ahead and put it on the Underhill account. Want the number?
Ben Prevost is a contributing columnist for The Times. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.