Taking a look at the 10 non-conference SEC football games to look forward to in 2017, including Auburn battling Clemson, Florida taking on Michigan, and Alabama meeting FSU.
More and more, teams across the nation are scheduling tougher non-conference games to help build their resumes and impress the College Football Playoff committee. The SEC is no different, as conference members have begun taking on some major powerhouses from around the college football landscape.
In 2017, we will get to see some classic matchups at the beginning of the season, as Florida takes on Michigan, Texas A&M travels to the Rose Bowl to battle UCLA, and Alabama lines up against Florida State in a clash of superpowers.
The action will be intense and conference pride will be on the line. Yesterday, we took a look at the top conference games, now here are 10 non-conference games involving SEC teams that all college football fans should look forward to in 2017.
10 Best Non-Conference SEC Football Games In 2017
10. FSU at Florida (Saturday, Nov. 25) – The Seminoles have embarrassed Jim McElwain’s squad the past two seasons and have won four straight in the rivalry. Can a stingy defense and a possibly revamped offense get the Gators over the top?
9. Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech (Monday, Sept. 4) – Butch Jones will have to find a replacement for quarterback Joshua Dobbs and defensive end Derek Barnett, and at the same time, prepare for the Georgia Tech triple-option as the Volunteers battle the Yellow Jackets on Labor Day night in Atlanta.
8. Texas A&M at UCLA (Saturday, Sept. 2) – The Aggies pulled off a 31-24 thriller over the Bruins in College Station this past September, but they must now travel west and play in the legendary Rose Bowl. A good non-conference win here would be a relief for Kevin Sumlin, who enters the season squarely on the hot seat.
7. Louisville at Kentucky (Saturday, Nov. 25) – The Wildcats went into Louisville and stunned the Cardinals and Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson this past season. Now, Kentucky and Mark Stoops will try to make winning the Governor’s Cup a regular thing. Running back Benny Snell Jr. has the potential to be special, while Jackson will look for revenge.
6. TCU at Arkansas (Saturday, Sept. 9) – A wild, 41-38 Razorbacks victory was how this game ended last season in Fort Worth, and now the Hogs must protect their home turf. The backfield of quarterback Austin Allen and running back Rawleigh Williams will provide a powerful arsenal for the Razorbacks offense. Stopping TCU and its prolific offense could be a problem, though.
5. LSU vs. BYU (Saturday, Sept. 2) – All of the talk leading up to the season will be focused on LSU’s new offensive coordinator Matt Canada and what he can do to make the Tigers explosive on that side of the ball. It doesn’t hurt that he has running back Derrius Guice at his disposal. Don’t expect the Cougars to come in intimidated, though.
4. Georgia at Notre Dame (Saturday, Sept. 9) – The gold helmet. Touchdown Jesus. That fight song. Georgia will be facing a lot of history, but this is a Notre Dame team that was downright awful this past season. The Dawgs will have a lot of veteran talent on their side, and should walk away from South Bend with a win.
3. Florida vs. Michigan (Saturday, Sept 2.) – Florida will have to find an offense in order to be taken seriously as a national title contender. Bad news for the Gators is that they open against one of the top defenses in the nation in Michigan at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The Wolverines will be just as good if not better than last season, and that is dangerous for a Florida team that cannot score points.
2. Auburn at Clemson (Saturday, Sept. 9) – I can guarantee this: Auburn will not play three quarterbacks in a confusing game plan like it did against Clemson this past season. Jarrett Stidham will be the man under center for the Tigers as they try to take out the national championships who will be replacing some key players.
1. Alabama vs. FSU (Saturday, Sept. 2) – There’s no better way to christen the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta than with this colossal matchup that has two teams with dreams of bringing back the title to their respective campuses. The battle at quarterback will be a highlight, as both Alabama’s Jalen Hurts and Florida State’s Deondre Francois try to improve on their first seasons as the main man under center.