Dig out your fan-favorite jersey — football season has arrived! Yes, with the anticipation of crisp autumn air, and as Pinterest boards are filling up with tasty tailgating recipes and social media lights up with “Roll Tide” and “Go Dawgs,” for many, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
For all things SEC, whether you’re a die-hard fan or just want to be in-the-know, here’s your guide to the 2018 season, from the latest news, players to watch, biggest games and all things tailgating!
The Latest News of the 2018 SEC Season
Recently released by the Associated Press, polls are predicting that Alabama will once again be ranked No. 1 for the third year in a row as fans anticipate the team’s potential sixth National Championship win since 2009. With six SEC teams falling under the top 25 ranking this year, Georgia comes in at No. 3 on the list. As the season begins, the reoccurring question is Will another SEC team close in on the Tide’s undefeated title?
Oh no! A battle between Alabama’s Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa has broken out over who will be leading the team as quarterback this year. It’s no secret that Hurts has led the team to win consecutive national championship games, but when Tagovailoa led the Tide in a comeback win against Georgia in last years’ championship, head coach Nick Saban had some decisions to make. The big controversy? Alabama might be replacing a two year successful starter with someone who hasn’t started a game since high school. It is predicted that Tagovailoa will be starting in the first game against Louisville this weekend, but it is likely Saban won’t let the decision be made public until the players take the field.
Players to Watch
Jake Fromm, Georgia quarterback
Making himself known as a freshman, Fromm’s spectacular throws in last years’ national championship have helped place him at No. 5 on NFL’s list of the top 150 players to watch in 2018. Fromm didn’t seem like a freshman when he was running the offense and throwing passes to all ends of the field this past year. Many are seeing Fromm as a potential Heisman candidate as he has quickly become one of the most outstanding quarterbacks in the country. It will definitely be exciting to see where Jake Fromm takes Georgia in the upcoming season ahead as a starting sophomore.
Drew Lock, Mizzou quarterback
Drew Lock is known for his good arm and great attitude! Lock led his team last year to Mizzou’s first bowl game since 2014 and threw 44 passing touchdowns, landing him as a Heisman candidate for his upcoming senior year. Turning down an offer to go into the NFL draft, Lock will be returning to Mizzou’s field with the title of one of SEC’s most elite quarterbacks! There is no doubt that scouts and fans are on the edge of their seats awaiting Lock’s return to the field this season.
Benny Snell, Kentucky running back
Benny Snell is one of the best running backs in Kentucky history! Snell led the team in 262 carries, 1,333 rushing yards, 19 rushing touchdowns, and 102.5 rushing yards per game during last year’s season. Entering his junior year as a pre-season All-SEC First-Team selection, eyes are open to see if Snell will strive to be even more successful than he was in his previous season.
Jarrett Stidham, Auburn quarterback
The Heisman hype is all too real surrounding this Auburn quarterback! Although Stidham made a few mistakes with some turnovers in the last two games of 2017, many have hope that if he plays like he did in the second half of the regular season he has a very good chance of becoming a Heisman candidate. The pressure is on for Stidham to pull out all of his best moves for Auburn the year.
Highly Anticipated Games of the 2018 Season
Tennessee vs Florida
September 22, 2018 @Tennessee
This long-standing rivalry definitely won’t go away over time! Neither team’s head coach remains this year with Dan Mullen replacing Jim McElwain at Florida, and Jeremy Pruitt succeeding Butch Jones at Tennessee. Tennessee fans are hopeful this year as they have not only gotten rid of their previous head coach, but will also be replacing Quinten Dormady’s quarterback position with either Jarrett Guarantano or Will McBride. Last year’s 27-yard field goal by Aaron Medley tied the game to 20-20 before Feleipe Franks and Tyrie Cleveland worked together to get Florida’s winning touchdown. The rivals’ previous head-to-head game will make for a very interesting competition with both teams’ adjustments on their sides.
Alabama vs Auburn
November 24, 2018 @Alabama
It is no secret that if you utter the words “Roll Tide” or “Go Tigers” to the opposite team, these fans will heat up faster than the players on the field! Must-win implications are predicted for both teams, challenging Alabama’s overwhelming favoritism in most of their regular season games. Everyone is preparing to see quarterbacks Jarrett Stidham and Jalen Hurts or Tua Tagovailoa go head to head in this years’ Iron Bowl.
The SEC’s Top Tailgates to Attend
The Grove at Ole Miss
Football fans have often thought that no other place in America creates a better tailgating experiencing than that of Ole Miss. Fans set up tents covering the grove, creating what feels like a large tailgating village. It doesn’t matter what team you’re rooting for, The Grove accepts all people who are ready to celebrate their love for all things football and tailgating.
Don’t expect to walk into this tailgating scene without getting offered homemade cajun food by almost every tent you pass. With the mindset, “There’s enough to go around for everyone,” LSU fans don’t care what color you’re sporting at their tailgates, just be ready to eat! Full of cajun creations, libations and football love, you are bound to have a good time in Baton Rouge.
The Quad, The Amphitheater and the Library Lawn are all highly populated tailgating spots in Auburn, Alabama. Wherever you may land on Auburn’s campus, you’ll hear sounds of proud fans and loud music swarming the air! Don’t pack up your things too soon because if Auburn walks away with a win, Toomers Corner will be covered in toilet paper. Come prepared with your tailgating gear and your rolls of toilet paper in tow!
May your best team win!
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