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Ten Best Pre-November SEC Games

By Dave Holcomb
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Dave Holcomb takes a look at the ten best games before November on the new schedule.

Coronavirus has thrown havoc into American life, and college football has not been immune. The SEC has pushed back its start date about a month while other conferences have postponed the season indefinitely.

The SEC will officially kick off the 2020 season on September 26. The new slate for the conference will include two open dates and no non-conference games. Let’s take a look at the ten best games before November on the new schedule:

**Weeks are based on SEC schedule**

10. Tennessee at South Carolina, Week 1, September 26

As excited as fans will be for the season to start, the SEC slate doesn’t have, at least from a national perspective, a lot of must-watch matchups in Week 1. The closest game to that title is the Volunteers trip to Columbia. Neither figures to be part of the division race in the SEC East, but the 2020 season is extremely important for both programs. The Gamecocks are looking to bounce back from a 4-8 record last year while Tennessee is hoping to build off its first eight-win campaign since 2016.

9. Mississippi State at Kentucky, Week 3, October 10

After Mississippi State dominated this rivalry from 2009-15, Kentucky has managed to split the last four meetings with its annual cross-division opponent. The Bulldogs won last season, 28-13. These rivals met in September the last two years, but traditionally, this matchup has been played in late October. The rivalry will at least return to October in Week 3 this season.

8. Alabama at Tennessee, Week 4, October 24

The last time Tennessee beat Alabama, Nick Saban was still head coach of the Miami Dolphins. Saban is 13-0 versus the Volunteers, and in those matchups, Tennessee has finished within one score of Alabama only twice. While a lot of the schedule is new, this matchup’s date remains unchanged.

7. Florida at Texas A&M, Week 3, October 10

One positive about the schedule change is SEC fans will see Florida face Jimbo Fisher for the first time since he arrived at Texas A&M. As head coach of the Seminoles, Fisher went 6-1 against the Gators.This new early-season matchup will be very important for both programs, which are looking to take that next step in their respective divisions.

6. Kentucky at Tennessee, Week 4, October 17

The Volunteers have historically dominated this rivalry, but it’s still one of the most entertaining matchups in the SEC East every year. The Wildcats will be trying to win at Knoxville for the first time since 1984. Originally scheduled for Nov. 7, these two rivals will meet in the middle of October on the new slate.

5. Arkansas at Texas A&M, Week 6, October 31

Strange things tend to happen on Halloween. In this SEC West rivalry, the Razorbacks and Aggies will meet at College Station for the first time in eight years and somewhere else other than Arlington, TX for the first time since 2013.Texas A&M has dominated this rivalry lately, winning eight straight versus Arkansas. The Razorbacks are 1-5 at College Station since 1983.

4. LSU at Auburn, Week 6, October 31

On the original schedule, Auburn was set to face LSU and Alabama in the last two weeks of the season. The new slate helps Auburn avoid those back-to-back weeks from hell with a reschedule of its contest against LSU on Halloween. The Tigers from LSU have won three straight in this rivalry, but all of them were very close. Auburn held LSU’s historic offense to a season-low 23 points last year.

3. Auburn at Georgia, Week 2, October 3

Usually a mid-November game, the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry will renew in October a week earlier than originally scheduled. It will be an extremely important game for both programs eyeing to meet again in the SEC Championship as they did in 2017. Georgia owns a three-game winning streak versus Auburn since that matchup, and the Tigers haven’t won in Athens since 2005.

2. LSU at Florida, Week 4, October 17

One of the most balanced rivals in the SEC, LSU and Florida have split their last four meetings and have each won once at the other’s stadium during that stretch. The Tigers will be trying to win two straight against the Gators for the first time since 2013-15. A potential SEC Championship matchup, this LSU-Florida showdown will likely go a long way to determining who meets in Atlanta on Dec. 19.

1. Georgia at Alabama, Week 4, October 17

SEC fans will have to wait a little longer, but the highly anticipated Georgia-Alabama matchup will still happen and remains the SEC’s best game at least before November. The Bulldogs will visit Tuscaloosa for the first time since 2007, which coincidentally, was also the last time Georgia beat Alabama. The Crimson Tide have won five straight in this rivalry since then, including twice in the SEC Championship and in the National Championship.