By: Phil Bush
SEC Digital Network
ATLANTA - The first week of Southeastern Conference play is behind us. There have been many good performances, but I think that the docket is so full of good matches this week, that I want to spend time focusing there.
•Georgia vs. Alabama: Two teams with second-year head coaches that have given the early appearance of being on the upswing. Can the Tide win on the road? Both come in 1-1 in the conference and every match counts on the way to being declared SEC Champion.
•Tennessee vs. Arkansas – in Knoxville: The preseason favorite to win the conference hosting and an up-and-coming team that is very athletic and can cause a lot of teams problems.
•Auburn vs South Carolina – in Auburn: How good are the undefeated Gamecocks? Going on the road in the conference should tell us a lot – They are one of three teams that are trying to be beasts of the East.
•Florida vs Missouri in Gainesville: Speaking of beasts of the East, the Gators host the Tigers for the first time in SEC play. The bad news for the Tigers is that it is Florida’s only match that week, so they are going to be loaded and ready with a big crowd and a ton of motivation to be declared the top team both in the East and the SEC.
•LSU vs Kentucky in Baton Rouge: I am sure these Tigers will be very happy to be home after a lot of tough matches on the road. Kentucky, while not being part of the top 25, will be highly motivated to get back on track. Kentucky may be 6-5, but they will come in with a huge amount of big-match experience.
•Ole Miss Vs Mississippi State – Oxford: This is always a hard match and both teams are looking to get on track in the SEC with a win against the arch rival.
And that was just Friday ...
•Auburn vs. Alabama – When is Auburn vs. Alabama not big in any sport? They will come in either tied or within one match of the lead in the SEC West. Lots of motivation, not that any is really needed here.
•Georgia vs. Arkansas – Will Arkansas recover from the Tennessee match with enough energy to really compete on the Bulldogs home floor? Both teams will be close in the win/loss column coming into this match. The key will be ensuring both teams recover from their Friday evening contests well.
•LSU vs. Missouri: Lots of angles at work here. First, LSU will be playing the second of two tough matches at home. They have not been home very much this season. Second, Missouri will come out of Gainesville. Will they, like so many teams, leave with the fabled “Gator Hangover” where good teams come away from Gainesville being a little bit beat up. Don’t believe me? Look at Florida’s record in the Mary Wise years in Gainesville. It’s not just a little bit frightening, it really scary.
•Texas A&M vs. Kentucky: A first for both sides here. Kentucky’s first trip to College Station for an SEC match. Motivation is very high on both sides for this one and we will quickly find out how good A&M is against the Wildcats.•Tennessee vs. South Carolina: Will Carolina come into Knoxville still undefeated? Not sure, but South Carolina is trying to establish themselves with the top programs in the East, so this is a chance for them to show that they are in the class of the beasts. One thing that will be interesting is how well the reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Week Juliette Thevenin will match up against the Lady Vols.
There are so many good matches this week, and the fact that we are only in week two of SEC play gets me exciting just thinking about it.