It’s a slow time in the sports calendar, which makes it a perfect time to start preparing for football season. I looked through the conference schedules for the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC and Pac-12 to look for favorable situations to support teams and bad situations to fade teams. Games are at least two months away, and I wouldn’t automatically pick these games but it’s something that could be helpful down the road. I will post the other four conferences next week. For now, here are games you should keep an eye on in the SEC:
September 26- Missouri at Kentucky: Missouri has three favorable non-conference games before their first SEC game at Kentucky. The Tigers will likely be a favorite against an up-and-coming Wildcats team that needs to win these games if they want to make a bowl. Missouri plays South Carolina the week after. Last year the Tigers shockingly lost to Indiana the week before playing the Gamecocks in a classic “look ahead” situation. Missouri may be looking past Kentucky with bigger games on deck so possibly take Kentucky if they are an underdog in this game.
October 10- Georgia at Tennessee: Georgia is coming off a home game against Alabama. A trip to Knoxville is less than ideal the week after such a big contest for the Bulldogs. The Volunteers host Arkansas the week before and a have a bye the week after. Tennessee might end up being a favorite in this game and I would likely take them if the spread is a south of a field goal.
October 17- Alabama at Texas A&M: Alabama has had favorable conference schedules the last few seasons. However, things change in 2015 as they draw Georgia and Tennessee from the SEC East. They play the two SEC East foes in part of a four-week stretch that also includes games against Arkansas and Texas A&M. The game against Texas A&M is on the road and I can see the Crimson Tide slipping up here. The Aggies will have revenge on their mind after being trounced 59-0 against Alabama last season. Texas A&M also has a favorable early season schedule, and they don’t leave the state of Texas until the eighth week of the season. I don’t know if Alabama will lose this game but I can see them failing to cover the spread.
October 31- Tennessee a Kentucky: Tennessee caps off a brutal month that includes games against Arkansas, Georgia and Alabama with a trip to Lexington. They play at Alabama the week before so Tennessee might not have much energy left when they meet Kentucky. This is a horrible spot for the Volunteers and it’s worth taking a look at the Wildcats on Halloween.
November 7- Kentucky at Georgia: Another opportunity to take Kentucky who will be a huge underdog when they travel to Athens in early November. However, they catch Georgia at a good time. The Bulldogs play Florida a week before at a neutral site and travel to Auburn a week after. Definitely wait until the week of the game before picking Kentucky but this is definitely a date to have circled.
November 14- Alabama at Mississippi State: It seems like a long time ago but Mississippi State could’ve won the SEC West if they beat Alabama last season. They lost and ended up losing to Ole Miss two weeks later. Now the Bulldogs could possibly play spoilers if Alabama is undefeated or has one loss at this point of the year. Mississippi State will have extra time to prepare as they play on a Thursday the week before. Alabama will be coming off their game against LSU, which is always a big fight and emotional test. This might be Mississippi State’s game of the year before the Egg Bowl two weeks later. Look for them to keep this game close.
November 14- Arkansas at LSU: LSU plays at Alabama the week before. I expect the oddsmakers to take that into consideration when making the final line for this game. Arkansas does have a tough test at Ole Miss the week before so it won’t be an easy situation for them when they travel to Baton Rogue. The Razorbacks won this game 17-0 last season. The under could be a potential play here.