The SEC and the ACC jockey for position
We’re coming off media days events for two of the most competitive college football conferences, and we’re all looking forward to the day in late summer when we break out our coolers and start the college football season. The SEC and the ACC have some of the strongest programs in the country, and they’ll be represented robustly in bowl games and polls of the top teams.
This year, watch all the action on DISH. Whether you’re at home, on the road, or tailgating in the parking lot, you can watch every down your favorite teams play. If you follow your alma mater from across the country, we have just the packages for you. The SEC even has its own network.
Here is what you can look forward to.
I say SEC, you say Alabama. SEC
Alabama takes up all the oxygen when you starting talking about the SEC. They lost the championship to Clemson last year in a heartbreaker. But Nick Saban, the revered Alabama head coach, projects the confidence of a man who knows he’ll be back in contention. At the recent SEC media days, Alabama was picked to win the conference.
Georgia was picked to win the Eastern Division, but many wondered if SEC East is just trying to catch up to the West. Auburn head coach Muschamp noted, “The East isn’t trying to catch up to the West. We’re all trying to catch up to Alabama.” Fair enough. Who isn’t, right? Well, aside from Clemson.
But what of scandal
Scandal, you say? Well, former Ole Miss coach Huston Nutt took the opportunity of the SEC media days spotlight to drop a big old lawsuit on his former employer for defamation of character and breech of contract. Current Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze did not comment substantively, though he had lots to say on other topics and was given ample opportunity.
New stadium’s cool
So, Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Florida State will play Alabama there on September 2. Mercedez-Benz Stadium will also host the SEC championship, the Super Bowl, and the NCAA Final Four before 2020. It promises to be an impressive venue. It apparently will boast a video board of 63,000 square feet. That’s bigger than, well, a football field.
Is anyone more confident than Alabama?
Well, Vanderbilt’s Ralph Webb declared himself the nation’s best running back. So there’s that.
And now, the ACC
Is the ACC tops?
There is a good argument to be made that the ACC is the premier conference in college football. Indeed, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher argued exactly that at the ACC media day event. The ACC has three championship appearances in the past four years, winning two: Clemson last year and Florida State in 2013. The ACC boasts the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson. And the competition is wary. Nick Saban heaped praise on ACC teams, noting Florida State is “built like an SEC team.” Alabama plays Florida State, as we said, in the opening week of the season on September 2. It could be a historic #1 vs. #2 game to start the season. The game is already sold out.
But will the ACC stay tops?
It should be noted that of 7 ACC teams, 5 will be breaking in new quarterbacks this year. At the ACC media day, Florida State was predicted to win the conference with Clemson coming in second. Coach Fisher had Deondre Francois and Derwin James in tow. Francois is a very promising sophomore quarterback, and Derwin James was named Sports Illustrated’s number one player in college football. So yes, that is a promising team. If even just Florida State lives up to expectations this year, the ACC will have an undeniable claim to be the best conference.
Obviously Clemson deserves consideration here, too. The reigning champions lost their quarterback to the NFL and graduated other key players, but they could very well be a ten-win team under coach Swinney. And Miami was picked to play FSU for the ACC championship at ACC media day. Here are what look to be decisive games.
Clemson at Louisville and Miami at Florida State
Miami at North Carolina