Friday, June 22
The new 14-team era of SEC football will still have room, it appears, for the South's Oldest Rivalry and Third Saturday in October. And of course, there will always be the Iron Bowl, the Egg Bowl, Georgia-Florida and other big, traditional rivalries. Those are still with us, and they aren't going anywhere.
But Mike Slive made a comment in Destin that expansion will create new rivalries in the conference moving forward. In some ways, that is already happening.
As Missouri and Texas A&M join the conference, they do so in an era of several new heating rivalries that are bubbling to the surface and/or will be ones to watch in the coming years. While not necessarily a team's top rival by a traditional sense, these five games are becoming new-look rivalries of the new-look SEC.
It was enough when you had Nick Saban going to Alabama and facing his old program each year, but this series has actually exceeded that storyline now. In 2011, this was the biggest game nationally on two separate occasions. When you look at the talent being stockpiled by both sides, you wonder when that might stop. This game could begin to take on the annual nature and national implications of the Miami-Florida State games of the late-1980s and early-1990s.
It took a little while, but Steve Spurrier has gotten things rolling in Columbia. Aided now by the recent decline of Florida and Tennessee in the East, South Carolina would have stepped alone to the forefront of the division if it wasn't for Georgia. And what was always an important game schedule-wise became a lot more intense now that Spurrier (hardly a fan favorite in Athens) has something more to crow about. South Carolina has won the past two meetings after a string of losing to UGA seven times in eight years. Once again, this game is expected to go a long way toward deciding the East in 2012.
Credit brash new Vanderbilt coach James Franklin for getting under the skin of quite a few established programs last year, but Tennessee coach Derek Dooley did his part as well to take this traditionally one-sided in-state rivalry to another level. Dooley has refused to say Franklin's name publicly, and after an emotional overtime victory over Vandy in Knoxville last year, Dooley was captured in a postgame locker room video saying that, "the one thing Tennessee always does is kick the (expletive) out of Vandy." Franklin responded by telling The Tennessean, "That's a wound that I'm going to leave open. That's not going to heal. We'll leave it open for a year, and we'll discuss it next year."
Not only has this been a fun matchup to watch lately, but the Cam Newton saga of the 2010 season -- involving both these programs -- has built this game is a fun new rivalry on the calendar. Those bitter vibes surely will continue as long as Gene Chizik and Dan Mullen coach the two teams.
Overshadowed in the back-and-forth debate over the SEC's new 6-1-1 scheduling format was this annual cross-divisional gem that league expansion has given us. Fayetteville, Ark., is tucked into the northwest corner of the state, less than an hour from the Missouri border. As good as this game could be for football, it will be even better for basketball, considering Hogs coach Mike Anderson recently left a stocked Mizzou program to take over at Arkansas.
LINK(S) OF THE DAY
If you missed it, Twitter crashed for a while Thursday, leaving people wondering where they could go to talk about Twitter crashing.
And the Macon Telegraph's Seth Emerson has a nice review and photo gallery from Georgia football's visit Wednesday to Camp Sunshine's summer home in Rutledge, Ga.
TWEET(S) OF THE DAY
For some time, I have believed America needs a Lincoln-as-vampire-hunter movie, and I'm thankful we're finally getting it.
UGA beat writer Seth Emerson
@wattsdantzler never ceases to amaze me with his dreams. Last night we were apparently on his shed fighting people with automatic muskets.
OL Hunter Long
Quiz today, I'm about to go steak medium rare with a side baked potato with cheese and butter
OL Watts Dantzler
I cant listen to Waka Flaka. If i wanted to hear a dude scream in my ear then i would just go to football practice.
WR Justin Scott-Wesley
Man thinks he can talk about the ozone layer for an hour and expect me to not fall asleep #smh
PK Marshall Morgan
I'm back on my Richard Samuel flow. GA I'm outta here. Be back next week. #nojobnoclass #livingthelife
RB Richard Samuel
My brother said I talk about money in my sleep. I'm gettin to it.!
RB recruit Alvin Kamara
Fah sum reason some slow songs get me hyped up to. I think that's kinda weird
DB commit Tray Matthews
thanks for the love dawgnation i working hard trying to be my best jus thanking god
WR commit Tramel Terry
Miss you dad! http://instagr.am/p/MJSGFBCNDs/
P Collin Barber