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May 15 - SEC-ACC Challenge

Speculation has been running rampant down in the southeastern part of the United States that the new
NCAA college football legislation allowing for a 12-game regular season schedule will lead to a two-
year, dream SEC-ACC football challenge during the 2008-09 seasons.

It doesn’t take a very big sports fan to realize that a series of this type would produce several match ups
that would make every football fans dreams come true.

I thought it’d be fun to take a look some of the potential match ups and do a little predicting of my own.
To select the 12 games I’ll use Ivan Maisel’s post-spring top 25 and the teams he doesn’t have ranked,
I’ll put them in according to my own opinion. At the end of the article, if you can stay with me that long, I’ll
post my own post-spring top 25.

Here are our 12 games: (According to Maisel’s poll, Georgia and Georgia Tech would be the match up
and of course they already play each other so Tech will fall to the fifth SEC team and Georgia will be
slated to play the fifth ACC team.)

1.        Florida vs. Virginia Tech
2.        Auburn vs. Miami
3.        Tennessee vs. Florida State
4.        Georgia vs. Virginia
5.        LSU vs. Georgia Tech
6.        Alabama vs. Boston College
7.        South Carolina vs. N.C. State
8.        Arkansas vs. North Carolina
9.        Ole Miss vs. Maryland
10.         Miss. St. vs.  Clemson
11.         Kentucky vs. Wake Forest
12.         Vanderbilt vs. Duke

Just look at those top six games. Wow.

1. In the first game, Florida is one of the most talented teams in the country and
under the direction of new head coach Urban Meyer, would definitely pose a problem for the defending
ACC champion Hokies. Chris Leak has a better day than Marcus Vick in this one, but the Hokies
defense is just too good for the Gators. Virginia Tech wins this one 35-27 and Frank Beamer’s
tremendous special teams unit produces at least one score on the day. (1-0 ACC)

2. Probably the two fastest defenses in all of college football face off in the second game. It will really
come down to which team’s new quarterback steps up. Will it be Kyle Wright at Miami or Brandon Cox at
Auburn? The Tiger defense is a little more seasoned and while the Hurricanes will give Cox problems,
Auburn would take this one 17-13. (1-1 Tie)

3. I can’t say that I agree with Maisel’s placing of Florida State as the third-best team in the ACC with
quality teams like Virginia, Georgia Tech and Boston College all at the Seminoles heals. Tennessee
brings back a pretty good defense and offense intact and shouldn’t have a problem disposing of the
‘Noles in this one. Wyatt Sexton or whoever starts at quarterback for FSU will have a long day throwing
into a secondary featuring All-America candidate Jason Allen. Tennessee has questions at quarterback
as well, but all the Volunteer options at quarterback are solid. Tennessee 28-10. (2-1 SEC)

4. I think Georgia and Virginia could be one of the best games of the day in this series. Georgia is still a
highly-rated team based on their performance over the last four years, but lets get real, David Greene is
gone, David Pollack is gone, Reggie Brown, Thomas Brown and Fred Gibson are all gone and the
Bulldogs offense best hope is that senior D.J. Shockley can scramble in the pocket long enough to find
a tight end over the middle. Wali Lundy is a big-time running back and will lead Virginia to a 13-10 victory
over the Bulldogs. (2-2 Tie)

5. LSU and Georgia Tech is another match up that will be decided on the defensive side of the ball.
Reggie Ball has plenty of experience at quarterback and Calvin Johnson is a stud at wide out if I’ve ever
seen one, but there are just too many questions for the Yellow Jackets to predict an upset over the
Bayou Bengals. I’ll take LSU in this one 16-7. (3-2 SEC)

6. In the last of the six big games, traditional powers Boston College and Alabama would square off in
yet another ugly, slobber knocker. The Eagles return eight starters on defense, while the Crimson Tide
returns 10. While Alabama’s defense was vastly overrated in 2004, it was still a decent unit even after
Auburn and Minnesota exposed several weaknesses late in the season. I’ll take Paul Peterson and
Boston College over Brodie Croyle and Alabama in this one 13-3. (3-3 Tie)

In the other six games, I’ll take Steve Spurrier and South Carolina over N.C. State 17-13, North Carolina
over Arkansas 21-17, Ole Miss over Maryland 34-28, Clemson over Mississippi State 14-10, Kentucky
over Wake Forest 38-28 and in the game that determines whether we have a series tie or an SEC
victory, senior quarterback Jay Cutler and Vanderbilt win a game of the brains against Duke 42-38,
giving the SEC a 7-5 series win.

While that 7-5 series win for the SEC would be sweet, it would not be the final determining factor of the
best conference by any means. Let’s remember that the end of each regular season always gives us
South Carolina-Clemson, Florida-Florida State and Georgia-Georgia Tech.

Any game on that 12-game slate could go either way. A series of this nature would be great for college
football. Maybe the Big 10 and Big 12 will step up and have a series as well. It’s something that should
definitely be looked at. The name of the game is making money and this would bring in a ton of it.

As promised, Patrick’s Post-Spring Top 25.
1.        Texas
2.        USC
3.        Florida
4.        Iowa
5.        Auburn
6.        Virginia Tech
7.        Louisville
8.        Michigan
9.        Tennessee
10.        Texas A&M
11.        LSU
12.        Georgia Tech
13.        Oklahoma
14.        Ohio State
15.        Miami
16.        Boise State
17.        Virginia
18.        Florida State
19.        Georgia
20.        California
21.        Bowling Green
22.        Boston College
23.        Wisconsin
24.        Arizona State
25.        Texas Tech