Monday, August 13, 2007

THE SEASON AHEAD: WEEK 6 COME WITH BOXING GLOVES


Conference dominance. Sometimes, who is or isn't in the big game for a conference title at the end of the year (at least in the ACC, SEC and Big XII) can come down to one game. Or a game can preview what many believe will be the title game once it rolls around in December. Will the winner of that game have to triumph again?


Are you ready to rumble?

And as October sets in for Week 6, those big-time games begin in earnest.

But the weekend starts with the battle to be a potential Cinderella story in the SEC East, as Kentucky comes to South Carolina for an ESPN Thursday night bout at 7:30 p.m. For South Carolina, though, losses at Georgia and LSU would make this a season saver. For Kentucky, the pressure isn't likely be high, since they'll have had only one conference game, at Arkansas two weeks earlier.

Scheduled games are a bit rare, but those that will find their way to television at some point in the day are plentiful.

The headliner in the SEC is Florida at LSU, an 8 p.m. tilt that could very well be a sneak peak at the championship game. Florida is a heavy favorite to hold on to its East division crown, while all that stands between LSU and Atlanta is Brandon Cox suddenly discovering the magic of error-free football.

The undercard is Georgia at Tennessee, which could be the difference between second and fourth, depending on how South Carolina and Kentucky do.

In the Big XII, the big battle is the same game every year: Oklahoma vs. Texas in Dallas. The time is yet to be determined by the conference and TV bigwigs, though it's traditionally an afternoon game. It will likely determine the Big XII South champion, which is sort of like winning the Republican primary in Utah.

Undercard action is Nebraska at Missouri, one of which will win the chance at the ritual humiliation that is the lot of the Big XII North champion.

And let's call it the Revenge Conference for a week: Rutgers' defeat at the hands of Cincinnati in 2006 ended its NC hopes and ultimately sealed its fate in the conference race. This year, the Bearcats visit the Scarlet Knights. The undercard here comes when Virginia Tech goes to Clemson after humbling the Tigers at the height of their ACC contender buzz last season.

By now, the fun has really gotten started.

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