Thursday, May 9, 2013

Biggest challenges on the 2013 schedule

So yesterday we looked at the most important games for this fall. But that doesn't necessarily mean those were the most difficult games on the schedule. Of course, it's hard to foresee just how good some of these teams will be. For instance, Mettenberger could have a renaissance year under a new coordinator. Also, there could be key injuries, suspensions or even weather that impacts how a game develops.

But again, this is an alternate exercise to twiddling your thumbs. So here we go.

  1. Clemson - Going to be a lot of added pressure on this opener, away from home and at night. Their offense will present a clear challenge for a young defense looking to make a name for itself. Can Murray settle in quickly? Can we control the tempo?
  2. Carolina - They've won the last three games and the black eye inflicted last season in Columbia is still pretty unsightly. Come September, on paper, I think we'll still be the better team. But that ain't worth squat. Lattimore's moved on and Clowney can't play every snap, can he? Regardless, Richt's squad has their work cut out for them in these first two weeks of the season.
  3. Florida - You can rest assured that Muschamp will put a hearty emphasis on ball protection before this season's annual renewal of the WLOCP. Richt will counter with a new found relaxed entrance to this game that eluded him until recently. But it only takes one bad break for the tide of the St. Johns to turn. And we know the ball can bounce awfully funny down there.
  4. LSU - I think we're all anxious to see if Cam Cameron can get more out of Zach Mettenberger in his last season. And by the time the Tigers come to town their quarterback will have a few more games under his belt. LSU is always tough defensively, but offensively under Miles they've been erratic to say the least. Especially when Daryl Gamble isn't having the game of his life. Am I right? *fistbump*
  5. Vanderbilt - We never play well in Nashville and the 'Dores took a thumping last year in Athens. If the new Vandy is truly improved, they'll be ready to give us all they've got.
  6. Tech - Last season Grantham got a week of "free prep" against Coach Johnson's vaunted triple option and responded by putting the engiNerds firmly in their place 42-10. In 2011 we had Kentucky the week before and things were a little closer on the Flats. Can he prepare the new guys as well as he prepared the draft picks he just sent up to the NFL?
  7. Tennessee - I don't know that Tennessee is going to be any more competitive this year, but my guess is that Butch Jones will have the dumpster fire put out well before the season. It still smells like a 2-3 year rebuild up there.
  8. Auburn - I would probably have Malzahn's first team as a higher ranked challenge except that we get them late in the season. These Tigers strike me as a 5-7 team that fades down the stretch. 
  9. Missouri - Mizzou is still just happy to be here and will wait to use the restroom until they're told to do so.
  10. App State - The Mountaineers will be eager to show how ready they are for D1 football after being approved to move up to the Sun Belt in 2014. 
  11. Kentucky - (Mark) Stoops is energetic. Stoops is excited to be in Lexington. Stoops will help the Wildcats win some games (plural!). The one in Athens won't be one of them.
  12. North Texas - They won maybe four games last season and I think their nickname is the Rattlers. Or something.
I doubt it's the Rattlers. I took a flyer on that one. Is it August yet?