Mark Edwards: These half-dozen games could trap the better SEC teams
by Mark Edwards
medwards@annistonstar.com
Jun 29, 2013 | 4927 views |  0 comments | 108 108 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gus Malzahn has a chance to trap Ole Miss -- if the Tigers don't get somebody else first. (File photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
Gus Malzahn has a chance to trap Ole Miss -- if the Tigers don't get somebody else first. (File photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
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Heading into the college football season, it’s easy to pick out the Southeastern Conference’s biggest games.

Of course, there are Alabama at Texas A&M on Sept. 14 and LSU at Alabama on Nov. 9. LSU visits Georgia on Sept. 28 and hosts Florida two weeks later. Georgia and Florida play each other, and Texas A&M faces LSU. South Carolina, Georgia and Florida all play each other.

Those games will help decide which SEC team advances in the national championship race.

But what about the infamous trap games? You know – those games in which a great team beats a great team but then has to fight for its football life the following week?

A trap game nearly cost Alabama a shot at a national title, when the Crimson Tide lost to Texas A&M a week after surviving a bloody brawl at LSU.

Here are the top six possible SEC trap games of 2013:

Sept. 28, Texas A&M at Arkansas: The Aggies open with four straight home games, and in the two weeks before traveling to Fayetteville, they’ll face Alabama and former Southwest Conference rival SMU.

A&M likely will enter the game against Arkansas with a 3-1 record, but what if the Aggies pull off another win over Alabama? At 4-0 on the road for the first time in the season, A&M could provide ripe pickings for Arkansas.

The Aggies won this one 58-10 last year, which was the game that doomed John L. Smith from getting to come back for 2013.

Oct 5, LSU at Mississippi State: LSU will play at Georgia the previous week, and both of those teams have a good shot at entering undefeated, which will make that game one of the SEC’s biggest in the first month of the season.

LSU-Georgia likely will be a physical, draining game. If the Bengal Tigers win, they likely will think (or hope) that MSU won’t offer much of a challenge before they have to host Florida. Wouldn’t that end up being a real kick in the pants if LSU can beat both Georgia and Florida but can’t tame the Bulldogs?

Oct. 5, Ole Miss at Auburn: The Tigers have lost 10 straight SEC games, and the streak could reach 12 by the time the Rebels visit. Auburn hosts Mississippi State and visits LSU, and unless Gus Malzahn gets significant improvement from the Tigers, any league team is a threat to pound on their heads.

For Ole Miss, this game is part of a five-game stretch that includes Texas, Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU. Do you think the Tigers will get a whole lot of the Rebels’ attention?

Oct. 19, Florida at Missouri: After the Gators face LSU, they’ll travel to Missouri to play the improved Tigers, who lost only 14-7 in Gainesville a year ago. Florida beat LSU at home last season in a physical game, and no matter who wins this year, they likely will beat up each other for four quarters.

Missouri’s Gary Pinkel isn’t the greatest defensive coach, but Florida’s Will Muschamp hasn’t necessarily put together great offenses. Last year, the Gators barely took advantage of Missouri’s worst offensive day of the year.

Nov. 9, Vanderbilt at Florida: A week after the Gators’ annual showdown with Georgia, they host Vanderbilt.

Florida has won 22 straight over the Commodores, but the margins of victory in the last two were 14 and five points. The combined 19 points is the closest Vanderbilt has come in back-to-back games since the streak started.

We still have questions about the Gators’ offense, and if you struggle to score, you’re vulnerable to nearly everybody who is halfway decent at moving the ball.

Nov. 16, Alabama at Mississippi State: Another heavyweight travels to Starkville a week after playing a big game.

This didn’t help MSU two years ago when Alabama played at the Bulldogs a week after the 9-6 overtime loss to LSU. But Alabama looked awfully lackluster in that one, and this time, the Bulldogs are a better.

Contact Anniston Star Sports Editor Mark Edwards at medwards@annistonstar.com or 256-235-3570. Follow on Twitter @MarkSportsStar.

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