SEC Landmines - The Scary Letdown Games
Mississippi State RB Anthony Dixon
Mississippi State RB Anthony Dixon
Posted Aug 20, 2009

What are the dangerous games that every SEC team needs to watch out for? These are the ones that might be sandwiched in between two bigger games, they could be the ones late in the season that will be tough to get up for, or they simply could be letdowns.

The SEC Landmine Games

The traps to watch out for

By Pete Fiutak

Landmine Games For Every Team
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It's next to impossible for a team to get up for every game over the course of the long season. It's easy to be jazzed for the big rival or the top five team, but college kids can't remain focused enough to play razor sharp for one game and then maintain the same high level again the next week for the also-ran.

Below are the very dangerous letdown games for each team. These might be sandwich games, games a team and the fans won't take seriously, the game after a big rivalry, the game before a big game, or just a game that the team just won't be stoked for and could turn into a painful loss against a weaker opponent. If you find yourself arguing that these games will be easy, you're jumping into the same trap these teams might fall into. At the very least, these could be tougher tests than your favorite team might think. Sure, the team might win the game, but it might be pushed very, very hard.


- Florida - Oct. 24 at Mississippi State
This is a landmine because ... Forget the letdown aspect when it comes to the Gators; Tim Tebow and Brandon Spikes aren't going to let their team take it easy. However, if Florida is ever going to take a breath, it'll likely be against the Bulldogs after playing at LSU and against Arkansas and with the showdown against Georgia coming the following week. Of course, the other big problem could be the opposing coaching staff. New MSU head man Dan Mullen knows the former Florida offensive coordinator. He knows Tebow and he knows the Gator offense.

- Georgia - Oct. 17 at Vanderbilt
This is a landmine because ... Georgia always has a battle on its hands when it plays Vanderbilt, but the team can be forgiven if it sees the trip to Nashville as a bit of a break. How's this for a start to the season? At Oklahoma State, South Carolina, at Arkansas, Arizona State, LSU, and at Tennessee. And then comes Vanderbilt. If that wasn't enough of a reason for the the Dawgs to take a bit of a mental break, then what comes next could provide even more problems for their focus: Florida.

- Kentucky - Nov. 14 at Vanderbilt
It would hardly be an upset if the Commodores beat Kentucky, they'll likely be favored, and they'll be helped by how the schedule plays out. UK's toughest part of the schedule is at the beginning, and then things lighten up with UL Monroe, Mississippi State, and Eastern Kentucky. Can the Cats get their intensity up for the Commodores after a relatively easy three week stretch? Vandy will be coming off a trip to Florida.

- South Carolina - Sept. 19 vs. Florida Atlantic
This is a landmine because ... It's the home opener, but it'll still be an extremely annoying game for the Gamecocks to prepare for. FAU has a great quarterback in Rusty Smith, a ball-hawking secondary, and enough athletes to pull off the upset. And then there's the sandwich factor with USC coming off road games at NC State and Georgia and with Ole Miss coming up next.

- Tennessee - Nov. 7 vs. Memphis
This is a landmine because ... The Vols haven't had too many problems with Memphis, but after coming up empty late last year against Wyoming, will they have a November letdown issue again? After playing at Alabama and against South Carolina, and with a trip to Ole Miss coming up next, it could be tough for Lane Kiffin to fire his team up against a Memphis team with a good enough offense to pull off the upset.

- Vanderbilt - Sept. 26 at Rice
This is a landmine because ... It's a different year and the two teams are vastly different, but Rice put up some decent numbers in last year's 38-21 loss. The Commodore running game dominated, but will it have the same success after playing at LSU and against Ole Miss? Considering how hit or miss the Commodore offense was last year, if Rice gets the machine rolling like last year, when the attack finished tenth in America in yards and eighth in scoring, Vandy could be in trouble.


- Alabama - Nov. 14 at Mississippi State
This is a landmine because ... If the Tide is ever going to let up, it's likely going to be late in the year after the game of the SEC West season against LSU. After dealing with the Tigers, and with the scrimmage against Chattanooga ahead, it could be easy to assume the trip to Starkville will be a layup. Of course, the Auburn game will be on the radar, coming up two weeks later, and the fans will already be buzzing about it (if they aren't already).

- Arkansas - Nov. 14 vs. Troy
This is a landmine because ... Troy should be the best team in the Sun Belt and has the defense that could give Arkansas a run. Most of the key parts are back from a Trojan team that came within a hair of beating LSU in Death Valley last year, and no one's going to be fazed by playing an SEC team on the road. The Hogs will have been home for a few weeks, and have Mississippi State the week after. They might be comfortable, too comfortable, playing the easiest part of the schedule.

- Auburn - Sept. 5 vs. Louisiana Tech
This is a landmine because ... Louisiana Tech played an SEC team, Mississippi State, to start last year, and came away with a 22-14 win. This year's Bulldog team, the Tech version, is better and more dangerous, while Auburn will be trying to find its legs with a new coaching staff that's attempting to put in new styles and systems in the season opener. Tech should be more polished, far more, and will be looking for a trophy win, which could be a problem considering the Tigers have Mississippi State and West Virginia to look ahead to.

- LSU - Nov. 14 vs. Louisiana Tech
This is a landmine because ... Last year, in the midst of the SEC season, LSU almost lost to Troy at home, needing a fourth quarter rally to pull off the win, and then lost to Ole Miss and Arkansas to close out a rough November. Could there be similar problems late this year? The Tigers will be coming off the biggest game of the SEC West season at Alabama, and has what could be just as big a game at Ole Miss the week after. Tech will have had eight days off after facing Boise State at home.

- Ole Miss - Sept. 26 at South Carolina
This is a landmine because ... All of the buzz, all of the hype, and all the big expectations for Ole Miss could go kaput right off the bat in a tougher-than-it-appears start to the SEC season. The Rebels start out the year at South Carolina and at Vanderbilt, with the date in Columbia likely to be a beartrap. There's no chance for Ole Miss to sneak up on anyone now, and South Carolina will be treating this game like its season depends on it, because if might. The Gamecocks will have already played Georgia in Athens, and with a trip to Alabama coming up a few weeks after, they can't afford a home loss.

- Mississippi State - Oct. 17 at Middle Tennessee
This is a landmine because ... MSU could be desperate for a win after going to Auburn and Vanderbilt and facing LSU, Georgia Tech, and a high-powered Houston at home. And then there's the lookahead factor with Florida up next. Middle Tennessee has just enough athleticism on offense, and a potentially solid defense, at least by Sun Belt standards, to pull off the upset. It's not like the Blue Raiders will be worried about playing a BCS team after beating Maryland last year and coming within a hair of beating Kentucky.