Anyone who isn't familiar with the general temperament of the Deep South on the opening weekend of college football season simply has to imagine a scene from "Braveheart." Sure you have to modernize it by about 800 years and you'll have to swap the Scottish accent for one with slightly more twang, but the war cries and the painted faces are in full affect on any given Saturday in the fall.
Across the region you can bottle the optimism and sell it to every fanbase in the conference, because as far as the fans are concerned, "this is the year." That may or may not be true, but with the slate whiped clean and the records all showing the same two numbers (0-0,) everyone has a "shot."
There is a lot that is yet to be decided in the coming weeks and months, and in the end only one team gets to hold their heads high as the confetti rains from the rafters in the Georgia Dome. However, not everything is a complete mystery.
For example, these six things I know will hold true in Week One:
1. I like Ole Miss to pull off the upset of BYU as the Cougars travel to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. BYU is a three point favorite on the road, but I think Brandon Bolden kicks off a big year with a big day against BYU. Any handicapper out there will tell you that you should never sleep on a home underdog.
2. Jarrett Lee will throw a "pick six" of his own against Oregon. Yes, I know that he lost a lot of weight and has looked good in fall camp, but I don't trust Jarrett Lee as a starting quarterback in the SEC. Luckily for Lee, that defense looks like it's more than capable of scoring some points as well, but I think Lee struggles in the opener. However, I still like LSU to win.
3. The SEC goes 11-1 in Week One, with the lone loss coming in Atlanta with Boise State defeating Georgia. I think Georgia does match up surprisingly well with the Broncos, but Chris Peterson has proven time-and-time again that if you give him an extended period of time to prepare for a BCS opponent he simply refuses to lose.
4. This is the "Year of the Running Back" in the SEC, and with a relatively easy opening week schedule, I think we see some astronomical numbers from SEC backs. I like Richardson, Bolden, Poole, Norman, Dyer, Ballard, and Lattimore to all go for over 150 yards provided that they get more than 15 touches before they are pulled.
5. I like the entire conference to give up less than 180 points on the week, which is less than 15 points per contest for all you sabermetricians out there. That's not particularly impressive at first glance, but when you consider that they have games against offensive juggernauts like Oregon and Boise State it's not too shabby.
6. I think we see the resurgence of Warren Norman for Vanderbilt in 2011, and I think that Norman is your SEC Player of the Week. Don't get too excited Vandy fans, your team still isn't very good, but Warren Norman is.
Now that we've all decided that I'm crazy, I can't wait to see how Week One of college football unfolds.