Every new coach that comes into the SEC says they want to be in the league because they want to play the best. … and Sam Pittman has said it repeatedly.
He’s not alone. Publicly that’s what they all say.
But the four new guys this year didn’t expect to be playing Top 10 teams in the first week and that wasn’t the plan, but the coronavirus has caused a wholesale change across just about everything in college sports.
When the league announced the opening games of the new schedule on Monday afternoon, Pittman, Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin, Mississippi State’s Mike Leach and Missouri’s Eli Drinkwich all got teams at the top.
The league didn’t hand out many favorites in the opening weekend of games. The lack of transparency on choosing cross-divisional opponents last week was ridiculous.
Opening week, though, is clear as a bell. The league wanted to showcase the top teams in the league against the new coaches.
As I suspected when all of this got tossed up in the air a couple of months ago, one of the best storylines for an opening week matchup was putting Georgia against Arkansas.
Pittman may not have more insight on any one team in the league than the Bulldogs. He was Kirby Smart’s right-hand man the last four years.
Georgia is ranked No. 4 in the coaches preseason poll.
Missouri gets Alabama, ranked No. 3.
Leach and the Bulldogs go to Tiger Stadium for what will likely be a night-time celebration for No. 5 LSU after a national title run last year.
Ole Miss hosts No. 8 Florida that reportedly is having internal issues kicking off fall camp Monday. According to a report at Sports Illustrated, several players were holding out of the first day of drills, and it was confirmed by coach Dan Mullen.
And the Rebels, at least on paper, get the best matchup.
None of the four new coaches in the league will start off with an opponent below eighth and three are playing Top 5 teams.
Welcome to the league, guys.
Remember, though, that’s why you wanted to be here.