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Wednesday February 19th, 2020 11:51AM

SEC's rivalry games rank from duds to must-see television

By The Associated Press

The annual Iron Bowl showdown between Alabama and Auburn will certainly be a hot ticket this weekend.

The Florida-Florida State game, maybe not so much.

Teams across the Southeastern Conference are taking part in their annual Thanksgiving week rivalry games. Here's a quick look at the matchups, from the Vanderbilt-Tennessee matchup of teams without one SEC victory between them to the must-see TV Alabama-Auburn showdown:

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Vanderbilt (4-7, 0-7 SEC) at Tennessee (4-7, 0-7 SEC)

There is no way around this one, it's ugly. But at least someone will earn an SEC victory. It's been a brutal season for both the Commodores and Volunteers, who wrap up their seasons in Knoxville on Saturday. Tennessee is trying to avoid its first eight-loss season in school history and the Volunteers have never gone winless in the SEC since it formed in 1933.

Florida State (4-6) at Florida (4-6, 3-5 SEC)

The Sunshine State series has seen better days. The last time both teams came into the game with a losing record was in 1959, when the Seminoles were 3-5 and the Gators were 3-4-1. Florida State is trying to win its fifth straight in the series and can still become bowl eligible for a 36th consecutive season.

Missouri (6-5, 3-4 SEC) at Arkansas (4-7, 1-6 SEC)

It's been an impressive turnaround for Missouri, which has won five straight games after starting the season with a 1-5 record. Arkansas has lost nine of its past 13 games dating back to last season and embattled coach Bret Bielema is fighting to keep his job. Beating Mizzou might not be enough, but it couldn't hurt.

Ole Miss (5-6, 2-5 SEC) at No. 16 Mississippi State (8-3, 4-3 SEC, No. 14 CFP)

Mississippi State has the clear advantage in the Egg Bowl and comes into the game as a 16-point favorite. But the series has been extremely competitive over the past 30 years with Ole Miss and Mississippi State both winning 15 times. Ole Miss struggles on defense, but its league-leading passing offense makes the Rebels dangerous.

Texas A&M (7-4, 4-3 SEC) at No. 19 LSU (8-3, 5-2 SEC, No. 18 CFP)

LSU looked like its season might fall apart after a stunning home loss to Troy on Sept. 30. Instead, the Tigers regrouped and have won five of six heading into their home game against the Aggies. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin has spent most of the season on the coaching hot seat. Even a win against the Tigers might not keep him employed, but it's worth a shot.

Louisville (7-4) at Kentucky (7-4, 4-4 SEC)

Kentucky's trying to win its second straight game in the Governor's Cup, and this time gets to host rival Louisville. The Wildcats started the season with a promising 5-1 record, but faded over the past month. It's been a disappointing season for Louisville, which started the season in the national rankings, but 2016 Heisman Trophy-winning QB Lamar Jackson has still had a huge season. Jackson's late fumble against Kentucky was costly in last year's loss, so he might have extra motivation on Saturday.

No. 4 Clemson (10-1, No. 3 CFP) at South Carolina (8-3, 5-3 SEC, No. 24 CFP)

Clemson is the defending national champion and has won three straight in the series. The Tigers are in the hunt once again for a spot in the College Football Playoff. They'll be big favorites against South Carolina, but the Gamecocks continue to improve under second-year coach Will Muschamp. They'll have the homefield advantage and would love nothing more than to ruin the Tigers' attempt at back-to-back national titles.

No. 7 Georgia (10-1, 7-1 SEC, No. 7 CFP) at Georgia Tech (5-5)

Georgia has a lot on the line on Saturday — including a spot in the College Football Playoff — even though the program has already clinched a spot in the SEC championship game. The Bulldogs are a sizable favorite over Georgia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets have won two of the past three in the series and are always a difficult matchup because of their unique triple-option offense.

No. 1 Alabama (11-0, 7-0 SEC, No. 1 CFP) at No. 6 Auburn (9-2, 6-1 SEC, No. 6 CFP)

The annual Iron Bowl matchup packs quite a punch this season. Pride is on the line, along with the SEC's Western Division title and a possible spot in the College Football Playoff. Alabama has won seven of the past nine in the series, but this year's game is at Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium and the atmosphere will be second to none.

Grab the popcorn — this one could be a classic.

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More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 .

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, College Sports, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Sports - College Football
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