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The SEC dream schedule: A week-by-week look at the conference’s best game

It’s August 2, and that means we are just a month away from the first real Saturday of the 2017 college football season. Yep, only a month to go.

(We say “first real Saturday” because while there are four games involving FBS teams on Saturday, August 28, we’re not all that psyched about USF-San Jose State or Oregon State-Colorado State or Rice-Stanford, even if it’s in Australia.)

To celebrate the good feelings that come with the “thank-goodness-we-are-just-a-month-away” day, we’ve come up with this season’s dream SEC schedule.

Here’s a look at the best game each week involving an SEC team.

RELATED: The SEC’s top 50 players for 2017

FSU COACH JIMBO FISHER and ALABAMA COACH NICK SABAN, photos by USA Today Sports

Week 1

ALABAMA VS. FLORIDA STATE IN ATLANTA, September 2
The buzz: This is scheduled to be the first college game in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and it is monstrous. It could match preseason No. 1 vs. preseason No. 2 — and, heck, it also could be the first of two meetings between the teams because it’s not far-fetched to think they also could meet in the national title game. (That, too, would be in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.) Jimbo Fisher vs. his mentor. The two best defensive backs in the nation: FSU’s Derwin James and Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick. Two of the nation’s best defensive lines. Exciting sophomore quarterbacks. It has it all.

Week 2

AUBURN AT CLEMSON, September 9
The buzz: Both teams are expected to be in the hunt for their respective conference titles – and if either can win their conference, they will be in the national title picture. The ACC vs. SEC dynamic will be at work here, especially because presumptive league favorites Alabama and FSU will have played the week before.

Week 3

TENNESSEE AT FLORIDA, September 16
The buzz: This is the first big SEC game of the season, and it likely will go a long way toward determining who wins the SEC East. Florida’s 11-game winning streak over Tennessee was snapped last season. The last time the Vols won in Gainesville? It was 2003. Ron Zook was the losing coach.

RELATED: The toughest and easiest SEC home and road schedules for 2017

Week 4

ARKANSAS VS. TEXAS A&M IN ARLINGTON, TEXAS, September 23
The buzz: The first SEC game for both, which means the hot seat gets hotter for the losing coach. It also means that the loser basically has zero shot at the division title. Texas A&M is 5-0 against Arkansas since joining the SEC.

Week 5

GEORGIA AT TENNESSEE, September 30
The buzz: This is the second of three big SEC East matchups (it comes after Florida-Tennessee and before Florida-Georgia) that should determine the division winner. The Vols have won two in a row over the Bulldogs; before that, the Bulldogs had won five in a row in the series. The winning team has scored at least 34 points in each of the past five meetings. But get this: The loser has scored at least 31 in all five of those games.

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