Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Comparing SEC Non-Conference Schedules

When UGA replaced Louisville for Boise State this past winter, I for one thought it was the right move for the following reasons:
  1. We get an ESPN nationally televised late game - even if the tougher opponent increases your chances of losing, you need to take advantages of these type of games when the opportunity arises. It brings national attention to our program (Going to Colorado and Arizona State are more debatable, though I was generally in favor of it, and we should never have lost to CU.)
  2. If something crazy happens and we are good enough to flirt with making BCS bowl, a win over a 1-loss Boise team will carry great weight in the BCS standings. If we lose -- which will result in me being pissed -- it still doesn't affect our conference record. 
As we will see by the teams listed below, other SEC teams have taken a similar approach, while some decided to go Cupcake City:

Alabama: 
  • 9/3 -- Kent State
  • 9/10 -- @ Penn State
  • 9/17 -- North Texas
  • 11/19 -- GA Southern
The Penn State game will certainly be a marquee game, but generally that is a weak lineup.

Arkansas:
  • 9/3 --  Missouri State
  • 9/10 -- New Mexico
  • 9/17 -- Troy
  • 10/1 -- Texas A&M (in Arlington)
Is anyone else getting tired of the annual Arky/A&M matchup? I know they were in the SW Conference together but still. Overall, pretty weak listed of teams.

Auburn:
  • 9/3 -- Utah State
  • 9/17 -- @ Clemson
  • 9/24 -- Florida Atlantic
  • 11/19 -- Samford
The Clemson game is a return trip from last season's overtime win. Don't be shocked if Utah State plays them tough (I'm not being sarcastic either).


Florida:
  • 9/3 -- Florida Atlantic (Schnellenberger must have said eff it...we're playing an SEC schedule)
  • 9/10 -- UAB
  • 11/19 -- Furman
  • 11/26 -- Florida State
I don't think UF has played a regular season non-conference game outside the state of Florida since Taft was president. WEAK.

Kentucky:
  • 9/1 -- Western Kentucky
  • 9/10 -- Central Michigan
  • 9/17 -- Louisville
  • 10/22 -- Jacksonville State
BOOOOOOO!

LSU:
  • 9/3 -- Oregon
  • 9/10 -- Northwestern St.
  • 9/24 -- @ West Virginia
  • 11/12 -- Western Kentucky
ESPN/ABC really screwed up their scheduling -- the LSU/Oregon game is played the same time as our's, on the same family of networks. Pretty tough for LSU though -- playing a team that went to the NC and having to go to Morgantown. 

Mississippi State:
  • 9/1 -- Memphis
  • 9/24 -- LA Tech
  • 10/8 -- @ UAB
  • 11/5 -- UT-Martin
The road game at UAB is a little strange but this is a joke of a schedule.

Ole Miss:
  • 9/3 -- BYU
  • 9/10 Southern Illinois
  • 10/1 -- @Fresno State
  • 11/12 -- LA Tech (they must be taking the FL Atlantic approach)
Pretty tough to have a road game against a non-BCS team in Fresno. Ouch.

South Carolina:
  • 9/3 -- East Carolina
  • 9/17 -- Navy
  • 11/19 -- The Citadel
  • 11/26 -- Clemson
That Navy game just seems weird to me. TRAP GAME!

Tennessee:
  • 9/3 -- Montana
  • 9/10 -- Cincinnati
  • 10/1 -- Buffalo
  • 11/5 -- Middle Tennessee
Boy...I will really be rooting for Cinci...too bad I'll be sweating my a$$ off in Athens that day. That's a crap schedule as well.

Vanderbilt:
  • 9/3 -- Elon (and I thought they were only a crossword puzzle clue)
  • 9/10 -- UConn
  • 10/22 -- Army
  • 11/26 -- @ Wake Forest
Vandy gets screwed by playing in the East so I will forever give them a pass. UConn and Wake (some years) are at least respectable.

Given that we play Boise and Tech, I think it is pretty clear that LSU and UGA have the toughest non-conference schedules. However, we avoid Bama, Arkansas, and LSU in the West -- teams that will most likely finish 1, 2, 3 in that division...just a little reason to be optimistic about this upcoming season (wink, wink).

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