If you follow me on Twitter or keep up with the podcast you would probably be of the opinion that I am an SEC hater. This I can assure you is entirely not the case. My biggest issue with the SEC is their scheduling. It’s as if they have the perfect blueprint for playing their season and getting at least one if not two teams in the College Football Playoff. First and foremost the SEC only plays 8 conference games while The BIG 10, BIG 12 & PAC 12 play 9 Conference games.
I can’t emphasize this enough, It is absolutely retarded that these conferences don’t have a set up that would make it all equal, meaning all the power 5 should play the same amount of conference games. If I were on the Playoff committee I would certainly penalize the two conferences that do not play as many conference games (SEC & ACC). One thing the SEC never does that all other conferences do is they never play Thursday or Friday night games with exception of opening night and one Thanksgiving day Egg Bowl matchup. Meaning they have don’t have a short week. I view that as another advantage towards the conference. My point is one less conference game and no short weeks is a gigantic advantage to the SEC.
The SEC, for the most part, does a classic scheduling move almost within their entire conference where they schedule one decent power 5 school. Although most of the time they set up a neutral site game that’s played in their own backyard. Like this year’s week 1 matchup of Auburn vs Washington but the game being played in Atlanta. Not much of a neutral site game if you ask say anyone outside of Alabama.
Anyway, most SEC teams do schedule one power 5 school and then here’s the classic move they do. They schedule one of the bad FCS teams (Formerly referred to as 1AA). Some of the top SEC schools like to schedule this game in early November as a nice bye week before their biggest games of the year. If not the bad FCS team another classic SEC scheduling move is to schedule one of the worst FBS teams available.
Therefore they get two bye weeks aside from their actual bye week. Then the 4th and final out of conference game will normally be against an average or just above average Sun Belt or Conference USA team that really won’t be much of a match for them. I challenge you to replace the top out of conference game as their 9th conference game and then look at their remaining out of conference games. If you do that, I think you’ll see that this is a great formula for these conferences. Okay so let’s go team by team. Let’s start with the SEC West and the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Alabama Crimson Tide
WEEK 1 – The Tide start the season off with a neutral site game against Louisville in Orlando. Once again not much a neutral site game but hey this matchup shouldn’t be much of a game especially since Lamar Jackson went pro but hey who could’ve known that. Still, Louisville isn’t a big-time program but it’s a solid scheduled game.
WEEK 2 – The Tide return back from a tough road trip from Orlando to welcome last year’s third-place Sun Belt team the Arkansas State Red Wolves. Arkansas State was pretty good last year but still come on this is your 2nd best out of conference game?
WEEK 5 – The Tide fresh off a home game against Texas A&M decided hey let us not load up two tough conference games in a row and let us play a home game against Louisiana Lafayette a team that went 5-7 last year and finished 5th in the Sun Belt. Nice I like what you did there before that Arkansas matchup.
WEEK 12 – Ah the classic game against a shitty FCS team and isn’t it ironic they schedule this matchup right before the game against heated rival Auburn. The Tide welcome The Citadel to Tuscaloosa this November 17th. The Citadel was just 5-6 last season and finished 6th in their own Southern Conference. You can’t make this shit up.
Review: those 4 matchups? a quote on quote neutral site game vs Louisville, vs Arkansas State, vs Louisiana Lafayette, vs The Citadel. No real road games and a neutral site game that’s not too far away from home. Give me a fucking break. Mark Louisville as their 9th conference game to compare to the teams in the Big 12, Pac 12 and Big 10 and you’ll see 3 garbage out of conference games.
To compare that to some of the top schools in other conferences.
Ohio State: home/away 9th conference game, vs Oregon State, @ TCU, vs Tulane.
Penn State: home/away 9th conference game, vs Appalachian State, @ Pittsburgh, vs Kent State.
Oklahoma: home/away 9th conference game, vs Florida Atlantic, vs UCLA, vs Army.
Texas: home/away 9th conference game, @ Maryland, vs Tulsa, vs USC.
USC: home/away 9th conference game, vs UNLV, @ Texas, vs Notre Dame.
I could go on and on. The things to note here are that the 9th conference game is way more tough than any of their non-Louisville game and note that it’s not a neutral site game. They actually go play on the road. Then add in the fact that none of these schools are playing an FCS opponent! Texas and Ohio State are playing schools from the American which is easily the top-rated mid-major conference. Appalachian State and Florida Atlantic won their respective conferences. Army was a bowl team last year and UNLV went 5-6 just missing a bowl. I mean talk about a drastic difference.
WEEK 1 – Oh it’s that classic “Neutral” site game I’ve briefly talked about earlier. Where Auburn plays another top 25 team in Washington. I’ll give them credit for scheduling a great matchup but this is hardly a neutral site game.
WEEK 2 – The Tigers make the crazy cross-country trip back to Auburn, Alabama to take on none other than… The Alabama State Hornets from the FCS level where last year they were a nice 5-6. You can’t make this shit up.
WEEK 5 – This time the Tigers sandwich in a nice home game against the Conference USA’s Southern Miss. Southern Miss has been a decent mid-major over the past 20 years. Last year they went 8-5 and finished toward the top of the Conference USA.
WEEK 12 – Oh man this is great. Since Auburn has already played Alabama State from the FCS level what are they going to do when they are a week away from playing Alabama. Week 12 Auburn welcomes the Liberty Flames to town. Liberty was an FCS school last season who went just 6-5 and finished 4th in their own conference. For some reason, Liberty decided to make the jump to the FBS level this year and well isn’t it great that Auburn scheduled yet another FCS team from last season. Fucking pathetic.
To compare that to some of the top schools in other conferences.
Michigan: home/away 9th conference game, @ Notre Dame, vs Western Michigan, vs SMU.
Michigan State: home/away 9th conference game, vs Utah State, @ Arizona State, vs Central Michigan.
Washington: home/away 9th conference game, a “neutral” site game vs Auburn, vs North Dakota, vs BYU.
TCU: home/away 9th conference game, vs Southern, @ SMU, vs Ohio State.
Review: It’s really no match. Auburn scheduling basically 2 FCS teams is just garbage. Auburn doesn’t play a true road game and the neutral site game is practically a home game. I don’t even need to break down the other team’s opponents listed above their out of conference schedules are drastically better than Auburn’s.
Texas A&M Aggies
WEEK 1 – Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies start the season off in classic SEC form by scheduling Northwestern State to come to College Station. Now I know it’s common for several schools to open up the season with an FCS opponent but Northwestern State just killed it on the FCS level last year going a nice 4-7 and finishing 6th in the Southland Conference. This should be a good one.
WEEK 2 – Okay here we go an actual legit College Football game that they don’t need to play on a neutral site. The Aggies welcome the Clemson Tigers to College Station. Thank you! This is a great matchup that I can’t actually shit on.
WEEK 3 – Ugh the follow-up week to Clemson and the Aggies welcome Louisiana Monroe from the Sun Belt conference where the Warhawks went just 4-8 last season.
WEEK 12 – The classic SEC week before rivalry week where they schedule a shit ass opponent for the week of November 17th and this year the Aggies welcome to College Station the UAB Blazers. Now, I bet when they schedule this they thought hey UAB is bringing back football to their athletic program let’s schedule a game with them since they’ll be in the FBS. UAB did bring football back last season and they surprisingly had a great year going 8-5 but let’s not kid ourselves. This is a shit ass matchup against a team that is in year two of bringing back their football program entirely.
Review: They scheduled one tough game and three shit, opponents. Not any being on the road. UAB had a great year last year and I hope they continue to be good but shame on A&M for scheduling this shitty.
WEEK 1: LSU schedules another nice “neutral” site game in Dallas against Miami (FL). Sure the trip isn’t too far from the boys from Baton Rouge but you know what? I’ll give it a pass this is a great job scheduling a decent opponent.
WEEK 2: LSU returns home from just a tough 45 minute flight and this week they welcome the Southeastern Louisiana Lions from the FCS level where last year the Lions did it big time with a nice 6-5 regular season finishing 5th in the Southland Conference.
WEEK 4: LSU coming off their first SEC game of the season return home to face the Conference USA’s Louisiana Tech. Louisiana Tech finished 7-6 last season and placed 4th in the Conference USA so this is somewhat of a decent matchup. However, this shouldn’t be your 2nd toughest out of conference game.
WEEK 12: It’s Week 12 again friends. The Classic SEC layoff week. This week LSU and Coach O welcome the Rice Owls into town. Rice was a nice 1-11 last year in the Conference USA with their one win being against winless UTEP. What a fucking joke.
Review: Not one real road game and two awful opponents. What a terrible out of conference schedule.
Ole Miss Rebels
WEEK 1: Holy Shit! Holy Shit! Can we give an award to Ole Miss for playing a true neutral site game against Texas Tech? Texas Tech is technically about 45 minutes closer to Houston then Ole Miss is so that’s something. Give it up to Ole Miss for scheduling a true neutral site game. Still not a road game though.
WEEK 2: The Rebels come back to Oxford, Mississippi with a big game lined up against the Southern Illinois Salukis from the FCS level. Southern Illinois went just 4-7 last season and finished 8th in the Missouri Valley Conference.
WEEK 4: Oh man the Rebels are doing it big time they’ve finally decided hey let’s play a school from the MAC conference. No not Toledo or Northern Illinois they instead welcome Kent State. Kent State, The Golden Flashes are coming off a nice 2-10 season where they only won just one conference game. Fucking pathetic.
WEEK 6: This week the Rebels welcome in a team we’ve already previewed with Louisiana Monroe who as I mentioned in the Texas A&M segment of this write up. Louisiana Monroe is coming off a nice 4-8 season in the Sun Belt.
Review: I’ll give them a little credit for Texas Tech but still not one true road game and three shitty opponents. Terrible out of conference schedule.
WEEK 1: The Razorbacks welcome none other than the Eastern Illinois Panthers who are from the FCS lower division. Eastern Illinois is coming off a 6-5 season last year where they 3rd in the Ohio Valley. Wow, what a game this should be.
WEEK 2: The Razorbacks hit the road for a nonconference game! Holy shit this is the first true out of conference road game we have thus far in reviewing the entire SEC West Schedule. The Razorbacks hit the road to take on none other than the Colorado State Rams in Fort Collins, Colorado. I’m actually shocked an SEC school would not only play a road game but especially against a mid-major. Give it up for the Razorbacks…. Last year CSU went 7-6 and went bowling.
WEEK 3: The Razorbacks return from their road trip to face off against North Texas! Hey, North Texas may have been absolute dog shit the decade prior to last season but last year North Texas turned things around and went 9-5 and actually played for the Conference USA Championship. Although they lost by like 30 in that game.
WEEK 8: The Razorbacks sandwiched this game in between matchups with Ole Miss and Vanderbilt so perhaps they can win three in a row here when they welcome in the Tulsa Golden Hurricane from the American Conference. Tulsa is coming off a 2-10 season and should be ready for this one.
Review: Really Arkansas? Really? No power 5 schools in your out of conference schedule? Pathetic. Just when I was going to give you credit for playing at Colorado State. Then I noticed your cream puff schedule. Arkansas went 4-8 last year. Let’s compare that schedule to other teams from other conferences that struggled last year.
Out Of Conference Schedule Comparison
Baylor (1-11 Last Year) – 2018 Out Of Conference Schedule Comparison: home/away 9th conference game (BIG 12) vs Abilene Christian (FCS), @ UTSA (CON USA), vs Duke (ACC).
Rutgers (4-8 Last Year) – 2018 Out Of Conference Schedule Comparison: home/away 9th conference game (BIG 10), vs Texas State (Sun Belt), @ Kansas (BIG 12), vs Buffalo (MAC).
Oregon State (1-11 Last Year) – 2018 Out Of Conference Schedule Comparison: home/away 9th conference game (PAC 12), @ Ohio State (BIG 10), vs Southern Utah (FCS), @ Nevada (MNTW).
Those are three of the shittiest teams from the other 3 power conferences and look at those schedules! Much much better than Arkansas. All scheduled games against power 5 conferences.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
WEEK 1 – Mississippi State starts the season off right when they welcome the mighty Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks who are from the FCS level and are coming off a nice 4-7 season where they finished 6th in the Southland Conference.
WEEK 2 – Holy shit! The first road out of conference game against a power 5 opponent in the whole SEC West. Mississippi State travels to Manhattan, Kansas to take on Kansas State. Holy Shit. They did it. Thank you Mississippi State.
WEEK 3 – The Bulldogs come back home to face the amazing Louisiana Lafayette Rajin’ Cajuns. Louisiana Lafayette is coming off a nice 5-7 season in the Sun Belt Conference. Exciting times.
WEEK 10 – It’s homecoming in Starkville, Mississippi and what better way to do it than schedule the conference USA’s Louisiana Tech. Louisiana Tech is coming off a nice 7-6 season and is a decent mid-major.
Review: They are the only team in the whole SEC West that has a true road game against a power 5 opponent. I must reward them. However, having Louisiana Tech as your 2nd best out of conference game is absolute shit.
SEC West Review
I think if you clearly look at what I have posted above and you’ll see that the SEC needs to either schedule 9 conference games. Think about the ramifications of all this. Think about this. A 9th Conference game guarantees 7 losses because half the 14 conferences teams will lose the extra conference game. Which most of the SEC out of conference games now is an almost a guaranteed win.
If you change some of those wins to losses it would negatively affect every team’s strength of schedule ratings which would eventually lead to worse computer rankings and fewer teams being bowl eligible. Let us not forget that the 9th conference game is also not always Rutgers vs Wisconsin, or USC vs Oregon State. Sometimes it’s the top two teams in Conference. Like Ohio State vs Wisconsin or Washington vs USC. The proof is all listed above. Next up is the SEC East…