Top 5 Shameful 2014 SEC Non-Conference Football Schedules

By Andy Coffaro -

‘Tis the season for watching spring football games, studying up on the incoming class of freshmen and transfers, and memorizing your favorite team’s 2014 schedule. If you’re a fan of a school like Arkansas, you might be a bit nervous about facing the toughest strength of schedule in all of college football right after a 3-8 season. As if the SEC weren’t tough enough, the Razorbacks have out-of-conference matchups versus two bowl teams from 2013: Texas Tech and Northern Illinois.

Conversely, non-conference anxiety shouldn’t be a problem for other SEC teams. From Florida to Alabama to Mississippi State, these five schools should feel downright guilty for their 2014 non-conference schedules. And yes, I fully realize that the SEC is the best conference in the country and that no other schools have to maneuver as difficult a conference gauntlet as the Southeastern Conference.

That still doesn’t excuse teams from scheduling the UT Martin Skyhawks.

1. Vanderbilt

The Commodores are coming off yet another impressive nine-win season that saw them playing in an unprecedented third straight bowl contest. With a non-conference slate consisting of Temple, UMass, Charleston Southern, and Old Dominion, it’s hard to imagine Vandy not making a fourth straight bowl trip despite playing in the SEC.

It’s also hard to imagine a softer non-conference schedule in all of college football: Temple won just two games in 2013; UMass had half as many wins and put up a nation’s worst 11.7 points per game; FCS foe Charleston Southern arrives in Nashville before a bye week; and Vandy gets a late-season breather against an Old Dominion team making the transition from FCS to Conference USA. To top it all off, every out-of-conference matchup takes place in Vanderbilt Stadium.

2. Mississippi State

The Mississippi State Bulldogs give the Commodores everything they can handle in challenging for the crown of most shameful SEC 2014 non-conference schedule. The squad opens with a home contest to a Southern Mississippi team that was riding a nation’s worst 23-game losing streak before it finally pulled out a victory in last season’s finale. UAB managed to double the Golden Eagle’s win total with a whopping two W’s.

Ironically, the Bulldogs’ most difficult non-conference game won’t take place versus a Conference USA opponent, but rather the Sun Belt. A road contest on September 13th finds Mississippi State on the road in Mobile, Alabama versus a Jaguars team that went 6-6 in 2013, including three straight wins to end the season.

To complete their non-conference schedule, the Bulldogs scheduled a November scrimmage against UT Martin.

3. Florida

Let’s get the November 29th tilt at the defending national champions out of the way first. Yes, this is a brutal non-conference game. One could argue that along with playing at schools like Alabama, it doesn’t get any tougher than this.

But that doesn’t excuse Florida from opening the season against two of the most historically inept programs in all of college football: the Idaho Vandals and the Eastern Michigan Eagles. Other than the quick blip-on-the-radar 2009 season that saw Idaho win the Humanitarian Bowl, the team has been so awful that the school found itself, along with New Mexico State, without a home in 2013 after the WAC dissolved. Now an official member of the Sun Belt, the Vandals open the season in Gainesville where the awaiting Gators have “challenged” themselves with an opening game versus a 2013 defense that was 126th in college football giving up 46.8 points per game. 124th in defense at 45.2 points per game? Eastern Michigan.

4. Alabama

To give Alabama a bit of credit, West Virginia was coming off of 10 wins in 2011 (including a 70-33 Orange Bowl route of Clemson) and seven wins in 2012 when this Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta was scheduled.

The Crimson Tide get no such credit for scheduling home games versus FAU and Southern Mississippi while also making sure to add its historical late-November nap versus an overmatched FCS squad.

In 2013, Bama hosted Colorado State, Georgia State, and Chattanooga. In 2012, Western Kentucky, FAU, and Western Carolina came to Bryant-Denny Stadium. For fans in Tuscaloosa and around the country, it would be a refreshing change to see the Crimson Tide schedule a home game versus a major BCS non-conference opponent.

5. Texas A&M

Quick. Without using Google. Where is Lamar located and what’s the team’s nickname? Did you also know that the school voted to pull the plug on football in the late 80s and that the squad just returned to the gridiron in 2010? This is the Texas A&M Aggies season opener.

The post-Johnny Football era stays in the state of Texas during all of September after a tough opening conference game versus South Carolina. After a home opener against the Cardinals [Author’s Note: I used Google to discover Lamar’s nickname too], the Aggies remain in-state with games against Rice and SMU. Although the Owls aren’t anywhere near the class of Texas A&M in terms of sheer talent, at least they went to a bowl game last year, which is a lot more than the other teams can claim on this list with the sole exception of Florida’s trip to Tallahassee.

Andy Coffaro is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @andycoffaro and LinkedIn.

Comments (113)

Alabama will be given a pass because for some reason they can do no wrong. So they wil be forgiven for the games against suck weak teams out of conference. What would be great though is to see one of these teams slip up & best the Tide. Wishful thinking I guess. Hehe.

Keep in mind too, that SEC teams (I am sure others do it too) often host teams like this to boost revenue for those schools. LSU does it too.

Did you know that for the Colorado State game against Bama, CSU got $1.5 million, and will receive the same amount from a second game to be played in 2015 or 2017.

So yeah, it gives our powerhouses a breather game, but it also generously benefits less fortunate schools that don’t have the same funding options that our big Uni’s do.

Claim is that from “TOP TO BOTTOM”. the SEC has been the best conference in CFB for several consecutive seasons. Lets not forget in recent seasons there have been teams that have swept through the SEC conf. with as few as one loss followed up with a bowl loss to a team from another conference. Examples: Auburn 2013 (12-1 SEC, lost the NCG to Florida State,… Florida 2012 (11-1 SEC) lost Sugar Bowl to Louisville… And 2008 Alabama (12-1 SEC) lost Sugar Bowl to a non AQ MWC Utah team. These OOC opponents did have strong seasons and I do agree the SEC has been a dominating conf. , but if they have constantly dominated over “ALL” the other conferences year in and year out like they have been said to have had, no team would ever sweep the entire rest of the SEC and and then lose a bowl game to an opponent from any other conference . Or at very least not to a non AQ opponent. That tells me that no matter how good the rest of the SEC teams were that season they could have just as easily had losses to the top teams from other conferences. The SEC needs to re confirm that they are still currently the best by scheduling stronger OOC opponents and winning when they do.

Vandy should be given a pass! They are not a national powerhouse like some other teams. As for 3 through 5, you don’t expect it from top tier programs such as those!

You realize that Vandy just bailed on the second half of a 4 game series with Northwestern, right? They were afraid to go to Evanston, IL to face the Northwestern Wildcats. For those of you keeping score at home, NU was a pathetic 1-7 in B1G play. And Vandy bailed out of a contract w/ them 11 months before the game.

Vandy also backed out of a game with Ohio State last year. OSU had to replace them with a crap Florida school at the last minute. Not very SEC-like.

Not taking up for Vandy backing out of the Ohio State game, but at least get the facts straight. OSU was already scheduled to play Florida A&M. What happened was OSU replaced Vandy with San Diego State. However to accommodate the Aztecs, OSU had to move the FAMU game to the date of the cancelled Vandy game.

I am aware of the revenue that the SEC provides for lesser teams at the bottom of these week conferences. I am also aware that the teams at the top of these very same conferences have the same revenue problems and would be just as willing and exited to have these paydays. At the same time I am not blind that some would point out that this is done totally out of generosity by the SEC, and at the same time they would either choose to ignore or totally avoid the fact that while the SEC is being so generous to these week teams, all favors are being returned four fold. Four no risk, sure wins games are like spraying WD-4 on the SEC tracks to an NCG. Add that to another BCS BOWL appearance. We all know what kind of generous pay days accompany these….. Nice try,…You’ll have to throw another heroic deed out there before I “personally” buy in.

The southern states have most of our economies growing and improving while the northern states are predominantly decaying..but all we have is football?

A quick vote here..uf ug and usc instate rivals or auburn playing kansas a betting man which of those games would be deemed easiest from a sec perspective?

This is probably the most ignorant comment you ever read…. To me that translates to: … You have never been a reciever on the target end of an SEC fans comments before.

It’s the honest truth when someone says …” you can sure tell an SEC fan “,….” but you sure can’t tell them very much”.

Oregon has three non conference games each year and they usually schedule one pansy, one regional (Fresno State, Boise State, Utah pre Pac12) and one power conference foe. In recent years, they’ve scheduled Tennessee, Michigan, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Michigan State so while they do schedule the likes of Idaho, Montana, and Eastern Washington once per season, they are worlds ahead of the SEC’s directional school scheduling!

These are shameful schedules but the SEC has actually improved from a decade ago. It used to be that Tennessee was the only SEC team that routinely scheduled outside power conference opponents. The others would schedule a decent non-con game every 3-4 years but these schedules notwithstanding, it is getting better!

I do not know about the rest of the SEC but I can vouch for Auburn. I have been a fan since 1984 and every year they have at least one good OOC game. Kudos to Tennessee for doing the same, but they are not the only one.

Are you referring to the same “pre pac 12” Utah team , and Boise State teams that I think you are? The Pre pac-12 Utah team that I am thinking of finished the “03” season ranked !#21, the “09” season ranked #18, the “03” season at #4 after a (35-7) Fiesta Bowl Win over Pitt. And who could forget “08” and the Utah team that went (14-0) and finished ranked #2 after a (31-17) Sugar Bowl win over a (12-2) Alabama team who had completely dominated the SEC with their only loss being to (13-1) Florida in the final week of season….. Or the Boise State team that finished ranked in 9 of the last 12 seasons in the final polls at (not in this order) Note: (**) = the seasons that Oregon played Boise State 18, 16, 15,12, (*11), 9, 8, 5, and (*4). also with two Fiesta bowl wins.

I have got to admit that Auburn has done a better job of scheduling more good OOC games than SOME of the other SEC teams, but what happened to that from 2004-2007? I noticed that Florida has played Florida State every year during the BCS era and for as many years as you would want to check even before the BCS era.

i do believe that in 08 bama was on probation and without scholarships and should have never made it to a bowl game but played their asses off and won. I was very surprised at that season . the loss was from a good team that finally put bama in their place… roll tide roll

“WOW”… If the 2008 Alabama team had to play their asses off and were still able to go 12-2, (6-1 in SEC play) with an average SEC conference game score of 39-21 (+18 ppg) while on probation and without scholarship for the entire season and they were still able to make it all the way to the Sugar Bowl, ….that does say something about the SEC conference. Especially because they also were able to go (4-1) in OOC play against (7-6) Clemson, (2-10) Tulane, (2-10) Western Kentucky, (6-6) Arkansas State, and their only OOC loss was to a good (13-0) Utah team by an average score of 29-11 (+18 ppg.) ….Wait a minute,….Their average SEC win and their average OOC wins were by the exact same (+18 ppg)? Hmmmm……Well , I guess it really does say something about the SEC conference !

The same number as Alabama… zero (0). Only Ohio State has a National Championship Trophy. Alabama has numerous BCS Championships and AP/Coaches polls media-based championships. The NCAA did not give out “trophies” until 2014 as that was the first true playoff-based Champion in Division I.

If you want to get technical, Boise State does have a National Championship Trophy. They won the Div I-AA National Championship in 1980. Since Div I-AA has a playoff, the NCAA has recognized the winner as a National Champion and awarded them with a National Champion Trophy.

True, Oregon always seems to have a “Weak Sisters of teh Poor” scheduled each year, but they DO also have a tough opponent, such as Michigan State this year. They also played Tennessee, LSU, Boise St and have Nebraska, Texas A&M and Ohio State on their future schedules. I’d be all in favor of the Ducks no longer playing any FCS team. With 128 FBS teams to choose from, there are lots of options to pick a weaker opponent.

Can not wait to see that MSU at Oregon game. Win or lose both teams need a plus toward the 4 team playoff. Maybe then we could get more great OOC games like this every year.

Good catch Evan. It was Rutgers who won their last game to go 6-6 and sneak into a bowl. For some reason in my head I thought it was SMU.

Mississippi State will save a lot of money on travel this season With 3 cupcake games @ home and a 2 hour bus ride to play South Alabama right next door, there will be no hotle bills and maybe only a quick stop for gas and a drive thru @ McDonalds on the way home.

Seriously, until non BCS teams wins are not counted towards bowl eligibility this travesty will continue.

S. Miss wasn’t always this bad, and wasn’t when the game was scheduled. UAB has been a regular opponent in the past and has played State tough in the past.

I commend Miss State for leaving their SEC home and playing a team like South Alabama.If the SEC teams can win with the same dominating ways against the mid -majors at their house , then maybe so Dave. Having an underdog gives the game so much more interest and meaning. Ask Tennessee if South Alabama is a cupcake!

Uf plays preseason #1 & #2 this year and still gets mocked for a weak schedule ooc..I guess kind of like our sec conference was mocked in basketball..and we had 2 of the final 4..what is this obsession with people outside the sec wanting to play 4 top 10 teams with our ooc schedule ..except for perhaps uk we don’t have perennial doormats..and our ooc games help fund our entire athletic programs..that’s why we win titles in and track and getting the money from 7_8 packed stadium home games

Florida does play #1 and #2 but the could play at least in state teams like Miami UCF USF FIU or FAU the the school of blind like there playing

Gus..we played um..last year..and I don’t personally have any interest in filling their stadium with our fans ever again..usf and ucf..took butt kickings from us in the past..and then dropped buying out the remaining games..we have played and whipped fiu and they want large sums of money to play uf has a budget for ooc games..just like you do at your house.
And we try to stick to it

I understand this article was about ooc games..but that’s taking the entirety of the schedule out of a proud uf alumnus..and 20 year gator booster..I am 100 pct OK with a few weak ooc games each year..with lsu jawja usc and fsu on our permanent schedule..what other non sec team can beat these 4 toughies ..??..huh..I’m open for discussing..

The last time Florida played a nonconference road game outside the state of Florida (excluding bowl games) was 1991 at Syracuse in which they got slaughtered 38-21. Every BIG program should have 1 Home & 1 Away game every year against parallel competition nonconference wise. Automatic Bowl rematches with the winner gaining home field should easily remedy this situation.

The SEC needs to stop being so cowardly and schedule some home & aways and I’m not talking about Neutral Sites either. The reason why they don’t is that the play the system perfectly, all have an FCS school on their slate & meekly play all the rest of their games at HOME against loser schools. Quit being a bunch of pussies and schedule like A MAN would.

Please note that Auburn is not on this list…nor will they for the next two years. Hats off to the Tigers for stepping up their OOC schedule…..

bigjames, I beg your pardon. The SEC has had, and still has, these perennial doormats…Vanderbilt, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Kentucky. Oh, it such a tough conference. I for one am sick of hearing how tough it is. It is not any tougher than most other conferences. However, the BCS was loaded with SEC Homers so they always get a pass…Let’s see the SEC teams go North to play Bowl games instead of practically getting “home” games during bowl season. Lt’s see an OOC schedule that AT LEAST has a power team from another Power conference. Until the SEC starts playing tougher schedules OOC, they, to me, are continuing to get a pass.IMO.

Mne does playing the national championship Seminoles..every year..not count?..oh wait are you one of those who believe this game doesn’t count because we don’t leave the state to play it

This is in reply to M.N.E,,You called Tennessee perennial doormats which is not true. TN is 4th nationally for all time bowl appearances and 6th for all time bowl wins nationally. That puts them ahead of teams like USC, Texas and Florida State. Though perennial would mean year end and year out for a very extended period but lets look at the past decade. TN was a bowl game 2000-2005 and 2007-2010. They last won a NC in 1998 beating Florida State 23-16 finishing 13-0 for the year. I do agree for the most part about the others on your list but calling TN a “perennial doormat is certainly false.”

Another Red Herring article, no doubt provided by some ACC or B10 apologist. Please tell me a similar article will be forthcoming for all conferences? And if so, why was the SEC spotlighted first? Randomly picked out of a hat? Most of the other scheduling by conference write ups are done in some order, alphabetical etc…

Who is your team Jinzo. You have a lot to say about the SEC. I am a Florida fan. Please tell me your team so that I can analyze the totality of their schedule year over year.

Let’s see auburn gets a pass but and usc..don’t..and we play bloody instate rivals every year..that’s pure idiocy..m sage..I’m sure glad you had to dig back 23 years for that insignificant fact…this not playing outside state lines is a load of if we got fsu to hold their game with us the next time at the first rest area over the Georgia line..we’d finally get you northern and western numbskulls to cut uf some slack?….I don’t defend bama..auburn..lsu ut..or any other sec that doesn’t have instate annual rivals.take a look at our schedule..we play one neutral site game and 1 supremely tough..ooc game

Florida is a disgrace when it comes to scheduling….at least Bama will actually travel out of state. You want a reason why Urban left? Staying home like cowards is one of them…you don’t find it bothersome the gators have left Florida in 23 years to play anyone? Just embarrassing.

Florida will be playing Michigan in Texas in 2017 just to let ya know. What I’m tired of hearing is the complaints about the SEC’s OOC schedules. LSU a few years ago had a series with Oregon and ran them off the field. Alabama plated VT last year, Tennessee played Oregon the last couple years. UF plays FSU every year. Then y’all want to make excuses about facts that prove all of your theories wrong by saying, well they haven’t played an OOC game outside of the state in X amount of years. But the thing is, you idiots will continue to have an excuse no matter what. Ya know why? B/c people are just mad at the fact that the SEC wins championships. Plain and simple. I’m glad that we have a playoff now cuz now there ain’t gonna be no excuses when the SEC wins more titles.

Florida has on it’s 2014 schedule the #1, #2, #6, #10 and #12 teams. Any team that can go through that deserves to only have one tough OOC game. ( The NUMBER ONE currently ranked team FSU ) Look at OSU’s sched, look at FSU’s sched., look at Oklahoma’s schedule or even a Stanford’s schedule and say you’d trade with U.F.? Hell we got LSU, FSU, S.Carolina and Georgia EVERY year. LSU is like on OOC team as you only play 2 from the West and our permanent team is LSU. Try to go to Death Valley every 2 years. FSU would NOT have played for the MNC last year if they had an SEC schedule.

Another dumbass article backhandedly attacking Florida by this stupid website run by a gator hater (written no less by a subordinate with no awareness of SEC football)

Let it go Kevin, you’re too old to act this immaturely bitter. We get it. You’ve got a home and home with Clemson. Congratulations. We’re all so proud of you. Maybe if your program didn’t waste it’s time constantly picking on Tech year in and year out you wouldn’t have to boost up your non conference schedule and then use your website to strut.

Thanks for the comment.

No articles on this site are written to spite any particular team. Our contributors write as they see fit. There is no bias towards Georgia or against Florida.

Come back next year and you will see UGA in one of these articles most likely.

Great response, Kevin. I love seeing trolls like “Not quite” get put in their place.

Not must know Kevin..but good call..brock..must be a yes boy..who has no intelligent or interesting this boy..takes a cowardly shot at you..without ever saying who his up punk

Please discuss the non-conference schedules of the teams listed, or who you think should have made the list, etc.

This is not a message board, so please don’t turn it into one with the continued shots at each other, the author, me, or whoever.

As always, thanks for visiting

Big Ten Edition:

Minnesota – Eastern Illinois, Middle Tennessee, at TCU, San Jose St.
Rutgers – at Washington St. (in Seattle), Howard, at Navy, Tulane
Purdue – Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Notre Dame (at Indianapolis), Southern Illinois
Illinois – Youngstown St., Western Kentucky, at Washington, Texas St.
Penn St. – UCF (Dublin, Ireland), Akron, UMass, Temple
Michigan St. – Jacksonville ST. at Oregon, E. Michigan, Wyoming

At least the worst Big Ten OOC schedules have road games against other BCS teams

You are joking,right? Minnesota is playing three strong teams that they lose too…and they are going on the road as well…where is Florida traveling too?

Interesting. Even when you look at Minnesota with an assumed weak schedule it’s more challenging than most SEC teams’ schedule and this is just for this Fall of 2014. If you go back the past three years and ahead three years for Minnesota you see n.c. games that were played on the road each year, including at USC and others, and home against teams such as; Syracuse, UNLV, perennial FCS power North Dakota State, and San Jose State. And future years still have games h/a against TCU, h/a Oregon State and as well as road n/c opponents. The SEC should be ashamed with their lack of challenging schedules and there really is no debate about this as far as I’m concerned. Take the blinders off and see what the schedules truly for what they are, producing wins to fool their fan base and poll voters into thinking they’re good or better than others. The SEC schedules for the most part are a joke (by the way, I do give LSU credit for trying to do it right and give themselves and their conference some legitimacy).

Jinzo – The road game at TCU is tough, and is something you wouldn’t see in the SEC. But Eastern Illinois, Middle Tennessee, and San Jose St.? That’s a pretty weak out of conference schedule.

ACC Edition:

Duke – Elon, at Troy, Kansas, Tulane
Wake Forest – at ULM, Gardner-Webb, at Utah St., Army
NC State – Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, at USF, Presbyterian
Pitt – Delaware, at FIU, Iowa, Akron
Boston College – at UMass, USC, Maine, Colorado St.

Also considered:
Georgia Tech – Wofford, Tulane, Georgia Southern, at Georgia
Louisville – Murray St., at FIU, at Notre Dame, Kentucky

Big 12 Edition (top 3):

Kansas – SE Missouri St., at Duke, Central Michigan
Baylor – SMU, NW State, at Buffalo
TCU – Samford, Minnesota, at SMU

Also considered:
Texas Tech – Central Arkansas, at UTEP, Arkansas
Oklahoma – Louisiana Tech, at Tulsa, Tennessee
Kansas St. – Stephen F. Austin, Auburn, UTEP
Oklahoma St. – Florida St. (at Arlington, TX), Missouri St., UTSA
Iowa St. – North Dakota St., at Iowa, Toledo

PAC 12 edition:

Arizona – UNLV, at UTSA, Nevada
Oregon St. – Portland St., at Hawaii, San Diego St.
Colorado – Colorado St. (in Denver), at UMass, Hawaii
Washington – at Hawaii, Eastern Washington, Illinois, Georgia St.
Washington St. – Rutgers (in Seattle), at Nevada, Portland St.

Also considered:
ASU – Weber St., at New Mexico, Notre Dame
Oregon – South Dakota, Michigan St., Wyoming
Stanford – UC Davis, Army, at Notre Dame

“Thanks bradleysmith1212 said…” I don’t think there should be any argument to how poorly and weakly the SEC schedule their games, both out of conference and in conference. When was the last time any of the “big boys” in the SEC had back-to-back “tough” games. You will always notice that Bama and the others will have a “little sisters of the poor” or a bye week prior to any “major” game. The SEC fan is completely blind to the fact of their team’s poor & weak scheduling because the poll voters are as well and reward the SEC for their efforts (or lack there of). They have fourteen teams in their schedule, but yet only schedule to play seven of their 13 conference opponents and then add four chumps to fill the 12 game schedule out. It’s a junk and there shouldn’t be any reward given to this disgrace.

I applaud the SEC for allowing their teams to schedule who they want when they want. They have not caved to the 9 game conf schedules that are becoming common place. But I guess the byproduct is having some teams schedule crappy OOC opponents. Alabama seems to be very calculated when scheduling. They have a bye before they play LSU. They play an FCS team before they play Auburn. They play 3 ooc games at home and 1 on a neutral field. They will most likely be a top 10 team fighting for a playoff spot or a BCS bowl yet again.

They haven’t “caved” to the nine game conference schedule because they don’t want their good teams playing an extra tough crossover game, they would rather schedule a weak fbs school. The SEC needs to do a justice to nonconf scheduling and not schedule FCS opponents either just as the B1G is doing after this season!

FLORIDA will play MICHIGAN in Arlington in september of 2017 to start season so this will be UF’S first out state game since 1991 but the only reason they have not played out of the state of florida is because UF did not want to lose a home game to off set it leaving them with only 6 games if that happen but in 2017 the SEC will either have an 8 game schedule or 9 game schedule by then.

uga went to tempe ariz 2008 Stillwater okla 2009 boulder colo 2010 played boise st 2011 Columbia mizzou 2012 Clemson sc 2013 sounds like we have done our part in the travel dept

The SEC West is the most difficult side of any conference in the U.S. and to stand a chance of participating in bowl games and competing for recruits, teams like MSU and UM must find winnable non-conference games…their conference schedules are brutal. One thing you don’t mention is how expensive and competitive it is to beat off the Athletic Directors of AL & LSU from out bidding smaller budget schools to take cupcakes along the way. MSU has had several non conference schools back out because AL or LSU comes calling with more money. It’s always about money!

You are right on the money Steve….As someone who has been a 20 year booster at UF, we realize that in order to be able to meet our entire athletic department budget that we must have 7 home football games each year..Those 7 home football games support our entire excellent athletic program. Men’s basketball is about break even but all other sports are in the red. Our AD Foley is highly regarded as one of the tops in the country and he believs in an entire athletic program excellence. The only program that we have that is down is our women’s basketball program. Soccer, Lacrosse, Gymnastics, Softball, Baseball, Women’s and men’s tennis,Mens and womens golf, cross country, swimming and diving, all rely on those 7 football games to support them in their endeavors to win national championships…oh we just won a NC in Gymnastics this for all y’all that think these OOC games are all about macho…take a step back and look at the economics of College Sports

We Play FSU home and away every year…we play UGa at a Neutral site every year…we have rotating 3 SEC Conf games at home and FSU at home to make 4 home games, then the next year we have 4 conference games at home..and a road OOC game with for all of us out here who understand budgets and financing…we must therefore make the 3 OOC home games every year….oh and that’s not even getting into the economy of Gainesville, FL…many businesses in Gville make 25 % or more of their yearly income on those 7 home game weekends…

Now Remember Vandy had a nice little ACC SEC end of season game with Wake Forest that the SEC stepped in and made Vandy move their UT game to the end of the season,,that’s why they have Charleston Southern…kinda like UF, UG and USC had with our local rivals…not sure if Wake and Vandy will rekindle that seemed like a perfect end of season game for them

When teams play 3-5 top 25 teams in conference every year, who gives a crap about their OOC. When you have teams like Ohio State advancing to elite bowl games having played no ranked teams, there’s really no point in trying to criticize the SEC. #HatersWillAlwaysHate

Heck my friend uf has 4 top 10 teams on our schedule…who can top that except maybe Arkansas?…yea ok so we have Idaho and eastern Michigan..ooc

The SEC has played week opponents for several seasons. This has left little if any current comparison of their over all strength vs. other conferences. Yet they are still being given special treatment as the strongest conf. This is reflected as high team rankings in the polls for some of their teams that are not always deserving of that ranking. So naturally they play more ranked teams than teams from other conferences.

Even though Florida finished unranked and bowl ineligible in 2013 at (4-8) with an OOC record of (1-3) that included a loss to a non FBS team, beat only one team that was above .500, and lost their last seven games they are projected by ESPN to start 2014 ranked @ #25. Their first three games in 2014 are against …Idaho, East Michigan, and a Kentucky team that finished at (2-10) in 2013. Barring any surprises, this will insure that they will be ranked and that Alabama will get credit for beating a ranked team when they play Florida in week #4.

Here are Alabama’s opening games from the past several years (except Penn State, which was game 2)

– In 2008, Alabama opened against 9th-ranked Clemson in Atlanta

– in 2009, Alabama opened against 7th-ranked Virginia Tech in Atlanta

– Alabama played a home-and-home with Penn State in 2010 & 2011 (this was prior to the scandal which knocked PSU back a few steps; they were a top 25 team in both games)

– In 2012, Alabama opened the season in Dallas against Michigan, who was ranked 8th and coming off a Sugar Bowl win

– In 2013, Alabama again opened the season against Virginia Tech

– In 2014, Alabama opens in Atlanta against West Virginia, who finished 10-3 with an Orange Bowl win in 2011 when the game was scheduled

– In 2015, Alabama will open against Wisconsin in Dallas

I just don’t understand the criticism. Sure, Alabama hasn’t opened against a team like Ohio State or Stanford in recent years, but when was the last time you saw one of them open against a top-ten team? With the exception of last year, when Virginia Tech was coming off of an unusually bad season, Alabama has had at least one top-25 OOC opponent since 2008, and they played Florida State in Tallahassee in 2007.

I wasn’t aiming to single out Alabama or to criticize any specific SEC team. I was speaking about the conference as a whole. I am not an SEC fan, nor am I an SEC hater. But you mention a few things that we seem to have different opinions on. In 2007 ..Clemson finished ranked at 21 after a loss to Auburn in the Chic- Filet, and started 2008 unranked in the AP poll…..2009 vs. a #7 V. Tech that finished ranked # 10 was good…..2010 Penn State started ranked # 19 and finished unranked, then started and finished 2011 unranked…. 2012 Michigan started at # 8 and finished at #24 with an 8-5 record, and had finished 2011 at # 12 …..V. Tech finished 2012 unranked then in 2013 they started and finished unranked….West Virginia finished the 2013 season unranked at 4-8 and will be unranked for the 2014 opener.

Listen!!! The SEC or any other conference is what it is. The rankings are just people opinions that week. Some are higher and some are lower than they should be. That’s for every team. No body knows how good a team is until they play that game. Everybody said alabama was going to beat Ohio state, but they didn’t. U can’t say any conference is better or worse. Unless u have 230 games a year and everyone plays everyone. But if that happens then people will say that my QB was injured so that’s why we lossed. The point is, we are all human and everyone has there own opinion and that’s the way it’s going to stay cause there is no way too prove anything.

To compare the conf. as a whole, you might want to check into the first four weeks of Missouri”s, Florida’s, Arkansas’, Miss.St.’s, LSU’s, Auburn’s, and Miis.’s schedules. These ought to leave the SEC in pretty good shape in the polls again when they hit their conference schedules. Playing each other as ranked teams after these soft schedules will no doubt minimize any impact to the teams that lose and magnify the strength of the winning team in the polls.

Just a general comment from a life long Oregon fan. Alabama and other SEC teams play these weak OOC games every year BUT yet they still manage to top the polls. That is because the SEC is the hardest conference in football. You are delusional if you can not see that. Yes they were down last year but they still managed to put a team in the NGC. It sucks that the schools that we root for are not as good as the top in the SEC but they will fall soon. Until then, suck it up and stop being little b*tches.

I respect your right to your own opinion. But we do disagree on how strong the SEC really is. I agree they may be the best. If not they are for sure close to the best. Playing mostly week OOC opponents makes the conference look stronger as a whole. This leads to some teams being over rated and is the reason they finish with so many teams topping the polls…. Several years of playing week OOC opponents combined with the non intentional and intentional over rankings of teams (as is the case of Florida in 2014) distort things and leaves little to no real timer comparison to top teams from the other conferences. The SEC needs to play a better quality of OOC opponents to re confirm that they are still currently the best. And I also believe that credit for opponents rank at the end of season should replace the current credit for opponent rank on game day. This would prevent things like Alabama and LSU getting credit for beating over ranked teams like Florida early in 2014 before they drop from the polls, then not give Florida State the same credit for playing the exact same Florida team in week 14.

florida state would never have all the 10 win seasons they had if they were in the sec.. bobby bowden even said it himself when asked why he wouldnt join the conference.. you caint go 10 and 2 and win a national title… the acc? the wac? the pac 10.. what competition do those conferences bring to the table

If you are responding to my post….. I strongly believe that the SEC has a couple teams that would prove them self as NCG candidates and would be winners against any schedule and a few that would also prove viable, along with several teams that would fail to remain at the current levels and ranks that media hype and weak schedules have produced for them over the past several seasons. This does not mean that the SEC does not have some of the best teams or even that they are not the best conference in CFB…. However, it does leave some legitimate question marks about how the SEC conference as a whole (from top to bottom)… would currently compare to the other conferences if faced with tougher schedules.

Southern Mississippi was coming off a 12-1 season when MSU scheduled them to open the 2014 season. It is not MSU’s fault the suck now. It is part of the parody of college athletics. 2 years ago it was considered a good move, now it’s a weak schedule

Went to Vandy, and totally thrilled about their scheduling. How many decades has the team every other teams Homecoming invite? Under Franklin we started building a great program, but prior to Franklin the last bowl game was in 1982 season, so to lump us in as SEC power team is premature at best: new coach and playbook, no quarterback, lack of returning linemen, and I’m happy as a clam to take on UMass, because we might get beat by Temple. Besides, OSU has always been chastised for playing Toledo, Dayton and that powerhouse Ohio University to pad their schedule.

Alabama has beaten the snot out of every team it’s played in the championship game . Bring your team and best them then whine about your schedules please. Texas, LSU, n dame . Next?

2013, Auburn and Bama were by far the SEC’s two best teams… Auburn beat 8 SEC teams by an average 12 ppg., and lost the NCG to Fla.ST. -3 …..Bama beat 7 SEC teams by an average of 28 ppg. and lost the Sugar Bowl to Okla. -14 … Are the top teams getting a leg up by beating teams that are over ranked just because they are in the SEC ?

I say the whole conference should be shameful of their non conference I mean they call them selves the “Best conference” in college football when they schedule mostly FCS opponents… explain that to me. A few teams have some “hope” because of rivalry games against tough teams but other than that the SEC is pathetic

Can’t wait until the bracket system comes out. We will see how many sec teams make the cut vs other conferences.

The sec is by far the toughest conference in cfb hands down. Something about trying to push around some 250 pound + cornbread fed beast in all the sec game does get rather tiring. So the out of conference weak games may be on purpose. But if all we had was 160lb wennies like other conferences we would schedule some tougher games.

I don’t see these little programs badtalking the Aggies. Aggies playing them means BIG money for their program when the Aggie team and band come to their town

I agree. Temple and UMass should be ashamed of scheduling a team like Vandy who has no shot to…. wait you thought Vandy was scheduling an easy game there?

i guess i might as well throw my hat in the ring.

the article was written about the SEC’s out of conference schedule being easy. obviously, you want SEC teams to play non-SEC teams that are ranked top 25 in the nation. if you’re anything like me, you want it to be a top 15 team, since thats where things get spicy, as most teams in the top 15 are considered runners for the big game.

at the moment, 6 of the top 15 teams are SEC teams.

sorry, we’re having a rough run at the moment. a few of our normal power houses have fallen off their game in football, but im sure we’ll be back to having 8-10 of the top 15 soon enough.

regardless, that leaves 9 teams in the top 15 open as non-SEC opponents.

each SEC team has 2-3 open slots for out of conference. the other slots are filled with in conference games, or rivalries.

that means out of the 6 teams, we need 12-18 games.

if you are one of the non-SEC fans, please let your coaches know we’re fine with handing you your loses before the championship game, and would love to schedule mid season games with them. im sure the coaches are easily approachable, as we’re quite nice down here.

good luck, and hope to see you soon.

Yeah, I’m really late in replying to this column…

MSU scheduled USM back in 2009 ( )

At that point, USM most recent season records were
2005 7-5
2006 9-5
2007 7-6
2008 7-6
2009 7-6

So, at the time, USM wasn’t awful.

Then they improved…
2010 8-5
2011 12-2 (Won the ConfUSA CG)

Then they crashed due to Ellis Johnson’s lack of recruiting, etc., etc…
2012 0-12
2013 1-11

It just goes to show you that, at the time of agreeing to play a team, you never know how good that team is going to be when the series actually begins. In 2008, who dreamed that Michigan would be so bad in 2014?

Weak Non-conference schedules exists throughout College Football. the SEC gets the spot light because they have been very successful in winning BSC championships in recent years (minus last year). Hard to argue that the SEC was the best conference this year… 2-5 in bowls, including 3 of the top teams losing. Alabama lost, but was competitive. Ole Miss and Miss St looked as if they did not belong in a bowl game.

I assume you mean the west went 2-5 in bowls, the east was 5-0, which makes the SEC 7-5 in bowl games this year.

Yes, weak non conference schedules do exist throughout CFB and yes the SEC does get the spot light. But there are some other reasons than only because they have been very successful in winning BCS championships in recent years.

..*TRUE Road Games, or *TGR’s are regular season games that are played against an opponent on that teams home field and do not include Bowl games or neutral site games.

1…..The SEC is notorious for scheduling three games against mostly OOC bottom dwellers from the weakest non power conferences and at least one non DIV-I team each year.

2…. Not all, but most of the SEC teams almost never play even one TRG vs. an OOC opponent in any given year.
Top SEC teams seldom, if ever, play the the top teams from the other SEC division.
Some of them regularly play two of the weaker cross conference teams

3….The SEC west in particular is claimed to be the stronger than any other Conference including the SEC East…
Against popular belief, the SEC west usually has at least two teams that would have trouble even playing in a non power conference, at least two others that only compare to average teams from the other power conferences.
That only leaves two or three teams from the SEC west each year that compare to or are better than the top teams from the other power conferences.

From 2005 – 2014 (the last ten seasons)… The top teams from the SEC West Division Alabama, LSU, and Auburn combined have played only nine TRG’s Vs. a total of 120 OOC opponents.

Alabama =2 TRG’s out of 40 games.
Auburn.. =3 TRG’s out of 40 games.
LSU ……= 4 TRG’s out of 40 games.
total………. 9 TRG’s out of 120 games.

4 sure ooc wins + 2 wins over weak cross conference opponents = 6 wins. (BOWL TIME)

6 OOC wins and cross conference plus wins over the bottom 3 SEC west divisional teams equals a 9-2 season, in the SEC that normally equals a top ten rank, and usually a top 5 rank, and often a #2 rank and an NCG appearance.

Add a win over at least one of the other two top SEC west teams and it equals a 10-1 season, in the SEC that equals at least a #2 rank and very often a #1 rank and an NCG appearance.

On a good season when any one of the top teams beats both of the other two top teams from the SEC west they finish at 11-0, In the SEC that has ….always…. “ALWAYS” …guaranteed a #1 rank and an NCG appearance against the #2 team.

Before you say that they have proven they were the best by beating the #2 team for the National Title, you need to remember that in 2014 Alabama was #1 and Oregon was #2 and they both lost to #4 Ohio State in the play off.

What are the odds that the first year of the play offs is the first and only time that a team that was ranked at #3, #4, #5 or even lower was under ranked and would have won the NCG ?

The Gators should get a pass here because they are playing the defending national champions.

Hey Rip! Florida’s not playing Ohio State. How long have you been sleeping? It’s been almost four years since Alabama has won a national title. In fact the only other team that Alabama beat this year before the Florida game that is still currently ranked was LSU. Besides that, if Florida were to be given a pass what do you think they should rewarded with, a playoff birh?

Okay I here people here yes they need too schedule harder games that is true but then I hear all this talk about people putting Gators down funny thing is we have beaten Ohio St and Oklahoma in the bed championship we lost our quarter back because of drugs but if it wasn’t for that we would have won but that’s OK new season new day Gators Nation

What a bunch of whiners. You cant win championships like the SEC so you try to justify your mediocrity by some ooc diatribe. Win your conference, get an invite to bcs games and win a championship. Oh wait. That means actually beating a bama or florida or lsu etc etc. The top 1/2 of the sec is a super conference compared to all the pretenders. Live with it. SEC owns majority of Natl Champs for a reason. Theyre better than you. Bama has half of them plus florida and lsu multiples and auburn thrown in for good measure. Tee it up if tou can get there. Otherwise STFU and play in your subpar leagues. Your patsies are already on your schedules as conference foes. What a bunch of whiny lil bitches. But if thats who you are and you cant win on the big stage to change it, Look for ways to justify your nonchampionship existance with your keyboard. Lord knows you can’t do it on the field.