Berry Tramel

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SEC football: Few schools play a representative schedule

by Berry Tramel Published: June 6, 2014
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Georgia running back Todd Gurley (3), left, takes a handoff from Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason (14) during a Georgia spring football practice on Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Athens Banner-Herald, AJ Reynolds)
Georgia running back Todd Gurley (3), left, takes a handoff from Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason (14) during a Georgia spring football practice on Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Athens Banner-Herald, AJ Reynolds)

Time to analyze the SEC’s non-conference schedule. Although there’s not much to analyze. Pitiful run of opponents. Georgia, as usual, more than carries its weight. Nobody else really does.

The SEC, despite its well-deserved reputation as the nation’s best conference, does not schedule worthy of such status. Every school in the SEC is playing a lower-division opponent. Worse yet, SEC schedules are littered with low-majors: South Alabama, Idaho, New Mexico State, Alabama-Birmingham, Memphis, Florida Atlantic, UMass, Old Dominion.

The rankings:

1. Georgia: Clemson, Troy, Charleston Southern, Georgia Tech. Two legitimate opponents. The Bulldogs will have their SEC charter revoked.

2. South Carolina: East Carolina, Furman, South Alabama, at Clemson. If you’re going to play a mid-major, you can find a lot easier foes than East Carolina.

3. Tennessee: Utah State, Arkansas State, at Oklahoma, Tennessee-Chattanooga. Utah State and Arkansas State actually could play the Volunteers tough.

4. Florida: Idaho, Eastern Michigan, Eastern Kentucky, at Florida State. Three rumdums, but that fourth is a whale of a game. As long as the Florida State-Florida series survives, you won’t ever find me criticizing the Gators’ schedule too much.

5. LSU: Wisconsin in Houston, Sam Houston State, Louisiana-Monroe, New Mexico State. LSU-Wisky is a great matchup; fourth time in five years the Bayou Bengals have opened the series on a neutral field.

6. Arkansas: Nicholls State, at Texas Tech, Northern Illinois, Alabama-Birmingham. Two decent games. Good for the Razorbacks, adding the Tech series. And Northern Illinois is a solid mid-major.

7. Auburn: San Jose State, at Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Samford. That K-State game should be interesting.

8. Missouri: South Dakota State, at Toledo, Central Florida, Indiana. Central Florida won the Fiesta Bowl last season, but the Golden Knights might have been a one-hit wonder.

9. Ole Miss: Boise State in Atlanta, Louisiana-Lafayette, Memphis, Presbyterian. Will Boise State find life beyond Chris Petersen? We’ll find out soon.

10. Kentucky: Tennessee-Martin, Ohio, Louisiana-Monroe, at Louisville. Kentucky is acting like an SEC heavyweight – it moved its big in-state, interconference matchup against the ACC to the end of the season, like South Carolina-Clemson, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Florida-Florida State.

11. Alabama: West Virginia in Atlanta, Florida Atlantic, Southern Mississippi, Western Carolina. There have been times when West Virginia and Southern Miss have been quality teams. These are not those times.

12. Texas A&M: Lamar, Rice, at SMU, Louisiana-Monroe. Sounds like a mediocre baseball regional.

13. Mississippi State: Southern Mississippi, Alabama-Birmingham, at South Alabama, Tennessee-Martin. Sounds like the college choices of a kid from Montgomery whose ACT score is 17.

14. Vanderbilt: Temple, Massachusetts, Charleston Southern, Old Dominion. Sounds like half the bracket of basketball’s Old Spice Classic.

 

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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