Looking at those SEC East schedules

Maybe it’s worth trying to gauge how much whining Steve Spurrier’s going to be doing at SEC Media Days in a couple of months.  Here’s what the seven conference schedules for this season are:

Sept. 8: at Texas A&M
Sept. 15: at Tennessee
Sept. 22: KENTUCKY
Oct. 6: LSU
Oct. 13: at Vanderbilt
Oct. 27: vs. Georgia (Jacksonville)

Sept. 8: at Missouri
Oct. 6: at South Carolina
Oct. 20: at Kentucky
Oct. 27: vs. Florida (Jacksonville)
Nov. 3: OLE MISS
Nov. 10: at Auburn

Sept. 22: at Florida
Oct. 13: at Arkansas
Oct. 20: GEORGIA
Oct. 27: at Missouri
Nov. 24: at Tennessee

Sept. 8: GEORGIA
Sept. 22: at South Carolina
Oct. 13: ALABAMA
Nov. 3: at Florida
Nov. 10: at Tennessee
Nov. 24: at Texas A&M

Aug. 30: at Vanderbilt
Sept. 22: MISSOURI
Sept. 29: at Kentucky
Oct. 13: at LSU
Oct. 20: at Florida

Sept. 15: FLORIDA
Sept. 29: at Georgia
Oct. 13: at Mississippi State
Oct. 20: ALABAMA
Oct. 27: at South Carolina
Nov. 17: at Vanderbilt

Sept. 22: at Georgia
Oct. 6: at Missouri
Oct. 13: FLORIDA
Oct. 20: AUBURN
Nov. 3: at Kentucky
Nov. 10: at Ole Miss


  • Georgia isn’t the only team in the East to dodge the Alabama-Arkansas-LSU trifecta.  Vanderbilt does, too.  And you can argue that Vandy actually gets a bigger break on its West match-ups than Georgia, even though they’re against the same teams, because it gets the weaker of the two on the road.
  • If you think that Vanderbilt has truly emerged as a credible program under Franklin, then that opener in Nashville is a dangerous game for South Carolina.  The ‘Cocks defense overpowered Vanderbilt last year, but this hasn’t been an easy game for Spurrier over the past few seasons.  Should South Carolina lose, it’ll really have to scramble to stay in the East race.
  • And that’s in part because Carolina is looking at a tough October:  Georgia, at LSU, at Florida and Tennessee.
  • It’s also in part because South Carolina is the only team in the East to draw two of the big three from the West.
  • Florida’s October isn’t as brutal as last year’s, but it’s no walk in the park:  LSU, at Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Georgia.
  • Neither Cocktail Party participant comes in off a bye week.
  • It’s hard to tell how early the division gets wrapped up because three teams (Missouri, Tennessee and Vanderbilt) play three conference games in November and two schools (Florida and South Carolina) only play once that month.  Unfortunately for the Gamecocks, that one game is against Arkansas.
  • Missouri’s season finale will be just like old times.
  • At least nobody in the East has to travel to Tuscaloosa.
  • Do I think the Vols will win more than one game on that slate, provided they stay healthy?  Sure.  But I’m having a hard time seeing where it’ll be a bunch more.
  • Where’s the win on Kentucky’s schedule?

Bottom line:  I’d rank Georgia’s schedule, along with Vandy’s, as the easiest in the division and South Carolina’s as the toughest.  So, yeah, expect some pithy comments from the OBC about the hand he’s been dealt.


Filed under SEC Football

47 responses to “Looking at those SEC East schedules

  1. Doug

    Better for the Gamecocks to just go ahead and lose their opener to Vandy, which would take some of the piss out of the OBC. (The collateral damage from James Franklin’s hyperinflated ego would be worth it.)

  2. FCDore

    As a Vandy fan, I share your assessment, Senator. We’ll have better teams as CJF’s recruiting upgrade continues to take hold, but I don’t think we’ll ever have an easier slate of conference games…especially if/when the league goes to a 9-game schedule. My biggest concern is that our three toughest conference games are arguably our first three (USC, at Georgia, at Missouri); we could be playing fairly well and still start off 0-3 in the league.

  3. timphd

    Here’s hoping the OBC has lots of whining to do this year. I hope he loses to everyone but Florida, and that’s just cause I hate Florida more.

  4. wnc dawg

    We shall see, but I just don’t think Ark is gonna be considered part of the Big 3 by the time they make it to Columbia. They could very well be in the tank under an interim coach. The conference openers for all the expected East contenders are really intriguing. Things really get going quickly this year.

    I think the most interesting thing could be a relatively dead period in Nov. Teams either waiting for a few weeks for the outcome of another game or someone having it wrapped up.

    • South Carolina’s struggled against Arkansas even when the Hogs weren’t highly rated.

      • To be be fair, Senator, that was when we sucked. It’s a bit unfair to compare expectations for 2012 South Carolina to pre-2010 South Carolina results.

        • But it’s not like Arky was exactly a world-beater back then, either.

          • No, but they’ve been consistently better than us in the W-L column. Nutt had several teams in the 8-9 win range, including one that briefly looked like a dark-horse national title contender in 2006. Those teams generally beat our 6 or 7 win teams pretty handily. I don’t really think that we “struggle” against Arkansas. I just think they’ve generally been a step ahead of us. That used to mean having 8 wins to our 6, now it means having 12 wins to our 9-11. I don’t recall many of these games being upsets, exactly, and we’ve generally beaten the bad Arkansas teams, such as their probation teams from the mid-2000s.

            • Puffdawg

              Semantics. The point is South Carolina has not traditionally been able to beat Arkansas, regardless of how you slice it.

              • Wrong. The point of the Senator’s post that I was responding to was that “South Carolina’s struggled against Arkansas even when the Hogs weren’t highly rated,” not that we have traditionally been unable to beat Arkansas.

                • Puffdawg

                  If I’m understanding your argument, you’re saying they didn’t “struggle” per se, because they were never the favorite. However, my point remains it depends on your definition of struggle. My apologies if I’ve misinterpreted.

            • In the last five seasons, Arkansas has won 42 games. South Carolina has won 40. That’s hardly a yawning chasm.

              • Good point, but it would probably be better to compare back 10 years. Arkansas had a really bad season in Petrino’s first year. It’s also worth noting that over the past two years, Arkansas has had a much tougher schedule due to the struggles of the East powers.

                • There’s a big gap in wins in ’02 and ’03 (+8 in favor of Arky), which makes sense, given that Holtz was rebuilding the program. But from ’04-’06, South Carolina won more games (19) than the Hogs did (17). And that was when Spurrier was redoing the program from what Holtz left him.

                  The two programs have been pretty even over the last eight years, I’d say.

                  • That’s because everything looks the same from the top.😉

                    In all honesty, you bring up some good points, but thinking back, even throwing out the head-to-head results, it seems like Arkansas was measurably better in 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2010, and 2011. Of course, Carolina won in 2004, 2005, and 2008. That leaves 2009 as the main one that jumps out at me where we lost a game we arguably should have won.

                    • The flip side of that, of course, is that it’s worth noting that we’ve never really pulled off a nice upset of a good Arkansas team, which we’ve done in several cases with other rivals, such as 2007 UGA.

  5. Macallanlover

    If SC is so afraid of Arkansas (and they must be in awe of them after all their comments from last year and going into this one) they should have never joined the SEC in the first place, or should consider leaving. I never remember a UGA team/program that whined as much about the schedule. Do they think we have never had the rougher of the roads, or that the rotational schedule doesn’t have a crystal ball to know who is going to be strongest that particular year? Christ, grow up, or STFU.

    If they think their annual Western rival is tougher than the one we have, they really don’t understand CFB. I always liked that the SEC had the three strongest teams in each division playing the 3 strongest in the other. The fact that strength can vary occasionally should not cause all this angst, and selling out of your manhood. Do they really think LSU, Bama, and Auburn are not the perennial powers in the West? Does that change because A&M and Mizzou came in? The real issue may be that Arky has surpassed them as the best newcomer from that 92 class and they aren’t respected nationally, or regionally. Step your game up SC, while you were trying to gain respect, Vandy has been closing the gap.

    • To be fair, the complaint isn’t that UGA’s schedule is easier this year, which would have been fine had it happened in the normal course of things, like it did in 2011. The complaint is that the appearance (note I’m not ascribing blame here, just saying how it looks from the outside) is that the expansion-altered schedules were manipulated to benefit UGA, with UGA getting to drop ‘Bama and keep Ole Miss, and USC having to drop Miss. St. and keep LSU. I think most reasonable people think Arkansas and Auburn are a wash, and I wouldn’t personally be surprised if Auburn ends up being the better team this year, which is the case in a normal year. Nor do I, personally, care about the schedules all that much, in large part b/c I think we’re going to have a good enough team this year to run the gauntlet with only one or two conference losses, which will give us a very good shot at the division. I do kind of wish Spurrier would shut up over this, but it is what it is. He has a point, but it comes across as whining.

      • Cojones

        Well and fairly put. You don’t mind if we act like aholes everytime we review this issue, do you? Stevie will get what a whiner deserves if he keeps bringing it up. Hell, we already have a leg up with our perceived manipulation of the schedule; not because of the schedule, but because we are so powerful and influential. Who would have guessed?

        • Ha. No, I don’t mind the ranting. This is football, not tiddly-winks.

          I should note that I really don’t think that UGA made some kind of backroom deal with Slive over the schedule. I’m sure that some of my compatriots think so, but the idea is just silly.

      • Macallanlover

        Fair response, although the comparison of Auburn and Arky is too narrow in scope to be accurate. Arky was better last year, and on a few other occasions but compare UGA’s record against Auburn and Arkansas to see a longer stretch of time. That may also be narrow but Auburn is certainly a better overall program (albeit dirty) given their achievements were as a member of the SEC.

        I don’t give much credence to the favoritism argument, UGA may have the easier schedule in this unusual year that was rapidly put together but history does not show that UGA has been the darling of the SEC brass. I( think the home game with Old Miss was a driver since we are owed one and have fewer “true” home games than other schools in the SEC due to the annual Cocktail Party and the GT home and home (like yours with Clemson). Steve has lost much of his appeal with the whining and discipline issues concerning Garcia; I have always been a fan of his prior to that, and been an acquaintance of he and Geri for the past 20+ years but have been disappointed in the past 6 years.

        • I agree with you on most of those points. I don’t really think UGA is enjoying favoritism (although some do), and I agree that Auburn is the historically stronger program over Ark.

          I think you’re being a bit unfair to Spurrier, though. I get you on the whining, which is annoying, but Spurrier has always been known for using the media for trying to get into his rivals’ heads, so I’m not sure how much has changed there.

          As far as Garcia goes, I think the whole thing has been blown way out of proportion. Garcia didn’t do anything half as bad as I did when I was in college, but he was under the microscope because he was a highly recruited QB under a famous coach. It may seem like he got a lot of chances, but on the other hand, nothing he ever did, other than keying the professor’s car, was really serious enough to warrant severe discipline. In his defense, Spurrier has kicked several really good players off the team when their actions have warranted it.

          I’ve long wished that we had kicked Garcia to the curb earlier, but it wasn’t so much because I think he’s some kind of criminal as because I have long believed that Shaw is a better QB. The Senator used to believe the only thing keeping Garcia around was the lack of a competent replacement, but it was proven ten times over this past fall that Shaw was perfectly capable of being the QB, at least once the team got behind him. I honestly believe that Spurrier kept Garcia around because he wanted to help him. Flame away, if you want.

          • JG Shellnutt

            Garcia was booted only when Shaw was capable of directing the offense.

            • Shaw was always capable of directing the offense. His teammates failed him in the ECU game. But yeah, I get that the timing looked funny.

              • Mayor of Dawgtown

                SOS tried to bench Garcia and started Shaw in the first game against ECU last year. The ‘Cocks were getting their brains beaten in. So SOS inserted Garcia who saved their bacon. If Shaw had “been ready” in that game Garcia would never have gotten off the bench–ever again.

          • stoopnagle

            If you’re looking for a fanbase to give SOS a fair shake, you’ve come to the wrong place. Anytime UGA fans have a chance to pile on Steve, it’s a-comin’. He’s a big boy; he can take it.

          • Puffdawg

            “Garcia didn’t do anything half as bad as I did when I was in college…”

            Dude keyed his professor’s car . I don’t know whether to be impressed or aghast. What exactly did you do in college?

          • AthensHomerDawg

            “I honestly believe that Spurrier kept Garcia around because he wanted to help him. Flame away, if you want.” OMG! Really? Please stop tiddy bumping with the local posters and don’t share a blunt with Cojo …. your not ready….you are too young! The OBC dances qbs in and out of the line up “Faster than a cat can lick its ass. ” We good? Don’t you have somewhere else to “friend folks?”
            just typin”!

  6. cube

    Georgia only gets 3 home games! South Carolina gets 4! It’s not fair! It’s not fair!

  7. Scott W.

    The world is always against an asshole.

  8. Mayor of Dawgtown

    “Where’s the win on Kentucky’s schedule?” Answer: At UT after SOD has been fired.

    • Puffdawg

      I don’t know. Matt Roark, the four year starter three year starter two year starter senior starter one game starter at QB who led the WIldcats to victory last year over UT is gone. Who will the Wildcats get to replace his 7 passing attempts?

      • Cojones

        They don’t stand a chance anyway, what with the Heisman Candidate UT has at QB. His breakout year has finally come to where we just know what a great QB he is without proving it.

  9. stoopnagle

    Hey, OBC should feel good about dodging Auburn this year, amirite?

  10. Slaw Dawg

    SC has only one tougher opponent than UGA does and that’s LSU as compared to Ole Miss. Recent history aside, the UGA-AU war has almost always been tough and that wouldn’t be a gimme game even if UGA entered it perfect and AU entered it winless. Add in that they host us, and it’s a wash.

    I do think SC is the East team to beat this year, but I’m worried about that SEC opener at Mizzou.

    • Uglydawg

      Good worries, Slaw. I worry about the same stuff. I’m also worried that a highly touted UGA team going into Missouri for their very first SEC game is going to have the Tigers on fire…And Franklin will have Vandy believing they are world beaters. I keep thinking back to the “BlackOut” fiasco. State of mind is so important…but one thing I’ll say about CMR is that he remembers stuff like this (blackout) and usually takes steps to defeat it’s re-occurance. Granham will also be huge in getting the Dawgs pumped. I have already said TG is the much longed for Erk R. type that we’ve all been looking for.
      If CMR’s statement the he “doesn’t believe in playing with a lot of emotion” is no longer valid (I think it was invalidated during the excessive celebration penalty at TWLOCP a few years back), then the Dawgs will surely be in the SECCG this year.

  11. Uglydawg

    If Garcia had played for CMR, he would have been gone a lot, lot quicker than SS allowed. And then the song of “Richt can’t control his players”, would have been sang throughout the southland and especially loud in South Carolina. The truth is, most coaches “won’t control their players”, but are more than willing to make excuses for keeping them. Kitty litter is a lot easier than house breaking.

  12. Always Someone Else's Fault

    Lost in the shuffle: This is another reason a conference champion playoff format does not work. It’s becoming too easy for a good team to miss the rest of the conference’s powers on their way to a conference championship.

    In other words, these teams will “win it on the field” by avoiding all the teams most likely to test them. USC and Wisconsin basically both have a 3 game conference schedule next year, including their conference championships (both of which will be rematches: the horror). All of their other conference games will be a joke, especially USC’s, since the rest of the conference is replacing (A) a head coach, (B) a senior starting QB, or (C) both.

    If the voters decide that Georgia’s body of work with a loss in the SEC championship games exceeds Wisconsin’s B1G championship, so be it.

  13. Beard Dawg

    “Kitty litter is a lot easier than house breaking.”
    Very well put, sir.

  14. Bob

    The SEC split into divisions in 1992. The Conference made Bama-Tenn; LSU-UF and UGA-AU permanent rivalries. Since 1992, Auburn has more than held their own vs those other western teams:

    Auburn-Arkansas 10-9-1
    Auburn-Alabama 11-9 (17-13 since the Bear passed away)
    Auburn-LSU 10-10

    Auburn has had 3 undefeated teams in that time. Alabama has had 2. No one else has had one. LSU has won 4 conference titles, Bama 3 and Auburn 2. Arkansas has not won one. I don’t think Georgia needs to apologize for having Auburn on their schedule every year.

  15. Rebar

    And we aint afraid of Bama!