As long as when you’re talking about “it”, you don’t mean the SEC’s non-conference scheduling.
No conference takes it easier in nonconference play year after year than the SEC. Last year, the Big Ten outdid the SEC when it came to scheduling the most home games, but the SEC never stays down for long and has reclaimed that crown. The SEC is playing a full 75 percent of its nonconference games at home.
The league is also playing the smallest percentage of true road games (just nine out of 56 games) and the greatest percentage of games against FCS competition. The SEC just missed playing the smallest percentage of games against other Power Five teams.
Another annual characteristic of SEC nonconference schedules is that, when teams do play away from home, even in neutral-site games, they rarely leave the South. Only three SEC teams will play games out of its home region: Georgia at Notre Dame, Texas A&M at UCLA and Ole Miss at Cal. The Bulldogs are the only SEC team playing two games away from home, which is also very unusual.
At least the Dawgs have that going for them. The rest is just the usual exercise in protection. As long as the current postseason system enables it, the conference will keep going on its merry way with it, too.
9 responses to “It just means more.”
I can see why there are so many SEC haters out there. Imagine if we didnt have the schedule 1 Power 5 team a year rule. Glad to see Georgia’s schedule shown in a positive light here. However these schedules are made so far in advance, and we will see a very poor OOC schedule over the next few years. Its all about perception though, if you are percieved as a good team than you will get a pass for poor OOC scheduling, if you are not percieved as a good team it will be used against you. Florida used it to their advantage, they have a traditional in state rival in Fl. St and scheduled absolute home garbage for the rest and worked out well for them in the Meyer era.
They also like to ignore the fact that there is no such thing as a true in conference cupcake in the SEC, whereas every other conferences have teams that are truly bottom of the barrel. Mississippi State is competitive now. Even UK and Vandy have made huge strides over the last decade. Even if they’re still regularly the worst in the East, they’re a much better “worst”.
Also yes, you’re a genius if you schedule as softly as possible and go win a championship (don’t forget when we hired McGarrity there was a lot of “finally we can stop scheduling these asinine west coast trips” out there). Don’t win? Well thats just cowardly.
Winning fixes any ailment. Personally, I liked the west coast games @ ASU. I certainly didnt like the outcome of the Colorado game, but as a fan it was more entertaining to schedule national trips. It was also fun as a fan of college football to see Ralphy in Athens. Certainly I would rather win championships and until there is incentive to schedule a very tough OOC in the SEC you will be at a dusadvantage for doing so. The formula right now is if you win the SEC and dont lose out of conference you will be in the CFP. All you do is expose yourself to risk by scheduling difficult OOC. I dont like it, but thats the way it is now.
Our schedule is no cupcake…
Agree that the SEC grind, even Vandy and UK and MSU etc. are so much tougher than going agasint Rutgers, Illinois, Indiana and Northwestern as to be another level practically. The Big going OOC is a must.
We all love non conference schedules, but the high majority of SEC teams regularly have top 20 schedules while Ohio State made the playoffs with a 55+ RPI schedule. It makes a difference when a player or ten can miss some game withouth fear of losing. Try that at Vandy or MSU.
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I am going to take a reverse angle on the scheduling aspect. I think the cupcake game generally don’t help the 1’s but can (Here’s looking at NicSt as an outlier) provide a lot of experience for the 2s and 3s to build the bench for the outyears or in case of injury. Perhaps it is the cupcake games that allow the more powerful teams to remain powerful versus playing your best all the time and not being able to give your backups any reps — meaningful or not.
Make the playoff an 8 game, 3 week tournament with 8 conference champs and OOC schedules could be great. Once the fear of losing out in the beauty pageant called the “committee” was gone, teams could schedule games all over the country without fear of a loss knocking them out of the playoff. Clemson could become a great rival again with the game going back to home and home every season. Trips to Michigan, USC, Oregon, etc. would be possible without the fear of a loss knocking a team out of the playoff.
I have an idea I tout from time to time that would, in my opinion, bring great drama and excitement to college football. The NCAA should set one week aside each year to add one more game to each D1 school’s schedule… and select that game at random through a drawing system. You can do the drawing several years in advance for planning purposes, you can exclude teams from your own conference and teams that you already have scheduled. But other than that, the only requirement would be that you play two home and two away games every four years. Imagine the drama of every team waiting to see who they randomly draw: UGA could get matched with Ohio State or San Jose State, etc. You don’t know until you know. This would also provide smaller schools a way to host big schools on occasion, although I’d be perfectly happy to modify this drawing so that Power 5 conference teams must play each other while the other conferences are pitted against one another.
In my humble opinion, a great idea.