David Ching does a walk through of the non-conference schedules for every SEC team, and I’ve got to tell you, as much grief as we’ve given Florida over the years for not venturing out of state much, it’s really Alabama that deserves shit for its low profile in scheduling courage.
When Alabama visits Texas in 2022, it will be the first time since 2011 – when it visited Penn State – that the Crimson Tide has played a non-conference game at a campus site. Eleven years! Obviously Saban’s strategy of playing a marquee opener at a neutral site and three cupcakes at Bryant-Denny has been effective, but is it any wonder that attendance is slipping even at arguably the nation’s preeminent football program?
‘Bama is stepping up in the twenties (shamed by Kirby, perhaps?), but for a guy who’s notoriously whined about students not staying through all four quarters in Tuscaloosa, he sure has been serving up some mighty thin gruel in that regard.
By the way, in case you’re wondering…
Like Florida, South Carolina and Kentucky, Georgia plays an in-state rival every year – Georgia Tech – from the ACC. That being the case, those programs are generally the most likely to play two Power Five, non-SEC opponents. Florida did it three times in the 2010s, South Carolina did it four and Georgia did it six. That includes UGA home-and-homes with Notre Dame, Clemson and Colorado. The Bulldogs are slated to play neutral-site games in each of the next three years – versus Virginia in Atlanta (2020), Clemson in Charlotte (2021) and Oregon in Atlanta (2022) – but perhaps no program in the country has been as aggressive as UGA in scheduling future home-and-home series. The Bulldogs will play at least two Power Five, non-conference opponents in all 10 years of the 2020s, and they will play three in 2028, 2029, 2030 and 2031. Check out these future non-conference slates: in 2028, Georgia visits Texas and hosts Florida State and Georgia Tech; in 2029, the Bulldogs host Texas and visit Clemson and Georgia Tech; in 2030, Georgia hosts Clemson, Ohio State and Georgia Tech; and in 2013, the Bulldogs host Oklahoma and visit Ohio State and Georgia Tech. Wow.