Bud Elliott speculates about which teams will be helped and which will be hurt as a result of conferences eliminating non-conference games from their members’ schedules. The SEC doesn’t have any winners, but as far as losers go…
Hurts: SEC teams with cakewalk non-conference slates (Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M)
This analysis is not just about losing tough non-conference games off the schedule. It’s also about losing the opportunity to have an easy 4-0 in the non-conference slate. And three SEC playoff contenders fit the bill in Georgia, Florida, and Texas A&M.
Georgia was almost certainly going to go 4-0 playing against Virginia in Atlanta and against FCS ETSU, ULM, and Georgia Tech in Athens.
Florida was a virtual lock to go 4-0 outside the SEC with games against FCS Eastern Washington, South Alabama, New Mexico and at a rebuilding Florida State.
And Texas A&M had the easiest schedule outside outside its league of any playoff contender, with four home games against cupcakes in FCS Abilene Christian, North Texas, Colorado, and Fresno State.
I think that’s right. What sucks is that of those three, Georgia is the only one losing two P5 games.
That being said, Bud is assuming an eight-game conference schedule. If the SEC decides to expand conference play to nine or ten games, it will be interesting to see if the strength of schedule for the existing crossover games is taken into account. If so, Florida (LSU and Ole Miss) and TAMU (South Carolina and Vanderbilt) stand to be even bigger losers than Georgia (Alabama and Auburn).