Rating the 2014 Non-Conference Slate: SEC

And finally, the one conference to rule them all, the SEC.

  1. Georgia (1.75 legit, 1 FCS): Clemson, Troy, Charleston Southern, Georgia Tech. Two rivalry games are good enough to easily top the list for the SEC. Of course, it is nice to UGA and Clemson meet and it’s kind of a shame they don’t play more often.
  2. Tennessee (1, 1): Utah State, Arkansas State, @Oklahoma, Tennessee-Chattanooga. Don’t sleep on the the Aggies from Utah, Vols fans: the last few seasons they’ve either beaten other Power 5 foes or lost by less than five points. Also notable here is, of course, the road game in Norman.
  3. Florida (1, 1): Idaho, Eastern Michigan, Eastern Kentucky, @Florida State. Suffice it say, while Florida State is probably better than Oklahoma, Utah State was enough of a factor for me to give Tennessee the nudge to second. However…
  4. South Carolina (1, 1): East Carolina, Furman, South Alabama, @Clemson. I’ll admit I didn’t apply that principal consistently. A popular darkhorse this season is ECU, but I didn’t really give South Carolina any credit for them and instead rated them behind Florida on the strength of Florida State over Clemson.
  5. Auburn (0.75, 1): San Jose State, @Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Samford. I can’t find any schedule information for beyond next year, but I suspect that some point in the future Auburn fans will probably need to know the way to San Jose. (And if that does happen, I would totally go. Provided I’m in town.) Otherwise, there’s a game against K-State that could be interesting depending on how well Bill Synder’s juco-based magics have worked this year.
  6. Louisiana State (0.75, 1): N-Wisconsin, Sam Houston State, Louisiana-Monroe, New Mexico State. I discovered today that apparently LSU really doesn’t like it when you write “Louisiana State” instead of “LSU”. Which means that I’m going to keep doing that, because that’s just how we roll here. In other news, it’s hard to imagine two fanbases more broadly similar yet utterly different than Wisconsin and LSU.
  7. Alabama (0.5, 1): N-West Virginia, Florida Atlantic, Southern Mississippi, Western Carolina. Saban is robbed of a chance to return to his ancestral homeland since the WVU game is a neutral site affair. Otherwise, this is sort of a weak schedule for a national title contender, but then again, if Alabama does end up 13-0 it won’t really matter.
  8. Arkansas (0.5, 1): Nicholls State, @Texas Tech, Northern Illinois, Alabama-Birmingham. I figured one of these games would be Arkansas’s obligatory Little Rock game for the season, but apparently they’re going to play Georgia there this year. Huh.
  9. Mississippi (0.5, 1): N-Boise State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Memphis, Presbyterian. If Boise is still a national player with the departure of their erstwhile coach, then this is their chance to prove it. For Ole Miss, well, there’s no real upside to this schedule. They’re picked to be better this year and maybe a longshot contender in the SEC, and for that to happen they need to go 4-0.
  10. Kentucky (0.5, 1): Tennessee-Martin, Ohio, Louisiana-Monroe, @Louisville. Yes, the Louisville game is listed last. And why? Because the game is now Thanksgiving weekend, where all rivalry games belong (provided you only have one rival, of course). The last time the game was even played in November was in 1914. Of course, the two teams have only been meeting regularly 1994, so it’s a relatively newfangled game.
  11. Missouri (0, 1): South Dakota State, @Toledo, Central Florida, Indiana. A5 (he helps with the ratings) and I realized after the fact that maybe UCF deserved some “legit” points after their season last year, but it was a tough call. I’ll give them some credit by rating Missouri’s schedule head of TAMU’s, though.
  12. Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (0, 1): Lamar, Rice, @Southern Methodist, Louisiana-Monroe. Going on the road to SMU isn’t that weird, I mean, that used to be a regular thing. You know, twenty years ago. Either way, it’s also nice to see TAMU play Rice, even if I can’t use the “why does Rice play Texas” joke because a) they’re playing TAMU and b) I used that joke like four years ago.
  13. Mississippi State (0, 1): Southern Mississippi, Alabama-Birmingham, @South Alabama, Tennessee-Martin. I just want so badly to be watching College Football Final the evening of the 13th and hear Rece Davis say “You just don’t walk into Ladd-Peebles Stadium!” except I’m going to be in Europe at the time and I’ll probably miss it. Alas.
  14. Vanderbilt (0, 1.5): Temple, Massachusetts, Charleston Southern, Old Dominion. Well, if I were Vandy, this is probably the kind of out-of-conference schedule I’d strive for, so I can’t say I blame them. It’s still pretty lame though.