Rating the 2009 Non-Conference Slate, Part 6: SEC

And finally, we wrap up our look at the college football’s non-conference scheduling with the Southeastern Conference.

  1. Georgia (2.5 legit, 1 DI-AA): @Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Tennessee Tech, @Georgia Tech. It pains me once again to say something good about UGA, but they have recently started to make an effort to schedule some decent teams. Many SEC schools would be content to go with their OOC rival (see: Florida, Kentucky, usually USC) and call it a day, but UGA has not one but two legit OOC opponents outside of GT. Good for them. While it gets a little easier next year I’m surprised they allowed this year to happen at all.
  2. South Carolina (1.5, 1): @NC State, Florida Atlantic, The Citadel, Clemson. And it immediately starts to go downhill. While the SEC wasn’t the lowest rated conference this year, UGA’s score does have a strong effect on the average. At any rate, this follows the formulate for the SEC: rivalry game (if applicable), OOC game with school from neighboring or same state, and two patsies, one of which should be DI-AA.
  3. Alabama (1, 1): N-Virginia Tech, Florida International, North Texas, Tennessee-Chattanooga. I may write an article later on the return of the “kickoff classic” type of game that we all thought died 9-10 years ago, but for now suffice to say I like these types of games, even if this particular series does take place in Tech’s backyard. Bama-VPI in particular is a huge deal for both teams. VPI can get on the map and start their darkhorse run for the title with a win, while Alabama can show they haven’t lost a step since last year by starting with another whipping over an ACC team. The rest of the schedule, of course, sucks very thoroughly (I may also write an article on Bama paying San Jose State a million bucks to get shallacked next year, we’ll see).
  4. Mississippi State (1, 1): Jacksonville State, Georgia Tech, Houston, @Middle Tennessee. Miss State makes the return trip to Atlanta, outside of that there’s not much to get excited about here unless Houston is decent again.
  5. Vanderbilt (1, 1): Western Carolina, @Rice, @Army, Georgia Tech. This is the 5th-ranked schedule in the SEC, and there’s only one legit team on here. It only gets a one (along with Miss State) because of our bias towards Tech, otherwise these would probably be ranked much lower. That said, they do get a trip to Rice’s historic stadium, which has to be the most diproportionally sized stadium in the country. (The stadium seats 70,000 while the university has a total enrollment of 6,392 which also makes it (along with Vandy and Wake Forest) one of the smallest schools in DI-A, period.)
  6. Tennessee (0.75, 0): Western Kentucky, UCLA, Ohio, Memphis. Tennessee avoids a DI-AA team thanks to Western Kentucky’s newfound status this year as a full DI-A member, and also gets a return trip from our favorite football trust busters. Outside of that, well, they play Memphis which I guess is sort of interesting.
  7. Auburn (0.75, 1): Louisiana Tech, West Virginia, Ball State, Furman. Well, good thing WVU is on this schedule. I think the main trend for both teams “What the hell is going on with our program” as I’m pretty sure there are segments of the Auburn fanbase that still think the Gene Chizik hire was some sort of practical joke.
  8. Florida (0.75, 1): Charleston Southern, Troy, Florida International, Florida State. Two Sun Belt teams, a DI-AA team and a mandatory rivalry game. Your defending national champions, folks! I wonder if in reference to the FIU game Florida people say, “Well, we played a team from Miami this year!”
  9. Arkansas (0.5, 1): Missouri State, N-Texas A&M, Eastern Michigan, Troy. Arkansas and TAMU are looking at making the their neutral-site get-together in the Cowboy’s new intergalactic space palace (which I saw from the air a couple weekends ago, and I’d say it’s a pretty accurate description) a regular thing, which I’m totally a fan of. The rest of this schedule, not so much.
  10. Kentucky (0.5, 1): N-Miami (OH), Louisville, UL-Monroe, Eastern Kentucky. Yes, that is an “N” next to the Miami game, as the game is being played in Cincinatti. My guess it was probably supposed to be the Redhawk’s home game in the contract and it was moved there so they could get 50,000+ folks in blue and white there to watch the ceremonial beatdown.
  11. Louisiana State (0.25, 0): @Washington, UL-Lafayette, Tulane, Louisiana Tech. In fairness, LSU didn’t know that Washington would be so terrible when this game was probably scheduled. That said, was UL-Monroe not available? Seriously, this schedule is patently ridiculous for a team with national title aspirations.
  12. Mississippi (0, 2): @Memphis, Southeast Louisiana, Alabama-Birmingham, Northern Arizona. This schedule is also patently ridiculous, mainly because it happens to have both SE Louisiani and NAU on it. Ole Miss was also supposed to play a home-and-home with GT starting next year, but backed out and replaced us with either UL-Lafayette or Jacksonville State. (GT replaced them with Kansas.) Just pathetic, but I imagine it will help accomplish Ole Miss’s goal of getting some mentions this year (as the pre-season hype train seems to love them).

Well, that’s a wrap! Well, not quite, as we’ve got a summary coming up pretty soon, so stay tuned!