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May 13, 2007

Ranking the SEC Non-Conference Schedules

Paul Finebaum wrote a piece in Saturday's Mobile Register discussing the SEC's non-conference football schedule. He expresses his frustration with many of our league brethren who've taken advantage of the 12th game to book games with Div I-AA teams, directional schools and fictitious state universities.

He ranked the non-conference schedules of each SEC member in 2007 using his own star system. Per Finebaum:"I have ranked the opponents based on the star system -- with five signifying a must-see game and one being the equivalent of watching C-SPAN."

He came up with this:
    1. UGA
    2. (tie) LSU
    2. (tie) SC
    2. (tie) MSU
    5. UT
    6. (tie) Bama
    6. (tie) Ole Miss
    9. (tie) Florida
    10. (tie) UK
    10. (tie) Vandy
    12. Arkansas
You need to read the article to see how he graded each match-up and team using his 5 star system. It looks like he's saying:
  • 5 stars = a game the SEC team in question's fan base will love. That means UK vs. Lville would be a 5 star match-up for UK fans. Not a 5 star match-up for the rest of us.
  • 4 stars = a quality BCS match-up, but not a Ben Hur game. AU vs. KSU or UGA vs. OkSU would be an example.
  • 3 stars = a quality mid-major team like Houston, Southern Miss or Memphis.
  • 2 stars = bad mid-major or upper tier low-major team. Like Tulane or Troy.
  • 1 star = horrific Div I team or a Div I-AA jobber.
To Finebaum's original point, every time I see the out of conference schedules for most BCS teams since the addition of the 12th game, I feel better about Damon Evans' work in this area. We have little non-conference scheduling wise to be proud of from '92-'01. Prior to '92, I think we have little to apologize given that we played GT, Clemson and SC every year. Regardless of their proximity to Athens, that's a tougher draw than most teams were facing in the 70s and 80s. But I digress.

Since the 12th game appeared, Damon & Co. have done a great job of lining up quality opponents alongside GT.
    Clemson - '02, '03, '13, '14
    Colorado - '06, '10
    Oklahoma State - '07, '09
    Arizona State - '08, '09
    Louisville - '11, '12
    Oregon - '15, '16
When you look at what UF, AU and UA have done since the 12th game came along, it's markedly different.

See Also:
-- Let's Talk Schedules -- Sun-Sentinel
-- Cross Sectional Scheduling by BCS Conferences -


PS - Happy Mothers Day...oh and Spy School / Gone Fishing will wait a little bit.


Anonymous said...

To be fair, the SEC has the least need for additional big game matchups. Generally speaking, there may only be as many elite SEC teams as any other conference but the middle of the pack is always a lot stouter. Then again, my argument against a 12 game schedule is and continues to be: "Let's play 11 real games first. Then we can worry about adding a 12th."

Anonymous said...

Giving Auburn/K-State a 4 is pushing it.

Anonymous said...

lsu vs vt , tenn vs cal, and alabama vs FSU are so huge for the conference this year. Especially that tenn vs cal game. when tenn won big last year it really set the tone for the entire SEC. I would love to see UK upset L'ville or MSU upset WVU in Morgantown just so the BIG EAST homers would shut up about the sugar bowl 2 years ago. It will be 100 years from now and they will still bring that up in every arguement.

Anonymous said...

As they should, Anon @ 10:29. It was a signature win for both their program and their conference.

We didn't show up until halftime vs. a very good team.

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