Max Griswald


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  Title: SEC Football Schedules
Feb 14, 2009 - 3:34 am
Posted By: Max Griswald

Okay, a little info on this, I posted this as a series of comments on the ESPN article Future Opponents for SEC Schools by Chris Low.  As the information is good, and no one will read the comments anyway, I decided to add them as a blog, making them somewhat more coherent, and more easily accessible.

How I rank the schedules:

Alabama - B+
Penn State is a good OOC game, even though right now people are thinking it is better than it really is.  Penn State is not a dominant team, but they aren't FCS either, so that is a plus to the schedule.  Penn State stepping up to fill an ailing Michigan program's spot as second in the Big 10 would help make the game more significant.  Georgia Tech is a solid team, and will not drag down the ranking of the schedule, but GT does not have the high profile of other schools, and after a disappointing finish this season, it currently only gives a slight boost in schedule strength.  That leaves Duke, who is consistently a bottomdweller in the ACC.  Although technically a "BCS Conference team" Duke is little better than an FCS school, and Troy would have been a better addition to the schedule.

Arkansas - B
Seeing that Arkansas is not a powerhouse SEC school, there can be some leniency with the schedule, still, it is good to see a somewhat average A&M team on the books for ten years.  Middle-pack Big 12 versus middle-pack SEC, sure to get the Big 12/SEC debate/rivalry fired even further.  Then there is TCU.  Very good addition to the schedule, and I think TCU fits well.  TCU is not a high powered offensive team, they more fit the SEC style anyway.  Plus, TCU should remain in the spotlight for the foreseeable future, which adds value to this schedule.

Auburn - B+
Clemson isn't a great team, but they are a solid team in a BCS conference.  Depending on how the new Clemson staff works out, this could increase or decrease the value of the schedule, but for now it is a slight boost.  As mentioned before, Georgia Tech is a solid team which could add value to the strength of schedule, but is disadvantaged by a poor showing in their last bowl game.  Kansas State is not a value addition, regardless of a great season half a dozen years ago.  They are a below average team in the last five years, with only one winning season.  If they can move to the level they were at six and seven years ago, they would add a lot of value to the schedule for Auburn.

Florida - B
Some people will argue here, but this is a solid schedule, playing Florida State every year.  Florida State should continue to improve, and get back near the state it once was, when it was winning championships.  Even now, this is a solid component to their schedule (Not an addition, of course.)  Adding Miami in 2013 is a great step, as Miami will be gaining momentum as it's Freshmen mature, and will challenge (Florida State, nonetheless) for the ACC title very soon, possibly even next year.  A value added addition, period.  South Florida could be a good move, if the Bulls ever learned how to finish a season.  They have had the inside track on the Big East championship a couple times, and have thrown the last half of the season away each time.  Some consistency from South Florida would improve this schedule addition.  My biggest complaint about the schedule is the infrequency of instate rivals, aside from FSU, and the infrequency of quality OOC opponents, aside from FSU.  A seven year plan so far, and only three non-FSU OOC opponents listed.  Making the instate games a yearly contest, and creating a rivalry would definitely add value here, and would help reduce the schedule loss if/when D2 teams are added (Would rather see the fourth OOC game being quality though, maybe the PAC-10's USC at some point?)

Georgia - B+
Solid schedule, with Georgia Tech being a solid team, Colorado having some potential (More buildup of the SEC/Big 12 rivalry!) and a solid Oregon team that should add value.  That's three reasons to smile, if you are a Bulldog fan, and yet I will give you two more.  Louisville isn't a great team, but it is a solid middle-pack Big East team, which when people look at games versus BCS Conference opponents, will matter.  Throw in Clemson, which as stated earlier isn't a great team, but is still a solid team, and the schedule could easily be an A, if not for some questions still.  If Oregon keeps up it's game, and GT shows more of the promise it showed this season (Barring the last game) then the schedule is A material (Maybe just an A- but it's a start.)

Kentucky - C-
Are you kidding?  Just that same crap every year?  Come on, let's see some good scheduling, please.  Louisville is a middle-pack team from the Big East, but, we were hoping for more than one team to hang your reputation on, and we didn't get it.  Please release the real schedule soon!

LSU - B
TCU is a good addition, I think it will help overcome other things.  I am disappointed with the "rivalry" game with Tulane every year, namely because it isn't a rivalry, just rolling into NOLA and paying Tulane to take a beating.  Sometimes they come to Baton Rouge for the beatdown.  Whatever, FCS schools don't count.  And, to make up for that, you scheduled Washington.  Good for you, but can we at least hope that Washington wins a game or two before then?  It would be too much to hope for that they would return to national contention by then, but we can hope.  Arizona State is another bad PAC-10 team, which doesn't look good on your resume either.  West Virginia is one of the only two teams making it a credible schedule, along with TCU.  Shameful, though, for as good a program as LSU has.

Mississippi State - F
Complete waste of SEC space.  I'm not even sure if any of those teams are FBS teams.  I mean, I really do know they are, but, could you at least find sub-.500 teams from a BCS Conference?  Taking the worst teams from Conf-USA is shameful.  Aren't you also an SEC team?  Look at what some others are doing!  Just because you have a new HC and are a bad team doesn't give you the right to violate every precept in college football.  I mean, look at other teams that are or were at the bottom of the SEC (Tennessee, Ole Miss, Vandy) they have GREAT schedules.  They are not afraid to play games they may (And in some cases, Likely) will lose!  It's called STRENGTH of SCHEDULE, not WEAKNESS of SCHEDULE!

Ole Miss - A+
Are you kidding me?  Houston Nutt must have balls the size of gourds.  Fresno State is a very solid program, which will add value to the schedule, I also like Pat Hill's approach to football, and I think it is one of the best philosophies a coach can have.  Any time, any where.  Even though they don't win all their games, Fresno State will go to anyone's house and play full contact and expect to win.  I feel that Houston Nutt is doing the same with Ole Miss.  Whether they win the games or not, this is a very, very solid schedule.  In addition to Fresno State, Georgia Tech and Clemson are on the program (Don't they think they'll get tired of getting whipped by SEC teams?  Are they like the village bicycle, everyone gets a ride?)  Anyway, both teams add to the strength.  As a bonus, you get a bonafide year-in, year-out national title contender in the University of Texas.  Suddenly a great schedule becomes one of the best in the conference.  Very good moves on this one, props to Ole Miss.

South Carolina - B-
While not as bad as Kentucky or Mississippi State, this is one of the worst in the conference.  Clemson is solid, as a mediocre team, and UNC is not the worst in the ACC, but they are not exactly the creme de la creme.  East Carolina is a solid team, but therein lies the problem.  The Pirates are Conf-USA, and have every chance to "upset" South Carolina.  SC will not win any voter points for beating EC, but could lose a lot by losing to them (And it is more than possible.) Having EC(Charlotte) just ruins everything.

Tennessee - A+
Tennessee is not afraid to play tough games.  Whether Kiffin had anything to do with this, I don't know, but Fulmer was the same way.  They are playing balls to the walls in the scheduling department, with games against Oklahoma, Ohio State, Nebraska, Oregon, UNC, NCST, and UConn (What?  No GT?).  Three of those teams are mediocre-solid teams, in UNC, NCST, and UConn.  Those three are still BCS Conference teams, so no loss of strength there.  The addition of four teams that compete for BCS games on a yearly basis (While Nebraska has had a few down years, they are the winningest program in college football since 1970.) will be the thing that sets this apart.  Certainly there have been some letdowns along the way, but in the eleven BCS seasons, the four programs have combined for 17 BCS appearances, with 8 BCS wins (The last three years have been bad, going 0-6 as Oklahoma and Ohio State have each made three BCS appearances and lost all of them.)  Excluding the last three years, they were 8-11, now they are 8-17.  Regardless, there are very few other sets of teams with as many BCS appearances.  Again, this is a huge boost to the strength.

Vanderbilt - A+
Although not as star-studded as Tennessee and maybe Ole Miss' schedule, this is the most solid schedule of the bunch.  You won't see any national champions from these opponents, but you'll see Vanderbilt playing three very solid teams every year, as opposed to one solid team a year, or if you're lucky, two.  Playing Wake Forest and Northwestern every year is a boost.  While not top level schools, they are solid teams from BCS conferences, who have had some good luck lately.  Clemson is another solid team that adds some value, especially paired with the other teams on the schedule.  Adding UConn was also a value-addition, bringing it to three solid teams a year in OOC play, which is the most depth of OOC in any SEC schedule.

Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on Feb 14, 2009 - 3:35 am




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