Why SEC Schools Have to Improve Their Non-Conference Schedule

Alex FergusonSenior Analyst IIMay 17, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 03:  Fans of the Georgia Bulldogs against the Boise State Broncos at Georgia Dome on September 3, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

"SEC! SEC! SEC!" It's a war chant coming from the South striking the fear in college football fans across the nation.

The Southerners are coming up across the Mason-Dixon Line, ready to take your recruits, your cheerleaders (those that don't manage to escape to Oregon and LA) and more importantly, your national championships.

In the last few years, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas and Oregon have come to play the giants of the SEC in the Game Of The Glass Football, and they have all come short—Oregon astonishingly so (the rest were stomped). The Southerners have roared, and the rest of the country and grown.

Hell, the national championships in 2011 and 2012 have both gone either side of the same state, and since then, we've seen a statue erected, a tree poisoned and a headcase arrested.

Anyways, we applaud the SEC. When you actually attend a game, you can but applaud the speed, the power and gorgeous sunshine.

But after all is quiet, all we can think of is is: "Why doesn't the SEC get a better non-conference schedule?"

Let's just look at 2011:

SEC fans will point to the Tigers of Louisiana State, who played Oregon and West Virginia. "Oregon played in the 2011 title game, and LSU had to go on the road to play 'em," they'll say. 

Actually, that's not technically true.

LSU played Oregon in JerryWorld (sorry, the big Texas Stadium in Arlington), which meant that they did not lose a home game but more importantly didn't go on the road to Autzen Stadium. That game wasn't a true road game—despite what Tigers might tell you (the LSU fans outnumbered the Oregon fans about 2:1). But we'll give Les Miles West Virginia, though—the place is a tough trip for anybody.

Next, they'll point you to the national champions Alabama, who played Penn State on the road—one of the toughest road games any team has to play. We'll give you that. But Alabama didn't exactly make us cry with joy with games against Kent State, North Texas and No.3 (In the FCS!) Georgia Southern. 

National champions Auburn? A home game against vaunted Utah State (they aren't—and they nearly lost), a tough road game against Clemson and Samford. Georgia played Boise State, Florida played Florida State, South Carolina played Clemson and the games roll on.

So what about 2012?

Although the Clemson and Florida State games for USC and UF are indeed tough games, they are also traditional rivalries that won't get struck off in a hurry. UF-FSU has been a home-and-home since 1976, while Clemson and South Carolina have been battling it out since the late 1800s. Florida did some good for itself by scheduling Miami in 2013 on the road, but do I sound rude if I say that games against Jacksonville State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Bowling Green aren't exactly games that College Gameday will be present for? And as for the 'other USC'—why bother with Wofford, East Carolina and UAB?
Should your fans seriously pay hundreds of dollars for games that'll appear on Comcast?

And not to be outdone, Georgia fans should not exactly be cock-a-hoop about games against Buffalo, Florida Atlantic, Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech—even though the latter game is called "Good Ole Fashioned Hate" for a reason.

In the SEC West, things are a little tougher, with LSU facing Washington.....but also The  North Texas and world-beating Idaho Vandals.

Alabama gets its biggest test of the season in the sure-to-be-packed-with-Crimson-Tide-fans JerryWorld when it faces Michigan, but fans should not exactly be camping outside bars to watch games against Florida Atlantic and Western Kentucky.

And Auburn? They've got Clemson at home, and then matchups against ULM and the mighty New Mexico State. 

In fact, here's a link to the top 2012 SEC Non-Conference games, and excuse me if we're not jumping out of our skin about any of them unless South Carolina is unbeaten going into its game against equally unbeaten Clemson.

Now that would be fun.

Is it right that these schedules are so soft in 2012? And more's the case, it is value for season ticket holders at these stadiums?

So what should be done? It's easy: Make college football schedule a harsher component of the rankings, therefore forcing schools to play each other. And in this component should be WHERE they play each other, too, so an Alabama game IN the Big House would mean more than an Alabama game in Jerry's Big House, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, here's a clip about where rivalries get a little out of hand...