The SEC is always getting yelled out by those college football heathens for not putting out the best teams on the non-conference, and although we always come back with “Florida vs Florida State”, as well as last season’s “Alabama vs Michigan” (SEC teams won both), it’s really important this blog works out who’s got the EASIEST, so we can then work out who deserves some criticism for their schedule, and who doesn’t.

Each team’s non conference schedule is ranked in order of difficulty from 1-4, and given an end-grade. The crappiest team graded is first. So don’t be upset if your team is last. It’s a good thing.

1. TEXAS A&M

1) Rice Owls

2) SMU

3) UTEP

4) Sam Houston State

Non Conference Grade: F A lot of people talk up SMU, because they are playing in a BCS conference. Frankly, SMU, which will be a very poor AAC team . Meaning that there is quite simply nothing else nice to say about Texas A&M’s non-conference schedule.

2. AUBURN

1) Washington State

2) Arkansas State

3) Western Carolina

4) Florida Atlantic

Non Conference Grade: E Any Auburn fan who goes crazy after Auburn beats Washington State on Opening Weekend should go and seek help: The Cougars are pretty dreadful – even with Mike Leach doing the coaching. Arkansas State is still recovering from the loss of Gus Malzahn, and Western Carolina and Florida Atlantic aren’t that great. Plus, all four games are at Jordan-Hare.

3. VANDERBILT

1) Wake Forest

2) UAB

3) UMass (at Foxboro, Mass.)

4) Austin Peay

Non-Conference Grade: D- Sorry, no-one’s convincing us that any of these teams are a) any good and b) will pose a problem to Vandy. This schedule’s been arranged so the Commodores can go to 3 bowl games in a row.

4. MISSOURI

1) At Indiana

2) Toledo

3) Arkansas State

4) Murray State

Non-Conference Grade: D Indiana’s the only team that should pose any problems to Missouri going 4-0 in the non-conference scheduling. Indiana’s a poor Big Ten school, people.

5. ARKANSAS

1)  At Rutgers

2) U-Louisiana Lafayette

3=) Samford (At Little Rock)

3=) Southern Miss 

Non-Conference Grade: D The only thing saving this schedule is that Rutgers is on the road and ULL had a winning record last year, but really, it’s pretty laughable.

6. OLE MISS

1) At Texas

2) Troy

3) Idaho

4) Southeast Missouri 

Non-Conference Grade: D+ Despite all the love for Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss, the trip to Texas won’t be easy. But the rest? We’re ranking Troy as the Rebels’ second-hardest non-conference game. That’s a crappy rest-of-NC-schedule, yo.

7. ALABAMA

1) Virginia Tech

2) Colorado State

3) U-T Chatanooga

4) Georgia State

Non Conference Grade: D+ It’s only marginally better than Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Missouri’s because the Virginia Tech game is better on schedule than Indiana and Wake Forest. So why the ‘D+’ grade? Because the other three games – all at Bryant-Denny – are a joke.

8. LSU

1) TCU (At Cowboys Stadium, Arlington)

2) Kent State

3) UAB

4) Furman

Non Conference Grade: C-: LSU at TCU would definitely be worth licking lips over. LSU vs TCU at Cowboys Stadium with a lot of the place in purple and gold? Not so much. Kent State shouldn’t pose too much problem. UAB and Furman won’t.

9. KENTUCKY

1) Louisville

2) Western Kentucky (Nashville, Neutral Field)

3) Miami (OH)

4) Alabama State 

Non-Conference Grade: C+ This is mainly because this is the University of Kentucky, so we don’t trust them to win any of these four games. Louisville – a National Championship contender – and Western Kentucky – on fire under Bobby Petrino – could well both beat the Wildcats, while it would a shock if Miami (OH) (4-8) last year and Alabama State did the job.

10. TENNESSEE 

1) At Oregon

2)  Western Kentucky

3) South Alabama

4) Austin Peay

Non-Conference Grade: B- Going to Oregon is one of the toughest trips in college football. But playing Western Kentucky, South Alabama and Austin Peay at home, the Volunteers should go 3-1 in the NC schedule. If they don’t, then warm up the seat for Butch Jones.

11. MISSISSIPPI STATE

1) Oklahoma State (Houston, Texas)

2) Bowling Green

3) Troy 

4) Alcorn State

Difficulty Grade: B Despite the game being on a neutral field, We wouldn’t be surprised if Oklahoma State scores the upset over Mississippi State on August 31st. Bowling Green had a winning record last year. Troy and Alcorn State shouldn’t worry. And as usual with SEC schools, 3 out of 4 of the games are at home, and one is on a neutral field. I’m getting tired of writing this.

11. FLORIDA

1) Florida State 

2) At Miami (FL)

3) Toledo 

4) Georgia Southern

Difficulty Grade: B- Florida State and a revamped Miami – on the road (although Sun Life is a bit of a joke when it comes to an away game) – ain’t going to be easy. Toledo and Georgia Southern will be, unless Wil Muschamp’s offense has the same problems as it did last year.

13. SOUTH CAROLINA

1) Clemson

2) North Carolina

3) At UCF

4) Coastal Carolina

Difficulty Grade: B+ South Carolina – like a lot of SEC schools  - is blessed by the fact that the game against Clemson and North Carolina are both at home this year. But it will not make them easy. UCF and Coastal Carolina, however, will be a different kettle of fish.

14. GEORGIA 

1) At Clemson 

2) At Georgia Tech

3) Appalachian State

4) North Texas

Non-Conference Grade: A- Although the game at Clemson’s going to be hellish for the Bulldogs, a road trip to Georgia Tech won’t be as hellish – even if this rivalry’s called ‘Good Ole Fashioned Hate’. Marks taken off to Appy State and North Texas at home, which Georgia should win by 40 in each game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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