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SEC Football: 2015 Non-conference Schedule Power Rankings

March 3, 2015

                                                                                                                                  Photo credit ABCNews4.com

 

by Lisa Horne

 

In the fourth part of our series on non-conference schedule power rankings, we evaluate the Southeastern Conference. In the past, the SEC has used its conference strength as an excuse to schedule cupcakes (with extra sprinkles) for its non-conference slate.

 

Last year the SEC was exposed. It was not the SEC's fault-- blame the hypnotized media for not paying very good attention to other Power 5 teams. Still, SEC fans have been critical of the Big Ten, particularly regarding its non-conference schedules and alleged soft conference play. Will the tables turn this year?

 

You be the judge. 

 

Alabama

 

Wisconsin (at Arlington), Middle Tennessee State, Louisiana-Monroe, Charleston Southern

 

Three gimmees and a Big Ten team at a neutral venue? Nope, we're not buying this. Playing an FCS team in late November (when most teams are banged up and playing rivalry games) is also weak. 

 

Grade: D+

 

Arkansas

 

UTEP, Toledo (at Little Rock), Texas Tech, UT Martin

 

The Razorbacks are sending a strong message: We only have to win two conference games to go bowling with this non-conference schedule. 

 

Grade: D

 

Auburn

 

Louisville, Jacksonville State, San Jose State, Idaho

 

Louisville saves this schedule from getting an F.

 

Grade: D-

 

Florida

 

New Mexico State, East Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Florida State

 

No FCS teams, a Power 5 team and an excellent Group of 5 team make this one of the best SEC schedules. Major kudos to the Gators for stepping up to the plate.

 

Grade: A-

 

Georgia

 

Louisiana Monroe, Southern, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech

 

How will the CFP committee view a team that leaves the state of Georgia only four times in the regular season? 

 

Grade: D-

 

Kentucky

 

Louisiana Lafayette, Eastern Kentucky, Charlotte, Louisville

 

Charlotte is a new member of C-USA so the intent of this schedule is clear: to play the lowest-tiered teams possible without having two FCS teams on the schedule. Shameful, Kentucky. 

 

Grade: F

 

LSU

 

McNeese State, at Syracuse, Eastern Michigan, Western Kentucky

 

This is a very disappointing schedule from LSU. Go ahead, Tiger fans, tell us which one of these games you're even slightly excited about.

 

Grade: F

 

Mississippi

 

UT Martin, Fresno State, New Mexico State, at Memphis

 

So Memphis is the big hitter here?

 

Grade: F-

 

Mississippi State

 

At Southern Miss, Northwestern State, Troy, Louisiana Tech

 

Did the Bulldogs schedule FCS team Northwestern State to lighten the load? Seriously?

 

Grade: F--

 

Missouri

 

Southeast Missouri State, at Arkansas State, UConn, BYU

 

How bad is the SEC's non-conference slate? UConn actually bumps up Mizzou's power ranking. 

 

Grade: B-

 

South Carolina

 

North Carolina (at Charlotte), Central Florida, The Citadel, Clemson

 

If not for The Citadel, this would have been an A+ schedule. Still, major props. The fans get some great games to watch at Williams-Brice Stadium. 

 

Grade: A

 

Tennessee

 

Bowling Green State, Oklahoma, Western Carolina, North Texas

 

Scheduling three cupcakes around a powerhouse really diminishes this schedule, which is a shame. There was some potential. 

 

Grade: C-

 

Texas A&M

 

Arizona State (at Houston), Ball State, Nevada, Western Carolina

 

This isn't too bad of a schedule but the Aggies were supposed to play USC this year. They *cough* canceled when they joined the SEC. 

 

Grade: B-

 

Vanderbilt

 

Western Kentucky, Austin Peay, at Middle Tennessee State, at Houston

 

When Stanford--a school with high academic standards--was losing almost every game it played from 2002 to 2007, it still scheduled decent teams. It had pride. What is Vanderbilt's excuse? 

 

Grade: F

 

2015 Non-conference Power Rankings

 

1- South Carolina

2- Florida

3- Missouri

4- Texas A&M

5- Tennessee

6- Alabama

7- Arkansas

8- Auburn

9- Georgia

10- LSU

11- Kentucky

12- Vanderbilt

13- Mississippi

14- Mississippi State

 

 

 

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