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SEC Unveils Schedule, We Rank ‘Em From Toughest To Easiest

The SEC has finally unveiled its 2012 football schedule and it’s awfully close to what we projected on Monday.  In fact, we missed the venue on just four games in our projection and we nailed each team’s opponents.  Here are the four games we flubbed in terms of their host sites:

 

Alabama at Missouri, Mississippi State at Alabama, Texas A&M at Mississippi State and Missouri at Texas A&M.

 

We expected the SEC to send A&M to Mizzou — as the two met in College Station last season — but that didn’t happen.  Because of that, there was no need for Alabama to make a return visit to MSU for a second year in a row.  (MSU, however, will travel for a second year in a row to Kentucky, as we expected.)

Also, you’ll see below that the SEC still lists Arkansas and Texas A&M as a “vs” game rather than as an “at” game.  In reality, all signs point to A&M pulling the plug on the two schools’ deal to meet in Arlington, Texas at Cowboys Stadium.  The game hasn’t paid out as much cash as was promised in its first three years and it’s likely the Aggies don’t want to give the Razorbacks yearly exposure in the Dallas metroplex area, either.

Below are the conference foes — and dates — for each of the SEC’s 14 schools in 2012.  For kicks, we’ve gone ahead and tallied each team’s win total over the last four seasons (not counting this year’s bowl games) and listed them beside each game.  So that number beside each opponent on your favorite team’s schedule… that’s that teams total number of wins from 2008 through 2011.

Teams rise and fall each year, so a simple look at last year’s records might not provide a solid indication of who’ll face what in terms of a tough 2012 slate.  Our numbers for each schedule give — we think — a bit clearer picture of an opponents’ overall program strength.  Is it perfect?  No.  Non-conference foes and A&M/Mizzou’s Big 12 results skew things a little, but we’d still take this over simply using this past year’s standings.

 

ALABAMA — Foes’ wins 2008-2011: 239
Sept. 15: at Arkansas (33)
Sept. 29: OLE MISS (24)
Oct. 13: at Missouri (35)
Oct. 20: at Tennessee (23)
Oct. 27: MISSISSIPPI STATE (24)
Nov. 3: at LSU (41)
Nov. 10: TEXAS A&M (25)
Nov. 24: AUBURN (34)

ARKANSAS – Foes’ wins 2008-2011: 253
Sept. 15: ALABAMA (47)
Sept. 29: vs. Texas A&M (25) (listed as “vs” as though it still might be played in Arlington, but it’s expected Arkansas will go to Texas A&M)
Oct. 6: at Auburn (34)
Oct. 13: KENTUCKY (25)
Oct. 27: OLE MISS (24)
Nov. 10: at South Carolina (33)
Nov. 17: at Mississippi State (24)
Nov. 24: LSU (41)

AUBURN – Foes’ wins 2008-2011: 245
Sept. 8: at Mississippi State (24)
Sept. 22: LSU (41)
Oct. 6: ARKANSAS (33)
Oct. 13: at Ole Miss (24)
Oct. 20: at Vanderbilt (17)
Oct. 27: TEXAS A&M (25)
Nov. 10: GEORGIA (34)
Nov. 24: at Alabama (47)

FLORIDA – Foes’ wins 2008-2011: 233
Sept. 8: at Texas A&M (25)
Sept. 15: at Tennessee (23)
Sept. 22: KENTUCKY (25)
Oct. 6: LSU (41)
Oct. 13: at Vanderbilt (17)
Oct. 20: SOUTH CAROLINA (33)
Oct. 27: vs. Georgia (34) (listed as “vs” but Florida is designated as the “road” team this year in Jacksonville)
Nov. 3: MISSOURI (35)

GEORGIA – Foes’ wins 2008-2011: 231
Sept. 8: at Missouri (35)
Sept. 22: VANDERBILT (17)
Sept. 29: TENNESSEE (23)
Oct. 6: at South Carolina (33)
Oct. 20: at Kentucky (25)
Oct. 27: vs. Florida (40) (listed as “vs” but Georgia is designated as the “home” team this year in Jacksonville)
Nov. 3: OLE MISS (24)
Nov. 10: at Auburn (34)

KENTUCKY – Foes’ wins 2008-2011: 239
Sept. 22: at Florida (40)
Sept. 29: SOUTH CAROLINA (33)
Oct. 6: MISSISSIPPI STATE (24)
Oct. 13: at Arkansas (33)
Oct. 20: GEORGIA (34)
Oct. 27: at Missouri (35)
Nov. 3: VANDERBILT (17)
Nov. 24: at Tennessee (23)

LSU – Foes’ wins 2008-2011: 260
Sept. 22: at Auburn (34)
Oct. 6: at Florida (40)
Oct. 13: SOUTH CAROLINA (33)
Oct. 20: at Texas A&M (25)
Nov. 3: ALABAMA (47)
Nov. 10: MISSISSIPPI STATE (24)
Nov. 17: OLE MISS (24)
Nov. 24: at Arkansas (33)

OLE MISS – Foes’ wins 2008-2011: 255
Sept. 29: at Alabama (47)
Oct. 6: TEXAS A&M (25)
Oct. 13: AUBURN (34)
Oct. 27: at Arkansas (33)
Nov. 3: at Georgia (34)
Nov. 10: VANDERBILT (17)
Nov. 17: at LSU (41)
Nov. 24: MISSISSIPPI STATE (24)

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Foes’ wins 2008-2011: 252
Sept. 8: AUBURN (34)
Oct. 6: at Kentucky (25)
Oct. 13: TENNESSEE (23)
Oct. 27: at Alabama (47)
Nov. 3: TEXAS A&M (25)
Nov. 10: at LSU (41)
Nov. 17: ARKANSAS (33)
Nov. 24: at Ole Miss (24)

MISSOURI – Foes’ wins 2008-2011: 244
Sept. 8: GEORGIA (34)
Sept. 22: at South Carolina (33)
Oct. 6: VANDERBILT (17)
Oct. 13: ALABAMA (47)
Oct. 27: KENTUCKY (25)
Nov. 3: at Florida (40)
Nov. 10: at Tennessee (23)
Nov. 24: at Texas A&M (25)

SOUTH CAROLINA – Foes’ wins 2008-2011: 248
Aug. 30: at Vanderbilt (17)
Sept. 22: MISSOURI (35)
Sept. 29: at Kentucky (25)
Oct. 6: GEORGIA (34)
Oct. 13: at LSU (41)
Oct. 20: at Florida (40)
Oct. 27: TENNESSEE (23)
Nov. 10: ARKANSAS (33)

TENNESSEE – Foes’ wins 2008-2011: 255
Sept. 15: FLORIDA (40)
Sept. 29: at Georgia (34)
Oct. 13: at Mississippi State (24)
Oct. 20: ALABAMA (47)
Oct. 27: at South Carolina (33)
Nov. 10: MISSOURI (35)
Nov. 17: at Vanderbilt (17)
Nov. 24: KENTUCKY (25)

TEXAS A&M – Foes’ wins 2008-2011: 278
Sept. 8: FLORIDA (40)
Sept. 29: vs. Arkansas (33) (listed as “vs” as though it still might be played in Arlington, but it’s expected Texas A&M will host Arkansas)
Oct. 6: at Ole Miss (24)
Oct. 20: LSU (41)
Oct. 27: at Auburn (34)
Nov. 3: at Mississippi State (24)
Nov. 10: at Alabama (47)
Nov. 24: MISSOURI (35)

VANDERBILT – Foes’ wins 2008-2011: 248
Aug. 30: SOUTH CAROLINA (33)
Sept. 22: at Georgia (34)
Oct. 6: at Missouri (35)
Oct. 13: FLORIDA (40)
Oct. 20: AUBURN (34)
Nov. 3: at Kentucky (25)
Nov. 10: at Ole Miss (24)
Nov. 17: TENNESSEE (23)

 

Based upon nothing but total opponent victories over the last four years, the toughest 2012 SEC slate belongs to… Texas A&M.  Welcome to the club, Aggies.  Meanwhile Georgia and Florida — through the power of rotation (or CONSPIRACY?!?!) — have the easiest schedules next season.  The list:

 

SEC Toughest 2012 Conference Schedules (Ole Miss’ numbers now corrected)

1.  Texas A&M — 278 opponent wins

2.  LSU — 260 opponent wins

3t. Ole Miss — 255 opponent wins

3t.  Tennessee — 255 opponent wins

5.  Arkansas — 253 opponent wins

6.  Mississippi State — 252 opponent wins

7t.  South Carolina — 248 opponent wins

7t.  Vanderbilt — 248 opponent wins

9.  Auburn — 245 opponent wins

10.  Missouri — 244 opponent wins

11t.  Alabama — 239 opponent wins

11t.  Kentucky — 239 opponent wins

13.  Florida — 233 opponent wins

14.  Georgia — 231 opponent wins

 

Observations:

* Keep in mind that good teams are aided and bad teams are hurt by not… having to play themselves.  Alabama won’t face a 47-win squad like itself while everyone else in the West (and Missouri and Tennessee in the East) will.  For schools like Vandy (17 wins from 2008-2011) and Tennessee (23 wins), they won’t get to feast on the downtrodden because — over the past four years — they’ve been the league’s downtrodden.

* There will be more scrutiny of this year’s schedule than any in SEC history.  That guarantees more whining, complaining and paranoia.  But before you say the SEC wants to help Team X while hurting Team Y, keep in mind that money is money.  Whether it’s LSU or Kentucky that reaches a BCS bowl matters not.  They would both get paid the same amount.  And both would then split that cash with their SEC brethren.  You folks who think the league gave Georgia an easy ride to spite Carolina because poor USC is still the Cinderella of the league are good for chuckle.  (Or would that be a cluck-le?)

* Remember, each school’s AD had a hand in the new schedule.  So each and every time you read a tweet from some doof saying “The commish is trying to help _______,” know that everyone must’ve been trying to help _______.  There were a few million hoops to jump through on this one and it says something about the league that no school pulled a Texas and demanded that all its games be played at home or some other such nonsense.  No, the schedule isn’t perfect.  But no one should have expected it to be.  Especially since the league chose to go with an eight-game plan on such short notice.

* This is just a one-year format for 2012.  The league will take more time to devise a new rotation for 2013 and beyond.  Mike Slive has said that he senses no push to go to a nine-game schedule.  Carolina president Harris Pastides said that a nine-game schedule will come.  We’ve stated from Day One of the expansion debate that the SEC — long a pace-setter in college athletics — will eventually go to a nine-game slate.  Currently, it looks like the Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC and Big 12 will all be playing nine conference games by 2017.  We think the SEC will follow suit.  But we’ll talk more about this topic in the coming days.

 


16 comments
Billy Bob
Billy Bob

Where did you come up with the stupid falsehood that Texas demands to play all its games at home?

redscribe66
redscribe66

The team the SEC, with the exception of Tennessee, dislikes so much is winning the Orange Bowl 56-20. Have a good evening. At least John Adams had it right.

strickinms
strickinms

I wish the first game was Jan 10

Statesman
Statesman

John,

Is it really a coincidence that the day the SEC releases its' schedule for next year, Delaney & ESPN run a story on the Big10 & Pac12 partnership. Delaney has dropped the ball recently and is attempting to steal some of the SEC's thunder. What a petty move.

BTW-Mizzou has a strange schedule / 3 straight conference home games early, and finishing with 3-straight road games. This seems out of balance

jasoncpetty
jasoncpetty

Congratulations on your educated guesswork panning out. We appreciate all the work you do.

JohnGalt
JohnGalt

Tennessee = 4-8, Dooley gets fired and we can finally bring in a coach who didn't have a losing record at his last job.

Jennifer Claiborne
Jennifer Claiborne

John, where's all the whining and complaining you said everyone would be doing?

guest
guest

Just a heads up. You incorrectly added up Mississippi's schedule . You listed Alabama for 24 wins, they have 47. Total score for Mississippi is 255 not 232. Giving them the third most difficult schedule not second easiest.

Denny
Denny

Can you add the non-conference schedules?

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

Jennifer Claiborne...

On messageboards and blogs across the Southeast. Ole Miss fans, Carolina fans, LSU fans, etc are all complaining on those schools' messageboards. Not hard to find if you look.

Thanks for reading,

John

Aggiefaithful
Aggiefaithful

Your list looked alot like mine; we may be able to get Mizzou, especially if they keep it a night game, and I hope Florida is an evening game as well. 6 wins and a bowl bid would be a huge step in the right direction. What is going to be the fun part, is how well this team plays under Sumlin...and honestly, I have no idea. Lets just hope he gets a DC who can get the wrecking crew under construction again.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

guest...

D'oh! Good catch. Hurried math and long lists, ya know.

Thanks,

John

Fayettechill14
Fayettechill14

@Denny They're incomplete at this point. All Arkansas has is J'ville State, UL Monroe, and Tulsa. We're apparently "working with ESPN" for a primetime game against a top Big XII/Pac-12 opponent, but our big OOC game has not been scheduled.

sfprman
sfprman

@Aggiefaithful I don;t mean to nitpick, especially as both Mizzou and A&M are SEC newcomers; however, I have no idea why you think you'll be able to "get" Mizzou in the day or the night. The Tigers have won the last two in College Station and return many starters including the junior year edition of QB James Franklin. Meanwhile, the A&M program is in shambles -- and frankly, I fear even even more so after hiring a coach who wan;t able to win w/o Case Keenum playing.

TGRLVR
TGRLVR

@BenHRE I think it can also be a fair example of better talent evaluation and better coaching. Since 2000 Mizzou is 5-1 vs. A&M with 3 of those wins (including the last 2) at College Station. Recruiting stars-wise, you may have a point. On the field ability - not so much.

BenHRE
BenHRE

sfprman: I think Mizzou losing to A&M is a fair expectation. Mizzou's roster is full of Texas kids who were not even offered by A&M and Texas. Talent-wise, A&M shouldn't be losing those games.

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