Interesting... UGA's date in New Columbia on September 8th could prove to be a pivotal first game in the SEC for Mizzou. Go (NOT geaux) Tigers!
Last week on Paul Finebaum’s nationally-syndicated radio show, South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier said there’s one simple reason why Georgia is favored to win the SEC East this year over his own Gamecock squad — the Bulldogs’ schedule (paywall warning):
“They have the easier schedule and I think that’s why they’re picked. They have Ole Miss on the other side and we’ve got LSU. Sometimes that one game can make the difference, which is what happened last year.”
That depends on how you look at it, of course. Last year, South Carolina lost to Arkansas and Auburn from the SEC West. Georgia beat Ole Miss and Auburn in their West Division games. Carolina fans will tell you the difference was Arkansas and Ole Miss. Georgia fans will point out that they beat Auburn while the Cocks couldn’t beat the Tigers in Columbia, making Auburn the difference.
Argue about it if you like, but no two schedules are created equal. Ever. None of them. Someone always plays Team X instead of Team Y. Or one school will have Team Z at home while the other plays Team Z on the road. An early-season game versus a late-season game. A team pre-injuries versus a team post-injuries. Not equal. Ever. None of them.
Spurrier is right that UGA is getting the nod in 2012 because of what’s — on paper — an easier schedule. But he’s wrong to say that the schedule was the only difference between the teams last year. It’s just as easy to say that the teams would’ve been tied in the standings with Carolina holding the tie-breaker had the Gamecocks just taken care of business with an Auburn team that UGA trounced 45-7.