Who Received The Better End Of The Deal?
As it stands right now the Southeastern Conference plans on going ahead with the 2020 football season. However, there are a couple of big changes. First, it won’t begin until September 26th, which would have been Week Four. In addition, the SEC Championship Game is now December 19th. Furthermore, there’s no out of conference games. That means the rivalry games which highlight the season’s last week are another thing taken by the coronavirus. In order to make up for it, the league added two conference games for a total of 10. Who benefited the most from the added games and who was hurt? Let’s examine it with our SEC schedule winners and losers.
The Rich Get Richer
No one is quite sure what criteria the league used in deciding who played whom. Was it the two teams in the opposite division closest to you? How about the teams scheduled for 2021 and 2022? Whether they used some of these criteria or threw darts at a board a couple of teams came up big winners.
The Tigers’ non-conference schedule was nothing to write home about to begin with. The lone exception was a visit from Texas in a rematch of one of last year’s best games. Ed Orgeron’s squad now faces Missouri and Vanderbilt, two teams picked at the bottom of the SEC East.
They host the other Tigers and then travel to Nashville. If fans can attend games there will be more LSU fans there than the home-standing Commodores anyway. The Tigers still have to play Alabama, Auburn, Florida, and Texas A&M but if they win the west again they can credit the folks at the league office.
Much like the Tigers, Kirby Smart’s team now plays arguably the two worst teams in the west. Their top two non-conference games, Georgia Tech and Virginia were replaced with Arkansas and Mississippi State. As it turns out these were Georgia’s next two future opponents they just switched the sites of the games.
A trip to Fayetteville should garner an easy win. For their home game, Georgia entertains Mike Leach and the other Bulldogs whom they should have little trouble with. Many think this is the year Florida finally catches Georgia in the east. However, if the Bulldogs win again they can thank the schedule makers.
As we continue looking at the SEC schedule winners and losers let’s look at the two teams who definitely got the bad end of the deal.
Thanks For Nothing
As mentioned earlier, the Razorbacks have to wonder who they upset at the league office. The no out of conference games cost them a big national tv game against Notre Dame. However, Sam Pittman’s club may rather travel to South Bend than play Florida and Georgia.
In traveling to “The Swamp” and hosting the Bulldogs, Arkansas definitely got the shortest straw. In fact, they play six of the top 15 teams in the preseason poll. Pittman’s going to win some games in Fayetteville, but it’s not going to be this year. However, they are embracing the challenge.
— Hunter Yurachek (@HunterYurachek) August 7, 2020
Another first-year coach Eli Drinkwitz comes to Columbia after going 12-1 in one season at Appalachian State. Actually things looked pretty good for the Tigers before their schedule changed. However, gone are four very winnable non-conference games and they now face Alabama and LSU.
In hosting the other Tigers and traveling to Tuscaloosa, Missouri is one of two schools that added two top 10 teams to their schedule. The other, of course, is Arkansas.
Continuing on with our SEC schedule winners and losers let’s look at a few more teams and how they fared.
More Happy Teams
In the days leading up to the announcement, many “insiders” posted that the Crimson Tide had issues with their opponents. However, in the end, they ended up hosting Kentucky and visiting Missouri. Beating the Tigers won’t be a problem but don’t sleep on Mark Stoops’ Wildcats.
Of the four new coaches in the SEC, Lane Kiffin’s squad fared best. While likely underdogs against both Kentucky or South Carolina it certainly could be worse. Just ask their neighbors in Missouri and Arkansas.
A Much Tougher Road Now
We hear it every August, “this year the Aggies are a dark horse in the SEC West.” In 2020 it certainly seemed feasible as Jimbo Fisher’s squad missed out on playing Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee. In addition, their four non-conference games were incredibly weak.
However, faster than Lee Corso could say “not so fast my friends,” the Aggies now go to Gainesville and host the Volunteers. That dark horse status looks less likely than it did a week ago.
Speaking of the Vols, they start every year in the proverbial hole with Alabama as their permanent SEC West foe. While losing the non-conference games meant no trip and loss at Oklahoma, traveling to Auburn and hosting Texas A&M won’t be easy. In fact, you can make the case Jeremy Pruitt’s club are underdogs in both.
Thanks for checking out our SEC schedule winners and losers here at Last Word On College Football. Things are changing daily in the college football landscape and we here at LWOS have been all over the stories. Stay with us for the latest information.