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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Who is the gutsiest SEC scheduler

Thumbs up for his scheduling guts

The SEC has gotten a reputation for being the most chicken schedulers in the country.  People claim they will never leave home or play difficult non-conference games and hence why they often have so many bowl eligible teams.  So, just which programs in the SEC actually do schedule tough and which ones have earned the “chicken” moniker?  Well, below I have ranked the 12 teams by their non-conference games against other BCS and major programs over the past 5 seasons.  Things taken under consideration where total games, games played at true road sites, and games scheduled outside of natural rivalries.  These are my rankings, tell me where I am wrong:

2011: Boise State (neutral), at Georgia Tech
2010: at Colorado, Georgia Tech
2009: at #9 Oklahoma State, Arizona State, at #7 Georgia Tech
2008: at Arizona State, #22 Georgia Tech
2007: Oklahoma State, at Georgia Tech
Why: Wow, what a slate of non-conference games they have booked.  Remember, UGA got out of a home game against Louisville so they could book a neutral game against Boise this season.  That takes some guts.  They get the natural rivalry against GaTech, but have topped it with a TOUGH non-conference game (or two) each season. 

2. LSU
2011: Oregon (neutral), at West Virginia
2010: #18 North Carolina (neutral), #22 West Virginia
2009: at Washington
2008: None
2007: #9 Virginia Tech
Why: Another team who has shown the ability to take risks, especially in early season games.  They also travel on the road cross-country to Washington, which has doomed many a team.  And this season, travel into the hell hole known as Morgantown.  We really shouldn’t expect anything else from Les Miles though.

2011: at Penn State
2010: #18 Penn State, at Duke
2009: #7 Virginia Tech (neutral)
2008: #9 Clemson (neutral)
2007: at Florida State
Why: Vaulted back onto the national scene with neutral wins over VaTech and Clemson, but they don’t stop scheduling tough games, booking a 2-year series with Penn State.  Funny how national powers like LSU, Alabama, and Georgia can schedule tough games and still compete.  Hmmmm, seems like that theory blows. 

2011: at Clemson
2010: Clemson
2009: West Virginia
2008: at West Virginia
2007: Kansas State, South Florida 
Why: I bet when they scheduled the games against Clemson and West Virginia, they thought they would be Top 20 teams, but those 2 programs have slumped.  Still, they travel on the road and have at least attempted to schedule tough games.

2011: Florida State
2010: South Florida, at #22 Florida State
2009: Florida State
2008: Miami, at #20 Florida State
2007: Florida State
Why: Well, on the one hand they try to play all their rivals.  But the fact they have not scheduled a non-conference road game outside of the state since 1991 kinda makes you question their scheduling.  Even still, the non-conference teams in their state are tough, and they have kept the FSU series for many years now. 

2011: Texas A&M (neutral)
2010: Texas A&M (neutral)
2009: Texas A&M (neutral)
2008: at #7 Texas, #18 Tulsa
2007: None
Why: Arkansas got out of its series with Texas, which was weak, but they have a 10-YEAR SERIES with Texas A&M on the books, all neutral games.  Still a tough opponent, so Petrino gets a little pass.  The game in 2008 with Tulsa was bonus.

2011: Cincinnati
2010: #7 Oregon
2009: UCLA
2008: at UCLA
2007: at #12 California
Why: They schedule one tough non-conference game a year and are willing to travel west.  Although they have been beat in every game listed, so maybe they should reconsider their scheduling methods.  Even still, they schedule tougher than those below them.

2011: Clemson
2010: at Clemson
2009: at NC State, #18 Clemson
2008: NC State, at Clemson
2007: at North Carolina, Clemson
Why: Have a yearly series with Clemson, which is an up and down program, plus they have schedule a couple of mid-level BCS games.  All in all, not very risky scheduling. 

2011: UCONN, at Wake Forest
2010: Northwestern, at UCONN, Wake Forest
2009: #11 Georgia Tech
2008: Duke, at Wake Forest
2007: Wake Forest
Why: Vandy schedules a ton of BCS games, but they are all against mediocre programs.  But for a program of their level, it is still risky. 

2011: Louisville
2010: at Louisville
2009: Louisville
2008: at Louisville
2007: #9 Louisville
Why: Sigh.  It would be nice to at least see Kentucky try and take a risk ONCE.  But, they have stuck with this method and it has, in theory, helped them get to a bowl.  Still, it shows a program that doesn’t think it can play with the big boys if it won’t even try and play the big boys. 

2011: None
2010: None
2009: #25 Georgia Tech
2008: at Georgia Tech
2007: at West Virginia
Why: Weak, weak, weak.  Dan Mullen took his scheduling methods from Florida and brought them to Starkville.  Simply put: Don’t leave the state.

2011: BYU
2010: None
2009: None
2008: at #20 Wake Forest
2007: Missouri
Why: Is there something in the water in Mississippi that makes them gutless?  They got lucky Wake was ranked when they played them, and they haven’t been any good since.  BYU only scheduled them because they went independent.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

29 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Who is the gutsiest SEC scheduler

  1. stevem
    9:13 am August 1, 2011 Permalink

    UK’ administration has no interest when it comes to scheduling even decent non-conference teams. They are happy with their SEC TV and bowl money. With their lack of commitment to upgrading the program, they continue to schedule schools I’v never heard of (Charleston Southern??) in order to reach that magical number of 6 so we can go to a no-name useless bowl. That’s hardly progress. Until they bring in a coach who can win and make a commitment to win, you won’t catch me buying season tickets.

  2. Thomas Beisner
    9:18 am August 1, 2011 Permalink

    What’s also interesting is that there are really only two coaches on the hot seat right now and they’re the one you rankd #1 and the one ranked #12.

  3. Major
    9:20 am August 1, 2011 Permalink

    You can argue that Georgia has suffered from their tough scheduling. I believe they have finished with a losing record two of the last four years.

  4. Jones Returns
    9:34 am August 1, 2011 Permalink

    I’m sorry buy anyone who think’s UK isn’t the weakest non-conference scheduler of this group after seeing this is in denial…Louisville? Really??? That’s it? That’s the best we can do? WEAK! Louisville and… Louisville and… Give me something. I think UK should play WVU reguarly. We’re close and there’s a good mix of west virginians that go to UK and vise versa. WV is in contention every year for the Big East championship and for UK to beat them on any given year would do alot for our season. I think we should play them more often in basketball as well

  5. pji
    9:47 am August 1, 2011 Permalink

    UK is by far the weakest non-conference scheduler. How can you look at the various teams and not agree?

  6. uklaw95
    9:49 am August 1, 2011 Permalink

    Why add a tough non-conf when you are playing Florida, Tennessee, S. Car., and at times Auburn, Alabama, and LSU? That would be suicide. Let’s get where we beat the Mississippis on a consistent basis before we start scheduling Virginia Tech or WVU.

  7. bung
    9:56 am August 1, 2011 Permalink

    drop looavul…its nothing when we win and awful if we lose

  8. cdc_uky
    10:01 am August 1, 2011 Permalink

    Same argument…same time of yr…every year. We are making bowl games that almost do not count. We are flirting with a losing season (under 500) every year. Why schedule a loss against better competition? A tougher schedule will not help this team turn a corner. Only 1 thing can change our position in the SEC…recruiting. UK will have to Pony up and pay for a HUGE name to steal recruits from the “football schools” or we will never be in the conversation. We have no in-state recruiting base and the little talent that is here is now getting calls from Charlie Strong (a well known name that is already paying off for UofL).

    Get a big name…do not schedule automatic losses!

  9. og68
    10:40 am August 1, 2011 Permalink

    How about that UK basketball non-conference schedule?

  10. og68
    10:41 am August 1, 2011 Permalink


  11. think_strengthO'Schedule
    10:42 am August 1, 2011 Permalink

    hold a sec. bashers and think. If you look at overall strength of schedule in football- I guess UK compares favorably to pretty much any team in the country. In fact, I would not be surprised if UK has a stronger schedule than any non-SEC school every year. Ohio State, for instance, is in the national title conversation every year and their schedule is FAR softer than UK each year. Look at the big picture of the schedule- with us playing Georgia, Florida, Bama, LSU, Arkansas, South Carolina, and although they are weak now- Tenn. Add any one of those teams to a Big Ten schedule and it would be seen as “Playing a Big Time school.”

    Most teams that are in the conversation for national title only play once or twice a year against a team where the odds are 50/50 or less for a win. Even if UK has a great year, they still play 4 or 5 of those games!

    Our schedule is plenty difficult right now.

  12. macon_volfan
    10:47 am August 1, 2011 Permalink

    UGA should be taken with a grain of salt. Until 2008, they NEVER traveled out of the state of Georgia for a non-conference game. EVER (unless you count Clemspson, which is on the GA border)

    Speaking for UT, in the last 10 years, they’ve played at Notre Dame, at/vs Miami, at/vs Cal, at/vs UCLA, and vs Ore (with a trip to Eugene next year).

    Probably one of the best non-conf slates in the SEC in the last 10 years. I hope the upcoming series with Oklahoma and others will turn out well for the Vols.

  13. Rickforgottowearhisraincoat
    11:02 am August 1, 2011 Permalink

    The SEC has gotten a reputation for being the most chicken schedulers in the SEC.


  14. Toss It
    11:08 am August 1, 2011 Permalink

    so tired of the topic. We can’t win more than 3 conference games. Why schedule losses out of conference? No recruit scratches a BCS conference team from their list because of the team’s out of conference schedule. This topic for bitchy fans. Period.

  15. bluesince66
    11:09 am August 1, 2011 Permalink

    The fact you’re listing any big east teams as quality opponents completely ruins your arguement.

  16. catfan24
    11:31 am August 1, 2011 Permalink

    Not sure if this would be a big game, but someone else got credit for playing Duke…. Why not start a home / away series with Duke in football. Obviously, it would be because they would want no part of it, but how great would it be to beat up on Duke in football since they are too afraid to play us in basketball during the regular season.

  17. Powerlifter165
    11:48 am August 1, 2011 Permalink

    UK should schedule some weak BCS teams, like Duke, Indiana, and maybe add someone a little better like Cincy or perhaps UNC.

  18. Poco Chang
    11:50 am August 1, 2011 Permalink

    It’s not our fault that Louisville sucks.

  19. Lol
    12:14 pm August 1, 2011 Permalink

    So this article proves our non-conference sucks. Ky will always be 10-12 in the SEC until we actually PAY a proven OC/DC/HC to take the helm. I’m sorry but beating teams like Akron, Western Michigan, SChool for Blind for recruits isn’t going to put us in the middle of pack SEC. COACHES are what recruits the players not the school.

  20. Pharmboy
    12:21 pm August 1, 2011 Permalink

    UGA v Boise St in the Georgia Dome is hardly a neutral site. Also, as much as I hate to say it, Tennessee has been the one team to take the most scheduling risks. Most of that stems from the fact that they have to recruit nationally because, like Kentucky, the state doesn’t produce great numbers of d1 talent and they seem to focus on California and the west coast.

  21. NBA league pass
    12:37 pm August 1, 2011 Permalink

    Our schedule is BY FAR the weakest out of the group. I agree with above…we need to start off with some “weak” BCS type schools…IU, Duke, etc. That would be better than charleston southern or akron IMO.

  22. 2020
    1:14 pm August 1, 2011 Permalink

    I’ve long thought that the BCS should require 2 out-of-conference games vs. BCS schools in order to qualify for the automatic BCS bowl berths that come with winning the conference championship. It would help expose the weaker conferences and help the computer rankings with more inter-conference results.

  23. ThankfulCat
    1:48 pm August 1, 2011 Permalink

    where are the other 21 comments?

  24. Carl
    1:48 pm August 1, 2011 Permalink

    This proves nothing. Scheduling a Big East team like L-ville or UCONN can be hit or miss. Louisville was top ten a few years ago which is more than I can say for Wake Forrest or UCONN. Being in a BCS conference doesn’t mean a darn thing. Being in the top 20 is the only true measuring stick. Giving Vandy credit for scheduling Duke ??? Have they won a football game in this century?

  25. FU of L
    3:31 pm August 1, 2011 Permalink

    Kentucky’s OOC schedule is embarrassing. But so is Kentucky football.

  26. FU FU of L
    8:18 pm August 1, 2011 Permalink

    @25. Eff u! And the black-eyed card you drifted in on.

  27. 4realist
    8:22 pm August 1, 2011 Permalink

    @25: Eff u ‘FU of L’ and your lackey little brother commuter college.

  28. littlefeller
    2:21 am August 2, 2011 Permalink

    It CJP wants the fans to change their attitude to the expectation of winning championships rather than snickering at that idea-maybe the schedule should reflect that same attitude and actually schedule somebody. I don’t like these weak bowl games in the least and at best they are like kissing your sister.

  29. MTW
    3:24 am August 2, 2011 Permalink

    21. Louisville is a weak BCS type school. Take them off the schedule and add an opponent of the same quality. What does that prove and additionally keep them and add another opponent of the same quality but for what?

    Bottom line is we don’t have to schedule any differently than we have in the past to make a BCS bowl. What we have to do is climb the ladder in the conference. Whats beating Virginia or UNC going to do for us. Nothing…its all about climbing the ladder within the conference. You win the East you have a chance. No other way to do it.