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Snowflakes: What Are SEC Football Critics Going To Do Now?

Posted: Apr 13, 2008

With spring football in full gear, it’s never too early to look ahead to the upcoming season. We at Swampland have focused many times on the ongoing theme of the SEC “arms race” in America’s toughest conference schedule to navigate. With Florida and LSU winning the last two national titles, the conference has five coaches (Miles, Meyer, Spurrier, Fulmer, and Saban) who have won it all, plus other titans of the profession like Tuberville, Petrino, and Richt. Heck, even Mississippi State and Kentucky won bowl games last year. The one criticism that we have heard in recent seasons is that SEC teams don’t play tough out-of-conference opponents, but that claim will be silenced this year.

Two schools will have major tests in their opening game. Alabama will begin with a neutral site (Atlanta) battle against Clemson, who has all of their skill players back from a loaded offense. Tennessee will travel to the Rose Bowl on Labor Day to take on UCLA in a “Monday Night Football” tilt. With offensive minds Rick Neuheisel and Norm Chow now leading the Bruins, it will be quite a test for the Vols. Tennessee has been a leader in taking on all-comers, and they recently announced that they will have road trips to Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Nebraska over the next decade.

Georgia will also travel west in September when they take on the Dennis Erickson-led Arizona State Sun Devils. Arkansas will head to Austin in September to face the always tough Texas Longhorns, while Florida will open with high-flying Hawaii and will also face in-state rivals Miami and Florida State. The toughest out-of-conference game may be Auburn’s trip to Morgantown in October when they battle high-octane West Virginia. Pat White and company will probably be in the Top 10 at the time.

South Carolina will face two tough ACC opponents in N.C. State and the annual season-ending Palmetto clash with Clemson. Mississippi State will also have a tough ACC road test when they take on the Paul Johnson-led Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Some of the lower ranked squads have tough challenges as Ole Miss and Vanderbilt travel to Wake Forest, while Kentucky will open the season with the hated Louisville Cardinals at Papa John’s Stadium.

With the brutal trek that is the SEC schedule, it would be very easy for many of the coaches to schedule softly in the non-conference. However, it is very refreshing to see that SEC schools are not adopting that strategy. I just wonder what those fans in the North and West will criticize now?

- Patrick Snow


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