With College Football kicking off in about a month, it’s time to take an honest look at your team and your conference and set realistic expectations, a task that’s not that easy considering that fans of a particular conference often view their team through a type of fun house mirror that grossly distorts how realistic expectations should be. As obnoxious as fan bases can get, this is the essence of college sports fandom, and should be universally embraced, and such delusion is likely going to be most evident (this year) in fans that root for SEC teams.
There’s no denying the dominance of the SEC over the years, as recently as last year, but even so, the 2015 season gave currency to the anti-SEC apologists to make the case that other conferences like the Big 12, Big 10 and the PAC were on the rise while the SEC was on the decline. The conference top to bottom is as weak as it has been in years. Many of the perennial top dogs have experienced tremendous roster turnover and for some programs that is par for the course, but even for Alabama, LSU, Georgia, and Tennessee, player personnel changes are the least of their concerns. SEC teams will face some brutal scheduling hurdles that most programs would not be able to succeed through, and with nearly half of the teams having questions at the QB position, the 2016 season for the SEC could mean the lack of representation in the College Football Playoffs. Other programs like Georgia have new coaching staffs, and most of the programs that are on the rise, are simply that. With the low expectations of borderline teams and cellar dwellers, the SEC could see their worst season in years.
SEC: Non-Conference Opponents in the BCS
Southeastern Conference East
|University of Florida||@||Florida State University||Sat, Nov 26, 2016|
|University of Georgia||vs.||University of North Carolina||Sat, Sept 3,2016|
|University of Georgia||vs.||Georgia Tech||Sat, Nov 26, 2016|
|University of Tennessee||vs.||Virginia Tech||Sat, Sept 10, 2016|
|University of Vanderbilt||@||Georgia Tech||Sat, Sept 17, 2016|
|University of Kentucky||@||University of Louisville||Sat, Nov 26, 2016|
|University of South Carolina||@||University of Clemson||Sat, Nov 26, 2016|
|University of Missouri||@||West Virginia University||Sat, Sept 3,2016|
Southeastern Conference West
|University of Alabama||vs.||University of Southern California||Sat, Sept 3,2016|
|University of Auburn||vs.||University of Clemson||Sat, Sept 3,2016|
|Texas A & M University||vs.||UCLA||Sat, Sept 3,2016|
|Louisiana State University||@||University of Wisconsin||Sat, Sept 3,2016|
|University of Arkansas:||@||TCU||Sat, Sept 10, 2016|
|University of Mississippi||vs.||Florida State University||Mon, Sept 5, 2016|
|Mississippi State University||@||BBringham Young University||Fri, Oct 14, 2016|
The 2016 football schedule will be brutal for the Southeastern Conference as a whole. With the University of Georgia facing off with North Carolina and Georgia Tech, two above average programs, rather than one top program opens the window for an early loss. In previous years the SEC as a collective could open the season undefeated by simply rolling into any stadium in the country and walking away with a win. With the introduction of the College Football Playoffs and strength of schedule being an X-factor if a team acquires a mid to late season loss results in a, “no easy win” schedule. For the SEC this rugged non-conference schedule could play in its favor when the argument of which conference is the strongest rears its ugly head.
Currently, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi St. and Florida have legitimate Quarterback battles, while programs such as Arkansas, Missouri and Auburn have huge question marks. The instability at the Quarterback position conference-wide means that there is a tremendous amount of inexperience in the SEC at the most significant position on the field. The coaching carousel will aid to the conferences ills as there has been a turnover at the coaching level like never seen before. Some of the biggest programs have new coordinators, a new head coach or both. A number of questions and instability conference-wide leaves the argument and question – will the SEC be able to overcome its most challenging year and adequately represent the conference as a whole come bowl season.