SEC reveals 2014 conference schedule

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Just in time for the start of the 2013 season, the SEC has looked ahead to next year and unveiled its slate of games for the 2014 season.

Highlighting that schedule release are several cross-division matchups, beginning with Texas A&M traveling to South Carolina Aug. 28 to open the 2014 regular season.  Another must-see game includes the Aggies, with LSU taking a trip into College Station Thanksgiving weekend.  That Thursday night matchup will  be the first football game televised on the new SEC Network.

The final crossover games to note — aside from the protected ones — next season involve Florida, and it’s brutal: Alabama hosting the Gators Sept. 20, with UF hosting LSU three weeks later.

“The SEC Presidents and Chancellors have committed to a review of football scheduling to be completed in time for preparation of the 2016 schedule,” commissioner Mike Slive said at the spring meetings. “The objective of this review is to develop a scheduling format for the 2016 season and beyond, which will be in the best interests of the conference. The conference’s current 6-1-1 scheduling format will continue until a new format is approved by the conference membership.”

Other notes from the schedule  release before getting to the full slate of games:

— A&M will have just three conference games in College Station in 2014 (Ole Miss, Missouri and LSU).  The fourth will be played in Dallas against Arkansas.

–For the first time in over two decades, Tennessee and Florida won’t meet on the third Saturday in September.  In 2014, the Vols-Gator matchup will take place Oct. 4 in Knoxville.

— Georgia will avoid playing Alabama in the regular season — the teams squared off in the 2012 SEC championship game — for the sixth year in a row, having last played the Tide in 2008 (41-30 loss).

— A&M-USC and Missouri-Arkansas are the other permanent crossover games beginning with this schedule release.

— The in-state Kentucky-Louisville rivalry game will be played on the final weekend of the regular season beginning in 2014.  That will be the Cardinals first year in the ACC.

After the jump is the complete list of 2014 conferences games, both week-to-week and team-by-team.

Week-by-Week

Aug. 28
Texas A&M at South Carolina

Aug. 30
Arkansas at Auburn

Sept. 6
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt

Sept. 13
Kentucky at Florida
Georgia at South Carolina

Sept. 20
Florida at Alabama
Mississippi State at LSU
South Carolina at Vanderbilt

Sept. 27
Texas A&M vs. Arkansas (Dallas)
Tennessee at Georgia
Vanderbilt at Kentucky
Missouri at South Carolina

Oct. 4
Alabama at Ole Miss
LSU at Auburn
Florida at Tennessee
Vanderbilt at Georgia
South Carolina at Kentucky
Texas A&M at Mississippi State

Oct. 11
Alabama at Arkansas
Auburn at Mississippi State
LSU at Florida
Georgia at Missouri
Ole Miss at Texas A&M

Oct. 18
Texas A&M at Alabama
Georgia at Arkansas
Missouri at Florida
Kentucky at LSU
Tennessee at Ole Miss

Oct. 25
Alabama at Tennessee
South Carolina at Auburn
Mississippi State at Kentucky
Ole Miss at LSU
Vanderbilt at Missouri

Nov. 1
Arkansas at Mississippi State
Auburn at Ole Miss
Florida vs. Georgia (Jacksonville)
Kentucky at Missouri
Tennessee at South Carolina

Nov. 8
Alabama at LSU
Texas A&M at Auburn
Florida at Vanderbilt
Georgia at Kentucky

Nov. 15
Mississippi State at Alabama
LSU at Arkansas
Auburn at Georgia
South Carolina at Florida
Kentucky at Tennessee
Missouri at Texas A&M

Nov. 22
Ole Miss at Arkansas
Vanderbilt at Mississippi State
Missouri at Tennessee

Nov. 27
LSU at Texas A&M

Nov. 29
Auburn at Alabama
Arkansas at Missouri
Mississippi State at Ole Miss
Tennessee at Vanderbilt

2014 SEC Football Schedule (Conference Games Only)
Team-By-Team

ALABAMA
Sept. 20 – FLORIDA
Oct. 4 – at Ole Miss
Oct. 11 – at Arkansas
Oct. 18 – TEXAS A&M
Oct. 25 – at Tennessee
Nov. 8 – at LSU
Nov. 15 – MISSISSIPPI STATE
Nov. 29 – AUBURN

ARKANSAS
Aug. 30 – at Auburn
Sept. 27 – vs. Texas A&M (Dallas)
Oct. 11 – ALABAMA
Oct. 18 – GEORGIA
Nov. 1 – at Mississippi State
Nov. 15 – LSU
Nov. 22 – OLE MISS
Nov. 29 – at Missouri

AUBURN
Aug. 30 – ARKANSAS
Oct. 4 – LSU
Oct. 11 – at Mississippi State
Oct. 25 – SOUTH CAROLINA
Nov. 1 – at Ole Miss
Nov. 8 – TEXAS A&M
Nov. 15 – at Georgia
Nov. 29 – at Alabama

FLORIDA
Sept. 13 – KENTUCKY
Sept. 20 – at Alabama
Oct. 4 – at Tennessee
Oct. 11 – LSU
Oct. 18 – MISSOURI
Nov. 1 – vs. Georgia (Jacksonville)
Nov. 8 – at Vanderbilt
Nov. 15 – SOUTH CAROLINA

GEORGIA
Sept. 13 – at South Carolina
Sept. 27 – TENNESSEE
Oct. 4 – VANDERBILT
Oct. 11 – at Missouri
Oct. 18 – at Arkansas
Nov. 1 – vs. Florida (Jacksonville)
Nov. 8 – at Kentucky
Nov. 15 – AUBURN

KENTUCKY
Sept. 13 – at Florida
Sept. 27 – VANDERBILT
Oct. 4 – SOUTH CAROLINA
Oct. 18 – at LSU
Oct. 25 – MISSISSIPPI STATE
Nov. 1 – at Missouri
Nov. 8 – GEORGIA
Nov. 15 – at Tennessee

LSU
Sept. 20 – MISSISSIPPI STATE
Oct. 4 – at Auburn
Oct. 11 – at Florida
Oct. 18 – KENTUCKY
Oct. 25 – OLE MISS
Nov. 8 – ALABAMA
Nov. 15 – at Arkansas
Nov. 27 – at Texas A&M

OLE MISS
Sept. 6 – at Vanderbilt
Oct. 4 – ALABAMA
Oct. 11 – at Texas A&M
Oct. 18 – TENNESSEE
Oct. 25 – at LSU
Nov. 1 – AUBURN
Nov. 22 – at Arkansas
Nov. 29 – MISSISSIPPI STATE

MISSISSIPPI STATE
Sept. 20 – at LSU
Oct. 4 – TEXAS A&M
Oct. 11 – AUBURN
Oct. 25 – at Kentucky
Nov. 1 – ARKANSAS
Nov. 15 – at Alabama
Nov. 22 – VANDERBILT
Nov. 29 – at Ole Miss

MISSOURI
Sept. 27 – at South Carolina
Oct. 11 – GEORGIA
Oct. 18 – at Florida
Oct. 25 – VANDERBILT
Nov. 1 – KENTUCKY
Nov. 15 – at Texas A&M
Nov. 22 – at Tennessee
Nov. 29 – ARKANSAS

SOUTH CAROLINA
Aug. 28 – TEXAS A&M
Sept. 13 – GEORGIA
Sept. 20 – at Vanderbilt
Sept. 27 – MISSOURI
Oct. 4 – at Kentucky
Oct. 25 – at Auburn
Nov. 1 – TENNESSEE
Nov. 15 – at Florida

TENNESSEE
Sept. 27 – at Georgia
Oct. 4 – FLORIDA
Oct. 18 – at Ole Miss
Oct. 25 – ALABAMA
Nov. 1 – at South Carolina
Nov. 15 – KENTUCKY
Nov. 22 – MISSOURI
Nov. 29 – at Vanderbilt

TEXAS A&M
Aug. 28 – at South Carolina
Sept. 27 – vs. Arkansas (Dallas)
Oct. 4 – at Mississippi State
Oct. 11 – OLE MISS
Oct. 18 – at Alabama
Nov. 8 – at Auburn
Nov. 15 – MISSOURI
Nov. 27 – LSU

VANDERBILT
Sept. 6 – OLE MISS
Sept. 20 – SOUTH CAROLINA
Sept. 27 – at Kentucky
Oct. 4 – at Georgia
Oct. 25 – at Missouri
Nov. 8 – FLORIDA
Nov. 22 – at Mississippi State
Nov. 29 – TENNESSEE

Mark Your Calendars: KU, Wazzu reportedly set for 2027-28 home-and-home series

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Are you ready for some good news? Kansas and Washington State are (finally, FINALLY!) going to meet on the gridiron.

Are you ready for some bad news? You’re going to have to wait nearly a decade to see it.

The Jayhawks and Cougars have agreed to a home-and-home series in 2027-28, according to documents obtained by FBSchedules. Washington State is set to host the first game on Sept. 11, 2027, with Kansas returning the favor on Sept. 9, 2028. The programs have met 10 times previously, but not since 1977. Kansas holds a 7-2 all-time advantage.

Washington State is also set to visit Boise State in 2027, but does not have any other games lined up for ’28. Kansas does not have any other agreements for either season.

Interestingly, Wazzu’s Kansas home-and-home is sandwiched around a home-and-home with Kansas State in 2026 and ’29. Washington State has not faced a Big 12 opponent since a 65-17 loss at Oklahoma State to open the 2010 season.

Kansas, who also has future games with Rutgers, Boston College, Duke and Illinois on the docket, has not squared off with a Pac-12 foe — not counting former Big 12 bunk mate Colorado — since a 41-17 loss to UCLA on Sept. 8, 2001.

Cincinnati, Western Michigan ink home-and-home series

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Cincinnati and Western Michigan have agreed to a 2-game home-and-home series, it was announced Monday.

The Bearcats will host WMU on Sept. 12, 2020, and Western Michigan will host Cincinnati on Sept. 10, 2022.

The programs have met three times prior. Cincinnati and Western Michigan also played a home-and-home in 1949-50; the Bearcats won both games by scores of 27-6. Cincinnati also won their meeting in the 2007 International Bowl in Toronto,  a 27-24 triumph.

Cincinnati already has road games lined up with Miami (Ohio) and Nebraska in 2020, with a Sept. 5 opener still to fill. Considering the Bearcats already have two MAC opponents and a Big Ten trip lined up, that game will almost certainly be a home game and likely against an FCS opponent. In 2022, Cincinnati will host Indiana and play Miami (Ohio) at the Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium, with their Sept. 3 opener still unfilled.

Western Michigan also has a road trip to Notre Dame on the schedule for Sept. 19, 2020, and does not have any other games slated for 2022.

USC AD Lynn Swann explains wins still trump strength of schedule

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For a long time, college football programs on the west coast have battled to overcome an east coast bias. USC athletics director Lynn Swann says that is still a hurdle USC faces to this day, which is why the Trojans go about trying to build as competitive football schedule as they can.

“Because of time zones, people on the East Coast aren’t really seeing us,” Swann said in a Q&A with The Orange County Register. “We have to play a tougher schedule. If the voters are going to look at four teams to be in the top four, the Pac-12 playing the Pac-12 won’t get it by itself.”

That comment alone could be received as a veiled (or not-so-veiled) shot at the rest of the Pac-12, but it is a fair comment to say, especially after the postseason the Pac-12 as a whole just had this past bowl season (it was… not very good). Swann’s comment though backs up the overall philosophy power conferences and programs within them have taken to heart since the introduction of the College Football Playoff, where strength of schedule is held in high regard and placed on a pedestal above most other factors to determine a playoff contender and separate them from playoff pretenders.

“We have to schedule teams and we have to have that very competitive schedule to be able to get that look,” Swann said. “And we’ve got to win those games. So it’s important to have Texas on the schedule. It’s important that Notre Dame is playing well and we play them and we beat them along the way.”

Scheduling attractive games is great, and it allows for a slightly wider margin for error, but recent history has shown that the strength of schedule does not act alone in getting a team into the playoff as much as actually winning games. The last two seasons have seen one-loss teams without a division championship invited to the College Football Playoff (Ohio State in 2016, Alabama last year). Last year, USC lost two games but won the Pac-12 championship but was largely left out of the conversation that involved Alabama and Ohio State.

“The committee who’s going to vote on this is going to look at strength of schedule. They’re going to look at how you win games,” Swann explained. “They’re going to look at a lot of factors. They’re going to look at the competition inside your conference, outside your conference, all those kind of things. It won’t ever be just one thing.”

USC has yet to play in a College Football Playoff and the 2018 season could be an uphill climb to get there with so many key losses from last season. Regardless, the Trojans continue to be improving with depth and scoring big wins to return to work their way back to the big championship stage.

Florida is opening spring practices to fans

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What’s one easy way to get fans on board with a new head coach? Invite them to practice.

Florida head coach Dan Mullen wants the doors to be open to fans to come watch the Gators practice during the first two spring practices the Gators will conduct next month. Seats will be limited at the practice field, of course, but Mullen seems optimistic this will help get the energy going for the program from the jump this spring, and that could potentially lead to a good crowd at Florida’s spring game to wrap up the spring practice schedule.

Florida is scheduled to begin their spring football practices on March 16. That practice and the next day will be open to fans to attend practice, which likely will lead to some personal interactions with coaches and players for any fans who take Mullen up on his offer. Florida’s spring game is scheduled for April 14.

Florida fans may be getting a chance to see a hard-working bunch of Gators. Early indications are Florida players are already claiming to be working harder than they have in years in the offseason workout routine.

But it won’t be just the fans that will be given some exclusive first-hand looks at the Gators this spring. Mullen will also look to extend an open invitation to Florida faculty and staff to some spring practices. Those dates are yet to be determined.

Helmet sticker to SEC Country.