SEC releases it's latest 2020 college football schedule
If you're having trouble keeping up with the changes in college football, you're not alone. We all are struggling. The SEC announced some sense of normalcy to 2020 with it's (new) conference schedule for the season. Teams still have some open dates for nonconference opponents, but we know who they'll face within the SEC.
Some teams must have gotten on the scheduler's bad side, because there are stretches for multiple teams that don't seem fair. That could also be because the conference has so much depth throughout, but some teams going through that gauntlet won't survive. Let's take a look at each team and break down how they'll do.
It's the Tide, so these are all winnable games. Starting play with Missouri and new coach Eliah Drinkwitz will be a good tuneup before they face a Texas A&M team that's a dark horse in the conference. Arguably the most intriguing game in terms of off the field antics follows when Alabama travels to face Ole Miss and Lane Kiffin. Crossover games against Georgia and Tennessee could prove difficult as well. In November, the Tide have to travel to Death Valley to face LSU, but they get Auburn at home. A 10-0 finish wouldn't be a surprise, but anything below 8-2 would be.
I don't know what the Razorbacks did for this, but they better ask for forgiveness. Not only do they have to face Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M, but their crossover games produced Georgia, Tennessee and Florida (team that went a combined 57-11 last year). It's tough to see more than one win on this schedule, and that's even with Feleipe Franks and Rakeem Boyd running the offense.
Bo Nix Year 2 starts off at home against an underrated Kentucky team, followed by a trip to Athens to face Georgia. The first half is kinder to the Tigers than the second half, though trips to South Carolina and Ole Miss could be difficult. The last three games for Auburn are home games against Tennessee and Texas A&M, but also a trip to Tuscaloosa.
The Gators lucked out in terms of crossover games. Texas A&M and LSU will be tough to eat, but both are winnable games. If Florida can somehow finish the first half 5-0, they have a good chance of finishing 10-0 even with Georgia and Tennessee on the back half. Florida's secondary against LSU's receivers is must-see television, and the rivalries with the Dogs and Vols also fit that description.
The Dogs' matchup against Alabama got pushed back a month, but they'll face Auburn an Tennessee in the meantime. New quarterback Jamie Newman (or maybe even JT Daniels) will get a warmup with Arkansas, but the next five games will be tough. If Georgia finds a way to get through it undefeated, it's smooth sailing from there.
If the Wildcats re going to make a statement and prove they can compete, it's going to happen early. Auburn, Tennessee and Georgia or on the schedule before November, and a couple wins there would put the conference on alert. Terry Wilson returns from injury behind one of the best offensive lines in the country, and his performance plays a big role in Kentucky's 2020 success.
How do the defending national champions come back in 2020? A lot rides on Myles Brennan's shoulders as well as the development of new talent on the defensive side of the ball, but they'll get some time to find their groove. Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, and Missouri shouldn't present too much difficulty, but a four game stretch against Florida, South Carolina, Auburn and Alabama awaits after that.
Lane Kiffin's return to the SEC will let us know where his team's at real quick. The Rebels kick things off at home against Florida before facing Kentucky and Alabama (again, a game worth paying attention to for the quotes alone). The next four games are manageable with only Auburn as a tough draw. Texas A&M and LSU are featured in two of the last three games. Anyone who watched the game against the Tigers knows that the Rebels can do some damage against elite teams, so watch out.
What's the best way for MIke Leach to make a statement in the SEC? Knock off the defending champs. LSU's the first game for the Bulldogs, and a win would do more talking than Leach's done in any press conference or on Twitter. Possible? Sure. Likely? Not really, but I'm here for any chaos Mike Leach wants to bring to the SEC.
Eliah Drinkwitz's introduction to SEC football is.....something. It's safe to say that he'll get the idea quickly, as the first three teams went a combined 34-7 last year. Alabama, Tennessee, and LSU headline those games, with the last two on the road. The Tigers' back half seems more manageable, but the damage could already be done by then.
We'll find out how good South Carolina is or how hot Will Muschamp's seat gets in the first two weeks of SEC play. Three SEC East opponents get things started when the Gamecocks host Tennessee and then hit the road to face Florida and Vanderbilt. Their crossover matchups weren't kind to them as Auburn, LSU and Texas A&M follow. There's no way this team's 6-0 after that stretch, and it's tough at this point to see them winning more than two. So Muschamp could be on his way out, though a couple upsets would change that in a big way.
Will Tennessee be the contender many are picking them to be? We'll see. There's plenty to like about the Vols roster right now, but the question remains if that can translate onto the field. Even with South Carolina starting off SEC play for them, Tennessee gets some time to warm up before facing elite competition. A trip to Athens to face Georgia and hosting Alabama headline the next three weeks, and it's going to be tough to be considered a contender if they don't beat one of those two.
The Aggies play in the SEC West, which will always be their biggest challenge year in and year out. They'll travel to Alabama, Mississippi State, and Auburn, but they get LSU and Ole Miss at home. A&M drew two tough matchups from the East in Florida and Tennessee, but those are the kinds of tests that can build a strong team. Jimbo Fisher came to College Station to compete for championships, and this team has the talent to achieve that goal. It won't be easy, but it's never going to get easier in their division.
Derek Mason's seat hasn't been cool for a while, and struggles on and off the field haven't helped. The Commodores start with Texas A&M, LSU, and South Carolina. Outside of Missouri, they don't catch any breaks outsie of not facing Alabama. Their final four games are all against divisional teams, and they're four teams that will compete for the division crown.