An SEC football schedule is tough enough when you have to play teams in your own conference. What are the biggest non-conference games?
It is well-known that SEC football is highest level of football in the college ranks. Every year, teams like LSU, Alabama, and Georgia set the standard for the rest of the country.
Outside of Ohio State and Clemson, the SEC has won the title in almost every year for as long as most fans can remember. With Alabama always making the College Football Playoff, the entire conference works hard to reach their standard. Georgia has gotten close, but they haven’t been able to upset the Tide yet.
One knock on the SEC is that they usually don’t have tough non-conference schedules. SEC teams are notorious for playing FCS teams before rivalry games and early in the season. At most, each team gets one Power 5 opponent in their non-conference schedule.
It’s hard to blame SEC teams for doing this. Their games within the conference can get really tough, and why should one team be the outlier in the conference and potentially lose a non-conference game?
Despite this, there have been some big opponents in recent memory. Alabama usually plays one tough opponent to start the season at a neutral site, but Duke doesn’t count as tough this season.
LSU has had a couple of games like this, and Georgia is in the middle of a home-and-home against Notre Dame. Some teams, like South Carolina, play a non-conference opponent in their rivalry week. No matter what the situation is, there are always a small handful of good games played by the SEC against other opponents. This year, there are a few games that will change the landscape of the season. Whether there are upsets or not, these five games are the biggest games in the SEC this year.
Now, this doesn’t mean that these are the toughest opponents. I don’t care if the worst team in the SEC gets crushed by a powerhouse in another conference. In each of these games, either team could realistically win. That’s what makes them so exciting.
So, here are the top five non-conference games for SEC football in 2019.