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Posted: Thursday, August 14th, 2014, 2:01 PM
by Beano

NON SEC BIG GAME ROAD MAP: The magic of college football is its soon-to-be-extinct regionalism but in order to fully appreciate the season I have to allow my eyes to wander outside the confines of the SEC Network. Here are some games that I will almost certainly be keeping up with:

WEEK 1 (Aug 28-Sept 1)

Penn State vs UCF (8-30 Ireland) Hype-maestro James Franklin has been one-upped. Do you really want to play a team coached by a guy named O’Leary in Ireland? At 8:30 in the morning?

Fresno St @ USC (8-30) Sarkisian’s first game as Trojan’s head man will be against a team that always plays with both a swagger and a chip on their shoulder.

Florida State @ Oklahoma State (8-30 Dallas) No time for Noles to celebrate last season’s National Title. Anything but total focus will result in an uphill battle to defend it.

Miami @ Louisville (9-1) ACC Game of the Week. How strange does that sound?

WEEK 2 (Sept 4-6)

USC @ Stanford (9-6) PAC-12 powers face off in an early season non-division tilt with huge conference championship implications.

Michigan State @ Oregon (9-6) With the Rose Bowl hosting a playoff game why not have a Grand Daddy of Them All-like regular season matchup?

BYU @ Texas (9-6) The Cougars laid 40 on Texas last season and along with Boise and UCF form the Power-3 outside the Power-5 movement

Michigan @ Notre Dame (9-6) Michigan leads the series between schools ranked #1 and #3 respectively in all-time wins. The dog has won 7 of the last 10 straight up and the series will be indefinitely interrupted after this season’s matchup due to the Irish’ ACC scheduling commitments.

Virginia Tech @ Ohio State (9-6)
The first meeting between two historically ranked programs.

WEEK 3 (SEPT 11-13)

UCLA @ Texas (9-13) Can’t say the Longhorns are shying away from non-conference competition.

Nebraska @ Fresno State (9-13) Bulldogs taking on all comers.

WEEK 4 (SEPT 18-20)

Clemson @ Florida State (9-20) Tigers are early-season road warriors (@ Ga on Aug 30) and better be ready out of the starting blocks

Utah @ Michigan (9-20) Lot of Big-10-PAC-12 action early which was uncommon in years-gone-by.

Miami @ Nebraska (9-20) Sure wish this was still the early 90s; this game would be a lot more compelling and I would still be in my 30s.

WEEK 5 (SEPT 25-27)

Texas Tech @ Oklahoma State (9-25) Winner will position themselves for contention in the Big 12; loser will probably finish in lower-half. Teams combined for 86 points in 2013

UCLA @ Arizona State: (9-25) Game caps-off a solid Thursday evening. Sun Devils late season win in LA propelled them to the 2013 PAC-12 Championship Game.

North Carolina @ Clemson (9-27) Two of the ACC’s top three teams in an early season positioning game. The Tigers need it more since the Tar Heels are in the more forgiving Coastal Division (in other words the one that DOES NOT include FSU).

Oregon State @ USC (9-27) Just in case the caller “Beave” is lurking.

Stanford @ Washington (9-27) Chris Petersen’s first PAC-12 game as the Huskies coach could determine who challenges Oregon in the North

Northwestern @ Penn State (9-27) James Franklin’s first conference game as Big-10 coach.

WEEK 6 (Oct 2-4)

Arizona @ Oregon (10-2) PAC-12 keeps rolling out Thursday Night headliners

Va Tech @ North Carolina (10-4) Could very well determine the ACC Coastal Division winner

Oklahoma @ TCU (10-4) Sadly from a Vol fan’s perspective this is probably the Sooner’s first true test of the season

Baylor @ Texas (10-4) If Charlie Strong wants to stay in Austin for an extended period beating Baylor is highly recommended. The Bears have won three of the last four hence a job opening that Strong accepted

Arizona State @ USC (10-4) Bad news for the Sun Devils; the home team has won the last 4 contests

Stanford @ Notre Dame (10-4) Who would have thought Notre Dame would ever be delighted to play a game versus the Cardinal on Field Turf?

WEEK 7 (Oct 9-11)

BYU @ UCF (10-9) This should be a Power-5 playoff game. Winner gets an automatic entry into the power conference of their choice.

Louisville @ Clemson (10-11) Cards and Bobby Petrino get their first true taste of ACC action in the schools inaugural meeting.

Texas vs Oklahoma (10-11, Dallas) Charlie Strong is innocent but will probably bear the brunt of last season’s 36-20 thrashing of the Sooners. Bob Stoops seems to be in a revengeful mood these days

Oregon @ UCLA (10-11) Bruins third appearance on the Big-Game roadmap in the first seven weeks. Oh and by the way, they aren’t finished yet

Penn State @ Michigan (10-11) There’s a chance this could be a matchup of unbeatens. Through all their difficulties somehow Penn State has won 4 straight in the series.

WEEK 8 (Oct 16-18)

Fresno St @ Boise St (10-17) The first Friday night tilt to make the roadmap pitting bitter rivals that may faceoff again in the MWC Championship Game on December 6th.

Notre Dame @ Florida State (10-18) Irish may have to resurrect the old “Catholics vs Convicts” (or Criminoles as Tony B would say) tee shirts from the Notre Dame-Miami years if Jameis Winston continues his one-man crime wave.

Kansas State @ Oklahoma (10-18) After receiving a 58-17 pounding in Manhattan in 2011 the Wildcats have won the last two meetings.

Stanford @ Arizona State (10-18) The Cardinal won last year’s two meetings by a cumulative score of 80-42 including a 38-14 victory in the PAC-12 Championship game played here last December. After writing that I’m not sure how this game made the list

Washington @ Oregon (10-18) Hey Chris Petersen, did you know the Huskies have lost 10 straight in the series by an average of 26 ppg? Sure you wouldn’t rather be in Boise beating Fresno for the 8th time in the last 9?

WEEK 9 (Oct 23-25)

Miami @ Va Tech (10-23) After a one-week hiatus (insert The Clone mimicking Docy-Boy Rudder) “Thursday nights are back BABY”

BYU @ Boise (10-24) And the Broncos continue to keep us up on Friday night

Michigan @ Michigan State (10-25) Wolverine fans have to view Mark Dantonio and Brady Hoke the way I did Steve Spurrier and Derek Dooley; “how do they have him and we’ve got this clown”?

WEEK 10 (Oct 30-Nov 1)

Florida State @ Louisville (10-30) All the trappings of an ambush; Thursday night, on the road versus a program coached by Bobby Petrino used to playing in big games. Could be fun.

Oklahoma State @ Kansas State (11-1) Phil Steele picked both to be middle-of-the-road Big-12 finishers. I’m sure both teams and staffs expect to be better than that. By the time they meet we’ll know who’s right.

Stanford @ Oregon (11-1) Surely the Ducks won’t allow the Cardinal to knock them out of the PAC-12 Championship Game three consecutive years, right?

WEEK 11 (Nov 6-8)

Baylor @ Oklahoma (11-8) For a team that easily handled Alabama in the Sugar Bowl the Sooners sure have a lot of scores to settle. Like a 4 TD loss to Baylor last season.

UCLA @ Washington (11-8) Told you the Bruins would make another appearance.

Ohio State @ Michigan State (11-8) Repeat of last season’s Big-10 Championship Game should be a dandy and will probably decide the East Division’s representative in the 2014 Championship Game on December 6th in Indianapolis

WEEK 12 (Nov 13-15)

Florida State @ Miami (11-15) Seminoles probably don’t have to worry about “wide right” these days but the passion of the game remains and 10 of the last 13 have been decided by a TD or less

Oklahoma @ Texas Tech (11-18) Most of the Sooners Big-12 testers will be played in Norman (or the Cotton Bowl) so this could be their toughest conference road test.

Texas @ Oklahoma State (11-18) Good news for the Horns; visitor has won 5 straight in the series by an average of 17ppg

Nebraska @ Wisconsin (11-18) Could determine the Big-10 West title. Huskers hoping for a better outcome than the 2012 B-10 Championship Game where they were destroyed 70-31

WEEK 13 (Nov 20-22)

Oklahoma St @ Baylor (11-22) Bears great 2013 regular season had one hiccup; the Cowboys beat them by 32 points.

USC @ UCLA (11-22) This is a matchup that has no business anywhere but the last game on both school’s schedule

Stanford @ Cal (11-22) This –like Tennessee-Alabama- stays on the schedule regardless.

WEEK 14 (Nov-27-29):

TCU @ Texas (11-27) What a cheap imitation of what Texas-Texas A&M once was on Thanksgiving

Stanford @ UCLA (11-28) PAC-12 did the Bruins no favors as they draw Oregon, Washington and the Cardinal in non-division games.

Arizona State @ Arizona (11-28) Nice way to cap off the Friday after Thanksgiving

Baylor vs Texas Tech (11-29; Arlington) Red Raiders scored 34 last year and still lost by 4 TDs

Michigan @ Ohio State (11-29) Even the greatest Big-10 antagonist (and if you read the blog often enough YOU KNOW who that is) has to appreciate this great rivalry. Will both Florida and Michigan have an opening?

Michigan State @ Penn State (11-29) What a coaching contrast and yet both methods seem to work well.

Notre Dame @ USC (11-29) Annual Rose Bowl-like regular season game

WEEK 15 (Dec 4-6)

PAC-12 Championship Game (12-5, Fox, 9pm, Top-seed Home Field)

Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State (12-6) Bedlam is always worth tuning into.

Kansas State @ Baylor (12-6) Big-12 tries to steal a little Championship Saturday thunder

ACC Championship (12-6, ABC, 8pm, Charlotte)

Big-10 Championship (12-6, Fox, 8, Indianapolis)

WEEK 16 (Dec 13)

Army vs Navy (12-13, Baltimore) Sure wish Brother Freddy had been in the Navy so we would quit losing money on this game. The Cadets have dropped 12 straight by an average of 22 ppg.

SEC SEASON ROADMAP: Coming off the league’s first non-National Championship year in 8 seasons the path to the playoffs is mapped below.

WEEK 1 (Aug 28-Sept 1)

Texas A&M @ South Carolina (8-28) The SEC Network launch game should be a dandy. Remember when Spurrier was the offensive genius not paying enough attention to defense?

Boise vs Ole Miss (8-28; Atlanta) Bronco’s minus Petersen get first shot at casting doubt on exclusive scheduling idea’s validity

West Virginia vs Alabama (8-30 Atlanta) Mountaineers just think they have it bad in the Big-12. Wait until they get this taste of what SEC membership would have been like

Clemson @ Georgia (8-30) Traditional matchup between mirror-image teams; always good but never quite good enough

Wisconsin vs LSU (8-30 Houston) Do you get the feeling that the SEC likes neutral site intersectional games?

WEEK 2 (Sept 4-6)

Ole Miss @ Vandy (9-6) Tells you all you need to know about the SEC’s second week (weak) slate

WEEK 3 (SEPT 11-13)

UCF @ Missouri (9-13) Maybe the two most surprising teams in the land in 2013

Georgia @ South Carolina (9-13) Will probably decide the SEC East Champ. Like Florida-Tennessee in the 90s it is a shame it’s played this early

Tennessee @ Oklahoma (9-13) Wish this was considered a big game by anyone without orange blood coursing through their veins.

WEEK 4 (SEPT 18-20)

Auburn @ Kansas State (9-18) Big-12 and SEC seem to be forming an alliance for the inevitable upheaval coming in CFB

Florida @ Alabama (9-20) Not a great year for Muschamp to draw AL-A-BA-MA

WEEK 5 (SEPT 25-27)

Missouri @ South Carolina (9-27) I think the Tigers missed their opportunity in the other Columbia last season

Tennessee @ Georgia (9-27) Vols first taste of SEC action comes later than usual. Better against the Dawgs than the Gators if you ask me.

Vandy @ Kentucky (9-27) Just kidding…and making sure you were still awake.

WEEK 6 (Oct 2-4)

LSU @ Auburn (10-4) Huge SEC-West contest that has seen the visitor lose 12 of the last 14

Alabama @ Ole Miss (10-4) Both teams coming off an open-date (since Rebels played Memphis on Sep 27). Will be a measure of the Rebel’s true relevancy in the 2014 race.

Florida @ Tennessee (10-4) As close to a season-maker as it gets for the Vols. As close to a must-win as it gets for Will Muschamp.

Texas A&M @ Mississippi State (10-4) First of two straight home games that could propel the Bully-Dogs into SEC West Division contention

WEEK 7 (Oct 9-11)

LSU @ Florida (10-11) Tigers have lost 3 of the last 4 trips to The Swamp while Alabama has won 3 of their last 4 in Neyland. Guess LSU does have a gripe about permanent non-division opponent schedule inequities.

Ole Miss @ Texas A&M (10-11) If Rebels are truly to be a factor in the West they must beat the Aggies in College Station

Auburn @ Mississippi State (10-11) Its Magnolia State put-up-or-shut-up week

Georgia @ Missouri (10-11) Tiger’s 15-point win as a TD dog in Athens last season fueled their improbable SECCG run. The Dawgs will likely snuff out any thoughts of a repeat.

WEEK 8 (Oct 16-18)

Tennessee @ Ole Miss (10-18) It’s my blogger’s privilege to include a game with no true national pop. It just happens to be one of the Vols litmus test matchups

Missouri @ Florida (10-18) Missouri’s fall from grace continues

Texas A&M @ Alabama (10-18) Man I miss Johnny Manziel

WEEK 9 (Oct 23-25)

Ole Miss @ LSU (10-25) Series becoming a rivalry again with 4 of the last 5 decided by 7 points or less

South Carolina @ Auburn (10-25) Probably should have been the 2013 SEC Championship Game matchup. In one of those “that’s not possible” stats the Cocks are 0-7 in SEC games vs Auburn

Alabama @ Tennessee (10-25) I DON’T CARE; I’m not taking it off the list

WEEK 10 (Oct 30-Nov 1)

Auburn @ Ole Miss (11-1) A battle between two teams that most pundits believe are Alabama’s main challenger for the West crown.

Florida vs Georgia (11-1 Jacksonville) Muschamp may drink more cocktails than anyone attending if his Gators fall to 0-4 vs the Dawgs during his tenure.

WEEK 11 (Nov 6-8)

Alabama @ LSU (11-8) Nick and the Tide are 5-2 versus his former employer and have won 2 of 3 contests played in Baton Rouge.

Texas A&M @ Auburn (11-8) Did I mention I miss Johnny Football?

WEEK 12 (Nov 13-15)

Auburn @ Georgia (11-18) This will be the 118th meeting and the 117th may have been the best game in the series history. Georgia has won 3 straight in Athens and you can bet they will be knocking down passes late in the game.

South Carolina @ Florida (11-18) “My resume is in your trophy case and I doubt you’ll be adding to it with this guy in charge”

WEEK 13 (Nov 20-22)

Missouri @ Tennessee (11-22) The next-to-last Saturday on the SEC schedule is a total embarrassment.

WEEK 14 (Nov-27-29)

Texas A&M @ LSU (11-27) Glad the SEC has a Thanksgiving Day presence but I wish it was the Egg Bowl

South Carolina @ Clemson (11-29) Let’s see if Spurrier continues his “Fulmerizing” of Dabo Swinney

Florida @ Florida State (11-29) The Seminoles head to the ACC Championship Game while the Gators begin a coaching search

Georgia Tech @ Georgia (11-29) Don’t play the Dog; play the “Dawgs” and over. Georgia has won 12 of the last 13 and scored 30 or more seven straight.

Auburn @ Alabama (11-29) A year later “kick-six” changes to “@$$ kicked”

Mississippi State @ Ole Miss (11-29) Great OT game last season. Get back on Thanksgiving where you belong

WEEK 15 (Dec 6)

SEC Championship Game (12-6, CBS, 4pm, Atlanta)

IN A PERFECT WORLD: Participants and fans wouldn’t die during sporting events.


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