Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Cold Hard Facts

As a follow-up to the last post about the SEC's hyper-regionalism, here's a little bit of research I did over at CFB Data Warehouse to further illustrate my point. I took the twelve member teams of the SEC and flipped backwards through their schedules, not stopping until I found three road games that they have played that were outside of the states with SEC schools in them (AL, AR, FL, TN, KY, SC, GA, MS, LA, specifically). The table below shows how many games each team played in their home state in the duration it took them to accumulate three out-of-region road games.

Just to clarify, I did not count games in North Carolina since, for the purposes of this analogy, it does not qualify as an out-of-region game. Also, forget about counting games in Hawaii. I will not reward a team for taking an all-expense paid vacation to a tropical island. Bowl Games, too, do not factor in, as these aren't scheduled contests. Finally, games in Texas did not count. For one, Arkansas previously played in the now-defunct SWC, and most of the members were Texas schools. Since Texas is an adjoining state and therefore hardly an out-of-region team, plus out of fairness to teams with traditional rivalries in Texas, the state was not counted. Don't bother complaining about my rules, I made them, and that's how it's gonna be.

Team
# of Home-State Games
Road Opponent (Year) (Result)
The (relatively speaking) Ramblers

LSU
27
Arizona State ('05) (W)
Arizona ('03) (W)
Virginia Tech ('02) (L)
(2-1)

Kentucky
28
Indiana ('05) (L)
Indiana ('03) (W)
Indiana ('01) (L)
(1-2)

Mississippi State
52
Oregon ('02) (L)
BYU ('00) (W)
Oklahoma State ('98) (L)
(1-2)

Vanderbilt
56
Navy ('01) (L)
Middle Tennessee State (at Valparaiso, IN) ('01) (L)
Northern Illinois ('97) (W)
(1-2)

Tennessee
58
Notre Dame ('05) (L)
Notre Dame ('01) (W)
Syracuse ('98) (W)
(2-1)

Auburn
64
USC ('02) (L)
Syracuse ('01) (L)
Virginia ('97) (W)
(1-2)
The Isolationists

South Carolina
111
Virginia ('02) (L)
West Virginia ('91) (L)
Virginia Tech ('90) (W)
(1-2)

Alabama
114
Oklahoma ('02) (L)
UCLA ('00) (L)
Penn State ('89) (W)
(1-2)

Florida
178
Syracuse ('91) (L)
Rutgers ('86) (W)
USC ('83) (T)
(1-1-1)
The Unbelievable Xenophobes

Arkansas
204
USC ('05) (L)
Oklahoma State ('78) (W)
Oklahoma State ('75) (L)
(1-2)

Ole Miss
215
Wyoming ('04) (L)
Notre Dame ('85) (L)
Missouri ('73) (L)
(0-3)

Georgia
282
Virginia Military Institute ('66) (W)
Michigan ('65) (W)
USC ('60) (L)
(2-1)


Observations & Snark
  • First and foremost, please forgive any slight inaccuracies. It was late when I put this together and it was really, really late when I finished. If I missed something or made an error, politely inform me in the comments and I'll update the table (and I might clear out your comment, for the sake of clarity).
  • The last time Florida played outside of the South was when they had a fresh-faced young go-getter named Steven Orr Spurrier who was coaching in his second season at Florida. I'll give the Gators the benefit of the doubt, since they have two very competitive in-state rivals in Miami and Florida State that they have filled out their schedules with, unlike some of the other cannon fodder that's trotted out by other schools (in all conferences, really). But still, the hyper-regionalism point still stands. The Gators have played 113 games in the state of Florida since the last time they stepped out. Let's expand those horizons, fellas.
  • 1966. That's the last time Georgia wandered out of SEC territory to play some football, where they briefly wandered up to Virginia to pound the everloving snot out of the Keydets of VMI. Think about all that's happened since 1966. The moon landing, the Watergate scandal, and the rise and fall of Bananarama. Simply stunning.
  • I would love to see more SEC teams on Notre Dame's schedule. There will be some great matchups, and it will give the SEC a chance to even out the record, which is a pretty lopsided 21-12 (.656) in Notre Dame's favor right now.


Conclusions
There's nothing wrong with regionalism. In fact, the fierce competitiveness in the fishbowl that is the SEC is part of what makes it such a great and passionate conference. At the same time, college football is an increasingly national game, and in the best interest of the fans and the sport in general, there needs to be an increase in intersectional games. Think you're the best? Prove it out on the field.

Seacrest Out.



31 Comments:

At 1:47 AM, Anonymous Mike said...

my 'dores head up to the big house for season opener in the fall. and while 1 trip to michigan and one to duke (i know NC doesnt count, who made these rules?) doesnt quite qualify as rambling, it's a good start.

 
At 1:59 AM, Blogger fightinamish said...

I was excited to see the Vandy/Michigan game announced... instead of putting some MACC cannon fodder in the 12th game slot, Michigan went big and landed an SEC opponent. Hopefully it will be a harbinger of goodwill between the Big 10 and SEC.

Now go up to Ann Arbor and give those cock jockeys hell!

 
At 7:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's hardly fair to consider Kent.'s games against IU to be anything more than Ark going to Tex. Don't they have some sort of rivalry cup...like the dormat cup or something?

 
At 8:13 AM, Blogger Sean H. said...

I was at that Ole Miss game in '85. Two things: It rained and they lost to Faust. Ha ha!

GA: 1966. Man, I give Big 11 fans grief all the time for their non-travelling South of the Mason-Dixon ways but eesh!

 
At 8:47 AM, Anonymous jeremiah said...

*Nice* twist of the knife with the "even out the record" comment at the end there.

I was a junior when LSU game to campus - granted, I was in a booze stupor most of junior year, but I don't recall the weeklong tailgate of RVs you mention in the previous post that came with the UT game.. I wonder if it was just because LSU hadn't become a total power yet and was in the middle of a down year, or what.

 
At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Mike said...

from my experience it's usually the bigger (and more redneck, sorry) schools that travel en masse in their RVs. UT, Auburn, Bama, FL, Ole Miss, UGA. and schools like Vandy, UK, Miss State (not saying Miss State isn't the most redneck of all), and Arkansas have general football apathy and travel pretty poorly. And unlike other conference schools like Michigan, UVA, UCLA, TX, most SEC schools aren't going to have the academics and prestige to draw in a lot of future alums from other parts of the country, so they play where their fans live, almost exclusively in the south. that's how i see it at least. now i want some ribs...

 
At 4:22 PM, Blogger paulwesterdawg said...

UGA and Florida have had different scheduling challenges than *any* other schools in college football from 1992-2005. Every school in the country plays at least 6 home games. You have to do it to stay financially solvent.

Because of the UF/UGA game in Jax, every year UGA and Florida alternate having only 3 SEC Home games instead of 8. UGA and UF also have the unique situation of having an instate non-conference rival. So it works like this:

UGA even numbered years:
Home - 3 SEC Games, 1 GT game + 2 jobbers who won't require a return trip
Away - 4 SEC games + Jax Neutral

UGA Odd numbered years:
Home - 4 SEC games, 2 jobbers that won't require a return trip
Away - GT + 4 SEC games

There is simply no way to schedule a home and home with any school without moving the UF game out of Jax. Which we're unwilling to do, and if you've ever been there you know why.

Prior to 1992, the SEC Played 7 and before that 6 league games. During those years UGA played South Carolina, Clemson and Georgia Tech every year because we always had. They are traditional rivals.

I'm not sure what regionalism matters when you're talking about the Clemson program from '74-87 or so. During that time, Clemson won more overall games and just as many national titles as Notre Dame. While no one will ever accuse the Clemnecks of having ND's tradition, it isn't like we were playing sisters of mercy.

Also, pre-1992 when the SEC Moved to 8 games, UF was playing FSU and Miami every year. Does regionalism mean that those were easier games for the Gators just b/c the other team's stadium was in the same state? Miami sold the Gators just as many tickets as the Irish would've sold them in a home/away series.

In the future, UGA is playing home and home series with Colorado, Arizona state, Louisville and Clemson. We've added those games because of the 12th game.

The regional thing is overblown.

pwd

 
At 10:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

--IU shouldn't count for Kentucky--that's a yearly rivalry with a school one state over. It's hardly leaving the area.

"Does regionalism mean that those were easier games for the Gators just b/c the other team's stadium was in the same state?" --pwd

It doesn't mean it was easier--easier isn't the issue. Variance is the issue. The SEC is getting the brunt of this discussion on EDSBS and here, but it's not like the Pac-10 travels to the East coast any more often, we don't see the Big 12 playing ACC teams, etc. We should eliminate I-AA teams from counting on a schedule at all--then maybe AD's will have to look a little harder for an OOC opponent and will start thinking outside the region.

 
At 12:08 AM, Blogger fightinamish said...

Anonymous hits it on the head here. Paul, I'm not accusing anyone of playing inferior competition, I just think it's a shame that schools with such rich tradition, Georgia in particular, never give fans outside of the eight-state region of the SEC conference an opportunity to see what they've got.

I fully agree that you can play a great schedule and never schedule a single school outside of the southeast, but it gives a much richer experience to fans and improves the game in general if schools branch out bring their squads to every part of the country.

It's good to see that UGA has added some intersectional foes due to the 12th game -- I have a feeling that an increase in these types of games will be a great result (albeit likely an unintended one) of that policy.

 
At 7:39 AM, Blogger Sean H. said...

Unless you are Purdue. Didn't they add Northern Iowa to the schedule? Maybe Tiller is taking notes on Glenn Mason's scheduling practices.

 
At 1:45 PM, Anonymous Topher said...

Being a USC alum in Tennessee I hear all about SEC superiority all the time. The problem with many SEC schools is that they insisted on having at least six home games every year (with the 12-game schedule, many are shooting for seven now) instead of being willing to drop to five to get a quality home-and-home series.

Contrast with my alma mater, who played 5 home games in 1985, 1988, 1990, 1992, and 1996 (I'm not counting 1993, which had a "neutral" game at Anaheim Stadium). Since then, most of the regular seasons have been 12 or 13 games, but, barring schedule changes, through 2010 USC will be playing six road games every season--and the non-conference opponents are mostly very respectable.

Great site, by the way!

 
At 4:02 PM, Blogger Gizmo said...

Don't give Florida too much credit. Sure they schedule FSU every year, but they dropped Miami in 1987 despite the fact that many considered it the best in-state rivalry. The two schools then scheduled two sets of home-and-home games that UF later dropped. The UGA game in Jax makes things difficult, but they could dump one of their yearly doormats and rotate the FSU and Miami games in Gainesville each year if they wanted to.

 
At 3:30 AM, Blogger fightinamish said...

Topher? Are you Topher Grace? IMDB says you dropped out of USC, so technically, it's not your alma mater. Nevertheless, it's flattering that you like the site.

Anyway, USC and ND are by far the ramblingest schools in the country, as they both subscribe to the doctrine that they will take on anyone, regardless of geographic disposition, who wants a piece. Good on ya.

 
At 8:23 AM, Anonymous Topher said...

No, I'm not Topher Grace, and I did graduate from USC, way back in the dark ages of the Robinson II era.

Too many schools haven't learned the Auburn 2004 lesson: Play a wussy schedule and you could get left out of the championship game.

Like any good Trojan traditionalist, Notre Dame is my third favorite team, behind USC and whoever is playing fucla--so the plan is to be in South Bend to see the Irish beat the heck out of the cruddy little (b)ruins.

 
At 1:14 PM, Blogger paulwesterdawg said...

Georgia's admin, coaches and a segment of the fans have grown tired of playing Clemson. After 5 wins in a row over the broken up series, it has lost it's appeal to many UGA fans. Many of us asked our AD to drop them when we went to 12 in favor of getting out a bit and seeing the rest of the world.

Our AD delivered and said basically that our OCC schedule every year would be:
-- GT
-- 1 Top 25 team (Colorado, Clemson, ASU, etc)
-- one mid-level directional school (UAB, UCF, Marshall, BSU)
-- one jobber (div i-aa or bottom feeder directional school like UL-M)

He has entered into serious conversations with UCLA that broke down at the last minute as well as OU, Nebraska and formerly PSU (but not lately). He has promised to talk with Michigan although that's a super long shot.

We've also looked into some odd matchups with Kansas, Missouri, Colorado State and Cincy. Thanksfully those have all fallen apart.

pwd

 
At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Gizmo,

Just want to point out that UF and Miami have played since '87. While I was a student in Gainesville this millenium, we did, in fact, play them 3 years in a row - granted only the first 2 were scheduled, but my point stands that we did play them and the rivalry is still on the books for future years ('08-'09 I believe is the next rendition).

The worst thing about that series is that only one school's fans actually went to college.

 
At 2:37 PM, Blogger Hobnail_Boot said...

Just to add on to what PWD has noted above, I looked up the known future schedules of all 12 SEC schools. To my knowledge this is a complete list, but a mistake or 2 is possible. (I'm following fightinamish's rules, so no SEC/ACC games, home games against non-regional schools, or the -several- games to be played in NC or TX):

Alabama - @ Penn State, 2011
Arkansas - N/A
Auburn - @ West Virginia, 2009
Florida - N/A
Georgia - @ Arizona State, 2008
Kentucky - @ Temple, 2007
@ Akron, 2009
LSU - @ Arizona State, 2016
Ole Miss - N/A
MSU - @ West Virginia, 2007
SCU - N/A
UT - @ California, 2007
@ UCLA, 2008
@ Marshall, 2009
@ Oregon, 2013
@ Oklahoma, 2014
Vandy - @ Michigan, 2006
@ Temple, 2008

That's 8/12 teams for a combined 14 OOC games.. those numbers would more than double if we included games played in NC and TX.

 
At 1:22 AM, Anonymous nico said...

I can understand not counting games in Hawaii (though Alabama had around 20-25K show up out there), but not counting games in North Carolina seems kind of arbitrary.

While NC isn't outside of the southeast, the only SEC school that could have any "natural" rivalry with schools in NC is South Carolina.

You factor in Alabama's trip to NC State in 1996 and that 114 "in state" number drops significantly.

Now, that's not say that Alabama has been getting around like they should lately (it's really a 1990s abberration), but they've been doing a better job of scheduling bigger OOC games than they have in a long time (Oklahoma, UCLA) and have the likes of FSU, Penn State and GaTech on upcoming schedules.

Also, though I'd like to see more travelling by SEC teams, it also isn't their fault that four conferences have the majority of their teams in the southeast (SEC, ACC, CUSA, Sun Belt) and there's even a smattering of Big East teams in the region (Louisville & South Florida.) First of all, no other region has as high a concentration of teams and there's certainly not two BCS conferences more or less overlapping in the same region. If you count Texas, then you really start dipping into the Big XII as well. (check this map)

Now, that's not saying I wish they wouldn't step out more, but there's plenty of quality OOC competition in the neighborhood (especially the ACC.) However, I do agree with the idea that if the SEC is going to keep up, that they need to start diversifying the schedules more.

 
At 1:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hobnail Boot, do you REALLY want to try to use that "14 games" as a statistic when 5 of them are the same team (Tennessee)?

Take those road warriors out (and good for them!) and it's all of a sudden not so impressive.

 
At 1:40 PM, Blogger Hobnail_Boot said...

Anon, yes I REALLY want to use that stat. As duly noted above by Nico, if the criteria were to include games in the states of NC and TX then the numbers would rise dramatically.

I'm just going based on fightinamish's rules.

Tennessee has a luxury that Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and Kentucky don't. That is, they don't have an in-state OOC rival that they play every year. While the other schools are respectively playing Ga. Tech, FSU, Clemson, and Lousiville, UT has the luxury of scheduling whomever they want.

If they didn't, then they'd fall into Auburn OOC-scheduling territory.

 
At 8:47 AM, Blogger Sean H. said...

UT plays Vandy. You mean that doesn't count? :-)

 
At 9:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You play in the South where the money is... There is no need to go out west and lose money playing in a stadium half the size of the ones in the SEC where the fans are apathetic and would rather watch an NFL game.

The SEC is king in the south and college football reigns above all else. That's why the stadiums are bigger, the paychecks are bigger and the fans show up every Saturday. Who would want to go out west and play in an atmosphere who can't even remotely compare to what they have right up the road?

Until you've lived in the south and experienced SEC football week after week, you can't criticize any school for not wanting to leave and go play in an inferior environment....

 
At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone sent this over the scout.com georgia page so i apologize for the anonymous tag. as a lifelong georgia fan and student i have long been abhored by our realitively pathetic non-conference schedule. they charge us over thirty dollars (plus thousands in donations) to watch georgia southern and one of the directional louisiana schools almost every year. long have georgia fans begged for national matchups with the notre dames, michigans, or southern cals of the world, but our new a.d. went out and got powerful colorado and the mighty sun devils of arizona state. i beg all fans of big 10, big 12, and pac 10 schools to beg their respective athletic departments to schedule georgia and perhaps with the pressure georgia people have put on the a.d. and your added pressure you can save us georgia fans from ever having to watch western kentucky ever again! oh and btw if sec fans get on here to claim conference dominance simply ask them to prove it, because i believe southern football reigns supreme but would it hurt to prove it on the field rather than proclaim it on the message boards

 
At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a Ohio State fan living in Georgia, I can only hope that the SEC especially Georgia would open up it's schedule. A couple of home & home's with The OSU would be fine with me!

 
At 11:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So fightinamish it is great that you think SEC schools should go out and play around the country but Auburn tried to schedule a home and home with your Notre Dame and they wouldn't do it so try not to place all the blame on us please.

 
At 10:12 AM, Anonymous info said...

The 2001 Middle Tennessee State/Vanderbilt game was played at Vandy's home stadium.

 
At 2:18 PM, Anonymous Zach said...

Honestly - any team that has a yearly, traditional non conference opponent, that is in their area - is going to go back a long ways to find three games out of their area.

Had me curious - so I looked at Iowa - you have to back to 91 for Iowa.

Which makes sense. They only play a road, non conference game, out of Iowa every other year. The year they play Iowa State on the road, their two non-conference games would be at home.

 
At 7:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The SEC is king in the south and college football reigns above all else. That's why the stadiums are bigger, the paychecks are bigger and the fans show up every Saturday.


I almost agree with you. The only problem I have is that three of the highest four schools in average attendence (Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State) come from the Big Ten. So don't think that college football's only popular in the south.

There are plenty of people up north who come out in sub-freezing temperatures to support their teams.

 
At 9:57 AM, Blogger Tennvolchamp said...

Hobnail boot makes the point I was going to make. UT's schedule usually includes a decent home-and-home. We've certainly been to ND more than anyone from the south (4 times I think), been to BC, Rutgers (years ago), UCLA 2-3 times, USC once, and I'm very excited about the upcomeing years. Love going to UT road games - particularly looking forward to Oregon (never been to the state) and Cal (to see the band) and OU (it's 3 hours from my home in Dallas), etc.

Part of UT's plot though I think is self interest. Because we don't have much in-state talent and have to recruit nationally, it helps us by traveling in recruiting. UF/UGA don't need to leave the state to get their players. Our starting QB in 2006 is from Oregon and starting TB is from San Diego and starting WR is from Tulsa OK - for example.

 
At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/rankings/all_time_team_sched_rankings.php

LMAO, I love how fans of the school who plays: BYU, Stanford, Pitt, Navy, Syracuse and Washington, etc. try to talk SOS sh*t to SEC schools.

Also, in case you haven't noticed, the South is loaded with talent, so the big SEC teams don't really need to travel to every corner of the country to help out with recruiting either, now do we?

And why would we WANT to leave the south anyway? Have you actually looked at Brady Quinn's sister lately? If that's "yankee hot,"
no thanks bro.

Win something meaningful this millenium, join a conference, then talk.

 
At 3:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well,
We didn't seem to do too bad against y'all in 1980. Of course that game was played in the south also. Oh here is a link to who has the all time toughest schedule, note who #2 is and who #4 is.

Go DAWGS!!!!

http://cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/rankings/all_time_team_sched_rankings.php

 

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