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Did the SEC Favor Alabama With the New Schedule?

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Short answer: not even remotely.

NCAA Football: SEC Football Media Day
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday evening, the SEC released the names of the two additional teams from the opposing divisions that each team would add to complete the 10-game conference-only schedule. Right on cue, the howling of favorable treatment towards Alabama surfaced.

[Don’t give the below barner the clicks. You know what the article says.]

But take a deeper dive into the new schedule. Did Alabama REALLY get any preferential treatment?

Below is the new cross-division schedule.

Taking into consideration the cause of this whole mess - a contagious deadly virus that has prompted extreme preventative measures - you might have thought the schedules were made up geographically to minimize visits to airports and stays at hotel rooms. What a silly notion.

The closest SEC East team to Arkansas is Vanderbilt, yet they have been sent packing for the most remote SEC location in Gainesville, Florida. In turn, the Gators travel to College Station, TX.

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There is no telling how the SEC came up with this schedule. Since it wasn’t geography, the next logical format must be fairness, right? If you believe Twitter, Alabama gets all the breaks. However, it is just the opposite.

Since there is no way to rank the 2020 SEC teams - especially with no spring games - the best way to do so is with last year’s final standings. Remarkably, it is pretty cut and dry with conference record tie-breakers going to overall records.

Assigning number values to each program, we can see how each team did in the new cross-division assignments.

Rk EAST CONF OVR Orig Orig New New Total
1 Georgia 7-1 12-2 3 2 5 7 17
2 Florida 6-2 11-2 1 6 7 4 18
3 Tennessee 5-3 8-5 2 7 4 3 16
4 Kentucky 3-5 8-5 5 3 6 2 16
5 Missouri 3-5 6-6 7 5 2 1 15
6 South Carolina 3-5 4-8 4 1 3 6 14
7 Vanderbilt 1-7 3-9 6 4 1 5 16
WEST CONF OVR Orig Orig New New Total
1 LSU 8-0 15-0 6 2 5 7 20
2 Alabama 6-2 11-2 1 3 4 5 13
3 Auburn 5-3 9-4 4 1 3 6 14
4 Texas A&M 4-4 8-5 7 6 2 3 18
5 Mississippi State 3-5 6-7 5 4 7 1 17
6 Ole Miss 2-6 4-8 2 7 6 4 19
7 Arkansas 0-8 2-10 3 5 1 2 11

TEAM Total
Arkansas 11
Alabama 13
South Carolina 14
Auburn 14
Missouri 15
Tennessee 16
Kentucky 16
Vanderbilt 16
Georgia 17
Mississippi State 17
Florida 18
Texas A&M 18
Ole Miss 19
LSU 20

Well, looky here. It wasn’t Alabama who got the sweet deal. It was LSU.

The Crimson Tide has the second hardest draw behind Arkansas. The Tide will be playing four of the top five teams from the East. The Crimson Tide and the Razorback are the only two SEC teams that will not play a #6 or #7 from the other division.

The only thing that would have made this format less favorable for Bama would be for them to play #2 Florida. Why should Alabama have to play the Gators when they already face #1 UGA and #3 Tennessee? According to Auburn fans, the Tigers won last season’s Iron Bowl fair and square with no flukes or gimmicks. Why aren’t they playing Florida? Any illusions that Alabama “won” in rescheduling is ludicrous.

It is rare and perhaps improper for an AD to whine on Twitter. In the instance, the Arky AD has a right. He worded it well, but make no mistake, this is public complaint. For the record, the Hogs lost a trip to Notre Dame. Despite that canceled matchup, it seems unfair to give them both UGA and Florida. Mizzou also added #1 and 2, but they already had #5 and 7, making it balance out a bit.

Meanwhile, the defending national champs get the league’s most favorable cross-assignments adding #5 and 7 to the previously scheduled #2 and 6. Too bad Sewanee is no longer in the conference.

The most ridiculous reaction came from this Clemson bro:

That is rich coming from a guy whose team managed to sidestep Coastal Division favorite UNC and had Louisville who is the projected No. 2 team from Tigers’ Atlantic Division taken off their schedule.