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June 13, 2013

LSU is one SEC school willing to schedule big non-league opponent

Everyone is waiting to see how great the role strength of schedule will play in the selection process for the four-team college football playoff which will go into effect in the 2014 season.

The Southeastern Conference is considering going to nine league games in order to boost the strength of schedule for its teams. All of the coaches, except for Alabama's Nick Saban, want to keep the conference schedule at eight games.

Administrators indicate that their schools are willing to schedule at least one challenging out-of-conference opponent. Four SEC schools have built-in rivalries with other power conference schools - Florida (Florida State), Georgia (Georgia Tech), Kentucky (Louisville) and South Carolina (Clemson).

But, a look at what has occurred over the past seven seasons reveals that SEC schools have not faced off with top teams from other power conferences. Auburn is the lone SEC team which has played five BCS conference teams in the regular season which lost fewer than five games over that time.

Five SEC teams have played four BCS conference teams which won at least nine games - Arkansas, Florida, LSU, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt. All of the Gators' games came against Florida State. LSU was undefeated in their four games - Virginia Tech (2007), West Virginia (2010-11) and Oregon (2011).

Three of the SEC's 'big six schools' have not scheduled many challenging non-conference games in the past seven years - three for Tennessee and Georgia and just two for Alabama.

So, if schools in the SEC want to keep the league schedule at eight games, they need to take on more of the top-flight teams in the other power conferences. LSU is the only SEC team to have more than two victories against other BCS conference teams with fewer than five losses in the last seven years.

Here is a breakdown by school of the results of regular-season games in the past seven years against BCS conference teams which won at least nine games.

ALABAMA

2009 - beat Virginia Tech (10-3) 34-24
2011 - beat Penn State (9-4) 27-11

ARKANSAS
2006 - lost to Southern California (11-2) 50-14
2008 - lost to Texas (12-1) 52-10
2010 - beat Texas A&M (9-4) 24-17
2012 - lost to Rutgers (9-4) 35-26

AUBURN
2007 - lost to South Florida (9-4) 26-23
2008 - lost to West Virginia (9-4) 34-17
2009 - beat West Virginia (9-4) 41-30
2011 - lost to Clemson (10-4) 38-24
2012 - lost to Clemson (11-2) 26-19

FLORIDA
2008 - beat Florida State (9-4) 45-15
2010 - lost to Florida State (10-4) 31-7
2011 - lost to Florida State (9-4) 21-7
2012 - beat Florida State (12-2) 37-26

GEORGIA
2008 - lost to Georgia Tech (9-4) 45-42
2009 - lost to Oklahoma State (9-4) 24-10
2009 - beat Georgia Tech (11-3) 30-24

KENTUCKY
2006 - lost to Louisville (12-1) 59-28
2012 - lost to Louisville (11-2) 32-14

LSU
2007 - beat Virginia Tech (11-3) 48-7
2010 - beat West Virginia (9-4) 20-14
2011 - beat Oregon (12-2) 40-27
2011 - beat West Virginia (10-3) 47-21

OLE MISS
2006 - lost to Wake Forest (11-3) 27-3
2007 - lost to Missouri (11-2) 38-25
2012 - lost to Texas (9-4) 66-31

MISSISSIPPI STATE
2006 - lost to West Virginia (11-2) 42-14
2007 - lost to West Virginia (11-2) 38-13
2008 - lost to Georgia Tech (9-4) 38-7
2009 - lost to Georgia Tech (11-3) 42-31

SOUTH CAROLINA
2007 - lost to Clemson (9-4) 23-21
2011 - beat Clemson (10-4) 34-13
2012 - beat Clemson (11-2) 27-17

TENNESSEE
2006 - beat California (10-3) 35-18
2010 - lost to Oregon (12-1) 48-13
2011 - beat Cincinnati (10-3) 45-23

VANDERBILT
2006 - lost to Michigan (11-2) 27-7
2007 - lost to Wake Forest (9-4) 31-17
2009 - lost to Georgia Tech (11-3) 56-31
2012 - lost to Northwestern (10-3) 23-13


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