SEC’s top 10 non-conference games to watch in 2014

NCAA Football: Georgia at Clemson

There are really 11 primo non-conference games in 2014, and it’s tough just ranking the top 10. So, I threw in a bonus below between Kentucky and Louisville, which could get interesting with Kentucky’s newfound talent and the exit of Charlie Strong.

RELATED: 2014 SEC Strength of Schedule

Anyway, here are the SEC’s best non-conference games of 2014:

1. Clemson at Georgia, August 30th
Georgia lost a heartbreaker at Clemson to open 2013, and something tells me Todd Gurley and company have revenge on the brain. Both quarterbacks from a year ago are gone, and Sanford Stadium will be loud and proud to open the 2014 season between two ranked opponents.

2. South Carolina at Clemson, November 29th
South Carolina-Clemson is quickly becoming one of the best rivalries in all of college football. A rivalry means the two teams trade wins, but there hasn’t been any winning by Clemson in five years. The Tigers will get another chance this year in front of the home crowd on rivalry weekend. But do we really think the outcome will be any different?

RELATED: 2014 SEC Football Schedules

3. LSU vs. Wisconsin (Houston), August 30th
Wisconsin is quickly becoming a program that will challenge Ohio State and Michigan State in the Big Ten, and LSU is rebuilding on both sides of the ball. This could be a College Football Playoff elimination game right out of the gates. The Tigers need a hot start against a very worthy opponent in Wisconsin, and it will give us a preview of what’s to come for the new-look Tigers.

4. Auburn at Kansas State, September 18th
Auburn will play one of the SEC’s few Thursday night non-opening weekend games. The SEC and Big 12 should increase the number of future games played, and perennial contender K-State will be a tough match for Auburn, especially on the road. This game will feature two spread offenses doing work.

5. UCF at Missouri, September 13th
Had this game been played in 2013, it could have been the top game on the entire non-conference schedule. Still, UCF will have another good team, and Mizzou isn’t going anywhere in the SEC. Both teams lose key parts and players from big-time seasons, and this could turn out to be a much more interesting and intriguing game than you think.

RELATED: SEC Week 1 schedule

6. Tennessee at Oklahoma, September 13th
Tennessee is playing one of the conference’s toughest regular season schedules, along with one of the toughest non-conference schedules. The Vols aren’t afraid of playing anybody. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. The Vols traveling to Norman should create an interesting matchup, especially should Tennessee be 2-0 going in. It’s a tough place to play against a team that could achieve greatness in 2014.

7. Florida at Florida State, November 29th
The Sunshine State’s annual rivalry game should be much more interesting than this past season’s, where Florida didn’t stand a fighting chance against the national champion Seminoles. Jameis Winston is back for another year, and Florida has revenge on their minds in Doak Campbell Stadium; Florida throttled the Noles two years ago in Tallahassee.

8. Alabama vs. West Virginia (Atlanta), August 30th
This game had the potential to be great…two or three years ago. Now, it’s almost as if Alabama just needs to show up to win. Dana Holgerson vs. Nick Saban will be intriguing, and I wonder how many Red Bulls Holgerson will drink leading up to this one. All kidding aside, this has a chance to be a big-time beat down.

9. Arkansas at Texas Tech, September 13th
The Hogs and Red Raiders last met in 1991 when Arkansas played its last year in the Southwest Conference. This will be the first of a two-game series between the former Southwest Conference rivals. The Red Raiders have a high-flying and explosive offense; Arkansas has a very pro-style, conservative offense. It makes for a clash between two totally opposite teams. I wonder if Kliff Kingsburry and Bret Bielema will discuss the 10-second proposal prior to the start of the game?

10. Ole Miss vs. Boise State (Atlanta), August 28th
One of the biggest college football questions I have is whether the Boise State golden era is over. With Chris Petersen gone to Washington, there’s a chance Boise’s on the downswing, and Ole Miss can deliver a knockout blow to the new-look Broncos. Ole Miss is one of the SEC’s most interesting teams in 2014, and an opening week win against Boise would be spectacular.

Bonus:
Kentucky at Louisville, November 29th
Now that Charlie Strong is gone from UL, does the talent influx at Kentucky start to play a part? The bad news is Louisville may have upgraded with respect to their head coach. Bobby Petrino will be looking for blood, and he beat the Cats and Stoops at Western Kentucky last season.

Georgia Tech at Georgia, November 29th
They call it Clean, Old-fashioned Hate, but it’s a new-fashioned butt kicking. The Bulldogs have won five straight and 12 of the last 13 – poor Yellow Jackets.

Photo Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

REFERENCES

COMMENTS

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  • I think the Ole Miss/Boise St game is a pretty interesting game as an Ole Miss fan. Mostly because it’s in Atlanta and I don’t think Ole Miss has ever played BSU. If Ole Miss is as good as we think they will be, then this game should be over by halftime. The other games that I am interested in watching are the LSU/Wisconsin, Georgia/Clemson, Auburn/K-State, because all those games will tell us a lot about how each team may fair the rest of the season.

  • What msu vrs usm not number one your kidding me Boise is like the ut Martin of our schedule all these games suck especially ole piss haha I said ole piss

  • Boise St is not as good as it used to be, and the first four games listed are going to very interesting to watch.

    • Boise is a joke their record sucks so bad I mean auburn has a way better record the past five years thanks for makin the national championship and choking with a qb that’s a safety yeah when he hits the corner he is gone but Lady Luck struck twice against georgia and bama we will put y’all down this year easily

      • Bama never goes down easily. They still have pretty much the same defense that held you scoreless last year. Dream on.

      • When you only use punctuation twice in a run-on sentence and one of the punctuation marks is an apostrophe in the word “y’all”…you might be a redneck.

        • Laughing with Dawg and 1985 on this one. If you didn’t hear the Jeff Foxworthy skit about folks from Missouri after it was announced that they would join the SEC, believe me it is work looking for. Thanks Jeff Foxworthy for making us laugh at ourselves.

      • If you are an actual Ole Miss fan, please do the rest of us a favor & never post anything on here again.

      • An Ole Miss fan talking about Auburn’s record? Rebel1985, when was the last time Ole Miss was relevant in the national stage?

        • troll from the Kansas Jayhawks

        • I don’t think this is an Ole Miss fan. If he thinks himself an Ole Miss fan, he is certainly not indicative of the majority of Ole Miss fans.

  • Just a little reminder….You say that UCF vs Missouri could be #1 if it was 2013. Well UCF’s only loss came against SC AT UCF. Somehow that always get lost in the shuffle when talking about last season.

    • Congrats, cock. Your team handed UCF its only loss in the best season ever of UCF’s storied history.

      • I’ll tell you Dawg, UCF is one lethal football team as they proved last season with their ranking. So GoCocks has a point. Also it’s interesting that Mizzou plays nobodies in it’s non conference schedule and there is UCF a nice land mine on an easy schedule.

        • Neither Arizona State, nor UCF were nobodies in Missouri’s 2012 schedule. In 2013 Missouri played a middle of the pack Big 10 opponent and Toledo who had a Doak Walker finalist on the roster. 75% of the SEC’s non-conference schedule would be lower ranked.

    • Praise to SC for beating UCF, with BB at QB and a good defense they have been a worthy opponent for a while now. (As shown by the last two years bowls, Missouri didn’t get enough credit for beating them in 2012). Also praise to SC for last play OT victory at Missouri this past year. Your athletes and coaches deserve all the credit in the football world. This from Missouri.

      • One man does not make a team. Doak Walker finalist does not make Toledo fitting competition for an SEC Team. The SEC should go with Saban’s suggestion and play a ninth conference game instead of gimmie games. Just saying.

        • You missed this because you are an Alabama follower, that’s whey I framed it as Toledo being better than (Alabama’s and) lots of other SEC non-conference opponents. Now watch the utube or espn replay of the Toledo game. After watching that game write back and tell how one man doesn’t make a team a worthy opponent. Finally, your idea about a ninth conference game just gives weaker conferences a way to come after the SEC. It is far better to get any kind of a non-conference win than to play one more conference rivalry.

  • The significance of Hutson Mason playing his first big game at home cannot be overstated. I will be glad to get a shot at revenge against Clemson without Watkins and Boyd.
    Tennessee gets credit for scheduling some OOC doozies. I mean, Oregon before and now Oklahoma. Talkin’ about volunteering for some arse-kickings…

  • from Missouri: Auburn+Malzahn vs. K-State+Snyder = very interesting coaches strategy. Of course I’m rooting for Auburn, but all fans will enjoy the game more if they understand the whole body of work Snyder at K-State

  • Good stuff but can tell you Gamecock-Clemson rivalry has long been one of the best in college football, certainly one of the most intense. It’s just been one of the least appreciated by fans outside the state.

  • I don’t know about UCF/Missouri game the production that Bortles and Johnson had will be difficult to replace. I think the UT/ Utah. ST game could be mention as horrorable mention game on this list.

    • somewhat concur, but give that irishman down there credit due. He comes up with a great team most years. Look at the UCF conference record

      • UCF has improved over the past couple of years but their conference is crap.

        • UCF has done more than just improve, They just beat an extremely well coached Big 12 contender in a bowl game? Your opinion is that Cincinnati is also “crap”, then why is the SEC and everyone else after their coaching staff?, and Florida lost to a AAC team in a bowl game last year right?, Louisville?. Rutgers also looked very good in recent seasons and bowl games? Look again at the SEC non-conference schedules. Most SEC teams play 3-4 teams weaker than the above AAC team you want to attach a baby vulgar name to. Bring your facts and lose the insults, you make SEC fans and Alabama fans look dismissive and uninformed.

  • I do give it to Tennessee for consistently scheduling one very solid OOC game a year. A lot of PAC 12 teams over the last decade. I’d like Ole Miss to do a couple of home-&-homes vs. some PAC 12 teams, especially since the SEC doesn’t have a bowl vs. PAC 12 teams.

  • Much respect to Clemson for stepping outside the conference playing some formidable opponents

  • Texas Tech lost 6 or 7 starters off of a mediocre defense. Arkansas will be much improved in 2014, and will hopefully be able to grind out lots of rushing yards in this game, and keep the TTU offense off the field.

  • Okay Clemson is “stepping out” and playing formidable opponents? I don’t see it. South Carolina State and Georgia State? So they play USC by no choice of their own. And a home and home game against UGA? So is UGA’s non-conference schedule tough? Clemson, GT , Troy and Charleston Southern?

  • Seems that Ole Miss finally found a way to get to Atlanta. Right?

  • Didn’t Kansas State lose to an FCS team last year?

  • So many of the games that are SEC vs SEC are so big, the out-of-conf. games are, for the most part, inconsequential.

    When Clemson, from the weak ACC, is involved in two of the top Out-of-Conf. match-ups…that says there are not too many marquee games of the SEC playing teams from other conferences.

  • It’s fun to see the trash talking and we are still four months away from the first snap of the season. As far as the Ole Miss comment about their lack of play in the Georgia Dome, it brought back memories of going to the Memphis State-Ole Miss game every other year when it played in Memphis, and how Ole Miss almost always blew Memphis State out of the water. Growing up watching Archie Manning and many others slam the Tigers does not make me a Rebel fan today, which brings me back to the Georgia Dome comment again. Just as I was about to high-five the person who wrote that comment, it dawned on me that as a twenty year Gamecock fan, South Carolina has a record which truly smells when discussing Georgia Dome attendance with Cam Newton coming to mind as well as Florida State, which both were ugly losses, that brings me to my last comment…..South Carolina will become a frequent participant to the Georgia Dome this season, as the Ole Ball Coach moves the Gamecock program to their top goal.

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