As we head into the College Football Playoff era, many anticipated the potential effect is would have on the SEC’s non-conference scheduling.

The SEC usually receives strife for its non-conference scheduling, justified only by perhaps the toughest conference schedule in the country.

However, every team has those “automatic” games, so let’s take a look at the five easiest non-conference games in the league.

1. Vanderbilt vs. Charleston Southern

Don’t be fooled, the Bucs may have won 10 games last season, but played only one FBS opponent in mediocre Colorado and lost by 33 points.  Charleston Southern will play two FBS games this season, at Vanderbilt and at Georgia, and neither should be very competitive. Derek Mason’s club should have an easy time with the Bucs, and have an opportunity to see what the ‘Dores second and third units can do.

2. Alabama vs. Southern Mississippi

The Golden Eagles have been historically bad since now-North Carolina coach Larry Fedora departed Hattiesburg.  A trip to Tuscaloosa in week three, in addition to opening in Starkville, highlights their 2014 campaign.  Expect Nick Saban to give a lot of playing time to backups, as this contest won’t be competitive past halftime.

3. Mississippi State vs. UAB

As we mentioned above, the Bulldogs open against Southern Miss then play host to UAB, another really bad Conference USA team.  The Blazers make the short drive from Birmingham to Starkville in week two, and well, we wish them the best.  As bad as Southern Miss was last season, the Golden Eagles lone win was against UAB as they thumped the Blazers, 62-27.

4. Texas A&M vs. Lamar

Lamar struggled to just five wins last season, dropping FBS games against Louisiana Tech and Oklahoma State.  This year, the Cardinals come calling to Kyle Field.  Though we’re not quite sure what we’ll see from Texas A&M, we can be sure this game will not be close.

5. Florida vs. Eastern Michigan

The Eagles will travel to Florida and in-state foe Michigan State in 2014, and both will make for very long days.  EMU managed just two wins last season in the MAC, so expect Kurt Roper and his new offense to get into rhythm in week two and blowout the Eagles.