Saturday, December 20, 2014

Auburn, Alabama Make List of Softest Non-Conference Schedules
By Ashley Thompson

This week, released a list of college football teams with the SOFTEST non-conference schedules, both Alabama and Auburn made the list.

The Tigers first matchup is against Washington State followed by Arkansas State. Next, Western Carolina visits Jordan Hare, a team that went just 1-10 last fall. Lastly, Florida Atlantic University pays them a visit. Sports Analyst John Longshore says the schedule does seem a bit soft.

"Even though they do open up against Washington State, who has won like, wow, 20 games in the last four seasons."

Alabama's non-conference schedule also has some people scratching their heads.

"The teams they're playing, I've never heard of them," says Alabama fan Brandon Chesson.

The Tide first play Virginia Tech, an ACC team. Colorado State, Georgia State and The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga travel to Bryant Denny after.

Mike Washington played defensive back at the University of Alabama, then officiated SEC games for over 15 years. He says the non-conference games are more of a money maker for the visiting school.

"They come, they know theyre going to get a good whoopin," he says. "They won't win the game but of course, they'll get a good payday. They're going to pay them well to come down and get that whoopin and go back to wherever they came from."

Both Auburn and Alabama play in the SEC, arguably the toughest conference in college football. Some say that makes up for the easier games.

"In the SEC, it really balances out," says Tennessee fan Billy Benton. "You look all the way down the board, anybody can be beaten in the SEC. So I think it really does balance it out."

Longshore says regardless of who Alabama and Auburn play, the fans will still support their teams.

"Bottom line is, fans are still going to buy tickets," he says. "They're going to continue to go to the stadiums, the athletic directors know this. The head coaches are always looking for a couple of easy wins every year and these non-conference games are tailor made for this."

Washington says when he played football in the 70s, all SEC teams had to play each other. He says he'd like to see that again.