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Reaction: Tennessee is on the losing end of the SEC’s schedule release

The SEC announced the additions to the 2020 10-game schedule on Friday and just as we thought over here at Rocky Top Talk, the conference added the 11th-ranked Auburn Tigers and the 13th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies to Tennessee’s schedule.

How it affects Tennessee

The Vols already had a pretty tough schedule to begin with. ESPN’s Football Power Index had the Vols’ 2020 schedule as the 14th-most difficult schedule in the nation before the SEC moved to the 10-game, conference-only schedule.

Friday’s moves added two more top-15 teams to Tennessee’s schedule. As a result, half of their games are now against top-15 teams. All five opponents are in the SEC’s top-6 ranked teams.

Tennessee was handed two very tough opponents in A&M and Auburn. Those two teams combined for a 17-9 record last year with a 9-7 record in SEC play. The Vols also have a tough assignment in traveling down to the Plains, even if they won there back in 2018. The combined records give the Vols the SEC’s fifth-toughest additions. Preseason rankings-wise, the Vols were given the third-toughest additions.

According to ESPN’s updated FPI, the Vols now have the seventh-toughest schedule in the country. The Vols’ 2020 opponent win total (from 2019) is now a 74-53 (.582) overall mark with a 38-42 (.475) record in SEC play.

The good news is that the Vols will be tested in 2020, which is what a lot of fans want to see. The bad news is that said test just so happens to come in an unprecedented year with hardly any offseason.

Protecting Georgia, LSU, and Florida

The SEC opened up its arms, gave these programs a big ol’ hug and whispered sweet nothings in their ears as they shielded them from any type of major competition.

Georgia, LSU, and Florida —in that order— were given the easiest additions (schedule-wise) on Friday. Georgia’s opponents totaled a 8-17 overall record in 2019 with a 3-13 record in SEC play, LSU opponents went 9-15, 4-12 and Florida was given a grand total of 10 extra wins with its 10-15, 4-12 assignments.

That’s a 27-47 overall mark with a 11-37 record in SEC play.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 21 Tennessee at Florida

Florida certainly caught a break with the SEC schedule additions
Photo by Mary Holt/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Look, I get it. Someone has to play the “little guys” of the conference, but why does it get to be three of the top four teams in the conference? Put it this way, four of the 14 teams in the SEC have a conference record addition of 11 wins at minimum, while these three teams have 11 SEC wins between them.

Bama’s additions look decent on the surface with a 14-11 overall record, but the Crimson Tide was given the fourth-easiest schedule (6-10) when it comes to their 2020 opponents’ 2019 SEC record.

Missouri was given 26 extra wins alone. The Tigers’ 2020 opponent overall winning percentage was (.929) in 2019. The SEC winning percentage was (.875).

It must be a nice view at the top.

Arkansas and Missouri get reamed

Sure, the Vols didn’t fare so well in this venture, but at least they didn’t get the short end of the stick like these two programs did.

Missouri was easily given the toughest extra homework assignments in LSU and Bama while Arkansas didn’t suffer too much of a drop off with Georgia and Florida. Missouri’s opponents totaled a 26-2, 14-2 record in 2019 and Arkansas’ went 23-4, 13-3. The two programs were also give then toughest additions rankings-wise, as well.

If anyone needs a hug in 2020, it will be Hogs and Tigers fans.


What do you think of Tennessee’s conference additions? Let us know via the poll/comment section below!

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