In the never-ending quest to help the American public make plans well in advance, the SEC released the 2019 football schedules on Tuesday. The SEC has committed to at least one conference game every weekend, which is nice for fans. There are lots of juicy match-ups across the board, so let’s dive into some reactions to each team’s 2019 schedule.

Alabama

Aug. 31                  vs. Duke (Atlanta)
Sept. 7                   NEW MEXICO STATE
Sept. 14                 at South Carolina
Sept. 21                 SOUTHERN MISS
Sept. 28                 OLE MISS
Oct. 5                     Open Date
Oct. 12                   at Texas A&M
Oct. 19                   TENNESSEE
Oct. 26                   ARKANSAS
Nov. 2                    Open Date
Nov. 9                    LSU
Nov. 16                  at Mississippi State
Nov. 23                  WESTERN CAROLINA
Nov. 30                  at Auburn

Reaction: Alabama will have to travel to four of the toughest atmospheres in the SEC next season, and all four of those squads should be decent. The opening game shouldn’t be a challenge, and the home schedule (outside of LSU) will be manageable. Still, it’s hard not to think that Alabama is poised for another 11-1 or 12-0 season, despite the potential pitfalls. You’ll also notice that every team has two bye weeks. I love this, because it’ll gives teams a chance to take rests and get healthier during the season.

Arkansas

Aug. 31                  PORTLAND STATE
Sept. 7                   at Ole Miss
Sept. 14                 COLORADO STATE
Sept. 21                 SAN JOSE STATE
Sept. 28                 vs. Texas A&M (Arlington)
Oct. 5                     Open Date
Oct. 12                   at Kentucky
Oct. 19                   AUBURN
Oct. 26                   at Alabama
Nov. 2                    MISSISSIPPI STATE
Nov. 9                    WESTERN KENTUCKY
Nov. 16                  Open Date
Nov. 23                  at LSU
Nov. 30                  MISSOURI (Little Rock)

Reaction: Arkansas is trying to rebuild a program, and this schedule might make that tougher. Tricky road trips to Ole Miss and Kentucky will be tough alongside games at Alabama and LSU that we can probably already assume are losses.

Auburn

Aug. 31                  vs. Oregon (Dallas)
Sept. 7                   TULANE
Sept. 14                 KENT STATE
Sept. 21                 at Texas A&M
Sept. 28                 MISSISSIPPI STATE
Oct. 5                     at Florida
Oct. 12                   Open Date
Oct. 19                   at Arkansas
Oct. 26                   at LSU
Nov. 2                    OLE MISS
Nov. 9                    Open Date
Nov. 16                  GEORGIA
Nov. 23                  SAMFORD
Nov. 30                  ALABAMA

Reaction: Auburn continues to challenge itself with a brutal schedule. An opener against Oregon will test the Tigers right off the bat, and road trips to LSU, Florida, and Texas A&M will all be very tough for a team that will most likely be without Jarrett Stidham at quarterback. Luckily for Auburn, the tough games away from Jordan-Hare end in October. The Tigers close with four straight home games, including Georgia and Alabama.

Florida

Aug. 31                  vs. Miami (Orlando)
Sept. 7                   UT-MARTIN
Sept. 14                 at Kentucky
Sept. 21                 TENNESSEE
Sept. 28                 TOWSON
Oct. 5                     AUBURN
Oct. 12                   at LSU
Oct. 19                   at South Carolina
Oct. 26                   Open Date
Nov. 2                    vs. Georgia (Jacksonville)
Nov. 9                    VANDERBILT
Nov. 16                  at Missouri
Nov. 23                  Open Date
Nov. 30                  FLORIDA STATE

Reaction: Considering what we know about the non-conference schedule, Florida should be 4-0 outside of SEC play (that’s me assuming Florida State will struggle to pick things up next year). The conference schedule has a healthy mix of tough home and road games, with Auburn and Tennessee coming to the Swamp and the Gators traveling to Baton Rouge, both Columbias, and Lexington. I expect Florida to be better next year, but this is a tough schedule. 

Georgia

Aug. 31                  at Vanderbilt
Sept. 7                   MURRAY STATE
Sept. 14                 ARKANSAS STATE
Sept. 21                 NOTRE DAME
Sept. 28                 Open Date
Oct. 5                     at Tennessee
Oct. 12                   SOUTH CAROLINA
Oct. 19                   KENTUCKY
Oct. 26                   Open Date
Nov. 2                    vs. Florida (Jacksonville)
Nov. 9                    MISSOURI
Nov. 16                  at Auburn
Nov. 23                  TEXAS A&M
Nov. 30                  at Georgia Tech

Reaction: I picked Georgia to win the national championship this year, and I think the schedule sets up for a tough road that will lead the Dawgs back to the playoff semifinals in 2019. I LOVE the opening date at Vanderbilt, and getting Notre Dame at home will be fun in Athens. The home games are manageable, and the only overtly tricky road contest is Auburn. Finally, TEXAS A&M AT GEORGIA! That’s going to be a fantastic game. Let’s say I can already take a guess where CBS will be on November 23rd.

Kentucky

Aug. 31                  TOLEDO
Sept. 7                   EASTERN MICHIGAN
Sept. 14                 FLORIDA
Sept. 21                 at Mississippi State
Sept. 28                 at South Carolina
Oct. 5                     Open Date
Oct. 12                   ARKANSAS
Oct. 19                   at Georgia
Oct. 26                   MISSOURI
Nov. 2                    Open Date
Nov. 9                    TENNESSEE
Nov. 16                  at Vanderbilt
Nov. 23                  UT-MARTIN
Nov. 30                  LOUISVILLE

Reaction: I’ll be honest, this may be the year for Kentucky. Quarterback Terry Wilson looks like a budding star, and the defense, who will return a few key starters, is already nasty. Other than an obvious loss at Georgia, where are the other pitfalls? Road trips to Mississippi State and South Carolina aren’t easy but are certainly winnable. Every home game (except maybe Florida) should end with a Wildcat victory. We’ll see what the personnel looks like, but I see a season that could be 8-4/9-3 for Kentucky in 2019.

LSU

Aug. 31                  GEORGIA SOUTHERN
Sept. 7                   at Texas
Sept. 14                 NORTHWESTERN STATE
Sept. 21                 at Vanderbilt
Sept. 28                 Open Date
Oct. 5                     UTAH STATE
Oct. 12                   FLORIDA
Oct. 19                   at Mississippi State
Oct. 26                   AUBURN
Nov. 2                    Open Date
Nov. 9                    at Alabama
Nov. 16                  at Ole Miss
Nov. 23                  ARKANSAS
Nov. 30                  TEXAS A&M

Reaction: Circle, star, or highlight (whatever floats your boat) September 2nd. LSU at Texas will be a FUN game. Texas is still trying to be “back,” and they’ll have a chance to snag a really big non-conference skin early next season. The rest of the schedule looks normal on the surface, but could prove tricky. Two road games in Mississippi aren’t easy by any means, and playing in Bryant-Denny won’t be fun. LSU does get Texas A&M, Auburn, and Florida at home, all of which will be very entertaining. Long story short, the 2019 season will be another test for Ed Orgeron, Joe Burrow, and the LSU Tigers.

Ole Miss

Aug. 31                  at Memphis
Sept. 7                   ARKANSAS
Sept. 14                 SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA
Sept. 21                 CALIFORNIA
Sept. 28                 at Alabama
Oct. 5                     VANDERBILT
Oct. 12                   at Missouri
Oct. 19                   TEXAS A&M
Oct. 26                   Open Date
Nov. 2                    at Auburn
Nov. 9                    NEW MEXICO STATE
Nov. 16                  LSU
Nov. 23                  Open Date
Nov. 28 (Thu.)       at Mississippi State

Reaction: Once again, the word “fun” pops up when I look at this schedule. The opener at Memphis is tricky, and California at home in Week Four will be a high-flying test. I doubt Ole Miss will be a contender, mainly because of personnel and the schedule. Conference road trips to Tuscaloosa, Columbia, Auburn, and Starkville are all probable losses, in my opinion. It’ll be tough sledding for the Rebels.

 

Mississippi State

Aug. 31                  vs. UL-Lafayette (New Orleans)
Sept. 7                   SOUTHERN MISS
Sept. 14                 KANSAS STATE
Sept. 21                 KENTUCKY
Sept. 28                 at Auburn
Oct. 5                     Open Date
Oct. 12                   at Tennessee
Oct. 19                   LSU
Oct. 26                   at Texas A&M
Nov. 2                    at Arkansas
Nov. 9                    Open Date
Nov. 16                  ALABAMA
Nov. 23                  ABILENE CHRISTIAN
Nov. 28 (Thu.)     OLE MISS

Reaction: Mississippi State will be losing Nick Fitzgerald and a LOT on defense after this year, which could make 2019 a rebuilding effort for Joe Moorhead. This schedule won’t help. Road trips to Auburn and Texas A&M will be extremely difficult, and Tennessee will be better. The Bulldogs get Kentucky, Kansas State, LSU, Alabama, and Ole Miss at home which will help, but I have a hard time seeing Mississippi State match in 2019 what I’m expecting to happen this season.

Missouri

Aug. 31                  at Wyoming
Sept. 7                   WEST VIRGINIA
Sept. 14                 SOUTHEAST MISSOURI ST.
Sept. 21                 SOUTH CAROLINA
Sept. 28                 Open Date
Oct. 5                     TROY
Oct. 12                   OLE MISS
Oct. 19                   at Vanderbilt
Oct. 26                   at Kentucky
Nov. 2                    Open Date
Nov. 9                    at Georgia
Nov. 16                  FLORIDA
Nov. 23                  TENNESSEE
Nov. 30                  at Arkansas (Little Rock)

Reaction: Missouri will do battle next year without Drew Lock, and the going will get tough almost immediately. A road opener at Wyoming is a classic trap game, and high-flying, Will Grier-less West Virginia will come to Columbia in Week Two. Will Missouri be the next victim of the yearly Troy Power Five Upset? The conference games are difficult too, although it helps to get South Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee at home. With this schedule, I doubt Missouri will pose much of a threat in 2019.

South Carolina

Aug. 31                  vs. No. Carolina (Charlotte)
Sept. 7                   CHARLESTON SOUTHERN
Sept. 14                 ALABAMA
Sept. 21                 at Missouri
Sept. 28                 KENTUCKY
Oct. 5                     Open Date
Oct. 12                   at Georgia
Oct. 19                   FLORIDA
Oct. 26                   at Tennessee
Nov. 2                    VANDERBILT
Nov. 9                    APPALACHIAN STATE
Nov. 16                  at Texas A&M
Nov. 23                  Open Date
Nov. 30                  CLEMSON

Reaction: A lot of South Carolina’s success next year will be determined by Jake Bentley’s pending decision. I doubt he’ll declare for the NFL Draft, but you never know. Assuming he returns, this schedule is full of opportunity. Alabama comes to Columbia in Week Three; the last time a Nick Saban-led team came to South Carolina, Stephen Garcia quarterbacked the Gamecocks to a 35-21 victory over the top-ranked Tide. Kentucky and Florida at home are challenging but winnable, and road trips to Missouri and Texas A&M are the same. Clemson at home to end the year also helps. South Carolina’s defense will need to continue to improve and Jake Bentley will need to come back, because I could see this schedule going anywhere between 6-6 to 9-3.

Tennessee

Aug. 31                  GEORGIA STATE
Sept. 7                   BYU
Sept. 14                 UT-CHATTANOOGA
Sept. 21                 at Florida
Sept. 28                 Open Date
Oct. 5                     GEORGIA
Oct. 12                   MISSISSIPPI STATE
Oct. 19                   at Alabama
Oct. 26                   SOUTH CAROLINA
Nov. 2                    UAB
Nov. 9                    at Kentucky
Nov. 16                  Open Date
Nov. 23                  at Missouri
Nov. 30                  VANDERBILT

Reaction: Tennessee will be good again under Jeremy Pruitt, but we already know it’ll take some time. 2019 could be the year that decides the speed of this rebuild. The Vols get BYU (hey, they beat Wisconsin), Georgia, Mississippi State, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt at home. Other than Georgia, those are all games Tennessee can hypothetically keep close. Road trips to Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, and Missouri aren’t easy, but maybe Tennessee can steal one? The schedule is tough, but I think there’s a shot the Vols can snag an upset or two next season.

Texas A&M

Aug. 31                  TEXAS STATE
Sept. 7                   at Clemson
Sept. 14                 LAMAR
Sept. 21                 AUBURN
Sept. 28                 vs. Arkansas (Arlington)
Oct. 5                     Open Date
Oct. 12                   ALABAMA
Oct. 19                   at Ole Miss
Oct. 26                   MISSISSIPPI STATE
Nov. 2                    UT-SAN ANTONIO
Nov. 9                    Open Date
Nov. 16                  SOUTH CAROLINA
Nov. 23                  at Georgia
Nov. 30                  at LSU

Reaction: Easily the toughest 2019 schedule in the SEC. A Week Two road trip to Clemson will be extremely difficult, albeit entertaining. Texas A&M also gets Auburn and Alabama at home, which is helpful if the Aggies want to contend in the West. The middle is manageable, but the end is brutal. Closing road trips to Georgia and LSU will make or break the 2019 season for the Aggies. Win both, and Jimbo Fisher could be headed for a New Year’s Six bowl game. Lose both or split, and Texas A&M may be looking at another 8-4/7-5 season.

Vanderbilt

Aug. 31                  GEORGIA
Sept. 7                   at Purdue
Sept. 14                 Open Date
Sept. 21                 LSU
Sept. 28                 NORTHERN ILLINOIS
Oct. 5                     at Ole Miss
Oct. 12                   UNLV
Oct. 19                   MISSOURI
Oct. 26                   Open Date
Nov. 2                    at South Carolina
Nov. 9                    at Florida
Nov. 16                  KENTUCKY
Nov. 23                  EAST TENNESSEE STATE
Nov. 30                  at Tennessee

Reaction: I don’t have high expectations for Vanderbilt in 2019, and the schedule doesn’t help. After opening with Georgia, Vanderbilt travels to Purdue and then hosts LSU. There’s a good chance Derek Mason’s squad opens 0-3. Missouri and Kentucky at home are chances for the ‘Dores to pull off upsets, but road games in Oxford, Columbia (SC), Gainesville, and Knoxville will be difficult. With Kyle Shurmur gone, Vanderbilt could be dealing with some offensive growing pains. I wouldn’t expect much from the ‘Dores in 2019.

 

That’s it. I think there are some fun games in here (Texas A&M at Georgia will be a BLAST), and some teams got raw deals. Kentucky could be the SEC East darkhorse next season. Either way, it’s fun to already begin planning for college football in 2019 before we’re even halfway through the 2018 season.

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