SEC Football: Rankings for best and worst ’23 non-conference games


SEC Football takes a backseat to no conference in fielding the best teams and the toughest top-to-bottom, conference competition. SEC teams have some outstanding out-of-conference opponents in the 2023 season.

Also, season after season, SEC football teams, (some more than others) are content to play some very bad football teams.

Breaking down the SEC regular season, each SEC team can be recognized for its toughest 2023 out-of-conference game. Additional attention should be given to each team’s worst, meaning the weakest opponent.

The ranking below is largely subjective. The only data used comes from last season’s wins and losses, and Jeff Sagarin’s 2022 Final Ratings that include FBS and FCS teams.

Toughest 2023 Out of Conference Opponents for SEC Football Teams

  1. Florida Gators – Florida edges out Alabama on the basis of playing two tough, out-of-conference opponents; Utah and Florida State.
  2. Alabama Crimson Tide – Texas Longhorns
  3. South Carolina Gamecocks – Clemson
  4. LSU Bengal Tigers – Florida State
  5. Missouri Tigers – Kansas State
  6. Kentucky Wildcats – Louisville
  7. Ole Miss Rebels – Tulane
  8. Vanderbilt Commodores – Wake Forest
  9. Arkansas Razorbacks – BYU
  10. Tennessee Vols – UTSA
  11. Mississippi State Bulldogs – Arizona
  12. Auburn Tigers – Cal – The Golden Bears were 4-8 last season
  13. Texas A&M Aggies – Miami, based on the Canes’ 5-7 record last season
  14. Georgia Bulldogs – It is a toss-up for Georgia with equally weak UAB and Georgia Tech

The next ranking is labeled the ‘Worst’ opponents, but it would be accurate to define the list as SEC embarrassments.

Worst 2023 Opponents for SEC Teams (biggest embarrassments)

From top to bottom in the list below are the most embarrassing games. No. 1 is equivalent to being No. 14 in the toughest games list.

  1. Florida Gators – McNeese State
  2. LSU Bengal Tigers – Grambling was 3-8 last season. There are good reasons for the two schools to play but those reasons have nothing to do with football.
  3. Vanderbilt Commodores – Alabama A&M – It is hard to criticize Vandy for playing as many bad teams as possible.
  4. Auburn Tigers – UMass – Along with playing a 1-11, UMass team from last season, Auburn also has Samford and New Mexico State. The Aubies have no shame.
  5. Arkansas Razorbacks – Western Carolina
  6. Georgia Bulldogs – UT-Martin
  7. Texas A&M Aggies – Another toss-up situation with the Aggies playing New Mexico and Abilene-Christian
  8. Kentucky Wildcats – Eastern Kentucky
  9. Missouri Tigers – South Dakota
  10. Tennessee Vols – Austin Peay
  11. Alabama Crimson Tide – Chattanooga
  12. Mississippi State Bulldogs – Southeast Louisiana
  13. Ole Miss – Mercer
  14. South Carolina – Furman

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Disclaimer: In this post, no attempt was made to shame any SEC team, except Auburn, of course.