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How Do Other SEC Football Teams Deal With Mid-Major Opponents?

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Vanderbilt will hit the road for a game against Middle Tennessee State this season. Two years ago, the Commodores traveled to UMass. So when was the last time you saw a team like Alabama or LSU do the same?

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Over on the post reviewing Derek Mason at SEC Media Days, Pope V asked two fine questions in the comments:

1.) What's the last time each SEC school played at a non-power in-state opponent?

2.) In fact, what's the last time each SEC school player at any non-power school?

I figured "well dang, I could look that up." So...I did. And now it's 2:00 AM and I regret doing so. But anyway, obviously some schools like Missouri don't have any other FBS schools in-state, so it's been a while for them. Depending on your definition of away games and mid-majors, your opinion may vary on a few of these answers. But anyway, to the maths.

(Captain Obvious disclaimer: I may have missed a game. Correct me if I did.)

Last Game at a Non-Power In-State School

  • Alabama
    • Played at Samford in 1944. (Unless we're counting the game of going to Birmingham last November and torching the program there, hurr.)
  • Arkansas
    • Played a mostly-away game in Little Rock vs. Hendrix College in 1927.
    • The last true away game was at mighty Ouachita Baptist in 1913.
  • Auburn
    • Played at Samford in 1933.
    • Had a series of neutral-site games in Montgomery vs. Birmingham-Southern College from 1928-39.
    • Also had 4 neutral-site games in Montgomery vs. Samford in the 1940s.
  • Florida
    • University of Tampa in 1942.
    • Note: I'm side-stepping the issue of when Florida State and Miami went from mid-majors to power teams. If you want to argue an FSU game in the 1960s, go wild.
  • Georgia
    • Let's say Mercer University in 1941.
    • Played at an Air Force training squad in 1943 during WW2, but I'll pass on that.
  • Kentucky
    • Played Western Kentucky in Nashville in 2013.
    • If you count that as a neutral-site game, then at Louisville in 2002, when the Cardinals were still in Conference USA.
  • LSU
    • At Tulane in 2007, but I kinda hate counting that. It's in the 75,000-seat Superdome, which essentially makes it a home game for LSU.
    • If you throw that out, then at Centenary College in 1932.
  • Mississippi State
    • Played at Southern Miss in 1989. Finally, another straight-forward answer.
  • Missouri
    • Played at St. Louis in 1948, when the Billikens still had football.
  • Ole Miss
    • Also played at Southern Miss, this time in 1976.
  • South Carolina
    • Played Furman in Greenville in 1958.
  • Tennessee
    • Played at Memphis in 2010.
  • Texas A&M
    • Played at SMU in 2012 and 2014.
  • Vanderbilt
    • Played at Memphis in 1989.

So that's the in-state teams. Only four schools (three if you discount Tulane) have done it in the last 25 years.

Last Game at Any Non-Power School

  • Alabama
    • Played at Hawaii in 2003. (At the time, the NCAA granted an extra game to any school with a Hawaii road trip. Mostly that was to offset travel expenses for the WAC teams.)
  • Arkansas
    • Technically it's Rutgers in 2013. The Scarlet Knights were in a one-year purgatory between the Big East dissolving and joining the Big 10. But that's no fun.
    • Played a farce of a "road game" against Louisiana-Monroe in 2010. The game was held in Little Rock and was nothing but a way for ULM to pad their attendance numbers.
    • Played UNLV in the Las Vegas Bowl in 2000! That wasn't scheduled though.
    • So, I would push it back to the SMU game in 1999.
  • Auburn
    • Played at TCU in 1980, but the SWC was really still a power conference then.
    • Given that, go with Memphis in 1976.
  • Florida
    • Played at Rutgers in 1986.
  • Georgia
    • Played at Tulane in 1972, but the Green Wave were still only a few years removed from the SEC.
    • I'd probably push it back to the VMI game in 1966.
    • So yeah, unless I missed something, it's seriously been 50 years since Georgia played at any mid-major school.
  • Kentucky
    • If you count the 2013 WKU game in Nashville, then that.
    • Otherwise, Miami of Ohio in 2009.
  • LSU
    • Again, if you count the Tulane games, then 2007.
    • Otherwise, I guess Fordham? All the way back in freaking 1942. I have no idea how good Fordham was back then. No I don't care.
  • Mississippi State has played at several mid-majors recently.
    • 2014 at South Alabama
    • 2012 at Troy
    • 2011 at UAB
  • Missouri
    • Played at Toledo last year.
    • Also played at Central Florida in 2012.
  • Ole Miss
    • Played Boise State in Atlanta last year, if you want to count that.
    • Played at Tulane in 2010 and 2012 as well.
    • Also played at Fresno State in 2011.
  • South Carolina
    • In 2011, they played East Carolina in Charlotte. Probably shouldn't count, as Columbia's only 90 minutes away (and Greenville's closer to 4 hours).
    • Played East Carolina in Greenville back in 1997.
  • Tennessee
    • The last non-Memphis mid-major was Rutgers in 1983.
  • Texas A&M
    • Again, played SMU in Dallas in 2012 and 2014.
    • Before that, they played at New Mexico in 2008.
  • Vanderbilt
    • Played at UMass in 2013. It was the greatest game in the history of football.
    • Also played at both Rice and Army in 2009, which is probably the last time any BCS school played 2 road games at mid-majors in the same year.
    • Played at Miami of Ohio in 2008.