Scheduling is one of the most important parts of an athletic department’s many jobs. While eight games are automatically determined by conference affiliation for most programs, finding the right four non-conference games can make or break a season.
The Southern Miss Golden Eagles are no different with trying to find a happy medium of facing top flight power five conference opponents, other group of five programs, and the occasional FCS foe. Big news has come out recently involving matchups between the Southern Miss Golden Eagles and two SEC programs.
Tennessee will be later in 2017:
FBS independent UMass recently switched two games on its 2017 schedule. Matchups versus Mississippi State and Tennessee were swapped on the schedule for… reasons.
What does that have to do with Southern Miss?
Much more than you think. The Golden Eagles were set to travel to Knoxville to face the Volunteers on September 23 as one of their four non-conference games. With the news that UMass is now facing Tennessee on that date, the Tennessee game has been moved to November 4, the original date of the UMass-Tennessee matchup.
This will be the sixth matchup versus Tennessee. All five previous games have been at Tennessee with the Golden Eagles losing every time. The last meeting took place in 2007.
With the Tennessee game added to the schedule, Southern Miss will face Kentucky and Southern at home while traveling to Knoxville and ULM in the non-conference slate.
Auburn is shelling out large payments in 2018 and 2020:
Two future schedules are beginning to take shape as Auburn has decided to show Southern Miss the money by offering a combined $3.55 million for games in the 2018 and 2020 seasons. The first meeting, taking place in 2018, will be for $1.7 million and the 2020 game will net Southern Miss $1.85 million.
In comparison, Southern Miss is earning a combined $1.15 million to play at both LSU and Kentucky in 2016. That number is lower than expected due to Kentucky making a trip to Hattiesburg in 2017. The contract between the two programs is more lucrative for the Golden Eagles than the 2016, 2015, and 2014 non-conference schedules combined.
Southern Miss holds a 5-17 all-time record versus Auburn with the programs playing only once since 1993.
The 2018 Southern Miss non-conference schedule is nearly set with the addition of Auburn on September 29. Other non-conference games include home versus ULM on September 8 and at Appalachian State on September 15.
A September 26 matchup versus Auburn in 2020 joins an already scheduled home game versus South Alabama set for September 5.