You’ve poured over that schedule up and down every day since you taped it to your dorm room wall, draped it in your man cave, or discreetly pinned it in your office cubicle. You know the dates your rivals are in town, bye weeks and out-of-conference visitors your team will host this season.
It’s all thanks to your trusty schedule poster — the daily off-season reminder that football is, indeed, returning.
But not all schedule posters are created equal. Some designers rise to the occasion with their inspiration. Others fall flat. We’ve broken down the best schedule posters in the SEC for the 2016 season.
Note: Arkansas and Texas A&M did not have schedule posters readily available.
The 2016 Kentucky Football Schedule Poster
— UK Stoops Troops (@UKStoopsTroops) July 12, 2016
Kentucky takes the top spot based on both design and cultural significance. The Wildcats built history into their schedule poster with a nod to Nate Northington, Greg Page, Wilbur Hackett and Houston Hogg. The quartet is credited with helping integrate the SEC in the late 60s as the first African American players in the conference. The poster depicts four current Kentucky players striking the same pose as the statue that that school will erect across from its practice field to honor those players who broke the color barrier 50 years ago in 1966.
“You have an opportunity change history, to make history, change what Kentucky is doing in football,” said Hackett, the first African-American team captain in any SEC sport, via UKAthletics.com. “I’m so glad, I’m so proud to be a part of this. Fifty years ago we came here. And this year I want to see you guys make a difference. Make that commitment to change what is happening. Make this team be the team that changed the course of Kentucky football.”
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) August 2, 2016
The most difficult task for Alabama when creating its schedule poster must have been selecting which four players to place on it. The talent-laden Tide ultimately went with DE Jonathan Allen and LB Reuben Foster, as well as TE O.J. Howard and S Eddie Jackson. The result is a menacing, up-close look that plays well on the program’s iconic crimson hue. It should be considered among the best posters in the SEC.
— Vanderbilt Football (@VandyFootball) March 25, 2016
What Vanderbilt traditionally lacks in the win column, it almost always makes up for in the style department. That may not be greatest of comforts for Commodores fans, but Vanderbilt’s schedule poster is tangible proof. Easy on the eyes, Vandy’s poster features a player in a subtly-smoky Vanderbilt Stadium. Technically, the No. 16 jersey belongs to Kalija Lipscomb, but it’s questionable if the Commodores would put a true freshman wide receiver on their poster.
4. MISSISSIPPI STATE
Have you seen our 2016 schedule poster? Grab one tomorrow at the Central MS Extravaganza in Jackson or at Fan Day. pic.twitter.com/5xfhI5p8Sj
— MSU Football (@HailStateFB) July 20, 2016
Mississippi State uses a simple, yet highly-effective design to create its schedule poster. The poster depicts a jazzed-up Bulldog — perhaps the actual No. 16 DB Johnathan Calvin — ready to take Dan Mullen’s program into the post-Dak Prescott era. The symmetry of the “Hail State” and the schedule makes for a clean look.
5. SOUTH CAROLINA
The 2016 Schedule Poster! Get yours tomorrow at the Garnet & Black Spring Game starting at 9:30am in Gamecock Park pic.twitter.com/gSkQb4QBmj
— Gamecock Football (@GamecockFB) April 8, 2016
One can only assume that the smoke billowing behind Will Muschamp is pouring from the ears of the notorious hot-headed first-year South Carolina head coach. While the lack of players on the Gamecocks’ schedule poster may indicate the type of season it’ll be in Columbia, the poster makes effective use of a popular devise often utilized by designers — placing anonymous, albeit intimidating, helmets lined up behind a central figure. In this case the central figure is Muschamp. Here’s to hoping that when the smoke clears, a new generation of stars will have emerged for the Gamecocks.
— Steve Nuss (@Nusstastic) April 5, 2016
What is the Florida player in the Gators’ 2016 schedule poster pointing at? Is he about to drop a funky disco dance? Technically speaking, No. 16 is Freddie Swain, but it’s not confirmed whether that’s the 4-star freshman wide receiver from Ocala, Fla., who will make his Swamp debut this season, representing the team on its poster. Style-wise, the Florida blue and orange pop nicely on the light background.
— Heart of Auburn (@heartofauburn) August 18, 2016
You’re either going to love Auburn’s 2016 schedule poster or hate it. Designers condensed four players in action poses around a centralized Gus Malzahn head shot. The deep blue gives it a dark, almost outer-space-type feel. But the schedule itself looks as if its floating away like some sort of horizontal Star Wars introduction. Lest we overlook the fact that the placement of OL Alex Kozan at the bottom creates the appearance that he’s mooning his teammates.
There’s a Georgia schedule poster circulating online that inadvertently (or blatantly, depending on your fandom) spells out a NSFW term toward Auburn when the Bulldogs’ schedule is laid-out in a horizontal design. Fortunately, this is not the official Georgia schedule poster. The real one follows the hearts of the Bulldogs sympathizers and takes a leap of faith with Nick Chubb as its central figure. The running back, who is looking to return to the gridiron this year after a grisly knee injury cut short his 2015 campaign, is flanked by teammates, from left, LB Lorenzo Carter, FS Quincy Mauger, C Brandon Kublanow, RB Sony Michel and SS Dominick Sanders.
LSU is looking to take up twice as much of your wall space with its two schedule posters, meaning you might have to decide whether to take down your John Belushi “college” poster or the one of the cat dangling perilously from a tree branch, just to make room. The Tigers went with dual posters, one dedicated to the offense and the other to its defense. The placement of the players at the bottom makes your eye naturally go north to the words All [Power] for the offense poster and All [Heart] on the defensive side. But you have to hand it to the school’s designers, who managed a way to feature more player than any other SEC schedule poster.
Honored to be in this photo with some of the best! Show Me Mizzou Football bc Sept 10th can't be here soon enough! pic.twitter.com/N7qDkNq0o2
— Amanda (@Its_Manders_) July 27, 2016
Missouri went the artsy route with its 2016 schedule poster. Designers crafted a complex Tigers logo molded into the shape of a football that’s constructed of photos of what appears to be Mizzou players performing various football moves and cheerleaders. It’s a creative idea, but a bit of an assault on the senses — sort of like the Missouri defense.
11. OLE MISS
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) August 12, 2016
Ole Miss flashes four players — from left, QB Chad Kelly, DB Tony Conner, TE Evan Engram and DLE Marquis Haynes — that figure to play prominent roles for Hugh Freeze’s squad in 2016. The poster lacks a certain pizzazz, that contradicts the Rebels’ upbeat style of play on both sides of the ball. Plus, the block quotes and autograph give the appearance of a school note from a teacher that each player is proudly presenting — especially Haynes’.
You might want to simply call this the annual Butch Jones poster. Tennessee returned to the well by using the Volunteers head coach once again on its schedule poster — same as it did in 2013 and 2014. This year’s version melds Jones with the Vols’ “My All” mantra. The letters get lost, however, in the checkered-mix of orange and white, while looking as if Jones’ head is peeping out of the “My.”