Published June 13, 2012 - 10:00am
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By the time the calendar page flips to sweet November, teams are tired; they’re worn down from September and October. But November certainly doesn’t get any easier for
some most teams.
This is rivalry month. There is still a ton at stake for all teams.
November will either get your blood pumping, or it will already have you looking ahead to next season. It’s not a month for the faint of heart in the SEC.
It’s no coincidence the top five toughest schedules in November all belong in the West. How would you like to play in that half of the division all year? Most Big Ten teams would crumble.
Nov. 3 – Alabama
Nov. 10 – Miss State
Nov. 17 – Ole Miss
Nov. 23 – @Arkansas
November 3rd: we’re all looking forward to it already. Last year everyone in the country watched this game. While the rest of the country was whining about how the game was so horrible and boring, SEC fans were eating it up…I know I was fixed to the TV in a classic defensive grudge match. The 9-6 game was a battle of will, while the national championship game was a very different story for the Tigers. After the recent Twitter wars, both teams are on edge to finish what they started last year. After the Bama clash, LSU hosts Mississippi State in Baton Rouge before hosting the other state school in Mississippi in Ole Miss. In addition to November 3rd, the 23rd will also be circled for many reasons by both Arkansas and LSU. This game always has a say in how the West is won.
For LSU, drawing Alabama and Arkansas in the same month will certainly land the Tigers with the toughest November schedule in the SEC. LSU has their work cut out for them as they try to finish November undefeated and race towards another national championship appearance.
Nov. 3 – @LSU
Nov. 10 – Texas A&M
Nov. 17 – Western Carolina
Nov. 24 – Auburn
Not to be outdone in the toughest schedules department when compared to LSU, Alabama’s schedule is downright nasty, too. The only reason the Tide doesn’t have the toughest schedule is because they play cupcake Western Carolina sandwiched between TAMU and Auburn. Bama travels to LSU, and it will be the battle of the top two defenses circa 2011. The Tide then host new West opponent TAMU in Tuscaloosa, before destroying Western Carolina. Alabama is 3-1 against the Aggies, with the last win coming back in 1988, and WC gave up 52 its last trip to T-Town. Lastly, all of Alabama and Auburn have their schedule circled for the Iron Bowl. The home teams have actually lost three straight in this blood-bath, tree-killing rivalry. Anything can happen in a rivalry game. You know this.
Nov. 3 – Tulsa
Nov. 10 – @South Carolina
Nov. 17 – @Miss State
Nov. 23 - LSU
It is interesting that the top three teams in the West all draw the toughest schedules in November. Arkansas hosts Tulsa before traveling to South Carolina for their annual rivalry game that will be no more in 2013. The Hogs have won three straight against the Gamecocks, but playing on the road will be very tough. The Bulldogs come calling next on the 17th in a game that is not as sexy as many would think, but I look for State to be much improved this year. Lastly, Arkansas does battle with LSU, where the home team has won the last four games.
4. Mississippi State
Nov. 3 – Texas A&M
Nov. 10 – @LSU
Nov. 17 – Arkansas
Nov. 24 – @Ole Miss
The last two toughest schedules reside in Mississippi. State enters into a very crucial month to accomplish the task of nine wins like 2010. The Bulldogs play two teams they should handle, while taking on two of the toughest from the West. I think State is the better team when compared to TAMU right now. Could that change? Absolutely, but on paper, State is more talented, has more experience and is more battle tested. A road game at LSU is one of the toughest places to play in the country. On the 24th, State hosts Arkansas. This series has proven to be dominant for the Hogs, winning their last 15 of 17 games. In back-to-back weeks, MSU will be taking on two of the toughest schools in the country. State will then travel to Ole Miss for the annual Egg Bowl, and they will try to keep that trophy in Starkville for another year.
5. Ole Miss
Nov. 3 – @Georgia
Nov. 10 – Vanderbilt
Nov. 17 – @LSU
Nov. 24 – Miss State
Lastly, Ole Miss bears the burden of playing one of the toughest schedules all season, and the Rebs will finish out November possibly limping to the finish line. UM will be favored in none of their games in November. Road games at Georgia and LSU certainly don’t help the rebuilding of a ball club that has a new head coach. But home games against Vanderbilt and Mississippi State are manageable but will likely produce losses. Sure, Ole Miss wants to win all four of those games, but they’ll take a 1-3 month with a win against bitter rival State for the Egg Bowl.
Who do you think has the toughest road in November?