LSU Strength of Schedule: The SEC’s 2nd toughest schedule

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SDS takes a trip around the SEC and ranks the schedule strength of all 14 SEC teams. We’ll work our way down to the toughest schedule in the SEC. Next up is LSU.

Previous Schedule Rankings:

LSU has the toughest strength of schedule for any SEC national championship contender. When you look at the big six teams – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina and Texas A&M, the Tigers have the most unforgiving conference slate. In 2013, LSU’s strength of schedule ranks No. 2 in the SEC.

2013 LSU Tigers Schedule

  • Aug. 31 – vs TCU
  • Sept. 7 – UAB
  • Sept. 14 – Kent State
  • Sept. 21 – Auburn
  • Sept. 28 – at Georgia
  • Oct. 5 – at Mississippi State
  • Oct. 12 – Florida
  • Oct. 19 – at Ole Miss
  • Oct. 26 – Furman
  • Nov. 9 – at Alabama
  • Nov. 23 – Texas A&M
  • Nov. 29 – Arkansas

By The Numbers

  • 7 Home Games
  • 4 Road Games
  • 1 Neutral Site (TCU)
  • 3 Cupcakes
  • 5 Preseason top 25 projected opponents (TCU, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Texas A&M)

Strength of Schedule Rank

  • SEC West: 2nd
  • SEC: 2nd

Notes

  • Cross-divisional opponents: Georgia and Florida
  • Opponents winning percentage in 2012: 93-61 (60.3%)
  • Bye weeks: Before Alabama and Texas A&M

If the personnel losses on defense aren’t enough to make LSU fans sweat, the Tigers truly have one of the nation’s toughest strength of schedules in 2013. It’s downright unyielding week after week once conference play starts.

In addition to the tough conference slate, TCU comes calling week one in Arlington, Texas. TCU’s best defensive player is suspended, and Zach Mettenberger is sleeping better since that announcement. Outside of TCU, the non-conference slate features three cupcakes in UAB, Kent State and Furman.

That noise you’ve heard over the last several weeks – and even months – is Les Miles buzzing about his nasty cross-divisional opponents. He’s tired of playing Florida, and this year, the Tigers draw Georgia as well, two national championship contenders. The Bulldogs and Gators finished 2012 a combined 23-4, and this year both are projected to be just as good. That’s just brutal, and we haven’t even started discussing the normal SEC West slate yet.

Of the Tigers four toughest games against Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Texas A&M, two are on the road and two are in Tiger Stadium. Road trips to Georgia and Alabama will test the will of Les Miles’ team, while home games against Florida and Texas A&M will be just as tough.

If it’s any consolation, LSU received bye weeks before Alabama and Texas A&M, and adding an extra week to rest and prepare for both teams will be crucial down the stretch.

Let’s not forget that Auburn, Ole Miss and Arkansas should all improve this season, and the Tigers, Rebels and Hogs all played LSU very tough in ‘12. LSU won all three games by an average of just five points.

LSU may not reach the elite status they’re used to in 2013, and adding in the tough strength of schedule, it’s not out of the question that LSU wins eight games this season.

Be on the lookout for the rest of this series as we break down every schedule in the SEC for the 2013 season.

Photo Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

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