SEC’s toughest August/September schedules

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SDS continues the 2013 SEC football schedule analysis with August and September’s five toughest schedules.

1. Georgia Bulldogs

Overall schedule Rank: #8
Non-conference rank: #3

  • Aug. 31 – at Clemson
  • Sept. 7 – South Carolina
  • Sept. 14 – Bye
  • Sept. 21 – North Texas
  • Sept. 28 – LSU

Georgia Buzz: The Bulldogs open with the SEC’s toughest schedule. It starts opening night against Clemson, followed by a visit from Steve Spurrier and South Carolina, who have had the Dawgs’ number the last two years. North Texas will be a sleepwalk, but Georgia hosts LSU to end September. That game could have massive implications and repercussions, especially five weeks into the season.

2. South Carolina Gamecocks

Overall schedule Rank: #10
Non-conference rank: #1

  • Aug. 29 – UNC
  • Sept. 7 – at Georgia
  • Sept. 14 – Vanderbilt
  • Sept. 21 – Bye
  • Sept. 28 – at UCF

Carolina Buzz: While South Carolina has a favorable schedule overall, the first five weeks will tell the story. Two legit out-of-conference opponents – UNC and UCF – come calling, including a road trip to Orlando to play a 2012 10-win UCF team. Georgia-South Carolina is always a thriller, while Vanderbilt usually gives the Gamecocks a strong performance.

3. LSU Tigers

Overall schedule Rank: #2
Non-conference rank: #4

  • Aug. 31 – vs. TCU
  • Sept. 7 – UAB
  • Sept. 14 – Kent State
  • Sept. 21 – Auburn
  • Sept. 28 – at Georgia

LSU Buzz: UAB will be a cakewalk, but Kent State is better than advertised. Two of the five toughest games are both away from Tiger Stadium. LSU opens with TCU in Arlington, while having to make a tough trip to Athens to take on a high-octane Bulldogs squad.

4. Tennessee Volunteers

Overall schedule Rank: #4
Non-conference rank: #8

  • Aug. 31 – Austin Peay
  • Sept. 7 – W. Kentucky
  • Sept. 14 – at Oregon
  • Sept. 21 – at Florida
  • Sept. 28 – South Alabama

Tennessee Buzz: The good news is Tennessee should start 3-2 in their first five, but road games in back-to-back weeks against Oregon and Florida will be nasty. We’ll know exactly who Tennessee is against Oregon, while Florida has won eight in a row against the Vols. Those two games alone make Tennessee’s early season schedule brutal.

5. Arkansas Razorbacks

Overall schedule Rank: #1
Non-conference rank: #6

  • Aug. 31 – UL-Lafayette
  • Sept. 7 – Samford
  • Sept. 14 – Southern Miss
  • Sept. 21 – at Rutgers
  • Sept. 28 – Texas A&M

Arkansas Buzz: Arkansas needs to start off 3-0, but ULL will be tougher than most think. Samford and Southern Miss will be wins, and a road game at Rutgers starts the real meat of the schedule. Following Rutgers, who will be 3-0, things get downright nasty starting the SEC slate against Texas A&M.

Photo Credit:  Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

REFERENCES

COMMENTS

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  • Ole Miss':
    Aug. 29th @ Vandy
    Sept. 7th SE Mizzou St.
    Sept. 14th @ Texas
    Sept. 28th @ Alabama

    3 of those 4 will start the year ranked, and all 3 of them will also be on the road. After Bama, the next three are @Auburn, A&M, & LSU in consecutive weeks. Thanks Mike Slive……

    • Why is it that everytime a team has a tough schedule, their fans think there’s someone out to “get them?” Or they believe that the other teams have never been handed tough schedules as well. I happen to live in Mississppi and I have the (mid)fortune of being caught in the middle of this state’s rivalry, and I’ve settled on a few beliefs. Both fanbases don’t expect to ever win a national championship. Both fanbases love to discredit their rivals to the point that it becomes annoying (reality check: both schools are full of students from the same towns and social levels). Anyway, UGA’s 1st month of football is brutal.

      • You make assumptions in this post that are as inaccurate as your Ole Miss team preview on your substandard website. You really should do some research before you write an article on a team that don’t seem to know much about. You want to know what is also annoying? Alabama bandwagon fans that couldn’t point out Tuscaloosa on a map. As for your beliefs on Mississippi, while I can’t speak for State fans, as an Ole Miss fan I would love to & believe we can eventually win a National Championship. I believe that speaks to all of your above, unwarranted criticisms of Mississippi & their 2 SEC schools.

        • I’m sure Ole Miss would have plenty of bandwagon fans if they ever won a few national championships. I can’t control that folks flock to whatever is trending in any sport. Ole Miss has a tough road this year, and what’s worse, is that there success will mostly depend on Bo Wallace. And to go further, Ole Miss needs to do well this year in order to be able to follow up on another surprising recruiting class. I just don’t see them being a contender this year.

    • Gotta agree with this..how is Ole iss not on this list. 2nd hardest 3 games right there. behind uga

  • Notice that Bama is not on this list! Wonder why they are sitting at the top…can you say “creampuff”?

    • I’m sure Alabama knew that Virginia Tech would be down when they scheduled the game a few years ago. Alabama also plays at Texas A&M in the third week of the season. Granted, Alabama does have a favorable schedule, but that doesn’t mean there is some conspiracy to make it as such. Alabama has had their fair share of brutal schedules. And UGA has had their fair share easy schedules. Get over it. And “creampuffs?” Didn’t UGA open up with Buffalo last year? And didn’t they get their ugly uniforms spanked the year before against the biggest of creampuffs, Boise State? And the opener in 2010 was against UL Lafayette. Every SEC team schedules these creampuffs, but at least Sabam is am advocating an end to that. Alabama’s next 3 season openers – West Virginia, Wisconsin, Michigan State.

  • I’m moving to Iran if UGA loses to Clemson. They’ll be talking about it for the next thousand years and I can’t take that

  • Ole Miss HAS to be at least 2nd on this list. AT Vandy, AT Texas, and AT Bama. I’m not complaining. To the be the best you gotta beat the best. I say play whoever is on your schedule and let your record stand for itself. Give credit where its due though, thats a brutal start to a loongg year in the SEC. Georgia is the only team with a tougher start and at least 2 of their 3 toughest are at home.

  • I understand this column is about August/September schedules, not overall, but no UK? They have the toughest schedule in the country and their first five games are WKU (7 win bowl team last year), Miami (OH), Louisville, Florida, and USC. I’ll give UGA the #1 spot, but there is no way USC or LSU’s early schedule is tougher than UK’s. Ole Miss’ schedule also is tougher. I think you need to take another look and repost the article.

    • Actually, the South Carolina game falls in October for Kentucky in week six. There’s a bye week sandwiched in between Louisville and Florida. There were 7-8 schedules that could be deemed toughest. Finding the top five is no easy task.

    • Love Kentucky fans using the excuse of ‘the toughest schedule in the country’. They don’t even have the toughest sked in the SEC. LSU and Arky both have much more difficult schedules than the Cats.
      UK legit games: Louisville, Florida, SC, Bama, UGA
      LSU legit games: TCU, UGA, Florida, Alabama, Texas A&M
      Arky legit games: Rutgers, Texas A&M, Florida, SC, @Bama, @LSU
      You tell me which of the three schedules you would rather play…

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