Alabama Strength of Schedule: The SEC’s 12th toughest schedule

NCAA Football: Alabama-Spring Game

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.

2014 SEC Strength of Schedule Rankings:

How the NCAA ranks the SEC’s 2014 strength of schedule
#1: Tennessee strength of schedule
#2: Arkansas strength of schedule
#3: Florida strength of schedule
#4: Auburn strength of schedule
#5: Kentucky strength of schedule
#6: South Carolina strength of schedule
#7: Georgia strength of schedule
#8: LSU strength of schedule
#9: Texas A&M strength of schedule
#10: Ole Miss strength of schedule
#11: Mississippi State strength of schedule
#12: Alabama strength of schedule
#13: Missouri strength of schedule
#14: Vanderbilt strength of schedule

Playing in college football’s toughest division, Alabama once again has one of the league’s most favorable schedules. Yes, Alabama can’t play Alabama, and that’s why many perceive the Tide to have another schedule set up for a championship run.

Alabama strength of schedule for 2014:

2014 Alabama Crimson Tide schedule

  • Aug. 30: vs. West Virginia (Atlanta)
  • Sept. 6: FAU
  • Sept. 13: Southern Miss
  • Sept. 20: Florida
  • Oct. 4: at Ole Miss
  • Oct. 11: at Arkansas
  • Oct. 18: Texas A&M
  • Oct. 25: at Tennessee
  • Nov. 8: at LSU
  • Nov. 15: Mississippi State
  • Nov. 22: Western Carolina
  • Nov. 29: Auburn

By The Numbers

  • 7 home games
  • 4 away games
  • 1 neutral site game
  • 1 power non-conference game (West Virginia)
  • 4 projected preseason top 25 teams (Ole Miss, Texas A&M, LSU, Auburn)

Strength of Schedule Rank

  • SEC West: 7th
  • SEC overall: 12th

Notes:

  • Cross divisional opponents: Florida and Tennessee
  • Opponents winning %: 71-79 (.473 %)
  • Bye weeks: Before Ole Miss and LSU
  • Biggest swing game: Auburn

Alabama possesses the SEC’s only schedule where opponents won less than 50 percent of last year’s games. The NCAA’s strength of schedule is impacted of course by West Virginia’s and Florida’s 4-8 seasons, as well as Tennessee’s 5-7 season. The Crimson Tide scheduled WVU when the program looked like it was ready to take off, and the Gators should have a much better team than last year. So, don’t read too much into the under .500 opponents’ winning percentage.

For Alabama’s schedule to be perceived as stronger, Tennessee has got to get better. The Vols have whiffed bowl games three straight years, and LSU wouldn’t be complaining about permanent cross-divisional rivalries had Tennessee not struggled as much over the last several years.

Alabama should hammer their non-conference opponents in 2014. The combined record last year of all four teams was 13-35 (.271). That’s good for worst in the SEC, by a sizeable margin. West Virginia, FAU, Southern Miss and Western Carolina may not cause the Tide to break a sweat.

Home games featuring Florida, Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Auburn will be electric, but road games against Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU could be difficult. The Rebels and Tigers should provide the toughest games, as Arkansas and Tennessee are rebuilding their clubs.

Alabama’s strength of schedule is again ideal for making another championship run. While Auburn could be the best team in the division, Alabama has the division’s most favorable schedule with a loaded roster returning. That could be enough to make Alabama the favorite in the SEC again. The Tide play no ranked teams in back-to-back weeks and draw byes before tougher road games against Ole Miss and LSU.

Photo Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

REFERENCES

COMMENTS

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  • Just praying for them hogs to make a stand and send ole bama back with their tail between the legs…

  • This right here says that “12th strongest schedule” is bogus: Not the key word “at” in the listings…

    Oct. 11: at Arkansas
    Oct. 18: Texas A&M
    Oct. 25: at Tennessee
    Nov. 8: at LSU

  • Surprise! Alabama has one of the easiest schedules…again. Yeah, Tennessee has struggled, along with Florida and WVU, but once again the schedule automatically makes Alabama the favorite.

  • Here we go again! Preseason strength of schedule rankings are bogus! How can you really determine a schedules strength until the schedule has actually been played. Imagine having Missouri or Auburn on your schedule at the beginning of last season. Seems to me a more realistic evaluation of true SOS could only be determined at the end of the season. Makes sense to me!

    Based on the Sagarin final end of season SOS rankings here are the average rankings over the 4 year period for the 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.season. I didn’t cherry pick I just chose the 4 season over which Alabama won their 3 National Championships, especially since some of you continue to insinuate that Bama wins championships because of their weak schedule. I think the end of season SOS rankings below kind of blow that theory out of the water!

    Strength of schedule will be a major deciding factor that the committee will use to determine the 4 teams that will be in the playoff.

    LSU 11
    Aubu rn 12
    Alabama 13
    Arkansas 13
    Florida 16
    South Carolina 18
    Texas A&M 18
    Georgia 23
    Missouri 25
    Tennessee 25
    Ole Miss 27
    Miss St 27
    Vandy 33
    Kentucky 37

    I just realized that not only does Tennessee suck but so does their SOS

    Tennessee and Georgia, you might not want to see this! According to ESPN here’s a look at how all 14 teams in the SEC have fared in the last five seasons against top 25 teams in the final BCS standings:
    Alabama: 16-6 (.727)
    LSU: 14-11 (.560)
    Auburn: 13-13 (.500)
    South Carolina: 10-10 (.500)
    Arkansas: 7-17 (.292)
    Missouri: 5-14 (.263)
    Georgia: 6-17 (.261)
    Florida: 6-18 (.250)
    Texas A&M: 5-17 (.227)
    Ole Miss: 3-20 (.130)
    Vanderbilt: 1-15 (.063)
    Kentucky: 1-16 (.059)
    Tennessee: 1-21 (.045)
    Mississippi State 0-24 (.000)

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sec/post/_/id/76370/sizing-up-the-sec-resumes

  • That figures they are the sec’s favorites every year with the easiest schedule.