Florida Strength of Schedule: The SEC’s 3rd 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.

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

Florida kicks off the SEC’s three toughest strength of schedules. Rebounding from a 4-8 forgettable season won’t be easy with Florida’s brutal slate. Along with facing the tough SEC East and the defending national champion Florida State, the Gators face both LSU and Alabama in the SEC West.

Florida strength of schedule for 2014:

2014 Florida Gators’ schedule

  • Aug. 30: Idaho
  • Sept. 6: Eastern Michigan
  • Sept. 13: Kentucky
  • Sept. 20: at Alabama
  • Oct. 4: at Tennessee
  • Oct. 11: LSU
  • Oct. 18: Missouri
  • Nov. 1: vs. Georgia (Jacksonville)
  • Nov. 8: at Vanderbilt
  • Nov. 15: South Carolina
  • Nov. 22: Eastern Kentucky
  • Nov. 29: at Florida State

By the Numbers

  • 7 home games
  • 4 away games
  • 1 neutral site game
  • 1 power non-conference game
  • 6 projected preseason top 25 teams (Alabama, LSU, Missouri, Georgia, South Carolina, FSU)

Strength of Schedule Rank

  • SEC East: 2nd
  • SEC overall: 3rd

Notes:

  • Cross-divisional opponents: Alabama and LSU
  • Opponents winning %: 87-66 (.569)
  • Bye weeks: Before Tennessee and Georgia
  • Biggest swing game: Georgia

This isn’t the kind of strength of schedule a 4-8 team wants to face in 2014, and the Gators always have one of college football’s toughest schedules.

Florida’s non-conference schedule should allow three relatively easy wins against Idaho, Eastern Michigan and Eastern Kentucky, assuming a Georgia Southern scenario doesn’t happen, but the annual bout against the defending national champion FSU adds to the strength of schedule.

The Gators play just one back-to-back road game series against Alabama and Tennessee, sandwiched between a bye week. Bye weeks fall before Tennessee and Georgia, two crucial SEC East games. Interestingly, the Florida-Tennessee game moves to an October matchup, after previously being a September fixture. Could this be the year Tennessee breaks their nine-game Gator losing streak?

Along with the regular SEC East division games against championship contenders Georgia, South Carolina and Missouri, the Gators get the annual match against LSU and draw rotating opponent Alabama, two of the toughest SEC West teams during the BCS era. Alabama is projected by most to win the SEC and be a favorite for the College Football Playoff, and LSU is once again loaded. The Gators play the toughest cross-division schedule of any SEC East team.

The Gators face a nasty seven-game stretch starting with Alabama and ending against South Carolina. Between the bookends, LSU, Missouri, Georgia and Vanderbilt will give the Gators all they want. All four beat Florida last season, and Alabama and Vanderbilt are the two true road games.

Although Florida plays one of college football’s toughest strength of schedules, you’ll never hear Will Muschamp or Jeremy Foley crying about it. In fact, they welcome the challenge.

Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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