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

COMMENTS

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  • That is a brutal schedule, especially that 7 game stretch over a 8 week period. I am happy UGA does not have that schedule.

  • Florida could easily lose 5 games, That leaves Miz, UT, Vandy as toss ups and 3 gimmes, that are still not at all easy wins. Foley and Muschamp have, already set the gators back 5 years. Now Muschamp calls a redo and abandons his failed defense fist philosophy. I would hate to lose Muschamp on defense, but I hope he will give the Gators a chance to win, by staying away from the offense.
    Foley needs to get a grip on scheduling. ‘Bama has won championships and titles with far less tougher schedules. Don’t schedule Miami, there is no upside for Florida. Schedule in state game with UCF or South Fla. Foley, I love my Gator and can’t stand to watch them lose. With Foley’s scheduling and hiring, the Gators are more likely to lose than win. Replacing high payout games to losing seasons are not going to put fans in the seat. winning fills seats, winning fills the coffer

  • I bet Muschamp won’t be so excited about Floridas tougher schedule while looking for a new job

  • Sorry but you got the Top 2 wrong, Jon… Any other SEC teams play the defending Nat’l Champs (& Heisman Trophy winner) along with Alabama & LSU? Didn’t think so… UF has the toughest slate in the SEC (again.).

    • Yeah, it seems like the weighting is off on whatever formula they’re using. Take away the common opponents and you have Florida playing at Florida State, LSU, and Idaho/Eastern Mich/ East Kentucky where Tennessee has at Oklahoma, at Ole Miss, and Utah State/Arkansas state/Chattanooga. Tennessee is at Ga and at SC, where our Ga game is neutral site, but we travel to Tuscaloosa. I think Florida State and LSU, should trumps Oklahoma and Ole Miss by a huge margin which shouldn’t be made up for by the schedules of three lesser non-conference games. Also, Florida is travelling to Tennessee. I can’t see how Tennessee’s schedule is tougher?

      • FSU and LSU should trump OU and Ole Miss by a HUGE margin? Ole Miss beat LSU last year, and the Tigers are rebuilding this year. OU beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and are a favorite for the CFB Playoff. FSU is tough game, especially on the road…no doubt about it. But a huge margin is a stretch. Ole Miss has one of the most talented rosters in CFB.

        • Yes, Jon… FSU & LSU should trump Ole Miss & OU every time. When’s the last time OU or Ole Miss played for a champsionship of any kind? LSU & FSU do it almost routinely (conference or Nat’l)… Fact of the matter is, until UF drops FSU from the schedule (which will never happen), which is essentially another SEC game for them or the cross-divisional game with LSU game goes away, the Gators will ALWAYS have the toughest slate in the SEC. There’s a reason Florida, in their history, have never finished a season undefeated… Their schedule won’t let them. The one thing you did get right… You won’t ever hear the Florida brass complaining about it.

        • I actually disagree with you Hartlrs… yeah it’s a tough schedule but I actually think Arkansas’ is tougher than everyone’s. I’d go Arkansas tougher than Tennessee tougher than Florida. Alabama LSU and FSU are tough. However, THIS is the year to catch Bama and LSU, as both are rebuilding. UT has OU, Alabama Ole Miss, plus road games AT Georgia and South Carolina. Also, Vols’ non-cons are toughest in the SEC.

        • We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one MADGators. I think anytime you have to play an in-state rivalry game as UF does every year with FSU, as opposed to one-off game such as UT/OU, it makes for a tougher road. I think four teams in the SEC (UF, SC, UGA & UK) are at disadvantage every year when it comes to scheduling, these teams are the only ones that play in-state out-of-conference rivals, home & home every year (FSU, Clemson, GT, Louisville). That’s just like playing an extra SEC game each year. Add LSU as a cross-divisional rival & Bama this year to that for Florida & they have the toughest road once again. Florida will play the last 3 out of 4 schools to win NC’s this year (FSU, Bama & LSU). Funny thing is, the one out of those four they miss this year is historically their biggest rival… Auburn.

        • All right, “huge” margin is a stretch. But there’s still no doubt that FSU is a tougher matchup than OU, and LSU is at least projected to be better than Ole Miss despite last year’s head-to-head match up (not sure how most pre-season rankings have them). My argument is that besides those games, there’s minimal difference in the rest of UF’s and UT’s schedules, . .but I might agree with MADGators that Arkansas has it worse. I definitely agree with your last statement that all three have it pretty rough!

    • @hartlrs You can justify ranking the top three schedules any way you want. The top three — Florida, Arkansas and Tennessee — can be supported and justified accordingly.

  • Oh yes, agent Muschamp is doing one helluva job for us down in Gainesville. Keep up the good work Dawg