LSU Strength of Schedule: The SEC’s 8th toughest schedule

NCAA Football: Florida at Louisiana State

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

Faced with a bigger rebuilding season than in recent history, LSU has a middle-of-the-road strength of schedule. The Tigers play one legit non-conference opponent to open the season, along with the usual brutal SEC West slate, as well as the cross-divisional rivalry with Florida. LSU is one of the few teams in college football that can be wiped out by the NFL Draft and still be okay player personnel-wise to play a tough schedule.

LSU’s strength of schedule for 2014:

2014 LSU Tigers schedule

  • Aug. 30: vs. Wisconsin (Houston)
  • Sept. 6: Sam Houston State
  • Sept. 13: UL Monroe
  • Sept. 20: Mississippi State
  • Sept. 27: New Mexico State
  • Oct. 4: at Auburn
  • Oct. 11: at Florida
  • Oct. 18: Kentucky
  • Oct. 25: Ole Miss
  • Nov. 8: Alabama
  • Nov. 15: at Arkansas
  • Nov. 27: at Texas A&M

By the Numbers

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

Strength of Schedule Rank

  • SEC West: 3rd
  • SEC overall: 8th

Notes:

  • Cross-divisional opponents: Florida and Kentucky
  • Opponents winning %: 82-71 (.536)
  • Bye weeks: Before Alabama and Texas A&M
  • Biggest swing game: Auburn

LSU’s strength of schedule is always tough, having to compete in college football’s nastiest division and play Florida annually as part of the permanent cross-divisional rivalry. Little margin of error is what LSU is used to.

LSU also plays a legit non-conference opponent, and Wisconsin is one of the top non-conference opponents any SEC team will face all year. Along with the Badgers, LSU will play host Sam Houston State, UL Monroe and New Mexico State. The Wisconsin game is important on so many levels; the Badgers have one of the easiest schedules in the country, escaping Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State all in the regular season. College football needs LSU to beat Wisconsin to start the season.

The Tigers only play four real road games against Florida, Auburn, Arkansas and Texas A&M, and I would contend that Auburn is the Tigers’ biggest swing game. Auburn may be the preseason favorite, and a road game in Jordan-Hare is always brutal. Follow the Jordan-Hare road trip with a visit to The Swamp, and that’s nasty back-to-back road trips. LSU also closes 2014 with road trips to Arkansas and Texas A&M.

It’s a weak home schedule overall for the Tigers. Sam Houston State, UL Monroe, Mississippi State, New Mexico State, Ole Miss and Alabama all travel to Baton Rouge. Of course Ole Miss and Alabama will be great games, and their game against MSU could be more interesting than expected.

Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

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