Missouri Strength of Schedule: The SEC’s second easiest schedule in 2014

NCAA Football: Florida at Missouri

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

Fresh off 2013’s electrifying turnaround that saw the Tigers surpass preseason expectations, Missouri has one of the SEC’s most favorable schedules in 2014. In years where teams have favorable slates, they have to take advantage of it. Gary Pinkel is looking to do just that, and he returns key offensive pieces and a talented front four on defense to have another 12-win season.

Missouri’s strength of schedule for 2014:

2014 Missouri Tigers schedule

  • Aug. 30: South Dakota State
  • Sept. 6: at Toledo
  • Sept. 13: UCF
  • Sept. 20: Indiana
  • Sept. 27: at South Carolina
  • Oct. 11: Georgia
  • Oct. 18: at Florida
  • Oct. 25: Vanderbilt
  • Nov. 1: Kentucky
  • Nov. 15: at Texas A&M
  • Nov. 22: at Tennessee
  • Nov. 29: Arkansas

By The Numbers

  • 7 home games
  • 5 away games
  • 1 power non-conference game (Indiana)
  • 3 projected preseason top 25 teams (South Carolina, Georgia, Texas A&M)

Strength of Schedule Rank

  • SEC East: 6th
  • SEC overall: 13th

Notes:

  • Cross divisional opponents: Texas A&M and Arkansas
  • Opponents winning %: 84-67 (55.6 %)
  • Bye weeks: Before Georgia and Texas A&M
  • Biggest swing game: Texas A&M

The Missouri strength of schedule is impacted by a couple different factors. Arkansas becomes the new cross-divisional rivalry, but they do retain the previous cross-divisional opponent Texas A&M from the last couple years. Arkansas and Texas A&M are two of the biggest rebuilding teams in the SEC. That works to Mizzou’s advantage.

Missouri faces one Big 5 conference opponent in the Big Ten’s Indiana, and the Tigers host AAC and Fiesta Bowl winner UCF. South Dakota State comes to Columbia, while Gary Pinkel returns to Toledo, where he coached from 1991-2000. Missouri’s non-conference opponents won over 64 percent of their games in 2013, but the Tigers should win all four.

The Tigers don’t face any brutal four-game stretches, but playing Georgia, Florida and Vanderbilt in a three-week span could be challenging in October. The first bye week sandwiches South Carolina and Georgia and the second Kentucky and Texas A&M. Tough road games at South Carolina, Florida, Texas A&M and Tennessee will be interesting and are spread throughout the schedule.

Last year, Missouri faced seven different ranked opponents at the time the Tigers played them, including Georgia, Florida and Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl. No doubt some breaks were caught with other teams suffering injuries, but championship teams have to take advantage of them, and Mizzou did just that. The Tigers were one overtime loss away against South Carolina from having an undefeated regular season.

Missouri’s 2014 strength of schedule is ideal for making another championship run; obviously, that depends on how the team gels and how key pieces are replaced as to the season’s ultimate prize. The schedule alone should help Missouri be a favorite in 2014.

Photo Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

COMMENTS

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  • South Dakota State is probably not going to wind up in a big bowl. All the other non-conference opponents could easily be ranked top 25 next year. The SEC East is going to be the best conference division in the NCAA next year. Ranking Missouri 13th just seems way to low when looking at the list of non-conf. opponents SEC teams have 2014 below.

    • weaker non-conf set of opponents than Mizzou: Florida Atlantic+West Caro, Nichols State+UAB, SanHose+Samford, E.Kentucky+E.Mich.+Idaho, Troy+Charleston Southern, Sam Houston+New Mexico State, UAB+Souther AL+UTMartin, Memphis+Presbyterian, EastCaro+Furman+South AL, Utah State+Ark-State+ Chattanooga, Temple+UMass+Charleston South+Old Dom. In my admittedly biased opinion, you can match these opponents up with Missouri’s non-conference schedule in order of strength and Missouri opponents would win every one of these games. One opponent better than Missouri #2 Toledo does not make you whole non-conference schedule better than Missouri’s schedule for example