Which SEC non-bowl teams will rejoin the postseason party next season?

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After a rollercoaster and wild 2013 season, 10 SEC teams went bowling. Four – Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee – were left at home watching everyone else go bowling. Tennessee fell just short with five wins, and they had their opportunity to notch a bowl berth by beating both Vanderbilt and Kentucky. It didn’t happen.

Kentucky won just two games; Arkansas won three and went 0-8 in the SEC; Florida won just four games and lost their last seven.

RELATED: SEC’s complete 2014 schedule

Which of the four will bounce back and join the postseason party in 2014?

Arkansas Razorbacks

Aug. 30 – at Auburn
Sept. 6 – NICHOLLS STATE
Sept. 13 – at Texas Tech
Sept. 20 – NORTHERN ILLINOIS
Sept. 27 – vs. Texas A&M (Dallas)
Oct. 11 – ALABAMA
Oct. 18 – GEORGIA
Oct. 25 – UAB
Nov. 1 – at Mississippi State
Nov. 15 – LSU
Nov. 22 – OLE MISS
Nov. 29 – at Missouri

Buzz: Much like 2013, Bret Bielema and Arkansas have just a brutal schedule. The non-conference opponents are Nicholls State, Texas Tech, Northern Illinois and UAB. Nicholls State and UAB will be wins, but Texas Tech will be a heavy favorite, and Northern Illinois has comparable athletes. Then, you add the SEC West’s usual suspects and Missouri and Georgia from the East, and you once again have a top five toughest schedule in the country. Arkansas also loses DE Chris Smith, DT Robert Thomas and DT Bryan Jones on the most SEC-ready aspect of the team along the defensive line.

Will they go bowling? No. Too many questions personnel-wise, and that’s too tough a schedule for me to get to six wins in 2014.

RELATED: SEC coaching changes and rumors update

Florida Gators

Aug 30: IDAHO
Sep 6: EASTERN MICHIGAN
Sep 13: KENTUCKY
Sep 20: at Alabama
Oct 4: at Tennessee
Oct 11: LSU
Oct 18: MISSOURI
Nov 1: vs Georgia
Nov 8: at Vanderbilt
Nov 15: SOUTH CAROLINA
Nov 22: EASTERN KENTUCKY
Nov 29: at Florida State

Buzz: Florida has one of the toughest schedules in the country year after year, and 2014’s is also brutal. The Gators will beat Idaho, Eastern Michigan, Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky, but the rest of them are toss-ups. Florida keeps LSU in the SEC West, and it adds a road game at Alabama as the rotation. Teams like Tennessee and Vanderbilt are also toss-ups, and the Gators will likely be underdogs against Alabama, LSU, Missouri, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida State. Aside from the schedule, Florida has to fix the offense, and we know the Gators will have a strong defense.

Will they go bowling? Yes. But Florida should only get six or seven wins. Eight or nine wins and Florida had a great season and big turnaround. Does eight wins keep Will Muschamp around? Jeremy Foley will have a tough decision to make next season.

Kentucky Wildcats

Aug 30: UT MARTIN SKYHAWKS
Sept. 6 – OHIO BOBCATS
Sept. 13 – at Florida
Sept. 27 – VANDERBILT
Oct. 4 – SOUTH CAROLINA
Oct. 11 – ULM WARHAWKS
Oct. 18 – at LSU
Oct. 25 – MISSISSIPPI STATE
Nov. 1 – at Missouri
Nov. 8 – GEORGIA
Nov. 15 – at Tennessee
Nov. 29: at Louisville

Buzz: Mark Stoops encountered many problems, but the majority revolved in the passing game. Neither Jalen Whitlow nor Max Smith were consistent enough to lead the Wildcats to run their desired Air Raid, and incoming freshman Drew Barker may be that answer. There are roster deficiencies at several positions, but the schedule is much more manageable next season. The Cats should win three of four non-conference games, but they drop Alabama for LSU, which isn’t much different. Getting six wins would be one of the best coaching jobs in college football.

Will they go bowling? No. There are too many questions on both sides of the ball to think six wins will be obtained. Do I think the win/loss record improves? You can’t go much worse than 2-10, but four to five wins are obtainable. Six wins, and Stoops has done a fabulous job.

Tennessee Volunteers

Aug. 30: UTAH STATE
Sept. 6: ARKANSAS STATE
Sept. 13 at Oklahoma
Sept. 27 at Georgia
Oct. 4 FLORIDA
Oct. 11 CHATTANOOGA
Oct. 18 at Ole Miss
Oct. 25 ALABAMA
Nov. 1 at South Carolina
Nov. 15 KENTUCKY
Nov. 22 MISSOURI
Nov. 29 at Vanderbilt

Buzz: Tennessee is coming off one of the toughest schedules in college football, and they still should have made a bowl game. Replacing Rajion Neal and the entire offensive line could prove more difficult than anyone expects, but Butch Jones is recruiting lights out in order to make that happen. With another offseason, the defense should improve upon the foundation already laid. Non-conference games against Utah State, Arkansas State and Oklahoma are brutal, and there’s really only one game the Vols can show up and win: Chattanooga. Georgia, Florida, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Missouri are all toss-up games, but it’s hard to perceive Tennessee as favorites in any of those games except maybe Florida. It’s another tough, tough schedule for Tennessee in 2014.

Will they go bowling? Yes. Although much like entering 2013, the Vols will enter 2014 with their strength gone. They lose starters on the offensive line and their most productive offensive player in Rajion Neal, but Jones is inserting a splurge of talent, and his track record screams success in his second season. The SEC East parity will be enough to help the Vols get six wins.

Photo Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

COMMENTS

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  • L – Aug. 30 – at Auburn
    W – Sept. 6 – NICHOLLS STATE
    L – Sept. 13 – at Texas Tech
    W – Sept. 20 – NORTHERN ILLINOIS
    W – Sept. 27 – vs. Texas A&M (Dallas)
    L – Oct. 11 – ALABAMA
    W – Oct. 18 – GEORGIA
    W – Oct. 25 – UAB
    W – Nov. 1 – at Mississippi State
    L – Nov. 15 – LSU
    W – Nov. 22 – OLE MISS
    L – Nov. 29 – at Missouri

    Arkansas wins at least 6 games next season.

    W – Aug 30: IDAHO
    W – Sep 6: EASTERN MICHIGAN
    W – Sep 13: KENTUCKY
    L – Sep 20: at Alabama
    W – Oct 4: at Tennessee
    L – Oct 11: LSU
    L – Oct 18: MISSOURI
    W – Nov 1: vs Georgia
    W – Nov 8: at Vanderbilt
    L – Nov 15: SOUTH CAROLINA
    W – Nov 22: EASTERN KENTUCKY
    L – Nov 29: at Florida State

    Florida wins at least 6 games next season.

    W – Aug 30: UT MARTIN SKYHAWKS
    L – Sept. 6 – OHIO BOBCATS
    L – Sept. 13 – at Florida
    L – Sept. 27 – VANDERBILT
    L – Oct. 4 – SOUTH CAROLINA
    W – Oct. 11 – ULM WARHAWKS
    L – Oct. 18 – at LSU
    L – Oct. 25 – MISSISSIPPI STATE
    L – Nov. 1 – at Missouri
    L – Nov. 8 – GEORGIA
    L – Nov. 15 – at Tennessee
    L – Nov. 29: at Louisville

    Kentucky does not win 6 games next season.

    W – Aug. 30: UTAH STATE
    L – Sept. 6: ARKANSAS STATE
    L – Sept. 13 at Oklahoma
    L – Sept. 27 at Georgia
    L – Oct. 4 FLORIDA
    W – Oct. 11 CHATTANOOGA
    L – Oct. 18 at Ole Miss
    L – Oct. 25 ALABAMA
    L – Nov. 1 at South Carolina
    W – Nov. 15 KENTUCKY
    L – Nov. 22 MISSOURI
    L – Nov. 29 at Vanderbilt

    Tennessee does not win 6 games next season.

    • I cant see Arkansas beating Georgia, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas A&M or even maybe Northern Illinois. Florida looks pretty good except Georgia. I dont feel that the offense will be there. Kentucky looks about right but i think they can pull out a win against Ohio. Tennessee i really disagree, I feel like next year they will have a solid football team. They will beat Arkansas State, give Georgia a hard time, beat Florida, and Vandy. Go Dawgs!

      • Being that you’re a Georgia fan I can’t argue with your opinion about Arkansas beating them. Mississippi is a solid team and I had a hard time picking Arkansas to win, but at this way too early point I am. Mississippi State needed overtime to beat Arkansas this season. Texas AM probably will not be close to the team they have been the past couple of seasons. And if I am correct, Arkansas is undefeated in Arlington against Texas AM. And no one thought Auburn would do what they’ve done this season after the horrid season they had in 2012. I think Kentucky could beat Ohio, but in typical Kentucky fashion they always lose a game even they probably shouldn’t. Maybe I’m completely wrong about Tennessee, but I’d love to see it if I am.

    • I’m sorry Corey, but unless Georgia has more injuries than they did this year, Arkansas & Florida will NOT beat them!

      • Being that you’re a Georgia fan I can’t argue your opinion, but let me ask you, at the end of 2012 did you look at the Georgia schedule and predict Georgia to beat Auburn this season by at least 2 touchdowns? Who saw Auburn coming this year? I didn’t.

        • Corey, you’re suggesting that Arkansas can have the miracle comeback that both Mizzou and Auburn were fortunate to have. Indeed, it will take a miracle like that for a team like Arkansas to beat Georgia.

      • Crack. Funny. And no, I’m not suggesting Arkansas will win the West next season. But to say an underwhelming team can’t beat a team that has a tendency to fall apart nearing a close game is ridiculous. That’s why they play the game on the field. I’m not saying it will happen, I’m simply saying upsets happen and I’m predicting an upset. Tell me I’m wrong when I’m actually wrong.

    • I doubt Tennessee is going to lose 9 games in 2014. Tennessee and Ohio State are the only two teams in FBS to never lose 8+ games in a season. They were only one win away from a bowl game this year. Considering the level of talent that has been brought in by Butch Jones in this year’s recruiting class it seems very probable that they can win at least 6 games next year.

  • Good break down of Florida. They should win 5 with a couple coin flips. They always have a chance for a upset. It all depends on if Muschamp has learned how to be a head coach.