Which SEC schools have the easiest non-conference schedules for 2014?
I would consider six SEC teams favorites for 2014 – Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Missouri and South Carolina, and only one of the six has one of the five easiest non-conference schedule – Alabama. Yes, the Tide have an unimpressive opponents’ winning percentage of .271, the lowest in the SEC.
Related: 2014 SEC Strength of Schedule
Here’s a glance at the SEC’s easiest non-conference schedules for 2014:
1. Vanderbilt Commodores
Teams: Temple, UMass, Charleston Southern, Old Dominion
Opponents winning percentage: .429 (21-28)
Buzz: This is as easy as it gets for SEC teams. All four were combined to fall under .500 winning percentage during the 2013 season. All four should be Ws for the Commodores’ new coaching staff.
2. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Teams: Southern Miss, UAB, at South Alabama, UT Martin
Opponents winning percentage: .333 (16-32)
Buzz: This will be the year MSU capitalizes on a much more favorable schedule than years past. The combined winning percentage during 2013 was .333, which is the second-worst non-conference percentage any team plays in 2014.
3. Alabama Crimson Tide
Teams: West Virginia (Atlanta), FAU, Southern Miss, Western Carolina
Opponents winning percentage: .271 (13-35)
Buzz: Alabama did schedule WVU when things were looking up for the Mountaineers’ program, but overall, this is a really weak slate entering 2014. FAU, Southern Miss and Western Carolina? We’ll see how much a weak non-conference slate affects Alabama in the selection committee’s eyes should it come to that.
4. Texas A&M Aggies
Teams: Lamar, Rice, at SMU, Louisiana-Monroe
Opponents winning percentage: .520 (26-24)
Buzz: The Aggies have the only winning percentage above .500 in non-conference foes. Overall, it’s pretty weak, however, Rice had a nice 10-win season and Louisiana-Monroe is an SEC killer. Texas A&M should still finish 4-0.
5. Florida Gators
Teams: Idaho, Eastern Michigan, Eastern Kentucky, Florida State
Opponents winning percentage: .380 (19-31)
Buzz: Thankfully, Georgia Southern isn’t on the schedule in 2014. Of the 19 total wins by these four teams in 2013, FSU won 14 of them. That’s three gimmies for the Gators, and we’ll see what kind of fight they give FSU at Doak Campbell Stadium.
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