Ranking the 2014 SEC football strength of schedule

NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Alabama vs Georgia

SEC football is officially less than a month away. It’s going to be awesome.

Over the last few months, SDS has been breaking down and ranking the 2014 SEC football schedules. You can view all the schedule rankings below, as well as a breakdown for each and every team’s strength of schedule:

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

A few observations:

  • Three or four different levels exist in the SEC’s schedule ranking. Eleven through 14 is one tier, and five through 10 is the second one. One through three is the toughest tier, meaning you can justify Tennessee, Arkansas or Florida as having the ‘toughest’ schedule. It’s based on perception and based on projections of the upcoming season.
  • Tennessee has the SEC’s toughest non-conference schedule with Utah State, Arkansas State, Oklahoma and Chattanooga. We project Tennessee to have the conference’s toughest schedule, and after missing on three straight bowl games, Tennessee’s 2014 strength of schedule isn’t exactly welcoming.
  • The NCAA says Arkansas has the SEC’s toughest schedule based on the Hogs’ opponents winning .656 of their games last season. Tennessee is right behind them with opponents winning .652 percent of their games.
  • Of the top six projected contenders in 2014 (media consensus) – Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Missouri and South Carolina, Alabama has the most favorable schedule out of the six. Alabama’s opponents won just .473 percent of their games last season, the least of any SEC team. However, Alabama can’t control Florida going 4-8; they can’t control WVU tanking, and although it’s not a direct effect, they can’t really control Tennessee finishing under .500 the last three seasons.
  • I would contend that Auburn has the conference’s best overall football team, but the strength of schedule puts the Tigers in the top four. That’s the very reason why many have the Tide winning the West, and they get Auburn at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Auburn has both Georgia and Alabama on the road, along with playing South Carolina. That’s brutal.
  • Interestingly, Ole Miss and Mississippi State are rarely ‘up’ at the same time. One school is usually up and the other down, but this season is different. Both teams could play spoiler in the West, and one of the biggest things going for each team is their schedules. The Rebels have the SEC’s 10th toughest schedule, while Mississippi State has the 11th toughest schedule. Both teams are set up to make some serious noise this season.
  • Missouri will enter 2014 as a darkhorse once again, even after winning the division last season. And the schedule sets up perfectly for the Tigers. The Tigers get the SEC West’s two biggest rebuilding teams in Texas A&M and Arkansas. Mizzou is set up for success again.

Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

REFERENCES

COMMENTS

You must be logged in to post a comment. Please sign in or register

  • I understand why we come up with these list, but it’s all pretty useless. I haven’t gone back to look at last years preseason sched. rankings, but i’d be willing to bet they were way off. No one saw Mizzou, Auburn, or FL having the seasons they had.

    • Correct. it is fun banter but SoS is really not known until the season is over. I like looking at Sagarin’s rankings at the end of the season. I don’t know if he is the best but if not he is damn close and he has a good formula for breaking it down. Also like seeing how perception of a tough, or easy, schedule compares to what the numbers actually say once it is all said and done.

  • Bryant-Denny Stadium is often called Jordan-Hare West around these parts because of Auburn’s Winning Pct. there… WDE!

  • didn’t everyone consider Missouri schedule last year out of conference to be very weak? but then didn’t UCF go to a BCS bowl? I didn’t really look it up I’m just basing this on my poor memory. so if I’m wrong I’m wrong

    • I’m not sure I understand your question completely, but yeah, everyone did say how Mizzou’s Non-Con was “a joke,” (and then some went so far as to predict we’d only win 3 of 4 games) However, as for UCF — We didn’t play them last season. It was the year before… SC got them last year. – But their 2013 win total does help these strength of schedules that are based on last-years results… A tabulation that seems a bit off to me. I mean, if a team like Aub or Miz has success like last year, of course, the S.O.S is going to seem weak the next year – atleast IN conference — because each of their wins counts as a ‘loss’ on the s.o.s for the opposing teams. That skews those nmbers downward a bit, don’t you think?

  • Bama will prove again, that you don’t have to have the toughest schedule to win championships. Scheduling and a real head coach are some things Florida A.D. Fpley has to correct.

    • Let me school you on somerhing gator fan! Based on the Sagarin final end of season SOS rankings here are the average rankings over the 4 year period for the 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.season. I didn’t cherry pick I just chose the 4 season over which Alabama won their 3 National Championships, especially since some of you continue to insinuate that Bama wins championships because of their weak schedule. I think the end of season SOS rankings below kind of blow that theory out of the water!

      Strength of schedule will be a major deciding factor that the committee will use to determine the 4 teams that will be in the playoff.  

      LSU 11
      Aubu rn 12
      Alabama 13
      Arkansas 13
      Florida 16
      South Carolina 18
      Texas A&M 18
      Georgia 23
      Missouri 25
      Tennessee 25
      Ole Miss 27
      Miss St 27
      Vandy 33
      Kentucky 37

  • It’s going to be a good season. Hail State!

  • 4th? Really? We play 7 pre-season top 25’s, obviously counting not your strong suit with K-state. The two biggest contenders in the east and every team in the west. What more do you want?! Top that off with Georgia, Bama, what I believe will be a MUCH improved mississipi duo for both teams, and K-state all on the road. You can’t get any tougher than that.

  • Florida needs Alabama’s schedule. bama has proven that they can win championships without the toughest schedule. Florida should drop LSU and play the Hogs or ole Miss instead. Florida may win 7 games with this schedule. Not to bad for not having a real head coach.

  • State should get to 10 wins this season… Knock off Bama and LSU…. It’s possible…. Hail State!!!!