Which SEC schools have the toughest non-conference schedules for 2014?
I would consider six SEC teams favorites for 2014 – Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Missouri and South Carolina, and three of the six have three of the top five toughest non-conference schedules for 2014. The SEC is usually hammered for its lack of non-conference strength, and we’ll see what type of effect it has during the coming playoff era.
Here’s a glance at the SEC’s toughest non-conference schedules for 2014, and they’re all East division teams:
1. Tennessee Volunteers
Teams: Utah State, Arkansas State, at Oklahoma, Chattanooga
Opponents winning percentage: .692 (36-16)
Buzz: Yet again, Tennessee has a brutal schedule overall, and they essentially trade Oregon for Oklahoma in 2014. Utah State, Arkansas State and Oklahoma are all worthy opponents for the Vols. All four non-conference teams won an SEC-high over 69 percent of their games in 2013.
Related: 2014 SEC Strength of Schedule
2. Georgia Bulldogs
Teams: Clemson, Troy, Charleston Southern, Georgia Tech
Opponents winning percentage: .667 (34-17)
Buzz: Georgia’s schedule mirrors how several around the country would hope the SEC moves toward. They are playing two legitimate teams in Clemson and Georgia Tech, and they are playing two easier games against Troy and Charleston Southern. Georgia opens the season with a bang against Clemson, this year in Athens.
3. Missouri Tigers
Teams: South Dakota State, at Toledo, UCF, Indiana
Opponents winning percentage: .647 (33-18)
Buzz: Mizzou plays nearly three legit teams in Toledo, UCF and Indiana. The Tigers play all four games like last year before any conference game. They’ll be well prepared to hit conference play running. UCF 2014 won’t be UCF 2013, but it should make for an interesting matchup.
4. South Carolina Gamecocks
Teams: East Carolina, Furman, South Alabama, at Clemson
Opponents winning percentage: .673 (35-17)
Buzz: Everyone has that Carolina-Clemson game circled, especially Dabo Swinney. Carolina has won five in a row against the Tigers. All four non-conference opponents won over 67 percent of their games in 2013.
5. Kentucky Wildcats
Teams: UT Martin, Ohio, Louisiana-Monroe, at Louisville
Opponents winning percentage: .640 (32-18)
Buzz: Kentucky is playing one of the top five overall toughest non-conference schedules with UT Martin, Ohio and ULM on the schedule? It shows you how weak some of the other out-of-conference schedules really are. The Louisville rivalry will be interesting with Bobby Petrino now in charge, and these four teams combined to win 64 percent of their games.
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