Tennessee Strength of Schedule: The SEC’s 4th toughest schedule

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. Next up is Tennessee.

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Welcoming Butch Jones to Knoxville is a strong line of Vol faithful and one of the toughest schedules in college football. Jones has the tough task of rebuilding a fallen program while running the gauntlet of the toughest conference in America and playing multiple national championship contenders.

In 2013, Tennessee’s strength of schedule ranks No. 4 in the SEC.

2013 Tennessee Volunteers Schedule

By The Numbers

Strength of Schedule Rank


Tennessee has the second toughest strength of schedule of any SEC East team in 2013.

As if the SEC gauntlet wasn’t enough, Tennessee goes on the road to perennial national championship contender Oregon, who should open the season in the top 5. Road games in Autzen Stadium are brutal, especially when teams make road trips across country. The other three non-conference games are winnable against Austin Peay, Western Kentucky and South Alabama, although beating Bobby Petrino’s Hilltoppers could get interesting.

The Vols noticeably escape Texas A&M and LSU in the SEC West but renew their rivalry with Alabama, who has won the last six games, and they draw a rebuilding Auburn club that’s very much on the same level as Tennessee with an overall better roster.

The two toughest games of the year come on the road against Oregon and Alabama, while Tennessee also travels to Gainesville to play the Gators, who have won the last eight games and dominated the series since 2005. The Vols travel to Oregon and Florida in back-to-back weeks, but that’s not even the toughest stretch in 2013.

The brutal five-game stretch against Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Missouri and Auburn will test the will of Butch Jones’ club. The bye week falls between Georgia and South Carolina, and Tennessee plays South Carolina, Alabama, Missouri and Auburn in four consecutive weeks.

Tennessee isn’t the Tennessee of old, and Jones is tasked with breathing life back into a beaten and battered fan base and program. It just so happens that he enters in his first year against one of the toughest schedules in college football.

The Vols should win three non-conference games, and they should be neck and neck against teams of their caliber in Missouri, Auburn and Vanderbilt. The Vols will host the Commodores in 2013, and it could be that Tennessee’s bowl chances come down to beating the Dores.

Be on the lookout for the rest of this series as we break down every schedule in the SEC for the 2013 season.

Photo Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports