SEC West's toughest three-game stretches
As we mentioned when previewing the East’s toughest three-game stretches, surviving key parts of the schedule is what makes good teams great. Now, we take a look at what many believe is the best division in all of college football — the SEC West.
- Oct. 4 – at Ole Miss
- Oct. 11 – at Arkansas
- Oct. 18 – vs. Texas A&M
Buzz: Overall, Alabama’s schedule is very manageable, but this three-game stretch midway through the season will provide the tests all championship teams face. Many are projecting the trip to Ole Miss as a potential upset game, but as with any Saturday in the SEC West, every team will be ready to play.
- Nov. 15 – vs. LSU
- Nov. 22 – vs. Ole Miss
- Nov. 29 – at Missouri
Buzz: Arkansas fans desperately hope for a better year in 2014 under Bret Bielema, but this season-ending stretch won’t be easy. Two rivalry games against LSU and Ole Miss followed by a “forced” rivalry against Missouri will be brutal for the Hogs. It would be a win for Arkansas to steal a game amidst that stretch.
- Oct. 4 – vs. LSU
- Oct. 11 – at Mississippi State
- Oct. 25 – vs. South Carolina
Buzz: If Auburn hopes to repeat as Western Division champs and get back to Atlanta, their schedule does not do them any favors. The Tigers will look to avenge their only loss in 2013 against LSU on Oct. 4 with a trip to Starkville looming, where expectations are high in 2014, followed by a contest against South Carolina after a bye week.
- Oct. 25 – vs. Ole Miss
- Nov. 8 – vs. Alabama
- Nov. 15 – at Arkansas
Buzz: Three rivalry games in a row. No coach in his right mind would ever schedule that, but such is life in the SEC West. LSU is looking to get back to Atlanta for the first time since 2011, and will have to survive home dates against Ole Miss and Alabama and a trip to Fayetteville to face Arkansas, who always plays LSU close.
- Sept. 20 – at LSU
- Oct. 4 – vs. Texas A&M
- Oct. 11 – vs. Auburn
Buzz: If this is, indeed, going to be a breakthrough year for the Bulldogs, they’ll need to win two of these games. Mississippi State has the talent to compete in the West, but have yet to show they can win the big game. W’s against LSU and Auburn in this stretch would erase that mindset and shake things up considerably in the race for the crown.
- Oct. 4 – vs. Alabama
- Oct. 11 – at Texas A&M
- Oct. 18 – vs. Tennessee
Buzz: Many believe the upset of the year in the West will be the Rebels over Alabama, and starting this three-game stretch off with a win would go a long way in validating Hugh Freeze’s team as a legit contender. Kyle Field is quickly becoming one of the SEC’s toughest places to play and the 12th Man has a way of pulling their team through at home. Tennessee at home is a trap game for Ole Miss. Butch Jones’s club is capable of pulling an upset at any time.
- Nov. 1 – at Auburn
- Nov. 8 – vs. Missouri
- Nov. 29 – vs. LSU
Buzz: A&M rounds out their 2014 campaign with a tough three-game stretch highlighted by home matchups against Missouri and LSU, with a trip to the Plains to face Auburn on the front end. A&M will have to win at least one of these games, possibly even two to reach six wins and make a bowl.