The SEC won't be beating up on a bunch of lightweights in 2010. At least, not according to Phil Steele.
He has seven SEC teams in his top 25 of the toughest schedules in college football.
South Carolina, according to Steele, has the No. 2 toughest schedule in the country behind only Iowa State. The Gamecocks play five SEC teams that are likely to be ranked entering the season, including top-10 foes Alabama and Florida. They also travel to Clemson to end the season.
Mississippi State is No. 4, LSU No. 10, Vanderbilt No. 12, Alabama No. 15, Florida No. 18 and Auburn No. 19.
I can see how Mississippi State fans would argue that they're the ones with the SEC's toughest schedule. The Bulldogs have to play the last three national champions -- Alabama, Florida and LSU -- all on the road. Arkansas, Auburn and Georgia all come to Starkville, and Mississippi State also has to make a nonconference trip to Houston.
Rounding out the SEC schedules, Steele has Tennessee No. 26, Arkansas No. 33, Georgia No. 44, Ole Miss No. 50 and Kentucky No. 67.
Of note, the team from a BCS conference with the easiest schedule, according to Steele, is Northwestern at No. 94.