Don't hate too much on the Hogs' schedule

June, 17, 2009
6/17/09
11:38
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

My esteemed colleague at ESPN, Bruce Feldman, has come up with his own formula to rate the country's softest nonconference schedules.

He has Ole Miss with the third softest (thanks to two FCS opponents on the schedule) and Arkansas and Kentucky tied for the seventh softest.

I feel the need to come to the defense of the Hogs' schedule a little bit. In fact, I think LSU and Tennessee both have softer nonconference schedules next season.

The Tigers play at Washington, and the Vols face UCLA at home. But the Hogs playing Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas, is at least on par with the two dates LSU and Tennessee have against Pac-10 foes.

To me, what makes Arkansas' schedule more difficult is the Troy game. LSU knows a little something about how tough Troy can be, and the Trojans should be even better than they were a year ago.

Troy is also the reason I had Florida's nonconference schedule rated fifth in the SEC (which in all honesty might have been a couple of spots too high), but I love how some critics simply dismiss the fact that the Gators play Florida State every year.

Granted, the Seminoles haven't been a top 10 team the last few years. But there aren't a lot of teams lining up and wanting to play them every year, either.

My biggest beef with the Gators is that they never leave the state of Florida to play anybody of note in a nonconference game. The last time Florida did venture outside the state to play a nonconference game in the regular season was 1991, and the Gators were thumped, 38-21, by Syracuse.

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