Monday, June 25, 2012
Toughest/easiest SEC Novembers
By Edward Aschoff
We're finishing our month-by-month look at SEC schedules by looking at November. Like October, there are some tough SEC games for each team, so the term "easy" will yet again be used loosely:
TOUGHEST NOVEMBER SCHEDULES
1. Arkansas (Tulsa, at South Carolina, at Mississippi State, LSU): Tulsa isn't a bad team and those last three games will be a bear for the Hogs. Back-to-back SEC road games to rough environments will be tough, especially that trip to play a Gamecocks team looking to make it back to Atlanta. The season finale against LSU could end up being one of the biggest games of the year, so expect that hype meter to add to this one.
2. Ole Miss (at Georgia, Vanderbilt, at LSU, Mississippi State): Hugh Freeze will have a tough first year in Oxford when it comes to navigating through this schedule. Those last four games could all end in losses for the Rebels, especially road trips to Athens and Baton Rouge. Vanderbilt has beaten Ole Miss two straight times in Oxford, while Mississippi State has won three in a row against the Rebels.
3. LSU (Alabama, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, at Arkansas): The good news for the Tigers is that they play three consecutive games at home. However, the first game could be one of the biggest games of the year when Alabama comes to town. The Game of Games: Part 3. Mississippi State gets LSU right after the Tigers' brawl with the Crimson Tide and playing at Arkansas isn't very fun for visitors, especially for a rival like LSU.
4. Missouri (at Florida, at Tennessee, Syracuse, at Texas A&M): Three SEC road games to end the year isn't great. Missouri should be favored against Syracuse, but don't be surprised if fatigue sets in by that point. Back to back games in the Swamp and Neyland Stadium will be quite the experience for the new Tigers, while a trip back to College Station might be familiar territory for the Tigers, but it won't make it any less difficult.
5. South Carolina (Arkansas, Wofford, at Clemson): The Gamecocks only have three games in the month of November, but two of them are pretty tough. Arkansas has the talent to compete for an SEC West title, while Clemson is sure to be a top-20 team. Arkansas has to go to Columbia, which is an advantage for the Gamecocks, but going on the road to Clemson is another story.
EASIEST NOVEMBER SCHEDULES
1. Tennessee (Troy, Missouri, at Vanderbilt, Kentucky): The Vols have the luxury of not having to leave the state of Tennessee. Missouri could be a little weary after a visit to the Swamp, while the Vols should be looking for revenge after the first loss to Kentucky in ages. Vandy could give Tennessee some issues, but the Dores haven't beaten the Vols since 2005.
2. Florida (Missouri, Louisiana-Lafayette, Jacksonville State, at Florida State): Sure, Florida State could be a BCS title contender this fall, so playing in Tallahassee will be tough, but the Gators benefit from having three straight home games. The Gators just need to show up against their two cupcakes, while Missouri heads to the Swamp for the first time.
3. Georgia (Ole Miss, at Auburn, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech): The Bulldogs should be favored in all four of their final games. Obviously, Auburn will be fired up to play the Dawgs, especially after last year's drubbing, so things could get interesting on the Plains. A lazy performance against Georgia Tech could give the Dawgs a loss, while Ole Miss and Georgia Southern should have their hands full.
4. Kentucky (Vanderbilt, Samford, at Tennessee): Kentucky should get by Samford, but will have a tough time with both Vandy and Tennessee. Having the Commodores at home helps, but Tennessee will be hungry to make up for last year's loss to the Wildcats. Vanderbilt should be battling for a bowl birth this season, so Kentucky is a must win for the Commodores.
5. Vanderbilt (at Kentucky, at Ole Miss, Tennessee, at Wake Forest): So, Vanderbilt does have to go on the road three times in the last month, but the Dores could be favored in all three of those games. Tennessee is at home, but everyone is very aware of the lack of success the Commodores have had against the Vols. But coach James Franklin is looking to make sure the past doesn't interfere with his team anymore.