2015 SEC Schedule Analysis

SEC EAST

Florida
Sept. 5 New Mexico State
Sept. 12 East Carolina
Sept. 19 at Kentucky
Sept. 26 Tennessee
Oct. 3 Ole Miss
Oct. 10 at Missouri
Oct. 17 at LSU
Oct. 24 OPEN DATE
Oct. 31 Georgia (in Jax)
Nov. 7 Vanderbilt
Nov. 14 at South Carolina
Nov. 21 Florida Atlantic
Nov. 28 Florida State

Non-Conference Games New Mexico State, East Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Florida State

Games vs. the West Ole Miss, at LSU
5 Keys to the Schedule
– It’s a bit easier than past seasons. Going to LSU and facing Ole Miss from the West is hardly easy, but there’s no Alabama or Auburn.
– East Carolina is more than a layup non-conference game, and the Florida State showdown is in Gainesville.
– The Gators are away from home from early October until November, going to Missouri and LSU before an off-week, and then comes the Georgia game in Jacksonville.
– The South Carolina game is on the road, but three of the four November games are at home.
– WATCH OUT FOR … The road game at Kentucky to open up the SEC season. It’s a dangerous date that could make for a messy first half of the season for Jim McElwain if the Gators lose to a team it’s beaten like a drum for decades.

Georgia
Sept. 5 ULM
Sept. 12 at Vanderbilt
Sept. 19 South Carolina
Sept. 26 Southern
Oct. 3 Alabama
Oct. 10 at Tennessee
Oct. 17 Missouri
Oct. 24 OPEN DATE
Oct. 31 Florida (in Jax)
Nov. 7 Kentucky
Nov. 14 at Auburn
Nov. 21 Georgia Southern
Nov. 28 at Georgia Tech

Non-Conference Games ULM, Southern, Georgia Southern, at Georgia Tech

Games vs. the West Alabama, at Auburn
5 Keys to the Schedule
– LSU will be tough, and there are no layups from the West, but getting Alabama and Auburn from the other division is a bad break.
– Four of the first five games are at home with the road game at Vanderbilt. South Carolina and Alabama aren’t easy home dates, but the Dawgs have to take advantage.
– There are only two true road games before mid-November. Going to Vanderbilt and Tennessee isn’t bad, and, of course, the Florida game is in Jacksonville, but it’s a relatively favorable slate.
– Who better to face before dealing with Georgia Tech than Georgia Southern the week before? Throw in the road game against Auburn, and the Dawgs will face three of the nation’s top rushing teams over the last three weeks.
– WATCH OUT FOR … Georgia to be better and a bit more relaxed in mid-September. There isn’t a true killer in the first few games like there usually is – facing ULM and Vanderbilt. There’s time to prepare for South Carolina.

Kentucky
Sept. 5 Louisiana
Sept. 12 at South Carolina
Sept. 19 Florida
Sept. 26 Missouri
Oct. 3 Eastern Kentucky
Oct. 10 OPEN DATE
Oct. 15 Auburn
Oct. 24 at Miss State
Oct. 31 Tennessee
Nov. 7 at Georgia
Nov. 14 at Vanderbilt
Nov. 21 Charlotte
Nov. 28 Louisville

Non-Conference Games Louisiana, Eastern Kentucky, Charlotte, Louisville

Games vs. the West Auburn, at Mississippi State
5 Keys to the Schedule
– Kentucky should be far better, but the start of the season might not be a breeze. Louisiana should be one of the best teams in the Sun Belt, and going forward at South Carolina and following it up with Florida and Missouri will be tough.
– However, the Florida and Missouri games are at home, as it the date against Auburn from the West.
– Charlotte and Eastern Kentucky shouldn’t be a problem in non-conference play, and the showdown against Louisville comes in the regular season finale. Considering the SEC finish comes at Vanderbilt, there’s a chance to go on a nice run to end the year.
– The middle of the season is about the road, going away for three games in four weeks making trips to Mississippi State, Georgia and Vanderbilt. The home game is Tennessee.
– WATCH OUT FOR … The trip to Vanderbilt. The Commodores should be better, and they’ll be far more experienced. Coming off the road game at Georgia, the Wildcats can’t ease up.

Missouri
Sept. 5 SE Missouri State
Sept. 12 at Arkansas State
Sept. 19 Connecticut
Sept. 26 at Kentucky
Oct. 3 South Carolina
Oct. 10 Florida
Oct. 17 at Georgia
Oct. 24 at Vanderbilt
Oct. 31 OPEN DATE
Nov. 7 Miss State
Nov. 14 BYU (in KC)
Nov. 21 Tennessee
Nov. 28 at Arkansas

Non-Conference Games SE Missouri State, at Arkansas State, Connecticut, BYU

Games vs. the West Mississippi State, at Arkansas

5 Keys to the Schedule
– Yeah, yeah, yeah, Arkansas State might win the Sun Belt, but it’s not that bad a road trip for the Tigers – only 300 miles – and the opener against SE Missouri State and third game against UConn makes for a relatively easy start to the year. Facing BYU on November 14th in Kansas City makes up for it.
– The Tigers can’t really complain about the SEC slate, starting out at Kentucky and getting South Carolina and Florida at home. If they can hold serve in Faurot, they should be 6-0 before going to Georgia.
– Mississippi State will be good, and Arkansas will be great, but there’s no Alabama or LSU to deal with from the West. The regular season finale against the Hogs comes after three straight home games – calling the BYU game a home date.
– Again, all things considered when it comes to dealing with SEC schedules, if you could ask for any two road games, you’d request Kentucky and Vanderbilt.
– WATCH OUT FOR … The back-to-back home games against South Carolina and Florida. There’s a lot of SEC action left to deal with, and the Tigers might have to win these two to have any real shot at a third straight East title.

South Carolina
Sept. 3 North Carolina (in Charlotte)
Sept. 12 Kentucky
Sept. 19 at Georgia
Sept. 26 UCF
Oct. 3 at Missouri
Oct. 10 LSU
Oct. 17 Vanderbilt
Oct. 24 OPEN DATE
Oct. 31 at Texas A&M
Nov. 7 at Tennessee
Nov. 14 Florida
Nov. 21 The Citadel
Nov. 28 Clemson

Non-Conference Games North Carolina, UCF, The Citadel, Clemson

Games vs. the West LSU, at Texas A&M
5 Keys to the Schedule
– Gone is the opener against a nasty SEC foe, and in comes a decent non-conference game against North Carolina. However, it’ll be played in Charlotte, and it’s followed up by East battles with Kentucky and Georgia.
– Considering UCF should be one of the American Athletic stars, the non-conference schedule is strong. Along with the Knights and the opener against UNC, there’s the regular-season ender against Clemson at home. Playing The Citadel helps.
– After starting out the SEC season against Kentucky, four of the next six conference games are on the road including brutal East dates at Georgia and Missouri. Going to Texas A&M and following it up with a trip to Tennessee isn’t a plus, either.
– The big break after all the road games is the second half of November, closing out with three straight home games against Florida, The Citadel and Clemson.
– WATCH OUT FOR … LSU. It’s bad enough to play the Tigers, and while the game is at home, the showdown comes after dealing with Missouri on the road.

Tennessee
Sept. 5 Bowling Green
Sept. 12 Oklahoma
Sept. 19 Western Carolina
Sept. 26 at Florida
Oct. 3 Arkansas
Oct. 10 Georgia
Oct. 17 OPEN DATE
Oct. 24 at Alabama
Oct. 31 at Kentucky
Nov. 7 South Carolina
Nov. 14 North Texas
Nov. 21 at Missouri
Nov. 28 Vanderbilt

Non-Conference Games Bowling Green, Oklahoma, Western Carolina, North Texas

Games vs. the West Arkansas, at Alabama
5 Keys to the Schedule
– The improved team – the hot team – will get to show just how good it is early on starting out with a dangerous Bowling Green team to start before hosting Oklahoma in a showdown that could mark the true arrival of the program as a powerhouse again.
– Having to go to Alabama is a bad break, but getting Arkansas at home and missing LSU and Auburn from the West is a good break.
– The Vols take it easy with North Texas and Western Carolina in non-conference play, but the date with Oklahoma makes up for it. However, there aren’t any non-conference games on the road.
– Alabama and Kentucky are the only back-to-back road games, but they come after a week off, and if there’s a team from the East to face after going to Alabama, other than Vanderbilt, it might as well be Kentucky.
– WATCH OUT FOR … Home games against Georgia and South Carolina. The Vols have to go to Missouri and Florida, but the Bulldogs and Gamecocks should be the stars of the East. Having them in Neyland is a good break.

Vanderbilt
Sept. 5 WKU
Sept. 12 Georgia
Sept. 19 Austin Peay
Sept. 26 at Ole Miss
Oct. 3 at Middle Tennessee
Oct. 10 OPEN DATE
Oct. 17 at South Carolina
Oct. 24 Missouri
Oct. 31 at Houston
Nov. 7 at Florida
Nov. 14 Kentucky
Nov. 21 Texas A&M
Nov. 28 at Tennessee

Non-Conference Games WKU, Austin Peay, at Middle Tennessee, at Houston

Games vs. the West at Ole Miss, Texas A&M
5 Keys to the Schedule
– For a young team that still needs some time and seasoning, starting out against the high-octane WKU team and following it up with the SEC opener against Georgia isn’t a plus.
– Vandy has to get used to the road, going away from home for three straight games in the middle of the season and five games in a six date stretch. The lone home game oasis is against Missouri.
– Every team in the West is decent, but missing Alabama, Auburn and LSU not a bad thing this year. However, going to Ole Miss will be tough, and the Texas A&M game comes before the regular season ender at Tennessee.
– The non-conference schedule isn’t all that bad, but along with the dangerous game against WKU, road games at Middle Tennessee and Houston aren’t layups. Getting to play Austin Peay eases things a bit.
– WATCH OUT FOR … Houston. The Cougars should be as good as any team in the American Athletic, and it comes after dealing with Missouri and before going to Florida.

SEC WEST

Alabama
Sept. 5 Wisconsin (in Arlington)
Sept. 12 Middle Tennessee
Sept. 19 Ole Miss
Sept. 26 ULM
Oct. 3 at Georgia
Oct. 10 Arkansas
Oct. 17 at Texas A&M
Oct. 24 Tennessee
Oct. 31 OPEN DATE
Nov. 7 LSU
Nov. 14 at Miss State
Nov. 21 Charleston Southern
Nov. 28 at Auburn

Non-Conference Games Wisconsin, Middle Tennessee, ULM, Charleston Southern

Games vs. the East at Georgia, Tennessee

5 Keys to the Schedule
– The last time Alabama faced a Big Ten team was the Sugar Bowl loss to Ohio State. The Tide might be amazing to start out seasons under Nick Saban, but Wisconsin won’t be an easy way to start the season.
– There’s only one true road game over the first half of the season, going to Georgia on October 3rd. The SEC opener against Ole Miss and the showdown against Arkansas are at home.
– Making things even better for a relatively easy slate is the second road game – it doesn’t come until October 17th, and it’s only the second true road date over the first nine games.
– Getting a week off to prepare for LSU is never a bad thing, but it also comes at the right time on October 31st. The team should be ready for the finishing kick.
– WATCH OUT FOR … The home date against Tennessee. Coming off road games against Georgia and Texas A&M, wrapped around the Arkansas game, the Tide might be caught looking ahead a bit to the week off.

Arkansas
Sept. 5 UTEP
Sept. 12 Toledo
Sept. 19 Texas Tech
Sept. 26 Texas A&M (in Arlington)
Oct. 3 at Tennessee
Oct. 10 at Alabama
Oct. 17 OPEN DATE
Oct. 24 Auburn
Oct. 31 UT Martin
Nov. 7 at Ole Miss
Nov. 14 at LSU
Nov. 21 Miss State
Nov. 28 Missouri

Non-Conference Games UTEP, Toledo, Texas Tech, UT Martin

Games vs. the East at Tennessee, Missouri
5 Keys to the Schedule
– Toledo will be one of the favorites to win the MAC, but c’mon. UTEP, Toledo, and Texas Tech – even an improved Texas Tech – is a good way to ease into a season.
– Throw in a layup against UT Martin, and the Hogs give the SEC non-conference schedule naysayers a ton of ammunition.
– While the SEC opener against Texas A&M is on a neutral site – in AT&T Stadium in Arlington – it’s still the start of a month-long stretch away from home.
– Part of that run includes games at Tennessee and Alabama in back-to-back weeks. With back-to-back road games in November against Ole Miss and LSU as well, all of a sudden, the easy non-conference slate makes more sense.
– WATCH OUT FOR … The LSU game in Death Valley on November 14th. Win that, and with Mississippi State and Missouri at home to close out the regular season, Arkansas could be a major player in the SEC West race.

Auburn
Sept. 5 Louisville (in Atlanta)
Sept. 12 Jacksonville State
Sept. 19 at LSU
Sept. 26 Miss State
Oct. 3 San Jose State
Oct. 10 OPEN DATE
Oct. 15 at Kentucky
Oct. 24 at Arkansas
Oct. 31 Ole Miss
Nov. 7 at Texas A&M
Nov. 14 Georgia
Nov. 21 Idaho
Nov. 28 Alabama

Non-Conference Games Louisville, Jacksonville State, San Jose State, Idaho

Games vs. the East at Kentucky, Georgia
5 Keys to the Schedule
– It’s sneaky-good if – and it’s a huge if – the Tigers can beat the SEC West’s other Tigers early on. The SEC opener is at LSU, and the pressure will be on if they can’t get out of Death Valley alive.
– Going to Kentucky and Arkansas in back-to-back weeks won’t be easy, but the showdowns come after a tune-up against San Jose State and a week off to rest up.
– Considering the opener against Louisville is in Atlanta, LSU only plays one true road game until October 15th, and goes from Halloween on with one more road trip – at Texas A&M on November 7th.
– Louisville is the only saving grace in non-conference play with Jacksonville State, San Jose State and Idaho three money-making layups. All three come before key games.
– WATCH OUT FOR … The three road games in four weeks against UK, Arkansas and Texas A&M. LSU has to get out alive, and then has to deal with Georgia.

LSU
Sept. 5 McNeese State
Sept. 12 at Miss State
Sept. 19 Auburn
Sept. 26 at Syracuse
Oct. 3 Eastern Michigan
Oct. 10 at South Carolina
Oct. 17 Florida
Oct. 24 WKU
Oct. 31 OPEN DATE
Nov. 7 at Alabama
Nov. 14 Arkansas
Nov. 21 at Ole Miss
Nov. 28 Texas A&M

Non-Conference Games McNeese State, at Syracuse, Eastern Michigan, WKU

Games vs. the East at South Carolina, Florida
5 Keys to the Schedule
– The Tigers started out last season against Wisconsin. This year they begin with McNeese State. With a road trip to Mississippi State to follow, and Auburn right after, the Week One tune-up is forgiven.
– The non-conference schedule isn’t that bad, with Eastern Michigan and WKU to fatten up on, but going to Syracuse is respectable. At least the Tigers are travelling north, even if the game is in a dome.
– There aren’t two road games in a row all year, and there’s a good stretch of three home games in four weeks – the road game is at South Carolina – before getting a week off to prepare for Alabama on the road.
– Arkansas and Texas A&M will be dangerous, but both teams have to come to Death Valley. Going to Alabama and Ole Miss, though, will make for a tough November.
– WATCH OUT FOR … The SEC opener at Mississippi State. Lose that, and the pressure is on to beat Auburn the week after, or there could be big, big problems with the third conference date at South Carolina.

Ole Miss
Sept. 5 UT Martin
Sept. 12 Fresno State
Sept. 19 at Alabama
Sept. 26 Vanderbilt
Oct. 3 at Florida
Oct. 10 New Mexico State
Oct. 17 at Memphis

Oct. 24 Texas A&M
Oct. 31 at Auburn
Nov. 7 Arkansas
Nov. 14 OPEN DATE
Nov. 21 LSU
Nov. 28 at Miss State

Non-Conference Games UT Martin, Fresno State, New Mexico State, at Memphis

Games vs. the East Vanderbilt, at Florida
5 Keys to the Schedule
– There’s time to tune up with UT Martin and Fresno State before starting up the SEC season at Alabama. At least the Rebels get the big guy out of the way early.
– After the non-conference games to open the year, there are just enough road games to be annoying, going to Florida and Memphis – don’t laugh, the Tigers are dangerous – before getting two straight home games in November against Arkansas and LSU.
– At Memphis doesn’t really count as a top-shelf non-conference game. The same goes for Fresno State, with UT Martin and New Mexico State the other two.
– Texas A&M, Arkansas and LSU at home help, but that doesn’t make up for road games at Bama, Auburn and Mississippi State.
– WATCH OUT FOR … The road trip to Florida. The Rebels catch a break by getting Vandy from the East, but this might be a must-win home game for the Gators. Ole Miss could be 1-2 to start the SEC season.

Mississippi State
Sept. 5 at Southern Miss
Sept. 12 LSU
Sept. 19 Northwestern State
Sept. 26 at Auburn
Oct. 3 at Texas A&M
Oct. 10 Troy
Oct. 17 Louisiana Tech
Oct. 24 Kentucky
Oct. 31 OPEN DATE
Nov. 5 at Missouri
Nov. 14 Alabama
Nov. 21 at Arkansas
Nov. 28 Ole Miss

Non-Conference Games at Southern Miss, Northwestern State, Troy, Louisiana Tech

Games vs. the East Kentucky, at Missouri
5 Keys to the Schedule
– The Bulldogs will know where they stand early on in the SEC West with LSU, at Auburn and at Texas A&M by October 3rd. Go 2-1 against those three, and they’ll be in the mix for big things over the second half of the season. The back-to-back games against Auburn and A&M will make or break the season.
– The games against Kentucky and at Missouri from the East aren’t all that bad considering the date with the two-time defending East champ – Mizzou – comes after a week off.
– The non-conference schedule is a nice and breezy. Louisiana Tech might be solid, but going to Southern Miss is no big deal, and Northwestern State and Troy are layups.
– With three straight home games in the middle of the season, and the Alabama game at home, MSU goes from October 10th to November 21st with just one road game – at Missouri.
– WATCH OUT FOR … The brutal finishing kick. Going to Missouri and Arkansas, wrapped around the Alabama game, won’t be easy before closing out with Ole Miss.

Texas A&M
Sept. 5 Arizona State (in Houston)
Sept. 12 Ball State
Sept. 19 Nevada
Sept. 26 at Arkansas
Oct. 3 Miss State
Oct. 10 OPEN DATE
Oct. 17 Alabama
Oct. 24 at Ole Miss
Oct. 31 South Carolina
Nov. 7 Auburn
Nov. 14 Western Carolina
Nov. 21 at Vanderbilt
Nov. 28 at LSU

Non-Conference Games Arizona State, Ball State, Nevada, Western Carolina

Games vs. the East South Carolina, at Vanderbilt
5 Keys to the Schedule
– A&M plays one true road game – at Ole Miss on October 24th – until going to Vanderbilt on November 21st.
– The Aggies don’t start the SEC season until late, starting out with three straight non-conference games before going to Arkansas.
– A&M is only on the road once in six games from October 3rd until late November, closing out at Vanderbilt and LSU.

– The non-conference games against Ball State and Western Carolina are excusable with an opener against Arizona State and a tougher-than-might-be-expected game against Nevada.
– WATCH OUT FOR … The four game stretch after the open week starting with Alabama, going to Ole Miss, and getting South Carolina and Auburn at home. Go 3-1 in that stretch, and the Aggies might go into the finale against LSU with a chance to win the West.