10 Toughest October Schedules in 2012 College Football Season

Randy ChambersAnalyst ISeptember 25, 2012

10 Toughest October Schedules in 2012 College Football Season

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    We have seen many exciting games in the first month of the college football season. There has been many thrilling finishes, a handful of head-scratching upsets, several disappointing teams, and a fair share of surprising teams.

    But we really haven't seen anything yet.

    The month of October is when things really get started, as conference play is in full swing and the contenders in college football actually have to play tough competition. The games mean much more and fans will start to see less and less blowouts.

    This is when the college football season really begins; when teams start to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

    Although the schedule gets tougher for everybody, some teams will have it more difficult than others. Here are the 10 toughest schedules in the month of October for the 2012 college football season.


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    October Schedule: vs. Mississippi State, at Arkansas, vs. Georgia, at Missouri  

    Head coach Joker Phillips already is on the hot seat, as his record currently is 12-17 at Kentucky. With losses this season to Louisville and Western Kentucky, he may very well be on his way out at the end of the season.

    The Wildcats struggle mightily on both sides of the ball and with a schedule like that, there is a great chance Kentucky finishes the season with only two victories.   

    An upset somewhere could save the head coach's job, but with the way Kentucky has been playing lately, I just don't see it happening.


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    October Schedule: At Purdue, vs. Illinois, vs. Michigan State, at Nebraska

    In just the first four games, Michigan has as many losses as it suffered all of last season. The bad news is that the worst may be yet to come.

    Traveling to Purdue won't be easy, especially with a solid defensive front that the Boilermakers have. The Wolverines also have to play Michigan State, another great defensive team that the Wolverines have not beaten since 2007.

    Then Michigan will end the month with a game against Nebraska, a team that looks like one of the better squads in the Big Ten at the moment.

    After all of the hype this team received heading into the season, this is looking more and more like a letdown season for the folks in Ann Arbor.

Michigan State

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    October Schedule: At Indiana, vs. Iowa, at Michigan, at Wisconsin  

    Michigan State has shown that it has the goods to win a weak Big Ten, but it certainly won't be easy to make that conference title push. Taking care of teams such as Indiana and Iowa should be cakewalks for a defensive team such as the Spartans, but the late part of the October schedule won't be.

    The Spartans will have to travel to the Big House, where they have lost eight of the last ten games. Playing a talented Wisconsin team in Madison won't be easy either.

    The Big Ten may be considered a disappointment in 2012, but playing back-to-back games on the road is never easy, regardless of which conference you are in.


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    October Schedule: vs. Utah State, vs. Oregon State, at Notre Dame, at Georgia Tech

    In the beginning of the season, BYU looked like a team that could make a serious BCS push. Now, after two straight losses and quarterback issues, the Cougars season may be all but finished.

    BYU will begin the month of October against an improved Utah State team, and then will have to battle it out with a surprisingly good Oregon State club.

    Notre Dame has shown that it is one of the more competitive Irish teams we have seen in a while, and Georgia Tech is always tough to play with that option offense they unleash.

    If the Cougars are to get back into the polls, a successful month of October is a must.

Notre Dame

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    October Schedule: vs. Miami (In Chicago), vs. Stanford, vs. BYU, at Oklahoma 

    Notre Dame has already picked up impressing victories over teams such as Michigan State and Michigan, but the difficult schedule has just begun for the Irish. Miami is always an athletic team that is more than capable of giving head coach Brian Kelly a scare.

    Stanford found a way to knock off USC earlier this season and has beaten the Irish in the last three meetings. Then of course, traveling to Norman to play an upset, physical team such as the Oklahoma Sooners is something no team wants to do.

    Notre Dame has shown that this year’s squad has potential, but we will find out even more about this team next month.


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    October Schedule: at Mississippi State, vs. Alabama, at South Carolina

    I was high on this Tennessee team to begin the season and the Volunteers really haven't let me down quite yet. I'm sure the folks in Knoxville will take a 3-1 start to begin the season, especially with the way the last few years have ended for this program.

    But the month of October will really tell us how quickly this team is improving, as Tennessee will play three consecutive ranked opponents. The Volunteers have not beaten Alabama since 2006 and have lost three of the last four meetings to South Carolina.

    This will be a great measuring stick for this program moving forward.


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    October Schedule: vs. LSU, at Vanderbilt, vs. South Carolina, vs. Georgia (In Jacksonville)

    Believe it or not, Florida has begun the season 4-0 and is ranked No. 11 in the AP Poll. Many are beginning to believe in this Gators football team and are starting to give the Gators a chance against LSU with a week off.

    Bu despite having to play a Top 3 team in a couple of weeks, Florida will also play two Top 10 teams in South Carolina and Georgia. Not to mention that traveling to Vanderbilt is not an easy trip; just ask the Gamecocks.

    I'm not sure anyone knows how good this Florida team is, but everyone will find out in the month of October. This is a month that will either make or break head coach Will Muschamp's team in the 2012 season.


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    October Schedule: At Florida, vs. South Carolina, at Texas A&M

    With the performance LSU had against the Auburn Tigers, we are beginning to doubt this team heading into the heart of the SEC schedule. Gator fans can't wait to welcome head coach Les Miles and company to Gainesville, as the Tigers will try and survive a game in The Swamp.

    South Carolina is a team that is gaining confidence with each week that passes, and the Gamecocks also have a defense that is allowing less than 10 points per contest. And despite being new to the SEC, traveling to College Station is one of the more difficult things to do in college football.

    Did I mention that the Tigers also have to play Alabama after all three of these games?

    LSU was able to survive a scare last weekend, but this month will tell us just how good the Tigers truly are.


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    October Schedule: vs. West Virginia, vs. Oklahoma (In Dallas), vs. Baylor, at Kansas

    Texas has yet to play anybody worth mentioning, but that will soon change for the Longhorns.

    West Virginia simply is a scoring machine that will really test this defense that has forced seven turnovers in three games.

    Oklahoma has won three of the last five Red River Rivalries, including a 38-point beatdown last season. And Baylor is a squad that isn't going down quietly, despite losing quarterback Robert Griffin III to the NFL draft.

    Many were high on this Texas team to begin the season, but we will soon find out just how good the Longhorns really are.

South Carolina

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    October Schedule: vs. Georgia, at LSU, at Florida, vs. Tennessee

    The Gamecocks believe that they are true contenders, as they won 11 games last year and have begun the season with a 4-0 record. But South Carolina has the toughest month of October than any other team in the country.

    Georgia is a Top 5 team and has goals of returning to the SEC Championship. LSU has won the last four meetings, and playing in Death Valley is one of the harder things to do for a visiting team. Florida has won 18 of the last 21 meetings against the Gamecocks and Tennessee seems to be that sneaky team in the SEC this season.

    If South Carolina is a serious BCS contender, the next couple of weeks will give them the opportunity to show just that.