The SEC is full of title contenders heading into the fall, and scheduling can go a long way in helping those teams make runs at the national title.
Alabama is the favorite to win the national title again in 2013, and the Crimson Tide walks into the new year with the easiest schedule in the SEC. Georgia—another title favorite—also has one of the easier roads in the conference.
This conference is the best in college football, so conference games are typically the marquee matchups of the year bringing together Top 25 teams on a regular basis.
There is at least one big non-conference game per team, but overall these schedules are already tough enough. Some teams like to schedule tougher than others, and this is a look at the five teams with the easiest roads to travel in 2013.
Toughest Road Games: Sept. 14 @ Texas; Sept. 28 @ Alabama; Nov. 30 @ Mississippi State
Ole Miss draws one of the easiest schedules in the SEC this season with only one marquee non-conference matchup and nearly every tough SEC contest landing in Oxford.
The Rebels travel to Texas in Week 3, and then return home for a bye week before traveling to Tuscaloosa to face the defending national champion Crimson Tide.
Outside of those two games, the Rebels have a very winnable schedule. They do travel to Auburn and Mississippi State, but the Rebels blasted both a year ago and will expect the same results this fall.
This program is on a climb to the top of the SEC with its winning efforts last year and the influx of high level talent. Expect Ole Miss to be a big winner this fall with the schedule it faces.
Toughest Road Games: Sept. 28 @ Arkansas; Oct. 12 @ Ole Miss; Nov. 23 @ LSU
The Aggies are in a great position heading into the 2013 season. Texas A&M returns Heisman winning quarterback Johnny Manziel and nearly every star from last year’s offense.
This year, the Aggies are ready for the SEC, as they are no longer the rookies of the conference. This program has a great shot at winning big this year and that comes from a favorable home schedule.
Texas A&M’s toughest home game is against Alabama, but if the Aggies can slide past the Tide again in 2012, they could win the West. There is a late road game to LSU, but at this point the Aggies have more proven talent on the roster.
Trips to Ole Miss and Arkansas will be challenging, but those are very winnable games.
The non-conference lineup includes UTEP, Sam Houston State, SMU and Rice. This is a very favorable schedule and should produce at least 10 wins for the Aggies.
Toughest Road Games: Sept. 14 @ South Carolina; Oct. 26 @ Texas A&M; Nov. 9 @ Florida
The Vanderbilt Commodores are on the upswing inside the SEC and the 2013 season looks to bring more success for the James Franklin-led squad.
The Commodores will host the majority of their toughest competition this fall. An early road game against South Carolina will show this program where it stands, but it falls between two very winnable games for Vanderbilt at home.
This squad also faces Texas A&M and Florida on the road, but those games are spread out along the schedule.
Hosting Georgia in mid-October will be tough, but it is still a game that comes in Nashville.
This is a schedule that has set up the Commodores for a very successful 2013 season. Franklin should have his team battling for nine or more wins in a bowl game again after this fall.
Toughest Road Games: Aug. 31 @ Clemson; Oct. 19 @ Vanderbilt; Nov. 30 @ Georgia Tech
The Georgia Bulldogs are coming off a devastating end to the 2012 season that saw them fall just four yards short of a national title appearance.
This year, they are coming back looking for more and this schedule is set up so that the program can gain ground early and keep it. Clemson is a tough contest to start the season on the road with, but the Tigers lose a lot on both sides of the ball and Georgia remains stacked.
The Bulldogs should escape Clemson with a win.
Tennessee and Vanderbilt are also games that are noticeable that come on the road, but nearly every other contest lands in Sanford Stadium in Athens.
This team does play LSU at home, but they dodge Alabama again this year. They also miss Texas A&M in this cycle.
Toughest Road Games: Aug. 31 vs. Virginia Tech (Atlanta); Sept. 14 @ Texas A&M; Nov. 30 @ Auburn
Alabama is favored to win the national title again in 2013 for a number of reasons. One of the most obvious heading into the new year has to be the schedule.
The Crimson Tide draw the easiest schedule in the SEC by a longshot heading into the new season. They draw only five road games in the coming season, one of which is a neutral site game in Atlanta.
The toughest matchup of the year happens in Week 3 when the Tide travel to College Station to face the Aggies, but win there and the road to being undefeated looks very clear.
In early November, the LSU Tigers come to town, but they land in Tuscaloosa after a bye week.
The Tide also dodges both Florida and Georgia this year. South Carolina also rolls off the Alabama schedule.
This schedule seems to have paved the way for a third-straight title to find its way to Tuscaloosa.