No team, in any conference, can technically "afford" to lose a non-conference football game. A loss is a loss is a loss—it doesn't matter who you are or what league you play in.
But with the gauntlet of conference play bearing down on them, SEC teams are particularly obligated to beat out-of-conference foes. Failing to do so is a tremendous disadvantage, narrowing the margin for error in a league where danger always lurks.
For a team like Alabama or Georgia, one loss could be the difference between the Sugar Bowl and BCS National Championship. For a team like LSU, the difference between the Sugar Bowl and the Chick-fil-A Bowl. For a team like Vanderbilt or Missouri, the difference between any bowl and nothing.
Here are 10 tough non-conference games that SEC teams can't afford to lose: