The SEC is the best conference in college football, and the approach taken today is a ranking of every team's conference schedule.
It may be the offseason, but in SEC country, there is never an offseason.
There is one particular reason why this ranking is important. This is a ranking of the difficulty teams will have in trying to get to Atlanta.
The eight games in the SEC will determine who plays in Atlanta for the SEC Championship. The four non-conference games will help in determining who plays in the National Championship.
This list was difficult to compile. Every one of these schedules is extremely difficult and every team has their work cut out for them, but some stand in better positions than others.
Let me reiterate that this is a look at their conference schedule, games against non-conference opponents carried no weight in this article.
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The Bulldogs come into the 2011 season with the easiest conference slate in all of the SEC.
Georgia will play three true road games against SEC opponents, two of them are against Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. The other is a road trip to Knoxville, Tennessee.
In Athens, the Bulldogs will play host to South Carolina, Mississippi State, Auburn and Kentucky.
All of those games will matter, but the one that carries the most importance is the game against Florida in Jacksonville, Florida.
The Bulldogs will not have to face the three best teams in the SEC, Alabama, LSU and Arkansas, unless they meet in the SEC Championship.
All in all, the Bulldogs led by Aaron Murray return a very good team, and with the schedule they have, they should be one of the top two contenders in the East.
Look for the game against South Carolina in Week 2 to decide who goes to Atlanta for the SEC Championship.
The Rebels, Hotty Toddy or the Black Bears will need to catch any break that is given to them in the 2011 season.
After looking at their schedule, it appears they have caught at least one break.
Another break, might be the Ole Miss season ticket holders. In Oxford, Ole Miss will play host to Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and LSU.
If Ole Miss wants to win those games, they just need to tell the opposing teams players to visit the Grove beforehand.
The road games include Vanderbilt, Auburn, Kentucky and Mississippi State.
Ole Miss will avoid games against Tennessee, Florida and South Carolina.
The Crimson Tide are one of the favorites to win the 2011 National Championship.
The schedule in the SEC is quite favorable for that to happen.
The biggest game of the year, LSU, will be in their own backyard of Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Nov. 5.
Other home games include Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Tennessee.
The Crimson Tide will face some stiff competition on the road against Florida and Auburn, along with a pair of road trips to Mississippi to play Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
If Alabama can beat Arkansas and LSU at home, look for the Crimson Tide to play in Atlanta against the winner of Georgia vs. South Carolina.
The Wildcats will have a hard time competing in the SEC East with the likes of Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia.
Kentucky has road games against LSU, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Georgia. The home schedule includes Florida, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Tennessee.
They will have their work cut out for them in the SEC East, but could manage a bowl appearance with their schedule, especially the non-conference schedule.
However, they will most likely finish in fifth place in the SEC East with six or seven wins.
The Gamecocks will try to improve on last year's results of losing in the SEC Championship game.
With the schedule that is before them, it is something that could be accomplished.
The road slate includes games against Georgia, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Arkansas. South Carolina will play Vanderbilt, Auburn, Kentucky and Florida at home.
The biggest game of the year is obviously the Sept. 10 game against Georgia in Athens, Georgia. If the Gamecocks can win that game, the chances of a return trip to Atlanta will be favorable.
Both Tennesse and Florida have to play Alabama and LSU, South Carolina and Georgia will not face either team.
The LSU Tigers are another team that will compete for a National Championship in 2011, alongside Alabama.
The Tigers schedule is a tad more difficult that Alabama, but the game in Tuscaloosa between the two will most likely decide who plays in Atlanta.
Other road games include games against Mississippi State, Tennessee and Ole Miss.
The home schedule consists of matchups against Kentucky, Florida, Auburn and Arkansas.
This is very difficult schedule, but with the team Les Miles has, it is somewhat manageable.
Games against Arkansas, Auburn and Tennessee will be tough, but the game that carries the most importance will be the game against Alabama on Nov. 5.
The Commodores are the worst team in the SEC, and they will struggle regardless of who they have on their schedule.
Vanderbilt will play host to Ole Miss, Georgia, Arkansas and Kentucky. The road games include trips to South Carolina, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee.
If they win any game next year, the home game against Ole Miss in Week 3 and against Kentucky in Week 11 might be their only hope.
They will struggle to compete with any other team on their schedule.
Arkansas competes in the hardest division in all of football, the SEC West.
The Razorbacks will be a top 15 team, but will rank third in their division.
The 2011 schedule is difficult with the two biggest games of the year on the road. Arkansas will play at LSU and at Alabama.
Other road games include games against Ole Miss and Vanderbilt, so Arkansas catches a break there.
The home games include games against Auburn, South Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi State.
The 2011 schedule is difficult, like all SEC teams, and the Razorbacks will have a hard time getting past LSU and Alabama.
Will Muschamp will get a taste of SEC football in his first year with the Florida Gators.
The Gators will only have three true home games against SEC competition. The games include Tennessee, Alabama and Vanderbilt.
The road slate consists of games against LSU, Auburn, Kentucky and South Carolina.
Welcome to the SEC.
Muschamp will also get his first taste of the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party when the Gators face the Bulldogs Oct. 29.
The Gators have a very difficult schedule, and it will be hard for them to reach Atlanta in 2011.
The Bulldogs have a very tough schedule in 2011 and will struggle in their own division with teams like Alabama, Arkansas, LSU and Auburn.
The road schedule is very difficult and includes games at Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky and Arkansas.
Georgia and Arkansas will be the toughest of those games, with Auburn finishing a close third.
The home schedule doesn't offer them any breaks with games against LSU, South Carolina, Alabama and Ole Miss.
The Bulldogs return a very good team, but their schedule is very difficult and they will struggle to win eight or nine games.
The Volunteers are one of my surprise teams for 2011. I don't think they will finish with a great record, but they will come up and surprise some people.
Given their schedule, they have plenty of opportunities to do that.
The road games include matchups against Florida, Alabama, Arkansas and Kentucky. All of these games, will not be easy, and the games against Alabama and Arkansas will be especially difficult.
The home slate includes games against Georgia, LSU, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
Except for Vanderbilt, one of these games could be the one that will surprise people.
I'm not sure which one it will be, but expect the Volunteers to beat a very good team at home this year.
The 2010 National Champions didn't catch a break with the SEC schedule they will have to play in 2011.
The road schedule is brutal. They have to play on the road: South Carolina, Arkansas, LSU and Georgia.
If that isn't the hardest road schedule in the nation, I don't know what is. All of those teams will be ranked in the top 25, and three of them might be in the top 12.
Outside of their ridiculous road schedule, it is a fairly hard home schedule.
Games at home include Mississippi State, Florida, Ole Miss and Alabama.
The Tigers won the title in 2010, but it's safe to say that given their schedule and the loss of Cam Newton and Nick Fairley, they won't be in contention in 2011.