SEC Football: Each Team's Toughest Month in 2011
With fall practices underway, SEC fans everywhere are getting ready for the 2011 campaign.
It looks to be yet another competitive season in the best conference in the land, with eight of the 12 teams ranked in the preseason top 25.
Let's take a look at the toughest month on each team's schedule heading into the 2011 season.
Alabama Crimson Tide
5th: vs. LSU
12th: @ Mississippi State
19th: vs. Georgia Southern
The Crimson Tide will end 2011 with a bang after facing off against a trio of tough SEC opponents.
Their game at home against LSU could determine the SEC West, and traveling to Starkville the next week will be no picnic.
To top it off?
The Iron Bowl at the end of the month.
5th: vs. South Carolina
12th: vs. Tennessee
19th: vs. Mississippi State
25th: @ LSU
Like Alabama, Arkansas will play some of its toughest opponents at the end of the year.
Though their first three games of November are at home, they could easily slip up against the Gamecocks and Bulldogs.
The biggest game, however, comes a the end of the month as they travel to Red Stick to challenge the Bayou Bengals.
1st: @ South Carolina
8th: @ Arkansas
15th: vs. Florida
22nd: @ LSU
29th: vs. Ole Miss
I doubt any team envies the Tigers' October lineup.
They hit the road three times against three potential top-10 teams in South Carolina, Arkansas, and LSU.
It could be a long month for Auburn.
1st: vs. Alabama
8th: @ LSU
15th: @ Auburn
29th: vs. Georgia (played in Jacksonville, Fla.)
Anytime a trip to LSU is not the toughest game of your month, you know you've got it bad.
The Gators will take on four top-25 opponents in the month of October and will lose at least three of these games.
3rd: vs. Boise State (played in Atlanta)
10th: vs. South Carolina
17th: vs. Coastal Carolina
24th: @ Ole Miss
Georgia starts off the 2011 season with a bang.
Matchups against Boise State and South Carolina could leave Mark Richt and the Dawgs reeling if they don't bring their A-game.
The back end of the month does provide some relief, however.
1st: @ LSU
8th: @ South Carolina
22nd: vs. Jacksonville State
29th: vs. Mississippi State
Kentucky will be lucky to win more than one of their October 2011 games.
They have to go on the road to LSU and South Carolina before wrapping up the month against a talented Mississippi State crew.
3rd: vs. #3 Oregon (played in Dallas, TX)
10th: Northwestern State
15th: @ #20 Mississippi State
24th: @ West Virginia
LSU begins the season with a bang. They play the third-ranked Oregon Ducks in Dallas to kick off the year, and then end the month with away games against two tough opponents.
Three out of four games away from Tiger Stadium.
The good news for LSU?
Only one conference game September.
And that is the only good news about the month.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
5th: vs. Tennessee-Martin
12th: vs. Alabama
19th: @ Arkansas
26th: vs. Ole Miss
Mississippi State appears to be on the verge of becoming a top-tier SEC team.
Their back-to-back matchups against Alabama and Arkansas will test that.
At least they get bookend cupcakes.
Ole Miss Rebels
1st: @ Fresno State
15th: vs. Alabama
22nd: vs. Arkansas
29th: @ Auburn
Ole Miss hopes to climb out of the SEC West cellar in 2011, but their lineup in October is not inviting.
Their first and last games of the month look to be the most winnable, but the back-to-back showdowns with Alabama and Arkansas will likely spell disaster for the Rebels.
South Carolina Gamecocks
5th: @ Arkansas
12th: vs. Florida
19th: vs. Citadel
26th: vs. Clemson
The Gamecocks open the month of November with a marquee matchup against the Razorbacks in Fayetteville.
They'll get their first look at new Florida coach Will Muschamp the following week and will round out the month with two very winnable games.
1st: vs. Buffalo
8th: vs. Georgia
15th: vs. LSU
22nd: @ Alabama
The three-game stretch the Vols play at the end of October is one of the toughest in the conference.
Home dates against Georgia and LSU are only topped by a trip to Tuscaloosa that could be ugly.
But hey, the Vols should win one of these games.
At most. (see: Buffalo Bulls)
8th: @ Alabama
15th: vs. Georgia
22nd: vs. Army
29th: vs. Arkansas
Like Tennessee, Vanderbilt should win only one of their October games.
Playing two of the SEC West's top teams (one of them on the road, no less) plus an excited Georgia team should spell trouble for the 'Dores.