The SEC's Toughest Schedule 2011 and Weakest Ranked Opponents

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IAugust 20, 2011

The SEC's Toughest Schedule 2011 and Weakest Ranked Opponents

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    Based on the USA Today's coaches poll I've decided to make the tough list. I would use ESPN's power rankings, but let's be truthful, when has ESPN been correct in reporting anything that was going to happen that hadn't already happened?

    The idea here is to not only use the ranked teams but also the site of each game played and which game of the season, e.g., game one, two, or eight.

    The scoring system is as follows:

    A preseason ranking of playing a top five team gets five points, six through 10 gets four points, 11 through 15 is three points, 16 through 20 is two points, and 21 through 25 equals one point.

    A home game equals minus-two points.

    An away game equals plus-1.5 points.

    Neutral Site favors team by proximity for home game. For example, Cocktail Party is a home for UF.

    Playing more than two ranked opponents in a row adds two points for the third time and increases by one point thereafter. So, your fourth in a row ranked opponent will be plus-3 points, etc.

    Game one equals .25 points, game two equals .5, game three equals .75, game four equals one, game five equals 1.25, and so forth.

    When I speak of weakest ranked opponent remember we are calculating those based on date of game, and location coupled with ranking. So, it may not appear the way you think or want. And, I am not saying that this opponent will be a win for the team.

UGA Is Keeping Richts' Seat Cool for Him

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    POINT TOTAL: 12

    The easiest schedule of all the SEC conference members are the Georgia Bulldogs. They have a chance for a wonderful season. When I say wonderful, I mean an eight or nine win regular season, which is not the norm for the Dawgs the last couple of seasons.

    Playing only five ranked teams, Georgia doesn't have to travel but for one of those games. Every other one in played at home, so to speak.

    The only way UGA plays for the SEC conference championship is by attrition. 

     

    WEAKEST RANKED GAME TIME OPPONENT: MSU

South Carolina May Actually Win 10!

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    POINT TOTAL: 17.75

    The pundits have been saying that the Gamecocks are the team to beat in the east. And, from their schedule, they just might have a chance at the SEC championship game for the second year in a row.

    Not playing LSU or Alabama this season will help out as well, but don't look for them to be the next SEC champion to win the BCS.

     

    WEAKEST RANKED GAME TIME OPPONENT: Auburn

Vanderbilt Running with the Big Dogs!

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    POINT TOTAL: 21.5

    Just because Vanderbilt has an easy schedule doesn't mean they will get to the Georgia Dome. Franklin has his hands full and will at least bring stability and sensible coaching to the Commodores.

     

    WEAKEST RANKED GAME TIME OPPONENT: UGA

Kentucky Is About to Play the Joker

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    POINT TOTAL: 23

    I don't expect much out of UK even with the (supposedly) ninth easiest schedule. However, this may be a good year by their standards. Or, they can just wait for basketball.

     

    WEAKEST RANKED GAME TIME OPPONENT: UF (I know, funny. When was the last time they beat UF? Remember, this is about the weakest ranked opponent at the date of the game, and not saying they will beat 'em.)

The Nutt Master at His Best....or Worse

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    POINT TOTAL: 23.5

    Ole Miss was the second worst SEC team last season, only in front of Vanderbilt. I expect them to turn it around this season by winning their out-of-conference games and making a bowl appearance.

    However, I can't but feel that Nutt is just biding his time to retirement. 

     

    WEAKEST RANKED GAME TIME OPPONENT: UGA

LSU Looking for the Middle Road to the Title Game

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    POINT TOTAL: 23.75

    LSU looks to make what would seem to be a hard run for the BCS National Championship, playing out of conference opponents like Oregon and West Virginia. In some circles WVU is a bubble top 25 team. However, if played by this criteria it still wouldn't mean LSU has the hardest schedule.

    Nonetheless, I look for the Tigers to have another magical season with all of the tricks being utilized.

     

    WEAKEST RANKED GAME TIME OPPONENT: UF

Alabama Wants to Keep the Steam Train Rolling

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    POINT TOTAL: 26.5

    Alabama has come from the mediocre cellar in the early 2000s to one the winningest teams in the SEC in the past three seasons. The Tide have title hopes and appear to only have a couple of obstacles in the way.

    No matter what, every team brings their A-game when playing the Tide.

     

    WEAKEST RANKED GAME TIME OPPONENT: Arkansas

Mississippi State Is Ready for Prime Time

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    POINT TOTAL: 27

    MSU is looking to show that last season was not a fluke. Like South Carolina, the Bulldogs are wanting to build upon last season and prove that they have sustainability.

    With home games against LSU, Bama, and South Carolina, they just may prove something.

     

    WEAKEST RANKED GAME TIME OPPONENT: South Carolina

Tennessee: Looking for Another Beating?

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    POINT TOTAL: 31.25

    UT took their lumps last season, fair and unfair. This season they look to build on those lumps with trips to Alabama, Arkansas and Florida. Don't count out the Volunteers just yet, because it ain't over until the skinny quarterback cries.

     

    WEAKEST RANKED GAME TIME OPPONENT: UGA

HOGS GONE WILD! Or, HOW I MET BOBBY P!

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    POINT TOTAL: 33.25

    It is tough having one of the top three hardest schedules in the conference, but add in the fact that Kniles Davis is out for the year, and it will make you want to grab the Maker's Mark and put on the Miles Davis sound track. 

    Petrino is a good coach, and if he can keep the referees from screwing him over this year, he just may make it to that 11 win plateau. 

     

    WEAKEST RANKED GAME TIME OPPONENT: MSU

Florida and the Road Less Traveled

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    POINT TOTAL: 36.5

    The Gators have never shied away from playing top tier teams...OK, maybe they have. But who needs to when you play in the SEC?

    Florida's in-state rival has resurfaced again, and that just adds another level to what could be a repeat of last year. Nobody expects the Gators to win it all, but their fans expect them to at least compete. And with the talent they have, they should.

    Or, you may see a lot of coach BOOM!

     

    WEAKEST RANKED GAME TIME OPPONENT: UGA

Auburn: The Bataan Death March!

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    POINT TOTAL: 37.5

    It has been said, ad nauseum, that Auburn is going to have a tough season. But, I'll say it again.

    Auburn is going to have a brutally tough season.

    Losing all of that experience and talent is never good, but bringing talent in does help. However, having a target on your back as the defending national champion definitely hurts.

    No other SEC team plays seven ranked opponents. This is where the rubber meets the road for the Tigers. I don't expect any title contentions on any level this season, but this coaching staff and Gus Malzahn just may be able to pull some Ws out of nowhere.

     

    WEAKEST RANKED GAME TIME OPPONENT: MSU