Power Ranking Non-Conference Schedules in the SEC East
1. Tennessee Volunteers: Aug. 30, Utah State Aggies (9-5); Sept. 6, Arkansas State Red Wolves (8-5); Sept. 13, Oklahoma Sooners (11-2); Oct. 11, Chattanooga Mocs (8-4)*.
Why: Tennessee could get off to a Rocky Top start if it can get by with three wins here. Its non-conference opponents had a combined record of 36-16 last season, and Oklahoma should be pre-ranked inside the Top 5.
2. Georgia Bulldogs: Aug. 30, Clemson Tigers (11-2); Sept. 20, Troy Trojans (6-6); Nov. 22, Charleston Southern Buccaneers (10-3)*; Nov. 29, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-6).
Why: The post-Aaron Murray era could get off to a slow start if Georgia isn’t able to get its revenge on Clemson in the season opener.
3. South Carolina Gamecocks: Sept. 6, East Carolina Pirates (10-3); Oct. 11, Furman Paladins (8-6)*; Nov. 22, South Alabama Jaguars (6-6); Nov. 29, Clemson Tigers (11-2).
Why: Look out, USC. East Carolina has claimed the state of North Carolina, and is looking to locally expand its ownership.
4. Missouri Tigers: Aug. 30, South Dakota State Jackrabbits (9-5)*; Sept. 6, Toledo Rockets (7-5); Sept. 13, UCF Knights (12-1); Sept. 20, Indiana Hoosiers (5-7).
Why: This list would look a lot fiercer if Blake Bortles had decided to return for his senior season with Central Florida.
5. Florida Gators: Aug. 30, Idaho Vandals (1-11); Sept. 6, Eastern Michigan Eagles (3-9); Nov. 22, Eastern Kentucky Colonels (6-6)*; Nov. 29, Florida State Seminoles (14-0).
Why: The defending national champions make up for Florida’s first three non-conference opponents.
6. Kentucky Wildcats: Aug. 30, UT Martin Skyhawks (7-5)*; Sept. 6, Ohio Bobcats (7-6); Oct. 11, ULM Warhawks (6-6); Nov. 29, Louisville Cardinals (12-1).
Why: We’ll see if Mark Stoops has implemented his desired element of physicality in year two of his tenure in Lexington.
7. Vanderbilt Commodores: Aug. 28, Temple Owls (2-10); Sept. 13, UMass Minutemen (1-11); Oct. 11, Charleston Southern Buccaneers (10-3)*; Nov. 1, Old Dominion Monarchs (8-4).
Why: Temple and UMass combined for three wins in 2013, Charleston Southern is an FCS program, and Old Dominion will take on its first full FBS schedule. Not exactly a difficult slate.
*denotes FCS team
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