Who Has the Toughest Schedule in the SEC East?
In an age where every game matters in the world of college football, having a schedule that sets up nicely is extremely important.
There's a difference between playing traditional conference powers on the road vs. playing them at home. There's a difference between playing Northern Southeast Missouri in the non-conference slate vs. playing a Big 12 powerhouse. There's a difference in getting a bye in between road trips vs. playing three straight SEC road games.
All of these aspects factor into a team's success, but the question is, which teams in the SEC will be able to take advantage of their schedule in 2014?
We've decided to take an in-depth look at the schedules in the SEC East and rank them from easiest to hardest.
So, for the Georgia Bulldogs and South Carolina Gamecocks -- the two obvious favorites to win the SEC East -- how does the path to an SEC title look based on their schedule? And what about sleeper teams like Florida and Tennessee?
Let's rank the schedules in the East and decide who has the toughest road ahead.
Non-Conference: Temple, UMass, Charleston Southern, Old Dominion
SEC Home: Ole Miss, South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee
SEC Away: Kentucky, Georgia, Missouri, Mississippi State
The Commodores' non-conference slate has been getting ridiculed by many people, but when you're a program that hasn't traditionally made bowl games, it makes sense to schedule light out of conference. Derek Mason is looking to continue to build the foundation in Nashville, and the non-conference slate should be four guaranteed wins.
Non-Conference: South Dakota State, Toledo, UCF, Indiana
SEC Home: Georgia, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Arkansas
SEC Away: South Carolina, Florida, Texas A&M, Tennessee
The out-of-conference game against UCF will be difficult, as will road trips to Florida and South Carolina. But road games at Texas A&M and Tennessee are winnable along with every home game against Georgia.
Non-Conference: Clemson, Troy, Charleston Southern, Georgia Tech
SEC Home: Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Auburn
SEC Away: South Carolina, Missouri, Florida (Neutral) Arkansas, Kentucky
Once you get past the first two games of the season, Georgia's schedule sets up quite nicely. If the Bulldogs can knock off Clemson and South Carolina to start the season, running the table will certainly be possible.
4. South Carolina
Non-Conference: East Carolina, Furman, South Alabama, Clemson
SEC Home: Texas A&M, Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee
SEC Away: Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Auburn, Florida
Clemson should take a step back this season, so the Gamecocks' non-conference slate should be fine. Road games at Auburn and Florida will be challenging, but the schedule is SEC title-friendly otherwise.
Non-Conference: UT Martin, Ohio, UL Monroe, Louisville
SEC Home: Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Georgia
SEC Away: Florida, LSU, Missouri, Tennessee
The Wildcats should have three guaranteed wins, but after that, things get tricky. All of Kentucky's home games could be quite difficult, and the best chance at winning on the road may come at Missouri.
Non-Conference: Idaho, Eastern Michigan, Eastern Kentucky, Florida State
SEC Home: Kentucky, LSU, Missouri, South Carolina
SEC Away: Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia (Neutral), Vanderbilt
Florida's toughest games will undoubtedly come in true road games at Alabama and Florida State, but in having Georgia and South Carolina on the schedule as well, the Gators could have four games against Top 10 teams.
Non-Conference: Utah State, Arkansas State, Oklahoma, Chattanooga
SEC Home: Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri
SEC Away: Georgia, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Vanderbilt
Tennessee draws two of the top three in the SEC West -- Alabama and Ole Miss -- and plays a true road game at Oklahoma. Oh, and then there's road trips to Georgia and South Carolina as well. Yikes.
Who do you think has the toughest schedule in the SEC East? Let us know your thoughts on the schedules by commenting below! For more college football talk, follow FanIQ College Football or myself on Twitter!