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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas coach Chad Morris directs his players Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, during practice at the university practice field on campus in Fayetteville. Visit nwadg.com/photos to see more photographs from the practice. - Photo by Andy Shupe

Oh the joys of being a football program in the SEC.

Big paydays.

All games televised.

Lots of bowl connections.

Spring meetings in Destin, Fla.

And the games, those take-your-breath away moments, rivalries, traditions, as well as the actual playing -- and there's the rub, especially if in you are in the Western Division.

Every year, West teams like the University of Arkansas must face Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Texas A&M, Mississippi and Mississippi State.

It isn't just the Razorbacks either. Everyone must play perennial No. 1 Alabama every year.

My LSU friends have been moaning and groaning about the Tigers' schedule, which is indeed tough, but it actually is not the toughest schedule in the SEC. That belongs to Texas A&M.

Here's how the SEC teams' toughness of schedules rank using games against the coaches preseason top 25:

Texas A&M The Aggies face No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson, No. 10 Auburn, No. 18 Mississippi State and No. 24 LSU. The Aggies face Alabama, Auburn and MSU on the road.

LSU The Tigers open the season Sept. 2 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, against No. 8 Miami, a 10-3 team last season with 14 starters back. Then they have the usual SEC grind: at Auburn, Florida and Texas A&M, with Alabama and Mississippi State at home. The Tigers are also at Arkansas after the Hogs have a week off.

Tennessee If it wasn't enough the Vols play Alabama every year, they also go to Auburn and Georgia, plus they scheduled No. 20 West Virginia for some reason.

Mississippi State All the Bulldogs' ranked opponents are also from the SEC West (Bama, Auburn, LSU and MSU), as are Ole Miss' and Arkansas', but two trap games could be at unranked Kansas State and at Florida. The Dogs are at Ole Miss, which is always dangerous and they have a new head coach.

Ole Miss This would have been a tie with the Hogs as both play the same ranked teams from the West: Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State and LSU. But the Rebels get the edge because they have to play the Razorbacks in Little Rock.

Arkansas The Razorbacks get Alabama and LSU at home. The Hogs have an early killer stretch when on consecutive Saturdays they go to Auburn, to Arlington to play the Aggies and get Alabama at home.

Florida The Gators always play LSU, but catch No. 18 Mississippi State on the road. The Georgia game, as usual, is in Jacksonville, Fla., but that's a slight advantage for the Gators, especially with new enthusiasm over Coach Dan Mullen. They close with rival No. 19 Florida State.

Alabama Probably should be last since the Crimson Tide don't play Alabama, but goes to LSU, which is generally an interesting game. The other ranked teams they face are also from the West, Auburn and Mississippi State. The Tide open with Louisville, but Nick Saban is undefeated against Bobby Petrino.

Missouri The Tigers play just two ranked teams, Alabama and No. 4 Georgia, the favorites to win the SEC West and East.

South Carolina No. 2 Clemson and No. 4 Georgia are the only ranked teams on a schedule that seems destined to make the Gamecocks bowl eligible.

Vanderbilt The Commodores must face Georgia and they go to Notre Dame.

Kentucky At A&M and host Georgia, not that it will matter.

Georgia The Bulldogs go to LSU and get Auburn at home. Headed back to the SEC Championship Game.

...

An oversight in yesterday's column note about Tulsa. The Hurricane open their season with Central Arkansas and also play Arkansas State and Arkansas.

Sports on 08/10/2018

Print Headline: Nothing comes easy for anyone in the SEC

Comments

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  • Delta2
    August 10, 2018 at 7:26 a.m.

    Ole Miss playing UAF in Little Rock does not add to the degree of difficulty. If anything, the shorter trip makes it easier, not only for the team but for its fans as well. At least that high school stadium should be full.

  • NewArkansan
    August 10, 2018 at 8:06 a.m.

    Come on, Wally. Auburn didn’t make your list? I wouldn’t say they have a tougher road than A&M or LSU but they have the 3rd most difficult schedule in the SEC. Think about it. Opening against a top 15 ranked non-conference opponent (Washington), playing ranked Mississippi state in Starkville, and having to play Georgia and Alabama in Athens and Tuscaloosa, respectively. I’m hoping leaving Auburn off the list altogether was just an oversight because that’s just bad…

  • MaxCady
    August 11, 2018 at 9:46 a.m.

    How is it that Arkansas manages almost 8 home games (if you count Dallas as Reynolds South) every season?! And they always seem to start with 3 cupcakes, which invariably gives them a false sense of superiority until they play man-sized teams like Bama! ROLL TIDE!! Mental toughness. Discipline!

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