Toughest months on schedule


NFL coaches, who are not as bound by cliches as college coaches, take each season and divide the 16 games into four pockets of four games each.

We go 3-1 here and 2-2 there, etc., we’ll make the playoffs.

College coaches would like you to believe it’s one game at a time even if the reality is that those same coaches have already looked at the big opponent down the road.

(Of course, we’re guessing Mississippi interim coach Matt Luke is looking at the schedule for the first time).

If you look at SEC schedules by months, it’s pretty clear that some are way more difficult than others. So as we sweat out the rest of this summer, let’s take a look at the toughest months for the SEC teams.

1. LSU’s November

Forget the extra road game caused by Alleva-gate, check out games in Tuscaloosa and Knoxville plus home games against Texas A&M and Arkansas. All losable games.

2. Miss. State’s September

Dan Mullen’s team isn’t expected to be special and a slow start could make it a rough year. The Bulldogs have this trifecta to close out the month — LSU, at Georgia, at Auburn.

3. Florida’s September

Michigan is Michigan even with so many players gone and it is a neutral site game. The Gators also have three East teams — Tennessee, at Kentucky and Vanderbilt — before they get out of the month.

4. Vanderbilt’s September

Don’t sleep on Middle Tennessee in the opener on the road. Two weeks later it’s Kansas State. And then Alabama and Florida in Gainesville. Brutal.

5. Florida’s October

This may be the month that defines the Gators’ season with LSU and Texas A&M at home before the annual cocktail party in Jacksonville.

6. South Carolina’s November

Hooray for Wofford. Other than that, the final month of the season is Georgia in Athens and Florida and Clemson at home.

7. Tennessee’s September

Even with two cupcakes it’s a tough month because of the opener against Georgia Tech’s clock-stealing offense, Florida in Gainesville and vengeful Georgia at home.

8. Alabama’s October

The good news is the bye at the end of the month. The bad news is Texas A&M, Arkansas and Tennessee in succession.

9. Auburn’s November

Texas A&M on the road opens the month, Alabama at home closes it. And there’s Georgia in between.

10. Texas A&M’s October

Alabama and Florida have played in the last two SEC Championship Games. They also play the Aggies on back-to-back weeks with Mississippi State thrown in at the end.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at And follow at