Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Stronger Schedules

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Stronger Schedules

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL DIROCCO

LSU opened the season with North Carolina. Alabama plays host to Penn State, and Tennessee plays host to Oregon on Saturday. There are games against Colorado, Texas A&M and West Virginia coming up, too.

Southeastern Conference teams - most of them, anyway - have beefed up their non-conference schedules this season. So let's rank 'em, top to bottom:

1. VANDERBILT

Tough games: Northwestern, at Connecticut, Wake Forest.

Others: Eastern Michigan.

Comment: Yeah, the Commodores have the toughest non-league schedule. Why? No other school plays three teams from BCS conferences. OK, those aren't top-10 teams, but it's Vandy. You have to take that into consideration.

2. LSU

Tough games: vs. North Carolina, West Virginia.

Others: McNeese State, Louisiana-Monroe.

Comment: The Tigers are one of four SEC schools to play two teams from BCS conferences. UNC was ranked last week, and West Virginia is still ranked. Les Miles needs to get a sweep to keep his seat from getting hot.

T3. FLORIDA

Tough games: South Florida, at Florida State.

Others: Miami (Ohio), Appalachian State.

Comment: This is a tougher slate than last season with the addition of USF. The Gators are always going to try to schedule a Football Championship Subdivision team (Appalachian State this year) the week before FSU.

T3. GEORGIA

Tough games: at Colorado, Georgia Tech.

Others: Louisiana-Lafayette, Idaho State.

Comment: Colorado isn't very good, but the Bulldogs deserve credit for going outside the Southeast to play a regular-season game.

5. ALABAMA

Tough game: Penn State.

Others: San Jose State, at Duke, Georgia State.

Comment: Can't give 'Bama credit for playing at Duke. In fact, can't give 'Bama credit for even scheduling Duke. Good to see the Tide renew the series with Penn State. …

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