Ranking The 4 Hardest Schedules In The SEC For 2017

The College Football Playoff committee has made it quite clear that the quality of team's schedules matter a great deal. Because teams typically schedule games so far in advance, it can be a bit tricky to matchup against other top teams out of schedule. However, several teams in the SEC have managed to make it work, both in conference and out of conference for 2017. Here are the four SEC teams with the toughest schedules this season:

4) LSU Tigers

Notable Games:
vs. BYU Cougars (Sept. 2nd) (Houston, TX)
at Florida Gators (Oct. 7th)
vs. Auburn Tigers (Oct. 14th)
at Alabama Crimson Tide (Nov. 4th)
at Tennessee Volunteers (No. 18th)
vs. Texas A&M Aggies (Nov. 25th) 

LSU faces the usually tough gauntlet that is the SEC West, but play two of the best teams in the SEC East in Florida and Tennessee - both of which come on the road. Having to go to Alabama is never fun, but the games between these two rivals are always close. The season-opener against BYU will be a sneaky tough test that will set the tone for Ed Orgeron's first full season at the helm in Baton Rouge.

3) Florida Gators

Notable Games:
vs. Michigan Wolverines (Sept. 2nd) (Arlington, TX)
vs. Tennessee Volunteers (Sept. 16th) 
vs. LSU Tigers (Oct. 7th)
vs. Texas A&M Aggies (Oct. 14th)
vs. Georgia Bulldogs (Oct. 28th) (Jacksonville, FL)
vs. Florida State Seminoles (Nov. 25th) 

The caliber of opponents is impressive, but Florida's rank is lessened because they play all of three true road games this year. Michigan is a tough neutral site game, which will feature a Florida offense with question marks against a rebuilt Michigan defense. Florida lucks out by drawing Tennessee, LSU, Texas A&M, UGA and FSU at home, but those will not be easy game. 

2) Auburn Tigers

Notable Games:
at Clemson Tigers (Sept. 9th)
at LSU Tigers (Oct. 14th)
at Texas A&M Aggies (Nov. 4th)
vs. Georgia Bulldogs (Nov. 11th)
vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (Nov. 25th)

Auburn has several tough road games early in the year. They visit Clemson, a tricky matchup even without Deshaun Watson. Then it's on the road to LSU and Texas A&M, critical games for the SEC West race. Georgia might be the best SEC East team this year, making for a tough home game. Alabama will likely be the best team Auburn plays this year and that's always a difficult game to win. 

1) Alabama Crimson Tide

Notable Games:
vs. Florida State Seminoles (Sept. 2nd) (Atlanta, GA)
at Texas A&M Aggies (Oct. 7th)
vs. Tennessee Volunteers (Oct. 21st)
vs. LSU Tigers (Nov. 4th)
at Auburn Tigers (Nov. 25th)

The FSU vs. Alabama game is the best one on college football's opening weekend and it should be a great one. Four SEC games stick out as real challenges for the Crimson Tide. A road trip against Texas A&M could be tough, although the Aggies do fold around October once SEC play starts (usually after losing to the Tide). The Vols are the best SEC East team Alabama plays this year, but they might not be as good this year. A new-look LSU squad comes to Tuscaloosa, while a road game against Auburn is never easy. That game against the Tigers could be a CFP elimination game, if QB Jarrett Stidham turns out to be the real deal. 

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