Measuring the toughest and easiest away schedules for SEC football teams

Among SEC football teams the Alabama Crimson Tide has the toughest away game schedule in the 2024 regular season.
Jamar Coach/News Sentinel / USA TODAY

There is no scheduling parity in college football. One reason is there are almost no out-of-conference scheduling guidelines. A bigger reason is the quality of opponents varies greatly among conferences. Some Big Ten fans may argue otherwise but SEC football teams have more difficult schedules because there are few easy SEC wins.

ESPN's Strength of Schedule (SOS) is a worthwhile tool. The algorithm's calculations of home-field advantages are not public. But every college football fan knows road games are tougher in certain hostile stadium environments. How much tougher can be estimated with point spreads.

Last year, Phil Steele calculated the home-field advantage for all FBS teams. His range of advantage was from two to five points. Between closely matched teams a three to five-point edge becomes a major advantage for home teams.

Using a subjective approach rather than numbers can also indicate which SEC football teams have the most away game challenges in the 2024 season. As a starting point, Greg McElroy recently opined on the 10 most hostile away game environments in college football. McElroy's ten are 1) LSU, 2) Auburn, 3) Tennessee, 4) Penn State, 5) Texas A&M, 6) Oregon, 7) Virginia Tech, 8) Wisconsin, 9) Clemson, and 10) Mississippi State. The Bulldogs may not be much of a challenge in Starkville next season, but the cowbell factor cannot be discounted.

To broaden subjective measurement I include a few more hostile SEC football environments. They are Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, and Ole Miss, and pertinent to the 2024 season is Michigan. In ranking the teams below a heavier weight was given to McElroy's top 10.

SEC Football Toughest and Easiest 2024 Away Schedules

Using McElroy's 10 hostile environments and adding the seven others all 16 SEC schedules are ranked below. Alabama football fans will not be surprised that the Crimson Tide leads the most challenging away games list. Near the bottom for SEC teams with the least away game adversity are Playoff contenders Ole Miss and LSU.

  • No. 1 - Alabama Crimson Tide - away to Wisconsin, Tennessee, LSU and Oklahoma
  • No. 2 - Florida Gators - away to Mississippi State, Tennessee, Texas and Florida State
  • No. 3 - Mississippi State - away to Texas, Georgia, Tennessee and Ole Miss
  • No. 4 (tie) - Georgia Bulldogs - away to Alabama, Texas and Ole Miss
  • No. 4 (tie) - South Carolina Gamecocks - away to Alabama, Oklahoma and Clemson
  • No. 4 (tie) - Kentucky Wildcats - away to Florida, Tennessee and Texas
  • No. 7 - Oklahoma Sooners - away to Auburn, Ole Miss and LSU
  • No. 8 - Auburn - away to Geogia and Alabama
  • No. 9 - Tennessee Vols - away to Oklahoma and Georgia
  • No. 10 - Texas Longhorns - away to Michigan and Texas A&M
  • No. 11 (tie) - Missouri Tigers - away to Texas A&M, Alabama and Mississippi State
  • No. 11 (tie) - Texas A&M Aggies - away to Florida, Mississippi State and Auburn
  • No. 13 - Ole Miss Rebels - away to LSU and Florida
  • No. 14 - LSU Bengal Tigers - away to Texas A&M and Florida
  • No. 15 - Vanderbilt Commodores - away to Auburn and LSU
  • No. 16 - Arkansas Razorbacks - away to Auburn and Mississippi State

No runner-up 10-2 ACC team should bump 9-3 SEC teams from the Playoffs. No runner-up 10-2 ACC team should bump 9-3 SEC teams from the Playoffs. dark. Next