Breaking down Bama's 2014 SEC schedule
August, 21, 2013
By Greg Ostendorf | ESPN.com
When Alabama takes the field next season, there will be no AJ McCarron. The Crimson Tide will be forced to start a new quarterback for the first time since 2010, and whoever wins the job will have to open the SEC slate with at home against Florida on Sept. 20.
It will be the first meeting between the Tide and the Gators since 2011 and will renew a rivalry that was at the top of college football just five years ago. In all, the teams have met 37 times, including seven SEC championship games. Alabama holds a 23-14 advantage and has won the last three contests in convincing fashion.
However, Florida is a program that won 11 games last year and should be one of the favorites to win the SEC in 2014 -- not an easy task for a first-year starter at quarterback.
The full SEC schedule for 2014 was released Tuesday, and it doesn’t get any easier for the Tide after Florida. Alabama opens the month of October with consecutive road games against Ole Miss and Arkansas before it returns home to face Texas A&M on Oct. 18. The Tide finish the month with a game at Tennessee, the fourth SEC opponent in as many weeks.
The most daunting game on the schedule will be a trip to Death Valley to face LSU on Nov. 8, but on a positive note the Tide will have the luxury of a bye the week before, giving them a chance to rest up and get healthy. It will be the sixth consecutive year Alabama has had an open week leading up to the LSU game.
Once they return home from Louisiana, the Tide will finish the season with consecutive home games against Mississippi State, Western Carolina and Auburn.
In all, Alabama will likely have one of the more difficult SEC schedules. On paper, there are no terrible back-to-back games like LSU and Texas A&M a year ago, but the four-game stretch in October won’t be easy and adding Florida as the Tide’s ‘rotating’ East division opponent makes the schedule that much more difficult.
Alabama opens the season with a game against West Virginia in Atlanta.
Projecting Impact Teams in 2015 Recruiting
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35