The Crimson Tide have two goals entering each and every season, win the SEC and beat Auburn - the importance of each is interchangeable in many fan's eyes. If Alabama is to accomplish winning back-to-back SEC titles, they will have to survive their season ending trip to The Plains before punching their ticket to Atlanta.
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Arkansas Razorbacks - Oct. 3 @ Tennessee
The Razorbacks appear to have finally embraced their identity under Bret Bielema and finished last season on a complete tear. If Arkansas truly plans on making a move up the West ladder it needs need to sweep its East opponents, which starts with Tennessee. Earning a win in Neyland would give the team confidence heading into back-to-back games against Alabama and Auburn, a loss may keep the Razorbacks in the West cellar for another season.
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Auburn Tigers - Nov. 28 vs. Alabama
Just as with their rival, expectations this season include a West title and winning the Iron Bowl. It's unlikely that the loser of the SEC's biggest game will earn themselves a division title. Luckily for Auburn the game is at home this season, but don't expect that to faze the Tide, as they've won two of the last three at Auburn and were a miracle play away from winning all three.
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Florida Gators - Sept. 26 vs. Tennessee
The Gators, coming off a 7-5 season, did not hire Jim McElwain to rebuild their program, they hired him to win and win big. The Gators have won 10 in a row against Tennessee and it's vital for the Gators to keep the resurgent Vol program beneath them in the East standings. If Florida falls to Tennessee for the first time in 11 seasons it faces face an uphill climb with Ole Miss, Missouri, LSU and Georgia up next. That stretch could leave the Gators at the bottom of the East if they lose them all, making the Tennessee game crucial.
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Georgia Bulldogs - Oct. 3 vs. Alabama
It's time for the Bulldogs to finally win the East after failing to accomplish that goal the last two seasons. The Bulldogs are loaded with talent but unfortunately drew both Alabama and Auburn from the West this season. If Georgia is to become a playoff contender in 2015 they have to win at home against the Tide before hitting the meat of their SEC schedule. Fail here and they could surrender the East yet again despite having the talent edge over every other team in the division.
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Kentucky Wildcats - Sept. 19 vs. Florida
The Wildcats have made strides in recruiting under Mark Stoops but it's time to start seeing better results on the field. No game would prove the program is moving in the right direction more than beating a school Kentucky has failed to beat in 28 years. The Cats will have to win two against South Carolina, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee or Louisville to go to a bowl. Aside from Carolina, all those games are at home this season. It may be now or never for Kentucky against Florida.
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY SportsMark Zerof
LSU Tigers - Sept. 12 @ Mississippi State
The Tigers found themselves the first victim of Mississippi State's epic run last season in a game that ended up exposing many of the team's flaws for future opponents. If the Tigers expect to bounce back in the West, they must at the least split their first two SEC games against Mississippi State and Auburn. If LSU falls to State yet again, eight wins could be impossible to come by.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY SportDerick E. Hingle
Ole Miss Rebels - Nov. 28 @ Mississippi State
The home team has won the last four Egg Bowls but the Rebels will have to break that streak if they have any chance of winning the West. The first seven games on the schedule should only include two tests for Ole Miss before a final five-game SEC run that concludes in Starkville. No game should mean more on the schedule than the Egg Bowl for the Rebels.
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Mississippi State Bulldogs - Sept. 12 vs. LSU
Just like in 2014, if State is going to make a run it's got to start by beating the Tigers, only this year LSU will have revenge on their mind. Dak Prescott and company won't be able to sneak up on the Tigers this year but have more than enough talent to win at home in this early season contest. With a win here, the Bulldogs will be 3-0 heading into the Auburn game and eyeing another hot start to the season.
Derick E.Hingle-USA TODAY SportsDerick E.Hingle
Missouri Tigers - Oct. 17 @ Georgia
Despite back-to-back SEC East titles, many still doubt Mizzou due to various factors. The Tigers lost to Indiana at home last season, they suit up so many unknown players, the East has been down recently, but the biggest knock may be their failure to win big games against quality opponents. The Tigers can shed that label with another win in Athens on their way to their third trip to Atlanta this season.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY SportsDenny Medley
South Carolina Gamecocks - Sept. 12 vs. Kentucky
The Gamecocks lost to Kentucky last season during one of their fourth quarter collapses that would come to haunt the team. Carolina will need some positive momentum heading into the season and if they lose to the Wildcats for the second consecutive season, the likelihood of a rebound season becomes much more difficult and the questions around Spurriers' ability will begin once again.
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Tennessee Volunteers - Nov. 21 @ Missouri
The Volunteers have yet to beat Missouri since its arrival into the SEC and are annually looking up at the Tigers in the East standings. Not long ago, Tennessee was a fixture in the East division every season as they tore through the latter half of their schedule seemingly every year. To finally vault themselves back among the East elite, the Vols have to beat teams like Missouri and Florida while they have the chance. Tennessee must get a win over Missouri if they have intentions of jumping the Tigers in the standings.
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Texas A&M Aggies - Nov. 28 @ LSU
The Aggies have dropped their last four against the Tigers but now have John Chavis on their side. Chavis appeared to be one of the few coaches that knew how to confound Kevin Sumlin's offense and should have an intimate knowledge of the personnel at LSU. The rivalry between these two will be heated this season, can the Aggies show some grit and win it on the road? If they can, it may push the team towards Atlanta.
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Vanderbilt Commodores - Oct. 31 @ Houston
Last season was a debacle for the Commodores and their regression likely cost them any chance at winning a league game this season after both their offensive and defensive coordinators were fired after only one season on the job. If Vanderbilt fails to beat a Houston team that just fired its coach this offseason, Derek Mason may not survive to see year three in Nashville.
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