Bama makes UF's schedule tougher in '14

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- If Florida fans thought the Gators’ 2013 schedule was tough, wait till next year.

The SEC released the 2014 schedule this morning and while Florida has a pretty light non-conference slate next season (Idaho, Eastern Michigan and Eastern Kentucky), the Gators do have to play at Alabama and Florida State and have home games against LSU and South Carolina.

UF also plays at Tennessee and will play its annual game against Georgia in Jacksonville. The Eastern Division opponents remain in the proper rotation for home and away, but the league adjusted the cross-divisional rotating opponents. So instead of playing at Arkansas, which is what the 6-1-1 scheduling format would dictate because the Razorbacks play in Gainesville this season, the Gators will instead play at Alabama on Sept. 20.

The Gators have lost six of the their last eight meetings with the Crimson Tide, which has won three of the last four national titles and begins the 2013 season atop the Associated Press and USA Today and coaches’ poll. UF’s lone victories in that span came in the 2006 regular season and the 2008 SEC Championship Game.

Alabama has outscored Florida 101-26 in the last three meetings.

The Gators played the Crimson Tide in the regular season in 2010 and 2011 and under the SEC’s previous rotating cross-divisional opponent scheduling format the teams were not expected to meet again in the regular season until 2018-19. But the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri last season forced the league to come up with what SEC commissioner Mike Slive called a bridge schedule for the 2013-15 seasons.

Slive said in July that a committee would complete a review of the league’s scheduling format in time to complete the 2016 schedule.

An overview of the league’s 2014 schedule can be found here.