Road victories separate the elite from the good teams.
Last season, national champion Alabama won four road games and four neutral-site encounters. SEC East champion Florida won three of four league road games.
2016 will present a new set of road challenges for SEC schools. Here are the five teams facing the most difficult road schedules:
The Barry Odom era begins with a tough nonconference road game against West Virginia.
October features trips to LSU and Florida. The road slate concludes at South Carolina and at Tennessee.
Missouri figures to be favored in one of the five road games.
Road games: West Virginia (Sept. 3), LSU (Oct. 1), Florida (Oct. 15), South Carolina (Nov. 5) and Tennessee (Nov. 19)
Opponents’ 2015 winning percentage: 39-25 (.609)
Coach Mark Stoops is eager to reach his first bowl game in Lexington. His team will have to navigate a tricky road schedule, though.
The Wildcats will try to snap a 29-game losing streak against Florida in early September. Kentucky is scheduled to play on Oct. 1 at Alabama.
An important SEC East battle is set for late October at Missouri. Kentucky finishes with trips to Tennessee and to Louisville in November.
Road games: Florida (Sept. 10), Alabama (Oct. 1), Missouri (Oct. 29), Tennessee (Nov. 12) and Louisville (Nov. 26)
Opponents’ 2015 winning percentage: 46-21 (.687)
The Tigers have a tough path this season.
Auburn doesn’t travel until an October trip to Starkville, Miss. It will complete its tour of Mississippi with a visit to Oxford later in the month.
Things get a little tougher in November, with a trip to Georgia and the Iron Bowl two days after Thanksgiving.
Road games: Mississippi State (Oct. 8), Ole Miss (Oct. 29), Georgia (Nov. 12) and Alabama (Nov. 26)
Opponents’ 2015 winning percentage: 43-11 (.796)
2. Mississippi State
With this road schedule, coach Dan Mullen probably wishes he still had quarterback Dak Prescott.
The trip to LSU is early. It is followed by a more comfortable encounter against Massachusetts the following week at Gillette Stadium. A Friday night game at BYU in mid-October leads into a trip to Lexington to face Kentucky.
November features road games at SEC West powers Alabama and Ole Miss. There are six road contests, and the Bulldogs could be underdogs in at least four.
Road games: LSU (Sept. 17), UMass (Sept. 24), BYU (Oct. 14), Kentucky (Oct. 22), Alabama (Nov. 12) and Ole Miss (Nov. 26)
Opponents’ 2015 winning percentage: 50-27 (.649)
The Crimson Tide open with a neutral-site game in Arlington, Texas, against Southern California. They will leave Bryant-Denny Stadium for four true road dates.
Ole Miss has won two straight against Nick Saban’s squad. Alabama visits Arkansas and Tennessee in back-to-back weeks in mid-October.
The trip to LSU comes after an open date.
Road games: Ole Miss (Sept. 17), Arkansas (Oct. 8), Tennessee (Oct. 15) and LSU (Nov. 5)
Opponents’ 2015 winning percentage: 36-15 (.706)