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College Football Analyst Names Toughest September Schedule

An interior view of the Florida Gators football stadium.

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 15: A view from the end-zone as the Tennessee Volunteers take on the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 15, 2007 in Gainesville, Florida. Florida defeated Tennessee 59-20. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

College football fans are eager for the 2022 season to begin. Some, however, might see their favorite school's hopes quickly evaporate because of a brutal schedule.

September offers multiple marquee matchups both within and outside of conference play. While that's great news for fans, it means some prominent schools could stumble out of the gate.

When ranking the nation's toughest September schedules, Sam Marsdale of 247Sports determined that the Florida Gators have the roughest opening itinerary.

"Welcome to the SEC, Billy Napier. Florida gets two sure-fire teams to start the year that will be ranked in the preseason AP Top 25 poll, and potentially a third in Tennessee on the road at the end of the month," Marsdale wrote. "Luckily for the Gators, the games against Utah and Kentucky are in The Swamp. The Utes enter Gainesville as the reigning Pac-12 champions, while Kentucky is off a 10-win season. The Vols had one of the most electrifying offenses in college football a season ago and return quarterback Hendon Hooker."

They're not the only prestigious program with a grueling September slate. Marsdale assigned Texas the first month's second-toughest schedule, mostly because of a Sept. 10 meeting with Alabama. Notre Dame, which opens the season at Ohio State, ranks third.

Looking to turn around a once-dominant program coming off a 6-7 season, Napier will have a difficult initiation in Florida. His defense will eventually face multiple grueling tests against three teams that each scored more than 32 points per game last season.

Marsdale isn't alone in his assessment. ESPN's Paul Finebaum called Florida's schedule "obscene," and former Gators wide receiver and current SEC analyst Chris Doering said anyone is "dreaming" if they expect a 10-win season.

Napier could make an indelible first impression by successfully navigating these early obstacles.