Rating the 2009 Non-Conference Slate: Epilogue

Before we can properly dive back in to college football, let’s examine our treatment of the best, and worst, of college football scheduling this year. Unlike the previous editions, this has a bit of subjectiveness to it, after all, no one really cares what kind of schedule Duke plays – the point here is to reward or shame programs that should, well, know better.

First, the shaming.
11. Rutgers (0.1 legit average, 2 DI-AA): Howard, FIU, @Maryland, @Army, Texas Southern. My arbitrary cut-off for consideration was a 0.1 “legit average”, which is simply the number of legit points divided by the number of OOC games a team plays. This completely uninspiring slate sees two DI-AA teams stop in and only one BCS opponent. But it gets worse. It gets much worse.
10. Arizona (0.833, 1): Central Michigan, Northern Arizona, @Iowa. Iowa doesn’t rate very highly on the “legit” scale, which is perhaps unfair, but this is still a pretty bad schedule. It’s an improvement over last year’s effort, though. Perhaps it’s a sign of change for a gradually rising program?
9. Louisiana State (0.0625, 0): @Washington, UL-Lafayette, Tulane, Louisiana Tech. Yeah, yeah, it sucks that Washington is terrible now, but completing the rest of the Louisiana Circuit (minus the other half of the UL-UM pick ’em) doesn’t make for an inspiration schedule. However, the get the nod over the following teams, because at least they aren’t playing any true DI-AA teams. The tie was broken in a completely arbitrary and subjective fashion.
T-8. Northwestern (0.0625, 1): Towson, Eastern Michigan, @Syracuse, Miami (Ohio). I considered leaving NU off the list entirely, but hey, you win 9 games and want to be among the big boys of the Big Ten, then you need to schedule better.
T-8. Virginia (0.0625, 1): William & Mary, Texas Christian, @Southern Mississippi, Indiana. As for this, well, I said earlier they might lose a game (or three) against this schedule. The continued employment of Al Groh confuses me. That said, UVA should be better and schedule better, so I guess that’s why they’re on the list.
T-6. Kansas (0.0625, 1): Northern Colorado, @Texas-El Paso, Duke, Southern Mississippi. Though I expect their counterparts in Manhattan to catch up (or is it down?) next year with the return of Bill Synder, for now this sad excuse for a schedule will have to do for one of the Big 12 North’s main contenders.
T-6. Wisconsin (0.0625, 1): Northern Illinois, Fresno State, Wofford, @Hawaii. Really? Of course, they needed overtime to beat Cal Poly last year, so…. and hey, it’s not as bad as Penn State’s.
4. Pennsylvania State (0.0625, 1): Akron, Syracuse, Temple, Eastern Illinois. Seriously. I mean, they will go 4-0 but there is just absolutely no room for error in a schedule like this. Penn State really has to hope everyone else in the conference does their part to help out, including Ohio State beating USC and subsequently losing to them, because without that the Big Ten’s overall strength of schedule will be shot.
3. Texas (0, 0): Louisiana-Monroe, @Wyoming, Texas-El Paso, Central Florida. This. I just. Wow. I will laugh if Texas pulls an Auburn (circa 2004) and winds up undefeated and 3rd in the BCS behind, say, USC and Florida because of this schedule. And how did they end up in Wyoming? Is that a 10-for-1?
2. Texas Tech (0, 1): North Dakota, Rice, @Houston, New Mexico. Of course, this schedule is worse. I’d say TTU needs to put up 230 points combined on these four in order to keep up.
1. Mississippi (0, 2): @Memphis, Southeast Louisiana, Alabama-Birmingham, Northern Arizona. Yeah, maybe Ole Miss scheduled bad in the recent past due to being terrible themselves, but still. There’s no reason to import a DI-AA team from Arizona to fill out your already terrible schedule .

With that over with, let’s take a look at teams who decided to entertain all of us and perhaps helps themselves a little in the process. This is a little more stringent than the above, as I wanted to focus on teams that played more than 1 BCS school and interesting inter-regional matchups.
6. Illinois (0.5, 1): N-Missouri, Illinois State, Fresno State, @Cincinnati. Just barely making the cut, the Illini’s neutral site game with Mizzou and games against the likes of Cincy and Fresno are definitely gambles in the OOC scheduling world. Kudos to them.
5. UCLA (0.5, 0): San Diego State, @Tennessee, Kansas State. I’ve always liked Tennessee’s willingness to travel, though in this case the beneficiary is UCLA. Tacking on Kansas State was also a good move on UCLA’s part, though you can bet K-State won’t be scheduling games like that again anytime soon.
4. Oregon (0.6667, 0): @Boise State, Purdue, Utah. Oregon is considered, generally, to be the second best team in the Pac-10. For them to go out and play at Boise is a pretty big deal. Honestly, the weakest team on this schedule might be Purdue, but we’ll see if Utah can re-live the magic from last year. About as challenging as a slate featuring Purdue as the only BCS representative can get, at any rate.
3. Southern Cal (0.6667, 0): San Jose State, @Ohio State, @Notre Dame. Southern Cal-Ohio State is pretty much the game of the year already, though I’ve already elaborated on why OSU needs it more. If Notre Dame were better, that would be enough to vault this schedule to the top, but as-is it’s just not good enough.
2. Virginia Tech (0.4375, 0): N-Alabama, Marshall, Nebraska, @East Carolina. A “neutral” site game with a major SEC and national power? Check. A home game with a historically good Big 12 team on the rise? Check. A road game at a non-BCS opponent that beat you last year? Check. Though our average doesn’t like them, this is a pretty darn good schedule. I honestly think VPI has a shot in all of these games, too. Honestly, this should challenge for #1.
1. Georgia (0.625, 1): @Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Tennessee Tech, @Georgia Tech. It hurts for me to say this, but this is a darn good schedule. I don’t think anyone expects Oklahoma State to be as good as it was last year, but I applaud at least the decision to go out there. Arizona State makes its return trip and should still be decent, and I would like to think my own alma mater isn’t exactly chopped liver. I could go either way with this or VPI’s schedule, as this 3 good to very good teams, as opposed to VPI’s great team and very good team. Nonetheless, for me to conceded anything to UGA should tell you that this is darn good.

Well folks, that’s a wrap. We’ll begin regular programming soon. I even already have the Week 1 TV Guide setup, that’s how much I’m looking forward to it! See you then.

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