Category Archives: OOC schedules

Rating the 2021 Non-Conference Slate: Epilogue

And now, the OOC schedule preview closing ceremonies.

First, The List of Shame! No one plays more than one FCS opponent this year, so no one’s on it. Huzzah!

Next up, shouting out teams that play more than one other Power Five team (excluding Notre Dame playing ACC teams and yearly/regularly scheduled rivalries):

  • Miami (Alabama, Michigan State)
  • Duke (Northwestern, Kansas)
  • Stanford (Kansas State, Vanderbilt)
  • West Virginia (Maryland, Virginia Tech)

That’s not many! But hey, we’ll look forward to potentially more of these in the future.

And finally, each conference’s average “legit” rating:

  • Big Ten (0.226)
  • Pac-12 (0.194)
  • ACC (0.183)
  • SEC (0.165)
  • Big 12 (0.1)

Fully half of the Big Ten has a scheduling scoring 1.0, which helps bring their average up compared to other conference. The last time we did this for a full season in 2019, the opposite was not true, and so it’s good to see the B1G finish first in something, I suppose.

Anyhow! We’re gonna watch and talk about actual football this weekend! See you then!

Rating the 2021 Non-Conference Slate

All right, let’s do this. The format is as such:

  1. Team Name (“Legit” points, Number of FCS teams played): List of teams, with FCS teams in italics. Commentary.

Ready? Let’s go.

ACC

  1. Georgia Tech (2, 1): Northern Illinois, Kennesaw State, @Notre Dame, Georgia. Admittedly a bit of bias here, but both options here had Notre Dame and a traditional rival, so I gave credit to the team that has to go to South Bend.
  2. Florida State (2,1): Notre Dame, Jacksonville State, Massachusetts, @Florida. It’s still hard to figure out how to give ACC teams credit for Notre Dame. Perhaps from next year on I’ll treat it as a conference game and just leave it at that.
  3. Virginia Tech (1.5, 1): Middle Tennessee State, @West Virginia, Richmond, Notre Dame. I’m not sure if the Hokies consider their mountain brethren a rival or not, but the trip to Morgantown definitely is the highlight here. The last time the Hokies went over there was a 34-17 win back in 2005, but the ‘Neers lead the all-time series 28-23-1.
  4. Miami (1.5, 1): N-Alabama, Appalachian State, Michigan State, Central Connecticut. Alabama will be de-emphasizing the neutral site openers in the near future, but in the meantime this will be the latest ritual sacrifice.
  5. Louisville (1.25, 1): N-Mississippi, Eastern Kentucky, Central Florida, Kentucky. Louisville-Ole Miss would be fun except for the fact that the Cardinals are probably going to be very, very, bad this year. They might only beat EKU on this slate, and even then…
  6. Clemson (1, 1): N-Georgia, South Carolina State, Connecticut, @South Carolina. Clemson-Georgia is obviously the highlight of this whole deal, but we have save some content for Week 1.
  7. Virginia (1, 1): William & Mary, Illinois, @Brigham Young, Notre Dame. UVA will take a trip out to Provo, whom the Woos hired Bronco Mendenhall from. There’s also a game against Illinois in here, which gives you the ability to say that you scheduled a Big Ten team without having to be concerned about the outcome.
  8. North Carolina (1, 1): Georgia State, @Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Wofford. Yes, that is in fact a non-conference game against Wake Forest. Why? Because under the ACC’s current structure, the two long-time rivals hardly ever play each other in conference play.
  9. Wake Forest (0.75, 1): Old Dominion, Norfolk State, @Army, @North Carolina. I talked about the North Carolina thing above. The Demon Deacons will also head up the Hudson, the first time a Power 5 team has played in Michie Stadium since 2017. Duke won that game, 21-16.
  10. Pittsburgh (0.5, 1): Massachusetts, @Tennessee, Western Michigan, New Hampshire. Pitt going to Knoxville may not be the actual Backyard Brawl, but feels similar in spirit.
  11. North Carolina State (0.25, 1): South Florida, @Mississippi State, Furman, Louisiana Tech. Well, if the is going to be the year the Wolfpack ever break out, this is a schedule that’d let them do it.
  12. Boston College (0, 1): Colgate, @Massachusetts, @Temple, Missouri. I don’t know about having two OOC road games in a season, but I guess the jaunt to either Hadley, MA or Philadelphia isn’t really that far in the Northeast. Also in researching this I discovered UMass’s home stadium is named after a real-life Coach McGuirk, which amused me. Well, amused might be a bit strong since the first names aren’t remotely similar, but, anyway.
  13. Duke (0, 1): @Charlotte, North Carolina A&T, Northwestern, Kansas. Ordinarily, when a FBS team deigns to play a lesser in-state opponent on the road as part of a 3-for-1 type of deal, it’s a fair bet that it’s a convenient draw that will attract plenty of the big school’s fans. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s not going to be the case for Duke. That said, they managed to balance that with visits from two other teams that are nominally in the Power 5, and they even stand a fair shot of beating one of them!
  14. Syracuse (0, 1): @Ohio, Rutgers, Albany, Liberty. Yeah, these are definitely teams you can choose to play. Hopefully they don’t lose to Liberty.

Big Ten

  1. Ohio State (1, 0): Oregon, Tulsa, Akron. The Buckeyes definitely have one of the premier matchups of the non-conference season, and there’s still a requisite two guaranteed FBS wins here too. Not bad.
  2. Michigan (1, 0): Western Michigan, Washington, Northern Illinois. Well, if it were still the early/mid-90’s that Michigan-Washington matchup would be all rage, but alas for these fanbases, it’s not,
  3. Wisconsin (1, 0): Eastern Michigan, N-Notre Dame, Army. Notre Dame is always fun, but I always give Big Ten teams much less credit (though not as much less as ACC teams) because it feels like they have a traditional rivalry with every team in the conference.
  4. Purdue (1, 0): Oregon State, @Connecticut, @Notre Dame. Pac-12 team at home? Okay, cool, that’s pretty nice Purdue. But going to Storrs, CT on purpose? Not sure about that one.
  5. Nebraska (1, 1): Buffalo, @Oklahoma, Southeastern Louisiana. While everyone at OU was apparently so mad about the scheduling of their revived rivalry with Nebraska that they left the conference, Nebraska is perhaps reconsidering the more-than-likely loss.
  6. Pennsylvania State (1, 1): Ball State, Auburn, Villanova. I think everyone in the college football universe is agreeing that 2020 was an outlier for the Nittany Lions and that the Penn State-Auburn game in Happy Valley will be fun. Right? … right?
  7. Michigan State (1, 1): Youngstown State, @Miami, Western Kentucky. Sparty goes on the road to Miami to see which team will be more disappointing this year!
  8. Indiana (0.75, 1): Idaho, Cincinnati, @Western Kentucky. This Indiana-Cincy game is going to be lit. It’s a no-win situation for the Hoosiers, though. Either they win and preserve the dream of #9Windiana or they give the Bearcats the prestige win they need.
  9. Illinois (0.5, 0): Texas-San Antonio, @Virginia, Charlotte. Well, they’ll probably win two of these games. Maybe.
  10. Iowa (0.5, 0): @Iowa State, Kent State, Colorado State. Kirk Ferentz is apparently so unkillable that even going 0-3 against this slate wouldn’t do it. That’s not likely, of course, but that dude’s been there a long time.
  11. Maryland (0.5, 1): West Virginia, Howard, Kent State. Maryland-WVU, again, not the backyard brawl, but it could be fun.
  12. Minnesota (0.25, 0): Miami (OH), @Colorado, Bowling Green. Can’t say I’m really feeling it thinking about Minnesota-Colorado. I hope I’m wrong.
  13. Rutgers (0, 1): Temple, @Syracuse, Delaware. Not sure I’m prepared for “bowl eligible Rutgers”, but it could happen this year folks.
  14. Northwestern (0, 1): Indiana State, @Duke, Ohio. Northwestern is taking no chances with this schedule.

Big 12

  1. Oklahoma (0.5, 1): @Tulane, Western Carolina, Nebraska. So the Big 12 as a whole isn’t super exciting, but at least we’ll see the renewal of a classic rivalry.
  2. Oklahoma State (0.5, 1): Missouri State, Tulsa, @Boise State. Going on the road to Boise is spicy, hence how OSU ended up up here.
  3. West Virginia (0.5, 1): @Maryland, Long Island, Virginia Tech. WVU playing Maryland and Virginia Tech mostly just makes it stand out all the more how much we all miss the Backyard Brawl. I’m looking forward to putting Pitt in here next year.
  4. Kansas State (0.5, 1): N-Stanford, Southern Illinois, Nevada. Maybe the right question isn’t “why are K-State and Stanford, of all teams, playing a neutral site opener?” but instead, and bear with me here…. why not?
  5. Texas Tech (0.5, 1): N-Houston, Stephen F. Austin, Florida International. No, seriously, why though. Texas Tech-Houston makes sense, and they might even be conference mates in the near future!
  6. Iowa State (0.5, 1): Northern Iowa, Iowa, @Nevada-Las Vegas. Not much to write about here, but Iowa game does slot them ahead of the bottom four teams, and even though they’ll win easily they do get to play in a big time stadium in Vegas.
  7. Texas (0, 0): Louisiana, @Arkansas, Rice. Texas is getting an early start on an SEC road game I guess. Plus, with regards to Texas and Rice, I can dust this post off again. (Also, the sharpest edge on this schedule could well be the Ragin’ Cajuns. I think it feels pretty Texas for all of the offseason power move stuff that’s happened and then to lose to Louisiana.)
  8. Texas Christian (0, 1): Duquesne, California, Southern Methodist. Okay, I like that TCU is playing Cal and their cross-town rival. It’s not flashy, but I can get behind this schedule.
  9. Baylor (0, 1): @Texas State, Brigham Young, Texas Southern. 
  10. Kansas (0, 1): South Dakota, @Coastal Carolina, @Duke. The KU-Duke game could well be most competitive game either team plays all year.

Pac-12

  1. Colorado (1.25, 1): Northern Colorado, Texas A&M, Minnesota. This might be a kinda brutal schedule for the Buffs, but hey, kudos for getting both of your P5 opponents to come to you in the same season.
  2. Oregon (1, 1): Fresno State, @Ohio State, Stony Brook. I might be looking way too forward to the Oregon-Ohio State game. I mean, the expectation is that the Ducks get flattened, especially in Columbus, but hey, you never know.
  3. California-Los Angeles (1, 0): Hawaii, Louisiana State, Fresno State. LSU fans in LA, it’s happening folks.
  4. Washington (1, 1): Montana, @Michigan, Arkansas State. Well, I already talked about UDub and Michigan trying to turn the clock back to the early 90’s. Would wearing flannel in Ann Arbor even be that retro? I honestly don’t know.
  5. Stanford (1, 0): N-Kansas State, @Vanderbilt, Notre Dame. 3 P5 and P5-adjacent teams, and only a 1 for that traditional rivalry game against Notre Dame. Well, you tried Stanford.
  6. Southern California (1, 0): San Jose State, @Notre Dame, Brigham Young. Note to self: check if San Jose State is going to be any good this year before writing the Week 1 preview.
  7. California (0.5, 1): Nevada, @Texas Christian, Sacramento State. Note to self: maybe the same for Cal.
  8. Oregon State (0.25, 1): @Purdue, Hawaii, Idaho. Oregon State-Purdue could be more fun than it might otherwise appear (emphasis on the could).
  9. Arizona (0, 1): N-Brigham Young, San Diego State, Northern Arizona. So BYU is playing 5 Pac-12 teams this year, which I think pretty much makes then a Pac-12 member? I mean, that’s how many games Notre Dame has to play against the ACC this year.
  10. Utah (0, 1): Weber State, @Brigham Young, @San Diego State. Utah even plays two of the same three teams Arizona does! Also, fun fact, SDSU is building a new stadium in San Diego, so this year they’re going to play… in LA. Well, Carson technically, but yeah. Have fun with that Aztec fans!
  11. Arizona State (0, 1): Southern Utah, Nevada-Las Vegas, @Brigham Young. Not much to see here, move along.
  12. Washington State (0, 1): Utah State, Portland State, Brigham Young. Maybe the less said about Wazzu the better. You used to fun and weird, Wazzu. Now you’re just kinda dumb.

SEC

  1. Georgia (1.5, 1): N-Clemson, Alabama-Birmingham, Charleston Southern, @Georgia Tech. Georga-Clemson, the Week 1 game to end all week 1 games. Otherwise, well, not many other chances UGA is going to suffer an out-of-conference derailment. But we can, and do, always hope.
  2. Auburn (1, 1): Akron, Alabama State, @Pennsylvania State, Georgia State. I would submit that “LSU in Pasadena” is still the funnier juxtaposition of “SEC fanbase and faraway road game”, but Auburn going up to Happy Valley isn’t too far off.
  3. Arkansas (1, 1): Rice, Texas, Georgia Southern, Arkansas-Pine Bluff. It’s a race to the bottom in the SEC this year between Arkansas and South Carolina, and there could well be two losses on this for the Hogs.
  4. Louisiana State (1, 1): @California-Los Angeles, McNeese State, Central Michigan, Louisiana-Monroe. Oh hey, LSU is playing one of the other in-state FBS Louisiana schools. Huh. I mean, they’re not playing the good one, but still.
  5. Alabama (1, 1): N-Miami, Mercer, Southern Mississippi, New Mexico State. I remember the halcyon days of the pre-Saban era when Alabama did things like “lose to Southern Miss”. But here’s the thing, non-Bama football fans, it can, and will, happen again. Saban won’t live forever, and name a situation where following up a coach of his stature worked out for the guy following him. Heck, even at Bama it took them 35 years in the wilderness to go from the Bear to Saban, doing things like “losing to Southern Miss” and “hiring 3 guys named Mike”. History is not destiny.
  6. South Carolina (1, 1): Eastern Illinois, @East Carolina, Troy, Clemson. Oh man. Oooh man. The Gamecocks could – not implausibly – go 0-4 against this slate, though 2-2 is a lot more likely.
  7. Florida (1, 1): Florida Atlantic, @South Florida, Samford, Florida State. There wasn’t a FBS school in Florida you could schedule, Gators? But as usual, the non-conference slate won’t take them out of the state, and USF isn’t good enough (well, or just “good” in generally really) to make that trip to Tampa worrisome.
  8. Mississippi State (0.5, 1): Louisiana Tech, North Carolina State, @Memphis, Tennessee State. Will still continue to posit that Memphis is the largest city in Mississippi, despite what “geography” and “the Census Bureau” say. Change my mind.
  9. Vanderbilt (0.5, 1): East Tennessee State, @Colorado State, Stanford, Connecticut. Vandy’s bad, but not “close to Colorado State and UConn” bad. Plus, it should be more comfortable in Colorado Springs than Nashville.
  10. Texas A&M (0.25, 1): Kent State, @Colorado, New Mexico, Prairie View A&M. This is definitely a slate of games the Aggies can play, though they do get their own refreshing trip to the Rockies I suppose.
  11. Mississippi (0.25, 1): N-Louisville, Austin Peay, Tulane, Liberty. Lane, all I ask is that you put up like 10 touchdowns on Hugh Freeze. That’s all I need.
  12. Kentucky (0.25, 1): Louisiana-Monroe, Tennessee-Chattanooga, New Mexico State, @Louisville. Three nothing teams and an in-state rival, yep, it’s an out-of-conference SEC schedule all right.
  13. Tennessee (0, 1): Bowling Green, Pittsburgh, Tennessee Tech, South Alabama. I’m talking myself into the idea that Tenn-Pitt could be fun, and I’m not sure why I’m doing that. But it could be!
  14. Missouri (0, 1): Central Michigan, Southeast Missouri State, @Boston College, North Texas. In my draft, I had apparently accidentally typed “Kentucky” here, providing yet another moment of “oh, right, Mizzou is in the SEC”. Seriously though y’all, just call up the Jayhawks and get on with it. And yes, I know it’s on the schedule for 2025, but that’s not 2021.

Rating the 2021 Non-Conference Slate: Intro

It is time.

That’s right folks, we’re cranking up the ol’ college football machine once again here at ASimSports. I couldn’t be happier to bring you a real, full season that actually has, well, non-conference play!

So here’s the skinny on how this works. My intrepid brother (whom I am unsure as to when he actually last watched a college football game from start to finish) and I rate every Power 5 team by how “legit” they are. This is extremely objective! But it’s fun and it gives you an idea of how excited the average college football might be to play say, oh, Wisconsin. We rate them on a scale of 0 to 1 in .25 increments. (Why not out of 4, which would be just like GPAs in college? I don’t know, I just realized that. Maybe we’ll change it for next year.) Generally speaking, 0’s are the Rutgers of the world, and 1’s are the Alabamas, Ohio States, and what have you.

This season we rated 21 teams as an 1. They were: Alabama, Auburn, California-Los Angeles, Clemson, Florida, Florida, State, Georgia, Louisiana State, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pennsylvania State, Southern California, Texas, Texas A&M, Washington, and Wisconsin.

We also do rate some non-P5 teams. Such teams that earned a rating for 2021 were: Central Florida (0.75), Cincinnati (0.75), Houston (0.5), and Boise State (0.5).

How do the Power 5 conferences rate, on average? Glad you asked!

  1. SEC (0.518)
  2. Pac-12 (0.5)
  3. Big 12 (0.5)
  4. Big Ten (0.446)
  5. ACC (0.429)

So the SEC finishes on top, as expected. I was surprised how well the Pac-12 did, but there’s a few solid programs and traditional powers out west, and perhaps the geography helps make them seem more exotic. (Let’s ignore that I live in California for a minute.)

So! Over the next week or so, well, hopefully for the season starts at any rate, we’ll lay it all out. Onward!

Rating the (Original) 2020 Non-Conference Slate

It’s that time once again. The methodology is the same as years past. The major difference is, of course, that none of these games will be played. That said, continuity weighed heavily on me and I decided to dig up each Power 5 team’s original 2020 schedule. This turned out to be way more work than I thought, but in the end I was reminded once again of some of the spectacular matchups we’ll miss this year.

This year, my brother and I rated 71 teams on a scale from 0 to 1 in .25 increments.

Legit Rating Number of teams
1 22
0.75 4
0.5 13
0.25 10
0 22

The 22 teams earning a “1” were: Alabama, Auburn, California-Los Angeles, Clemson, Florida, Florida state, Georgia, Louisiana state, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma state, Oregon, Pennsylvania State, Texas, Texas A&M, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The Legit Rating for each conference was:

  • ACC: 0.43
  • Big 12: 0.5
  • Big Ten: 0.46
  • Pac-12: 0.52
  • SEC: 0.52

Since none of these games will actually be played, I will eschew my usual commentary on each team’s schedule, but I will provide the original schedules and their ratings. FCS teams are indicated in italics.

ACC

  1. Georgia Tech (2.75 legit, 1 FCS): Gardner-Webb, Central Florida, Notre Dame, @Georgia.
  2. Florida State (2, 1): N-West Virginia, Samford, @Boise State, Florida.
  3. North Carolina (1.75, 1): @Central Florida, N-Auburn, James Madison, Connecticut.
  4. Virginia (1, 1): Georgia, Virginia Military Institute, Connecticut, @Old Dominion.
  5. Virginia Tech (1, 1): Liberty, Pennsylvania State, @Middle Tennessee State, North Alabama.
  6. Wake Forest (1, 1): @Old Dominion, Appalachian State, Villanova, N-Notre Dame.
  7. Clemson (1, 1): Akron, @Notre Dame, The Citadel, South Carolina.
  8. Pittsburgh (1, 1): Miami (OH), @Marshall, Richmond, Notre Dame.
  9. Louisville (1, 1): Murray State, Western Kentucky, @Notre Dame, Kentucky.
  10. Duke (1, 1): Middle Tennessee State, Elon, Charlotte, @Notre Dame.
  11. Miami (0.5, 1): Temple, Wagner, Alabama-Birmingham, Michigan State.
  12. Boston College (0.25, 1): Ohio, @Kansas, Purdue, Holy Cross.
  13. North Carolina State (0.25, 1): Mississippi State, @Troy, Delaware, Liberty.
  14. Syracuse (0, 1): @Rutgers, Colgate, @Western Michigan, Liberty.

Big Ten

  1. Ohio State (1, 0): Bowling Green, @Oregon, Buffalo.
  2. Michigan State (1, 0): @Brigham Young, Toledo, Miami.
  3. Michigan (1, 0): @Washington, Ball State, Arkansas State.
  4. Wisconsin (1, 1): Southern Illinois, Appalachian State, N-Notre Dame.
  5. Pennsylvania State (0.75, 0): Kent State, @Virginia Tech, San Jose State.
  6. Maryland (0.5, 1): Towson, Northern Illinois, @West Virginia.
  7. Nebraska (0.25, 1): Central Michigan, South Dakota State, Cincinnati.
  8. Iowa (0.25, 1): Northern Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Illinois.
  9. Purdue (0, 0): Memphis, Air Force, @Boston College.
  10. Indiana (0, 0): Western Kentucky, Ball State, @Connecticut.
  11. Rutgers (0, 1): Monmouth, Syracuse, @Temple.
  12. Minnesota (0, 1): Florida Atlantic, Tennessee Tech, Brigham Young.
  13. Northwestern (0, 1): Tulane, Central Michigan, Morgan State.
  14. Illinois (0, 1): Illinois State, Connecticut, Bowling Green.

Big 12

  1. Texas (1, 0): South Florida, @Louisiana State, Texas-El Paso.
  2. West Virginia (1, 1): N-Florida State, Eastern Kentucky, Maryland.
  3. Oklahoma (0.5, 1): Missouri State, Tennessee, @Army.
  4. Iowa State (0.5, 1): South Dakota, @Iowa, Nevada-Las Vegas.
  5. Baylor (0.5, 1): Mississippi, Incarnate Word, Louisiana Tech.
  6. Texas Christian (0, 1): @California, Prairie View A&M, @Southern Methodist.
  7. Texas Tech (0, 1): @Texas-El Paso, Alabama State, Arizona.
  8. Oklahoma State (0, 1): Oregon State, Tulsa, Western Illinois.
  9. Kansas State (0, 1): Buffalo, North Dakota, Vanderbilt.
  10. Kansas (0, 1): New Hampshire, Boston College, @Coastal Carolina.

Pac-12

  1. Southern California (2, 0): N-Alabama, New Mexico, Notre Dame.
  2. Stanford (1, 1): William & Mary, @Notre Dame, Brigham Young.
  3. Oregon (1, 1): North Dakota State, Ohio State, Hawaii.
  4. Washington (1, 1): Michigan, Sacramento State, Utah State.
  5. Oregon State (1, 1): @Oklahoma State, Colorado State, Portland State.
  6. Colorado (1, 0): @Colorado State, Fresno State, @Texas A&M.
  7. California (0.75, 1): @Nevada-Las Vegas, Texas Christian, California Polytechnic.
  8. Washington State (0.5, 1): @Utah State, Houston, Idaho.
  9. Utah (0, 1): Brigham Young, Montana State, @Wyoming.
  10. Arizona State (0, 1): Northern Arizona, @Nevada-Las Vegas, Brigham Young.
  11. Arizona (0, 1): Hawaii, Portland State, @Texas Tech.
  12. California-Los Angeles (0, 0): New Mexico State, @Hawaii, @San Diego State.

SEC

  1. Alabama (1, 1): N-Southern California, Georgia State, Kent State, Tennessee-Martin.
  2. Louisiana State (1, 1): Texas-San Antonio, Texas, N-Rice, Nicholls State.
  3. Tennessee (1, 1): Charlotte, @Oklahoma, Furman, Troy.
  4. Arkansas (1, 1): Nevada, @Notre Dame, Charleston Southern, Louisiana-Monroe.
  5. South Carolina (1, 1): Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, Wofford, @Clemson.
  6. Florida (1, 1): Eastern Washington, South Alabama, New Mexico State, @Florida State.
  7. Georgia (0.75, 1): N-Virginia, East Tennessee State, Louisiana-Monroe, Georgia Tech.
  8. Mississippi State (0.5, 1): New Mexico, North Carolina State, Tulane, Alabama A&M.
  9. Vanderbilt (0.5, 1): Mercer, @Kansas State, Colorado State, Louisiana Tech.
  10. Auburn (0.5, 1): Alcorn State, N-North Carolina, Southern Mississippi, Massachusetts.
  11. Texas A&M (0.25, 1): Abilene Christian, North Texas, Colorado, Fresno State.
  12. Missouri (0, 1): Central Arkansas, Eastern Michigan, @Brigham Young, Louisiana.
  13. Mississippi (0, 1): Baylor, Southeast Missouri, Connecticut, Georgia Southern.
  14. Kentucky (0.25, 1): Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Eastern Illinois, @Louisville.

My alma mater, Georgia Tech, takes home the crown of the “most legit” schedule, as this year is their turn to face Notre Dame, and they had always feisty UCF on the schedule, along with annual rival Georgia. But this being 2020, what matchups will we miss the most?

Well, first I’m going to miss the inter-conference traditional rivalries that many ACC and SEC teams have. Good bye Georgia-Georgia Tech, Florida-Florida State, Kentucky-Louisville, and South Carolina-Clemson. And let’s not forget Bedlam (Iowa-Iowa State), and Notre Dame’s traditional rivals like Navy and Southern Cal.

Next I’ll miss what were some of the ones that the college football world had collectively circled on their calendars. This includes, but likely isn’t limited to:

  • Florida State vs. West Virginia
  • Florida State @ Boise State
  • North Carolina vs. Auburn
  • Ohio State @ Oregon
  • Michigan @ Washington
  • Texas @ Louisiana State
  • Texas Tech @ Arizona
  • Oklahoma vs. Tennessee
  • Oklahoma @ Army
  • Southern California vs. Alabama
  • Colorado @ Texas A&M

FSU on the blue turf, Michigan and Ohio State venturing to the West Coast, the Sooners making the return trip to West Point after almost getting knocked off by Army a couple years ago… it’s tough to think about.

Alas, it won’t be. All I hope is that what does remain of the season can be done as safely as possible and that something good can come from all the chaos of the offseason.

Finally, here are the conferences ranked by their average Legit Rating.

  1. Pac-12 (0.23)
  2. ACC (0.203)
  3. SEC (0.156)
  4. Big Ten (0.137)
  5. Big 12 (0.117)

This is nearly the exact same ranking as last year, but that’s not too surprising. It seems that the Pac-12 just cares the most about getting interesting games.

Rating the 2019 Non-Conference Slate

Once again, my brother and I have assigned ratings to every single Power 5 conference team (and a select few Group of 5 teams, more on that in a second). You can view our methodology here.

This year we rated 71 teams, including 23 teams we rated as 0. Group of 5 teams that were rated higher than 0 were Central Florida (0.75), Cincinnati (0.25), Houston (0.5), Brigham Young (0.25), and Boise State (0.5). 11 teams rated as 0.25, 11 also rated as 0.5, 5 rated as 0.75, and 21 rated as 1.

The 21 teams earning a 1 were: Alabama, Auburn, California-Los Angeles, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Louisiana State, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pennsylvania State, Southern California, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The average ratings for each Power 5 conference were

  1. Pac-12 (0.521)
  2. Big 12 (0.5)
  3. SEC (0.482)
  4. Big Ten (0.446)
  5. ACC (0.392)

The general rule is that since this is an average, the smaller conferences have an advantage since their 1’s count more, in essence. The SEC and Big Ten have five 1’s each, which outranks anyone else, but they’re dragged down by the Vanderbilts and Rutgers of the world.

First, a quick key: “legit” is the sum of all ratings of all the out-of-conference games a team plays; “FCS” is the number of FCS teams scheduled, and each FCS team is indicated in italics; “N-” indicates that the game will be played at a neutral site; “@” indicates the game is an away game, all other games not otherwise indicated are home games.

ACC

  1. Duke (2 legit, 1 FCS): N-Alabama, North Carolina A&T, @Middle Tennessee State, Notre Dame. Even though I don’t usually give ACC teams credit for playing Notre Dame (due to the Irish being quasi-ACC members), this is still a pretty onerous schedule, especially with a potentially feisty trip to Murfreesboro.
  2. Pittsburgh (1.75, 1): Ohio, @Pennsylvania State, Central Florida, Delaware. It’s always nice to see old rivalries dusted off, so bonus points are earned here. Oh, and yeah they play UCF. Have fun with that!
  3. Florida State (1.5, 1): N-Boise State, Louisiana-Monroe, Alabama State, @Florida. Florida State-Boise State is one of the more intriguing Week 1 contests. That’ll be a good milepost for both teams. For FSU, it will indicate whether or not they can field an offensive line this season. For Boise, it’s their only shot at a power conference team all year, and they’ll need the win to make an argument over UCF or Houston for that coveted Group of 5 spot in the New Year’s Day bowls.
  4. Georgia Tech (1, 1): South Florida, Citadel, @Temple, Georgia. This could be very much a Year 0 for my beloved Jackets. The USF game sets up right there in Week 2 after what will surely be a… rough start after Week 1’s ACC Network ritual sacrifice at Clemson. The Citadel looks to be one of the only sure wins on the schedule. Somehow we managed to hire a coach from a school that we would play in his first season, and there’s a fair chance they may beat us. And then there’s UGA. I’m still mildly amazed that not only did Paul Johnson manage to beat them three times, but that all three wins were in Athens. While we did miss seeing the students rush the field and tear down the goalposts, we did get plenty of overwrought press about hedge damage, so I guess it evens out.
  5. Miami (1, 1): N-Florida, Bethune-Cookman, Central Michigan, N-Florida International. I know it really wreaks havoc with their out-of-conference scheduling, but Miami should play Florida every year. Now, whether or not they should play in Week 0 in Orlando is an open question.
  6. Louisville (1, 1): Notre Dame, Eastern Kentucky, N-Western Kentucky, @Kentucky. Props to directional Kentucky schools for consistently being Eastern and Western, unlike certain other states that we’ll get to in a minute. Oh, and Louisville is going to be a tire first this year. But hey, you guys were the only football team in the universe that wanted to hire a Bobby Petrino a second time, so you should’ve known what you were getting into.
  7. Boston College (1, 1): Richmond, Kansas, @Rutgers, @Notre Dame. They’re rated seventh because they managed to schedule the arguably two worst teams in the Power 5 conferences, but somehow that still gets them above Virginia. Look, I don’t make the rules… oh, wait, yes I do, nevermind.
  8. Virginia (1, 1): William & Mary, Old Dominion, @Notre Dame, Liberty. Would UVA fans take a deal wherein they lose to ODU like Virginia Tech did last year in exchange for UVA beating Virginia Tech this year? Seriously Hoos, think about it.
  9. Virginia Tech (1, 2): Old Dominion, Furman, Rhode Island, @Notre Dame. VPI gets to exact revenge on those devious Monarchs, except that, well, the Hokies may be worse this year. Oh, and they get to go to South Bend, that should be fun. Also remember that only one of the FCS teams counts for bowl eligibility. They currently hold the nation’s longest consecutive bowl streak with Florida State bowing out this year, but it could real tough for the Hokies this year.
  10. Clemson (0.75, 1): Texas A&M, Charlotte, Wofford, @South Carolina. Unfortunately for Clemson, South Carolina is just, kinda, well, South Carolina. Otherwise the Texas A&M game would allow them to be rated here, but that’s just the way it goes.
  11. North Carolina State (0.5, 1): East Carolina, Western Carolina, @West Virginia, Ball State. East Carolina and Western Carolina are both in North Carolina. The question is: why is one East and the other Western? The world may never know.
  12. Wake Forest (0.25, 1): Utah State, @Rice, North Carolina, Elon. Wake could well lose two of these games. Oof. Well, then again, UNC may be a trash fire in Mack’s first year, and Utah state is certainly winnable, even if the Aggies are one of the best G5 teams. Rice, though? Yeah, that’s a win.
  13. North Carolina (0, 1): N-South Carolina, Wake Forest, Appalachian State, Mercer. And since I forgot to mention it in the Wake blurb up there: yes, Wake Forest and North Carolina are playing a non-conference game against each other. It’s dumb, yes, but it’s also a good indication of how broken the ACC’s division structure is. The last time the two in-state rivals played was in 2015, and the next time they’ll play is in-conference is 2022. So dumb.
  14. Syracuse (0, 1): @Liberty, @Maryland, Western Michigan, Holy Cross. I’m still more than willing to give some side-eye to scheduling two non-conference road games in the same season. Especially if one of them is frickin’ Liberty.

Big Ten

  1. Michigan (1, 0): Middle Tennessee State, Army, Notre Dame. The Big Ten could be admired for its scheduling ethos of discouraging FCS opponents and matchups against other FBS teams, especially from the Power 5 conferences. However, the actual implementation, at least for 2019, seems to have created a situation where no Big Ten team plays a really, truly exciting non-conference game. Like, the most talked about Big Ten out-of-conference game that I’ve heard about all offseason is Army going to Ann Arbor. Look, I know they took Oklahoma to overtime last year, but I don’t think Michigan will be fooled. 
  2. Purdue (0.75, 0): @Nevada, Vanderbilt, Texas Christian. This schedule, with its three distinct tiers of teams, should provide the Boilermakers with a good indication of where they’re at entering conference play.
  3. Northwestern (0.75, 0): @Stanford, Nevada-Las Vegas, Massachusetts. Northwestern-Stanford is a good series, but I’m not sure the games themselves will be all that exciting. 
  4. Nebraska (0.25, 0): South Alabama, @Colorado, Northern Illinois. One thing that does pop up a couple of times in this Big Ten slate is the rekindling of a couple of old rivalries. Here, we’ve got the Cornhuskers making their first trip to Boulder since 2010. The two teams played every season from 1949 until then, and picked up a home-and-home last year that the Buffs won 33-28. Nebraska has dominated the all-time series, 49-19-2. 
  5. Michigan State (0.25, 0): Tulsa, Western Michigan, Arizona State. Sparty gets a visit from the Sun Devils after losing a 16-13 contest last year. I doubt the return leg will be much more pointsy than the first, but like I said with this Big Ten slate, we’ll take what we can get.
  6. Ohio State (0.25, 0): Florida Atlantic, Cincinnati, Miami. Cincinnati and Ohio State basically never play, and when they do it hasn’t been competitive. The Buckeyes are 14-2 all time, and those two losses came in the 19th century. So, yeah, it’d be tough to call that a rivalry.
  7. Iowa (0.25, 0): Miami, @Iowa State, Middle Tennessee State. MTSU plays Michigan, Duke, and Iowa non-conference. Get money get paid, I suppose.
  8. Rutgers (0, 0): Massachusetts, Boston College, Liberty. Rutgers is basically at the top of the heap here because BC is a Power 5 team and they don’t play any FBS teams, though UMass and Liberty are probably some of the weakest FBS opponents you could possibly schedule.
  9. Maryland (0, 1): Howard, Syracuse, @Temple. I made the executive decision here to rate teams that play other Power 5 teams ahead of the ones that don’t, even if they play a FBS team. Also, the game at Temple could be kinda spicy.
  10. Pennsylvania State (0, 1): Idaho, Buffalo, Pittsburgh. Penn State played Pitt basically every year before they joined the Big Ten, so always good to see that sort of thing. Of course, right now the two teams are… far apart, with the last two meetings in 2017 and 2018 having a combined score of Penn State 84, Pittsburgh 20.
  11. Wisconsin (0, 0): @South Florida, Central Michigan, Kent State. Wisconsin goes down to Orlando for Week 1. Bring sunscreen, some shorts, and try to stay hydrated, Wisconsinites.
  12. Minnesota (0, 1): South Dakota State, @Fresno State, Georgia Southern. I think it’s way more like the Gophers go 3-0 against this slate than 0-3, but boy howdy this is about as hard as a schedule you could come up with without any Power 5 teams. You have a FCS national title contender, a road trip to Fresno, and you have an option. Have fun!
  13. Illinois (0, 0): Akron, @Connecticut, Eastern Michigan. Even Illinois can probably go 3-0 against this bunch. Oof.
  14. Indiana (0, 1): N-Ball State, Eastern Illinois, Connecticut. And finally, we’ve got the Hoosiers. It’s difficult for me to think of anything to really say about this schedule, it sort of just is. The “neutral site” game is in Idianapolis, for what it’s worth.

Big 12

  1. Oklahoma (1.5, 1): Houston, South Dakota, @California-Los Angeles. I’m sure Sooner fans would like to contrast them playing Houston while Texas plays Rice, but it’s not like Oklahoma plays Houston all the time. USD is probably the least successful of the Dakota schools, and UCLA, well, they’re still rebuilding.
  2. Texas (1, 0): Louisiana Tech, Louisiana State, N-Rice. This past summer was the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the surface of the moon, so I’ll use that as a weak excuse to re-link my preview from 9 years ago. Still applicable and they’re playing once again in Houston’s NFL stadium. In other news, the Longhorns will also play two teams from Louisiana, once of which they should be vastly more worried about than the other.
  3. West Virginia (0.5, 1): James Madison, @Missouri, North Carolina State. I still have to remind myself that WVU-Mizzou is not a repeat of the Wake Forest-UNC situation, as it’s actually a non-conference game. The weirdest part to me, though, is that I can always instantaneously recall that West Virginia is in the Big 12 now, but it always takes me a second to remember that Mizzou joined the SEC. Maybe it’s because WVU’s former home, the Big East, isn’t a football conference anymore? Who knows, brains are weird.
  4. Iowa State (0.5, 1): Northern Iowa, Iowa, Louisiana-Monroe. As per usual, Iowa State’s schedule is filled with as many Iowa teams as they can get credit for playing. Of course, this occasionally backfires, by which I mean Iowa State has lost 3 of their last 5 games against UNI. Even funnier, of course, are the occasions where they lose to UNI and then beat Iowa, which last happened in 2014. El Assico is truly the most underrated rivalry in sports.
  5. Kansas State (0.25, 1): Nicholls State, Bowling Green, @Mississippi State. The post-Synder era gets a relatively soft landing to start off, assuming of course they don’t start 0-3 and immediately bring him back.
  6. Texas Christian (0.25, 1): Arkansas-Pine Bluff, @Purdue, Southern Methodist. I had to look this up: apparently TCU and SMU play every year, even though TCU is now in the Big 12, though apparently the contract runs out after this season. Let’s hope the Battle for the Iron Skillet gets picked back up soon.
  7. Oklahoma State (0, 1): @Oregon State, McNeese State, @Tulsa. I guess maybe there is something to scheduling “winnable” road games, unless of course this is actually THE YEAR OF THE BEAVER and OSU is merely west coast OSU’s first victim.
  8. Texas Tech (0, 1): Montana State, Texas-El Paso, @Arizona. Who knows how good Arizona will e this year, and it’s also entirely possible UTEP may be worse than Montana State this year. Overall a manageable slate for first-year head coach Matt Wells. 
  9. Kansas (0, 1): Indiana State, Coastal Carolina, @Boston College. Still astonished that Les Miles is the new head coach at KU. Hopefully their new-found chestiness will get them at least two wins out of this slate, because, well, they’re Kansas.
  10. Baylor (0, 1): Stephen F. Austin, Texas-San Antonio, @Rice. See Texas, if Baylor can be bothered to play at the Rice Bowl, why can’t you?

Pac-12

  1. Stanford (1.75, 0): Northwestern, @Central Florida, Notre Dame. I’m sure the road game at UCF seemed like a good idea the time, but… yeah, instead Stanford has what may be the most difficult out-of-conference slate for a Power 5 team. Good luck!
  2. California-Los Angeles (1.25, 0): @Cincinnati, San Diego State, Oklahoma. 1-2 or 0-3 is not out of the question for UCLA against this slate. Oof.
  3. Southern California (1.25, 0): Fresno State, @Brigham Young, @Notre Dame. Speaking of 1-2 or 0-3, look at this banger for USC. Yes, they should beat Fresno and BYU, but will they? Or will it finally be enough to get rid of Clay Helton, whose name I have just finally been able to consistently remember?
  4. Colorado (1, 0): N-Colorado State, Nebraska, Air Force. Two in-state schools and an old Big 8 rival. Checks out.
  5. Oregon (1, 1): N-Auburn, Nevada, Montana. I felt bad about rating Oregon’s schedule this low, especially given they have a feisty FCS team on the schedule. But rules are rules, and it’s my job to (arbitrarily) enforce them. 
  6. Oregon State (1, 1): Oklahoma State, @Hawaii, California Polytechnic State. Trying to figure out what to put there for Cal Poly was perhaps the hardest part of this whole preview. As you may have noticed, I prefer using the “full name” of the schools when possible. The Wikipedia article for Cal Poly does say “California Polytechnic State University”, so that’s what I went with.
  7. Arizona State (0.5, 1): Kent State, Sacramento State, @Michigan State.  Well, I already talked about ASU going to East Lansing, so… um, well, Have You Considered Arizona State?
  8. Washington State (0.5, 1): New Mexico State, Northern Colorado, N-Houston. So yeah, Houston plays both Oregon and Wazzu this season. If they want to go for it under Year 1 with Dana Holgorsen, well, they certainly have the schedule to do so.
  9. California (0.25, 1): California-Davis, North Texas, @Mississippi. Well, I don’t know how many Ole Miss fans made it out to Berkeley last year, but boy howdy I hope some of the native California types I know decide to make the trip to Oxford. I’m chuckling quietly to myself just thinking about the culture shock. (Well, imagined culture shock, because being from Alabama it’s a point of pride that I’ve only ever crossed the Mississippi state line for transportation purposes, and also one Boy Scout trip to Vicksburg. After all, when you’re the 49th ranked state in most metrics, you gotta keep up appearances when dealing with the 50th ranked state.)
  10. Utah (0.25, 1): @Brigham Young, Northern Illinois, Idaho State. The Holy War is back once again, thankfully.
  11. Washington (0.25, 1): Eastern Washington, Hawaii, @Brigham Young. One of these days, we gotta figure out how to get a FBS team to visit Eastern Washington’s blood red field, but until then, we’ll just have to settle for them to visit Seattle.
  12. Arizona (0, 1): @Hawaii, Northern Arizona, Texas Tech. 2019: Hawaii tries to beat the entire Pac-12! Well, at least it feels that way. The Bearcats also will try to avoid losing to NAU for the first time since 1932.

SEC

  1. Florida (2, 2): N-Miami, Tennessee-Martin, Towson, Florida State. I felt conflicted on this one. I usually don’t give credit for rivalry games, but Florida-Miami isn’t a regularly scheduled game. On the other hand, the Gators also play two FCS teams. Regardless, playing Miami is enough to vault them to the top.
  2. Georgia (1.5, 1): Murray State, Arkansas State, Notre Dame, @Georgia Tech. The Irish head down to Athens this year, which, well, have fun with that y’all. 
  3. South Carolina (1.25, 1): N-North Carolina, Charleston Southern, Appalachian State, Clemson. Well, the UNC-USC game has a Wiki page, so I guess it’s a real rivalry? Also I would be delighted if they managed to lose to App State.
  4. Texas A&M (1, 1): Texas State, @Clemson, Lamar, Texas-San Antonio. A&M-Clemson is definitely one of the headlining out-of-conference games of the season, but the lack of any other meat on this schedule results in a 4th place ranking.
  5. Louisiana State (1, 1): Georgia Southern, @Texas, Northwestern State, Utah State. LSU gets a bump above Auburn thanks to Georgia Southern, since I consider Texas and Oregon to be a wash. Utah State doesn’t hurt either.
  6. Auburn (1, 1): N-Oregon, Tulane, Kent State, Samford. See above. Like I said about TAMU, there’s not much else here other than Oregon. 
  7. Missouri (0.5, 1): @Wyoming, West Virginia, Southeast Missouri State, Troy. Mizzou goes to Wyoming in Week 0, don’t sleep on that y’all. Also, they somehow guaranteed they would get Neal Brown, thanks to him leaving Troy for… West Virginia.
  8. Mississippi State (0.5, 1): N-Louisiana-Lafayette, Southern Mississippi, Kansas State, Abilene Christian. They’re playing the Ragin’ Cajuns in New Orleans which seems like a… poor idea. I mean, the Bulldogs should win easily, but most of the time when these types of games are scheduled you don’t schedule a Group of 5 team that could actually sell their 50% allotment of the seats. This schedule continues to be pretty feisty with visits from Southern Miss and K-State.
  9. Vanderbilt (0.25, 1): @Purdue, Northern Illinois, Nevada-Las Vegas, East Tennessee State. I’m having a hard time thinking of any particular thoughts or feelings about this schedule.
  10. Alabama (0.25, 1): N-Duke, New Mexico State, Southern Mississippi, Western Carolina. Well, unlike in years past, I probably won’t have to worry about the Labor Day game. Also, you’ll hear a lot about Southern Miss beating Alabama, which is fun and all, but the last time happened was in 2000. Want to feel old? The freshmen on these teams weren’t alive when that happened. You’re welcome.
  11. Tennessee (0.25, 1): Georgia State, Brigham Young, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Alabama-Birmingham. Believer or not, Tennessee beating BYU would probably be a good indicator of how good the Vols will be under new management. Also, watch out for UAB.
  12. Mississippi (0, 1): @Memphis, Southeastern Louisiana, California, New Mexico State. It’s time for your annual reminder that Memphis is in fact in Tennessee, not Mississippi, and that Ole Miss could well lose that game. Also, I already talked about Berkeley-ites going to Oxford, MS, so go read that again and pretend that I also wrote it here.
  13. Kentucky (0, 1): Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Tennessee-Martin, Louisville. This is definitely a list of teams that Kentucky will play this season, no doubt about it. Well, unless there’s some sort of natural disaster, I guess.
  14. Arkansas (0, 1): Portland State, Colorado State, San Jose State, Western Kentucky. For being at the bottom of the list, this is actually a delightfully odd schedule. Oh, for sure the Razorbacks will be well and truly favored in all these games, but look at the geography: outside of the Hilltoppers, you’ve got two teams from the Mountain West Conference and a FCS team from Oregon. Wonder if Arkansas has to pay more than usual for a Group of 5/FCS team if they’re that far away.

And now, the requisite epilogue section. First up is the List of Shame, for teams that play more than one FCS opponent. This year, I’ve got two entries, and no good excuses, as far as I know: Virginia Tech and Florida. That’s it! Good job, everyone else.

Next up, the list of teams that play more than one Power Five team:

  • Duke (Alabama, Notre Dame)
  • Louisville (Notre Dame, Kentucky)
  • Boston College (Kansas, Rutgers, Notre Dame)
  • Clemson (Texas A&M, South Carolina)
  • North Carolina (South Carolina, Wake Forest)
  • Stanford (Northwestern, Notre Dame)
  • Florida (Miami, Florida State)
  • Georgia (Notre Dame, Georgia Tech)
  • South Carolina (North Carolina, Clemson)
  • West Virginia (Missouri, North Carolina State)
  • Purdue (Vanderbilt, Texas Christian)

Yeah, maybe Notre Dame shouldn’t count for ACC teams. I’m debating that for next year. 

And finally, here are the conference’s average “legit” ratings:

  1. Pac-12 (0.25)
  2. ACC (0.188)
  3. SEC (0.17)
  4. Big 12 (0.133)
  5. Big Ten (0.083)

For the fourth year in a row, the Big Ten is dead last. As I said last year, and again this year, it seems that the Big Ten’s scheduling guidelines don’t really do a lot to help create interesting matchups. The Pac-12 and Big 12 also have only three out-of-conference games and their teams seem to do a consistently better job scheduling these games. Hopefully this changes soon.