Category Archives: OOC schedules

Rating the 2018 Non-Conference Slate: Epilogue

In the interests of time and actually, you know, talking about football games, this is going to be pretty terse compared to past years.

First up is the List of Shame, which is a list of teams with more than one FCS opponent. I’m happy to report that the list only has three teams on it this year. Virginia and Auburn are on it due to playing transitional FCS-to-FBS team Liberty. Florida is on it only because Idaho moved to FCS from FBS this season, which I suspect the Gators didn’t think would happen when they scheduled the game. So good job, everyone!

Next up is honoring the best OOC schedules. Ordinarily, you need to have a “legit rating” over 1 to be considered. Southern Cal reaches that threshold by playing Texas in addition to Notre Dame. Unfortunately, the only other team that meets the criteria is Florida State, which got there by playing their annual rival and a team effectively scheduled by their conference in Notre Dame. So, instead, I’m just going to list every team playing more than 1 team from the Power 5 (plus Notre Dame) this season, regardless of criteria and in no particular order:

  • Florida State
  • Pittsburgh
  • Louisville
  • Clemson
  • Duke
  • Southern California
  • Texas
  • West Virginia
  • Northwestern
  • Ohio State
  • Purdue

Figuring out which major Power 5 conference doesn’t have any teams on this list is left as an exercise for the reader.

Speaking of conferences, here’s each conference’s average legit rating, accounting for the different number of OOC games payed:

  1. Pac-12 (0.229)
  2. Big 12 (0.2)
  3. ACC (0.178)
  4. SEC (0.156)
  5. Big Ten (0.131)

The Big Ten is last again. While I can admire, in some ways, not scheduling FCS teams, it would help if they also, you know, scheduled good teams more consistently. But hey, there’s always hope for the future. Especially for a future with fewer neutral site games.

Rating the 2018 Non-Conference State: SEC

Y’all know the drill by now, but for those that don’t: FCS teams are in italics and “N-” indicates a neutral site game.

  1. Texas A&M (1 legit, 1 FCS): Northwestern State, Clemson, Louisiana-Monroe, Alabama-Birmingham. Let me put this gently: SEC OOC scheduling remains pretty dire. Despite sticking with four OOC games, most of these teams only have one other P5 team on the docket. But hey, at least that means we get Jimbo’s return to Clemson pretty early.
  2. Louisiana State (1, 1): N-Miami, Southeastern Louisiana, Louisiana Tech, Rice. I will more about this in the weekly writeup, but I feel like LSU-Miami is flying under the radar a little bit. But then again, neutral site games are, just, well, not that exciting. Mostly.
  3. Vanderbilt (1, 1): Middle Tennessee State, @Notre Dame, Nevada, Tennessee State. Vandy might be go 1-3 against this schedule, but hey, it’ll at least get them ranked third in something.
  4. South Carolina (1, 1): Coastal Carolina, Marshall, Tennessee-Chattanooga, @Clemson. Again, it’s worth repeating that annual rivalries are usually discounted a bit, and the rest of this schedule was not enough to buoy the Gamecocks any higher.
  5. Auburn (1, 1.5): N-Washington, Alabama State, Southern Mississippi, Liberty. Liberty is transitioning to FBS, so they count as half a FCS school for now. In the meantime, this schedule has a fairly large hurdle to clear and would ordinarily be ranked second. Rules are the rules, though.
  6. Florida (1, 2): Charleston Southern, Colorado State, Idaho, @Florida State. In fairness to the Gators, Idaho was a FBS team when they scheduled them, and I’m assuming they couldn’t get out of the deal. So that’ll give me something to remember come bowl prediction season, I guess.
  7. Georgia (0.75, 1): Austin Peay, Middle Tennessee State, Massachusetts, Georgia Tech. As a reminder, the people who do these ratings every year (my brother and I, that is) are Georgia Tech alums. We may be biased in terms of our legit value.
  8. Alabama (0.5, 1): N-Louisville, Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, The Citadel. There’s not much to recommend on this one. Yeah, they’re playing Louisville, but… without Lamar Jackson that’s just not that interesting.
  9. Mississippi State (0.5, 1): Stephen F. Austin, @Kansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana Tech. Road trip to the Little Apple? Nice. Two small Louisiana schools, eh, less o.
  10. Tennessee (0.5, 1): N-West Virginia, East Tennessee State, Texas-El Paso, Charlotte. Playing Tennesse-West Virginia in a neutral site should be a crime. Especially when that neutral site is Charlotte, of all places.
  11. Kentucky (0.5, 1): Central Michigan, Murray State, Middle Tennessee State, @Louisville. I have no opinion about this schedule.
  12. Missouri (0, 1): Tennessee-Martin, Wyoming, @Purdue, Memphis. Now, see, this is a spicy, yet low-rated schedule. Two good G5 teams and a road trip to an up-and-coming Big Ten team? Sign me up! Whether Barry Odom agrees in a few weeks remains to be seen.
  13. Mississippi (0, 1): N-Texas Tech, Southern Illinois, Kent State, Louisiana-Monroe. At least Houston is between these two campuses, but it’s still far. I keep hoping these games will go away, but of course this is the fifth SEC team involved in a neutral site game this season. Ugh.
  14. Arkansas (0, 1): Eastern Illinois, @Colorado State, North Texas, Tulsa. Colorado State has a cool new stadium, which kudos on getting the Hogs in for that. Other than that, there’s not much here.

Rating the 2018 Non-Conference State: Pac-12

As usual, “N-” means neutral site, and italics indicates an FCS team.

  1. Southern California (2 legit, 0 FCS): Nevada-Las Vegas, @Texas, Notre Dame. As usual, the Trojans are right out front in terms of good scheduling, even accounting for the fact that they play Notre Dame every year.
  2. California-Los Angeles (1, 0): Cincinnati, @Oklahoma, Fresno State. That said, this is also spicy. Cincy should be better, Fresno was legitimately good last year, and then there’s the trip to Norman. It still doesn’t add up to beat USC’s, but this is still exciting.
  3. Oregon State (1, 1): @Ohio State, Southern Utah, @Nevada. Well, no one will say the Beavers aren’t trying. Well, at least in the scheduling department.
  4. Washington (1, 1): N-Auburn, North Dakota, Brigham Young. The two road games gave Oregon State the edge over Washington. Also, we generally do want to encourage more home-and-homes.
  5. Colorado (1, 1): N-Colorado State, @Nebraska, New Hampshire. So I probably should’ve mentioned this in the Big 12 preview, but this works too. Ever notice the school abbreviations for the former Big 8 schools that don’t have “state’ in their names? You know, CU, NU, OU, KU, and MU? Yeah, those are all short of “University of Colorado”, “University of Nebraska”, etc. I’m not entirely sure of the order, but I have a hard time thinking of examples outside of the former Big 8. For instance, look at the former Southwest Conference: UT for Texas and UH for Houston. Or even other schools that could potentially be confused for the others, i.e., UK is Kentucky, UM is Michigan, and UO is Oregon. I’m not sure the history behind it, per se, but it’s a good reminder of the shared history that’s still there, even if the Big 8 is now long-gone.
  6. Stanford (1, 1): San Diego State, California-Davis, @Notre Dame. We will find out a lot about the Cardinal very quickly with that early SDSU game.
  7. Arizona State (0.5, 0): Texas-San Antonio, Michigan State, @San Diego State. Speaking of early SDSU games, boy howdy, it bears mentioning here in case you haven’t heard: Herm “You Play to Win the Game” Edwards is now the head coach at Arizona State! So… maybe if you’re serious about football you should no longer consider Arizona State 🙁
  8. California (0.5, 1): North Carolina, @Brigham Young, Idaho State. Well, this could get the Bears off to a good start. That Carolina game is anyone’s guess, but they could very well take it and be well on their way to a 3-0 start.
  9. Arizona (0.25, 1): Brigham Young, @Houston, Southern Utah. If Arizona’s defense puts in a repeat performance of last year’s defense that game at Houston could go south very, very quickly, Khalil Tate or no.
  10. Utah (0, 1): Weber State, @Northern Illinois, Brigham Young. Utah, you’re not in the Mountain West anymore. You don’t need to take road trips to MAC schools! But hey, at least the Holy War is back on the calendar.
  11. Washington State (0, 1): @Wyoming, San Jose State, Eastern Washington. I think it’s safe to say the last thing Wazzu needs is a roadtrip to Wyoming and their defense. Oy.
  12. Oregon (0, 1): Bowling Green, Portland State, San Jose State. Well, this is definitely the sort of schedule you’d want when breaking in your second new head coach in as many years.

Rating the 2018 Non-Conference Slate: Big 12

Next up, the Ten that Call Themselves Twelve. The “N-” prefix is for neutral site games and the italics indicate games against FCS teams.

  1. Texas (1 legit, 0 FCS): N-Maryland, Tulsa, Southern California. Will this… be the year that Texas can beat Maryland? Also, a rematch of one of the greatest national title games of all time. Not bad.
  2. Oklahoma (1, 0): Florida Atlantic, California-Los Angeles, Army. This is an OOC schedule of extremes for the Sooners. They should go 3-0 against this slate. If it’s anything other than that, it’s a disaster.
  3. Texas Christian (1, 1): Southern, @Southern Methodist, Ohio State. I fully appreciate the late-September out-of-conference game, especially since if they win it’ll give the Horned Frogs to go into Big 12 play as the favorite.
  4. West Virginia (1, 1): N-Tennessee, Youngstown State, @North Carolina State. Speaking of extremes, this schedule is sort of a microcosm of WVU’s potential this season. It could be good-to-great, but it could all go wrong very quickly.
  5. Texas Tech (0.5, 1): N-Mississippi, Lamar, Houston. Again, seems like a lot of all-or-nothing schedules in the Big 12. If Kliff goes 3-0 against this slate, he’s off the hot seat. 1-2? Hoo boy.
  6. Oklahoma State (0.5, 1): Missouri State, South Alabama, Boise State. Well, at least they’ve got Boise.
  7. Iowa State (0.5, 1): South Dakota State, @Iowa, Akron. The most interesting possibility, by far, is the part where they lose to SDSU and beat Iowa. Mostly because there’s a chance it could happen!
  8. Kansas State (0.25, 1): South Dakota, Mississippi State, Texas-San Antonio. K-State versus Miss State will be one of those games with something for everyone, mostly because those offenses will be nothing alike.
  9. Baylor (0.25, 1): Abilene Christian, @Texas-San Antonio, Duke. Ugh, Baylor.
  10. Kansas (0, 1): Nicholls State, @Central Michigan, Rutgers. I feel like whoever shows up to Rutgers @ Kansas should get, like, one free ticket to an actual football game as an incentive.

Rating the 2018 Non-Conference Slate: Big Ten

Next up, the Big Ten. As usual, the “N-” prefix indicates a neutral site game and, though it’s not going to come up a lot in this one, italics indicates the team is in the FCS. Let’s get to it.

  1. Northwestern (1.25 legit, 0 FCS): Duke, Akron, Notre Dame. Hey, look, Duke got a 0.25 this year, okay? At this point David Cutcliffe has be considered more of a quaterback warlock than a guru.
  2. Ohio State (1, 0): Oregon State, @Texas Christian, Tulane. In reality, we’ve got some interesting ones here. While Oregon State stands no chance of winning, it could be a useful gauge for both teams. Ohio State @ TCU a stand-out game that will definitely warrant mention at the end of this series of posts.
  3. Maryland (1, 0): N-Texas, @Bowling Green, Temple. Let’s take a moment to Bowling Green’s loaded out-of-conference schedule: @Oregon, Maryland, Eastern Kentucky, and @Georgia Tech. That’s three Power 5 teams (and, well, three paychecks, but sshhh). As for the Terps, well, this could also be relatively loaded. Texas should be better this year, and Temple is occasionally feisty.
  4. Michigan (1, 0): @Notre Dame, Western Michigan, Southern Methodist. They don’t play Notre Dame every year, but nonetheless they play them reasonably often, so I had to rank them fourth instead, of you know, third.
  5. Pennsylvania State (0.25, 0): Appalachian State, @Pittsburgh, Kent State. I already wrote about playing Pitt, but the gist of it is that it’s a Good Thing. The rest of this schedule is, like a Murphy bed, functional.
  6. Nebraska (0.25, 0): Akron, Colorado, Troy State. Speaking of dormant rivalries, I wholly support former Big 8/12 teams playing each other again. Especially when neither of them is still in the Big 12.
  7. Michigan State (0.25, 0): Utah State, @Arizona State, Central Michigan. I enjoy that Michigan State is playing two Western teams, and I enjoy even more that they’re going on the road to Tempe. Surely more than one Spartan will leave wondering why they didn’t consider Arizona State.
  8. Illinois (0.25, 1): Kent State, Western Illinois, N-South Florida. As I’m sure I’ll say a few weeks from now, that USF game is at Wrigley Field for some reason. As for this schedule, Illinois are really, really hoping that they win two f these games.
  9. Iowa (0.25, 1): Northern Illinois, Iowa State, Northern Iowa. NIU is pretty spicy usually, the Cyclones are improving, and UNI usually makes the FCS playoffs every year. Look, Iowa should pretty much always go 3-0 against this slate, but I’m just saying there’s a chance.
  10. Purdue (0, 0): Eastern Michigan, Missouri, Boston College. I feels like a schedule with two P5 teams should rate higher, but alas, those are the breaks when those teams are Mizzou and Boston College. But hey, that Purdue-Mizzou game figures to be pretty poinsty, so this may wind up being a fun OOC schedule nonetheless.
  11. Wisconsin (0, 0): Western Kentucky, New Mexico, Brigham Young. Three games at home, no threat to the road-paving Wisconsin offense, three very probable victories.
  12. Indiana (0, 0): @Florida International, Virginia, Ball State. I think the Indianas of the world should try to schedule those trips to Boca Raton at the end of the season, but what do I know?
  13. Rutgers (0, 0): Texas State, @Kansas, Buffalo. Whatever the opposite of the “Game of the Week” concept is, I’m pretty sure Rutgers at Kansas is going to be it.
  14. Minnesota (0, 0): New Mexico State, Fresno State, Miami. That’s the Miami in Ohio at the end there, and all the games at at home, so, alas, the boats will continue to be rowed strictly in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.