Rating the 2008 Non-Conference Slate, Part 1: ACC

Now that most of the dust seems to be settled for out-of-conference scheduling, let’s get this over with. First off, the ACC!

  1. Miami (2 legit, 1 DI-AA): Charleston Southern, @Florida, @Texas A&M, Central Florida. The Hurricanes meet the Gators for the first time since the 2004 Peach Bowl. They also go on the road to College Station. I realize that this is numerically inferior to UNC’s schedule, but I just cannot in good conscience put that schedule ahead of this one. Miami is, for starters, a better team than UNC still and is not being booked by other conferences as a patsy. Additionally, UF and TAMU are on the road, which is good for some bonus points. And both schools are probably better than UConn or Notre Dame.
  2. North Carolina (2.5, 1): McNeese State, @Rutgers, Connecticut, Notre Dame. Two Big East teams and Notre Dame add up to one of the toughest schedules in the ACC. I realize this is numerically ahead of Miami, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger on giving them the number one spot. I’m prepared to eat crow on this, though. Also, who expects UConn or Notre Dame to be any good? That said, they do get props for playing 3 BCS teams, even if two of them are from the Big East.
  3. Virginia (1.75, 1): Southern Cal, Richmond, @Connecticut, East Carolina. There are 4 teams with a 1.75 rating, but only one of them plays a single DI-AA team, so UVA gets the nod. Also, this USC is probably the single toughest opponent any ACC team will play this year. Unfortunately for the Cavs, though, they’d probably lose regardless of the difficulty of their schedule.
  4. Clemson (1.75, 2): N-Alabama, Citadel, South Carolina State, South Carolina. While Georgia Tech also plays 2 SEC teams, I’d say they average out to about the same strength. Mississippi State is probably worse than both Bama and South Carolina, but Georgia is probably better than both. Also, the Alabama game is going to be played in the Georgia Dome to open the season, so that should make for some good TV, if nothing else.
  5. Georgia Tech (1.75, 2): Jacksonville State, Mississippi State, Gardner-Webb, @Georgia. Thanks to Army pulling out of a home game for them, GT was forced to schedule Gardner-Webb. Still a tough schedule overall (well, relative to the ACC, anyway) with two SEC teams. I’m not sold on Miss State, but a lot of people seem to be very sold in UGA.
  6. Florida State (1.75, 2): Western Carolina, Tennessee-Chattanooga, N-Colorado, Florida. I’m not sold on the “neutrality” of Jacksonville, FL, but I put the N there anyway. If I’m not sold on Miss State, I’m definitely not sold on Colorado.
  7. North Carolina State (1.5, 1): @South Carolina, William & Mary, East Carolina, South Florida. The meat here is definitely with the Fightin’ Visors, but don’t count out the Pirates or Bulls.
  8. Wake Forest (1.25, 0): @Baylor, Mississippi, Navy, Vanderbilt. Not really that great of a schedule, but kudos for being the only ACC team to not play a DI-AA team this year (much less 2).
  9. Boston College (1.25, 1): @Kent State, Central Florida, Rhode Island, Notre Dame. I’m not sure if the Kent game is actually away or neutral, not that it really matters. BC lost pretty much all of their offense from last year so it remains to be seen how many of these teams they’ll actually be able to beat.
  10. Maryland (1, 1): Delaware, @Middle Tennessee State, California, Eastern Michigan. Cal is pretty much all you need to know about this schedule, the rest is cannon fodder. Regardless of how good Maryland is going to be this year (and they shouldn’t be terrible), they should be 3-1 at worst against this OOC schedule.
  11. Virginia Tech (1, 1.5): East Carolina, Furman, @Nebraska, Western Kentucky. The highlight here is obviously at Nebraska, not that it troubled USC much last year. In case you’re wondering about the “1.5” in the DI-AA column, Western Kentucky is a “transitional” D-I member. Next year they will be a full DI-A member in the Sun Belt.
  12. Duke (0.75, 1): James Madison, Northwestern, Navy, @Vanderbilt. Duke finally schedules down to their level. Northwestern probably wants revenge for last year, and frankly I can’t see any reason Duke will win any of these games except for maybe the one against JMU.

Anyway, that’s all I have for now. Next up: the Big East!