You may recall our overview this past spring of the top, by conference, OOC schedules in football this year. You may also remember I promised a top 10 roundup and some more research.
I tried the latter and got discouraged, thus putting off the former. So now to hastily make up for it, here’s a completely subjective top 10. Well, let me first define what I mean by top 10 – unlike the previous roundups that had a modicum of objectivity, this is pretty much “What inter-sectional games am I looking forward to the most?” So while Baylor has a reasonably tough schedule, I don’t particularly care that Baylor is playing a hard schedule because they’re Baylor. So this is pretty much a round of what power teams have a decent schedule this year.
10. Texas (FAU, @UTEP, Arkansas, Rice): Coming in at #10 is a schedule that hasn’t excited anyone in Austin for probably 30 years, but darnit I just find the idea of 3 SWC rematches interesting. Also, I ran out of other idea, as evidenced by…
9. Big Ten Pick’em (Michigan State (@Cal, EMU, FAU, ND) and Purdue (N. Colorado, Oregon, @ND, CMU)): On their own, neither schedule excites me. But these were rated by us to be the 2 most difficult schedules in the Big Ten, and you can see why – in addition to both playing Notre Dame, the also play decent Pac-10 teams. While not as exciting as the intersectional matchups we’ll see later, this is still interesting.
8. California (Michigan St, @Maryland, Colorado St.): Cal does some traveling of its own as they venture out to College Park, and as mentioned above they also play Michigan State.
7. Clemson (Alabama, The Citadel, SC State, S. Carolina): The first and last games almost make up for the two in the middle. Almost.
6. Miami (Charleston Southern, @UF, @TAMU, UCF): Miami renews its rivalry with Florida this year, which always warms my heart. They also play the second leg of their series with Texas A&M, this time in College Station. I rated this the ACC’s most difficult schedule, and I can’t say I regret it.
5. UCLA (Fresno St., Tennessee, @BYU): Interesting non-BCS opponents (both of whom should be decent this year, especially BYU) and an interesting SEC opponent combine to make an interesting schedule.
4. West Virginia (Villanova, Auburn, @Marshall, @Colorado, @ECU): While Colorado doesn’t get me particularly excited, the combination of them with a game with Auburn does, though the latter alone would also suffice. While ECU isn’t very good, the fact that it’s a road game is intriguing.
3. Florida (Hawaii, Miami (FL), The Citadel, @FSU): I rated this as the toughest schedule in the SEC but I’m putting it behind UGA. Why? On a subjective basis, I believe Miami, UF, and FSU should all play each other every year anyway. Hawaii probably won’t be very good this year, as well.
2. Georgia (Georgia Southern, CMU, @Arizona St., Georgia Tech): The main reason I rated this ahead of Florida is because, as much as I hate to give them credit for anything, going to Arizona State is really outside their comfort zone and gives them a good intersectional matchup. For a team trying to make a BCS run, this kind of schedule will help.
1. Southern Cal (@Virginia, Ohio State, Notre Dame): This is, by far, the best OOC schedule in the nation. For starters, provided UGA goes all the way (and I certainly hope they don’t), the Ohio State-USC game is essentially play-in game for the BCS title. Hell, it happens early enough in the season that if a bunch of other teams tumble the two could even produce a rematch in the title game. USC should beat UVA and ND by several touchdowns, but they could’ve just as easily scheduled San Diego State or something.
That’s it for now, for more subjective crap, tune in no later than Thursday this coming week as I give you my first preview of what will be on TV this weekend.