Monthly Archives: May 2009

Rating the 2009 Non-Conference Slate, Part 4: Big XII

With the Braves’ record at games I’ve attended this year at 0-3 (1 in ATL, 2 in SF), I figure now’s a great time to look at the out-of-conference schedules of the land of pirates, corn, and steers and the men who rustle them: the Big XII.

  1. Oklahoma (1.25 legit, 1 DI-AA): N-BYU, Idaho State, Tulsa, @Miami (FL). This is a great schedule for a team that’s trying to win a national title. Kudos to OU. 2 legitimate mid-major teams and a big inter-sectional road game is generally a good recipe for success, provided they survive the gauntlet. Going 4-0 here also gives them breathing room if they lose in-conference. For an example of how not to schedule for a national title, see the 11th and 12th ranked teams below.
  2. Baylor (1.25, 1): @Wake Forest, Connecticut, Northwestern State, Kent. Not really much to get excited about here, but imagine if Baylor surpises some folks and comes out 4-0? I think they’ve got a fighting chance this year to make a bowl.
  3. Nebraska (1, 0): Florida Atlantic, Arkansas State, @Virginia Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette. I think 3 Sun Belt teams should count as a DI-AA point or something. I mean, seriously. The return trip to Blacksburg may carry some intrigue.
  4. Oklahoma State (1, 1): Georgia, Houston, Rice, Grambling State. That’s right kids, your eyes aren’t fooling you. That’s the Univerisity of Georgia once again traveling for a regular season out-of-conference game. More on that later. Not much else to this schedule, though. Some C-USA West teams and a DI-AA round things out.
  5. Colorado (0.75, 0): Colorado State, @Toledo, Wyoming, @West Virginia. That’s right kids, @Toledo! Anyway, words are failing me here, not because it’s beautiful but because I can’t think of anything especially interesting to say.
  6. Texas A&M (0.75, 0): New Mexico, Utah State, UAB, N-Arkansas. Apparently TAMU and Arkansas have an on-going series scheduled to be played at the Cowboys’ new intergalactic space palace from this year on. I applaud this move, though I’d be most Arkansas fans miss the Texas series more. Nonetheless, the Southwest Conference is dead, long-live the SWC!
  7. Missouri (0.75, 1): N-Illinois, Bowling Green, Furman, @Nevada. I don’t know how long this Mizzou-Illinois series is scheduled, but I like it and hope it continues. (I realize I could find this out quickly, but I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader.) I don’t know about this @Nevada business, but hey whatever gets you 2 gauraunteed home games these days I suppose.
  8. Kansas State (0.75, 2): Massachuessets, @Lousiana-Lafayette, @UCLA, Tennessee Tech. Well, at least they’re not going on the road for their actual DI-AA opponents. After this year, I wonder if Bill Synder will try to schedule 3 DI-AA teams? At any rate, enjoy your last interesting non-conference opponent for awhile, KSU fans.
  9. Iowa State (0.5, 1): North Dakota State, Iowa, @Kent, Army. What’s with Big 12 teams going on the road to mid-majors this year? Of course, I suspect ISU’s concerns are mostly concerned with winning a conference game or two this year.
  10. Kansas (0.25, 1): Northern Colorado, @Texas-El Paso, Duke, Southern Mississippi. Sadly, UTEP and USM may actually be bigger challenges for KU over the team they get credit for (Duke) but them’s the breaks in this system. Warning: the schedules from here on out get outrageously bad.
  11. Texas (0, 0): Louisiana-Monroe, @Wyoming, Texas-El Paso, Central Florida. Again, what’s with Big 12 teams going on the road to mid-majors? Outside of that, for a team of Texas’s caliber this is a really bad schedule. Unlike Oklahoma, there is no margin of error for Texas – they must win all their games to have a shot at the title, in all likelihood. Just pathetic. But wait, there’s one more!
  12. Texas Tech (0, 1): North Dakota, Rice, @Houston, New Mexico. What, does the Big 12 feel sorry for C-USA and the Mountain West or something? If I’m counting it right there are 8 mid-major road games. Anyway, this schedule makes me sad. While there’s no gauruntee TTU will be anywhere near as good this year as they were last year, they should at least help to continue the Big 12 South’s dominance over the North. They certainly won’t be flexing any Big 12 muscle outside the conference, that’s for sure.

Well, that wraps things up for our most favorite BCS conference located between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. Next up, the Pacific 10! Stay tuned!

Rating the 2009 Non-Conference Slate, Part 3: Big Ten

On to everyone’s conference where Joe Paterno is the voice of reason and progress, the Big Ten!

  1. Purdue (2 legit, 0 DI-AA): Toledo, @Oregon, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame. I’ll admit there’s not a lot of meat on these bones, but there are worse MAC teams they could’ve picked. And there’s no DI-AA teams, which earns them the top spot over Illinois.
  2. Illinois (2, 1): N-Missouri, Illinois State, Fresno State, @Cincinatti: Mostly interesting due to the continuing neutral-ground series with Mizzou. Away game at Cincy may also bear some fruit for the Illinoize.
  3. Ohio State (1, 0): Navy, Southern California, N-Toledo, New Mexico State. Kudos to OSU for avoiding the DI-AA cupcake, though not so much for the “neutral” site game with Toledo. (If I had to bet, I’d guess it’ll probably go in the book as a “home” game for the Rockets, but anyway.) The game with Southern Cal is, like last year, one of the most interesting intersectional games of the year and for each team will define their national title hopes.
  4. Minnesota (1, 1): @Syracuse, Air Force, California, South Dakota State. This is actually a decent schedule. Air Force won’t make it easy, and Cal is in the upper tier of the Pac-10. If course, it remains to see the ‘Cuse won’t be a joke this year, and if UMN can repeat their respectiable performace from last year as well.
  5. Michigan State (1, 1): Montana State, Central Michigan, @Notre Dame, Western Michigan. MSU has enrolled in the Directional Michigan Derby this year, it seems. I don’t really have anything else to say about this, except they’re above Michigan because they go on the road to ND.
  6. Michigan (1, 1): Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan, Delaware State. Is the AD of Western Michigan asleep at the wheel? While I doubt it’s the first time one of the directional Michigans has played both the big boys in the same year that’s basically 2 losses right there. Oh, also, vigilant Dr. Saturday readers know all about Michigan paying off Delaware State to come over to the Big House and get waxed for homecoming – while causing Delaware State to forfeit a conference game. Fun fact: until they played Appalachian State two years ago, Michigan had never played a DI-AA team. Let’s hope history repeats itself.
  7. Iowa (0.75, 1): Northern Iowa, @Iowa State, Arizona, Arkansas State. Kudos for playing the Iowa derby, I guess? There’s not much to this.
  8. Indiana (0.5, 1): Eastern Kentucky, Western Michigan, @Akron, @Virginia. Okay, so Western Michigan is playing 3 Big Ten teams this year. I know DI-AA programs could use the money, but geez. Anyway, Indiana@Virgini has to be one of the least interesting inter-BCS-conference games I can think of.
  9. Wisconsin (0.25, 1): Northern Illinois, Fresno State, Wofford, @Hawaii. The home game on the islands means Wisconsin can actually add an additional game, but I haven’t been able to find any indication that have done so as of yet. Apparently ESPN tried to organize a game with Texas for this year, but Wisconsin declined. Oh well. Oh, and if you think this is bad…
  10. Northwestern (0.25, 1): Towson, Eastern Michigan, @Syracuse, Miami (Ohio). Well, at least this is Northwestern and not, say, Penn State.
  11. Pennsylvania State (0.25, 1): Akron, Syracause, Temple, Eastern Illinois. Whille JoePa may be in favor of Big Ten expansion and a playoff, he’s apparently not a fan of out-of-conference schedule. For one of the two Big Ten teams that probably can make a title game run this year, this schedule will do Penn State no favors at all, which will make their conference games extremely important this year.

And if you thought that was bad, well, wait until next time, when we cover the Big 12!

Rating the 2009 Non-Conference Slate, Part 2: Big East

And now we venture deep into the land of 5 out-of-conference games. Yes, that’s right kids, it’s The Big East.

  1. Syracuse (1.75 legit, 1 DI-AA): Minnesota, @Pennslyvania State, Northwestern, Maine, Akron. Even with everyone’s favorite inconsistent Duke guard possibly starting for them at QB this fall, the ‘Cuse could still possibly have a losing record against this schedule. At least they’ll help a couple of Big Ten squads keep bowl eligibility, I guess. For what’s worth though, Otto the Orange is one of my favorite college mascots. I’m not sure why, though it probably had to do with how hilarious it was having a team of anthropomorphic oranges in mascot mode in NCAA Football 2003.
  2. Cincinnati (1.75, 1): Southeast Missouri State, @Oregon State, Fresno State, Illinois. Dear Missouri State University System: Drop the directional names already! Or at least change them to cardinal directions or something. Anyway, this actually a decent schedule, with Oregon State and the Illinoise. It’ll be a little more respectful if Fresno is decent again this year.
  3. Connecticut (1.75, 1): @Ohio, North Carolina, @Baylor, Rhode Island, @Notre Dame. UConn brings up a kind-of respectible third place. The matchup with UNC is a potentially interesting matchup for both teams – UConn as much as an established Big East power as anyone these days and UNC projected to be an up-and-comer in the ACC this year.
  4. Louisville (1.5, 1): Indiana State, @Kentucky, @Utah, Southern Mississippi, Arkansas State. No offense to Sun Belt and Arkansas State fans, but I honestly keept forgetting Arkansas State isn’t a DI-AA team. That said, there’s some meat on these bones, with the traditional early season rivalry bout with Kentucky and a trip out to Utah.
  5. Pittsburgh (1.5, 1): Youngstown State, @Buffalo, Navy, @North Carolina State, Notre Dame. This is really a tie with West Virginia. That’s really all I can say about this, except wait, a road trip to Buffalo? I know they made a bowl and all last year but still.
  6. West Virginia (1.5, 1): Liberty, East Carolina, @Auburn, Colorado, Marshall. The more I look at this the more I like it better than Pitt’s, but oh well. I, of course, love the trip to Auburn. Of course, VPI could tell the Mountaineers a thing or two about watching out for ECU early in the year.
  7. South Florida (1.5, 2): Wofford, @Western Kentucky, Charleston Southern, @Florida State, Miami. Yes, that Miami. It’s the Florida series no one really wants to see but I guess we’re stuck with it anyway. That said, even with two DI-AA opponents this schedule is even weaker than it appears, with USF playing the role of WKU’s only non-Sun Belt DI-A home opponent this year (their first as a full DI-A member, yes that’s right folks, we’re up to an even 120).
  8. Rutgers (0.5, 2): Howard, Florida International, @Maryland, @Army, Texas Southern. This may be the worst schedule in major college football. Pathetic. I suppose I should be happy they’re playing a BCS team at all, but still, 2 DI-AA schools and one of the FIU/FAU pick ’em? The game at West Point just seems gratuitous with all that. Cupcakes, indeed.

Anyway, that’s all for the Big East. And if you thought that was bad, wait until you see some of the doozies coming up in the other “Big” conferences. Until then, goodnight!

Rating the 2009 Non-Conference Slate, Part 1: ACC

If I were convinced anyone were waiting for this, I’d congratulate you for waiting this long! Anyway, here we go, with the ACC.

  1. Virginia Tech (1.75 Legit, 0 DI-AA): (N) Alabama, Marshall, Nebraska, @East Carolina. VPI has, by far, the most interesting OOC schedule of any ACC team this year, and that would probably be true with just the opening weekend game with Alabama in the Georgia Dome. Add to that a game at ECU, Nebraska’s return trip, and the lack of any DI-AA teams and we have ourselves a winner. Provided ‘Bama and Nebraska are decent, this could even break right for a darkhorse run to the national title game.
  2. Georgia Tech (1.75, 1): Jacksonville State, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Georgia. The rivalry game with UGA carries the most weight, of course, but playing two other SEC teams (even though they are Vandy and Miss State) allow GT to rack up enough legit points to take second.
  3. Miami (1.75, 1): Oklahoma, Florida A&M, @Central Florida, @South Florida. Major props for Oklahoma, though unless this Miami team is drastically better than last year’s edition it’s hard to see how that will turn out well. Somewhat more minor props for playing both UCF and USF, though I think I speak for most football fans when I say I’d rather see them playing Florida instead of FAMU, UCF, or USF.
  4. Florida State (1.5, 1): Jacksonville State, @Brigham Young, South Florida, @Florida. The showdown with Florida at the end there is the jewel of this schedule, of course, but FSU deserves some credit for playing in-state Big East rival USF, and also for trekking out to Provo, though I have a feeling I’m more excited about that trip than most of FSU’s players.
  5. Maryland (1.25, 1): @California, James Madison, Middle Tennessee State, Rutgers. I just Cal ran out of SEC teams to play, as UMD will take up the reigns this year of providing us the third-most interesting inter-sectional game of the year. The rest of this schedule is uninsipring, to say the least.
  6. North Carolina State (1.25, 2): South Carolina, Murray State, Gardner-Webb, Pittsburgh. Decent BCS OOC opponents bookend two DI-AA schools. For shame, NCSU, and the ACC I guess – 3 teams have 2 DI-AA opponents, while in the other 5 BCS conferences there are only 3 teams that have done so. (Though I suspect Rutgers may join the 2 DI-AA ranks as well, as I’ll explain later.)
  7. Boston College (1, 1): Northeastern, Kent, @Notre Dame, Central Michigan. This is where the quality of schedules starts to drop a bit. BC is only up here due to ND’s inflated legit ranking, which in a way reflects how overrated ND is anyway.
  8. Clemson (0.75, 1): Middle Tennessee State, Texas Christian, Coastal Carolina, @South Carolina. Nothing to see here except the obligatory rivalry game, though TCU has the potential to make it interesting.
  9. Duke (0.75, 2): Richmond, @Army, @Kansas, North Carolina Central. Well, I guess Duke is playing to their level now, but hey, there’s two gaurunteed wins here, a probabale win against Army, and well, that’s 3/4ths of last year’s win total right there!
  10. Wake Forest (0.5, 1): Baylor, Stanford, Elon, @Navy. Wake needs to watch out for Baylor, which has a slight chance of not being completely terrible this year. Outside of that, well, maybe they’ll make a return trip out here for Stanford in a couple years?
  11. North Carolina (0.5, 2): The Citadel, @Connecticut, East Carolina, Georgia Southern. The “I Wish This Were a Basketball Game” series returns, but outside of that, not much to comment on here, other than the usual slap-on-the-wrist for scheduling 2 DI-AA teams.
  12. Virginia (0.25, 1): William & Mary, Texas Christian, @Southern Mississippi, Indiana. The sad thing is that TCU and USM are probably more interesting matchups than Indiana, but that’s not saying much. And there’s still a chance they could go 1-3 on this slate.

Next: The Big East. Stay tuned!