Rating the 2011 Non-Conference Slate: Big East

I accidentally said that the Big 12 would be next. What I actually meant was that the Big East would be next. Whoops! Let’s get this out of the way then.

  1. Pittsburgh (2.5 legit, 1 DI-AA): Buffalo, Maine, @Iowa, Notre Dame, Utah. There aren’t very many strong schedules in college football this year. Sure, Buffalo and Maine are gimmes, but a road date with Iowa and home games with Notre Dame and Utah make this a worthy schedule. (I have to admit: I forgot Utah was in the Pac-12 this year when I first computed Pitt’s rating.) If Pitt and WVU can get their acts together, each could go into the Backyard Brawl on November 25th with a shot at the national title on the line.
  2. South Florida (2, 1): @Notre Dame, Ball State, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical, Texas-El Paso, Mami. I wonder if Miami fans imagine having a rivalry with USF based on actually being in South Florida instead of Tampa. Anyway, between “da U” and a road date with Notre Dame, this is one of the stronger schedules in the Big East.
  3. West Virginia (1.5, 1): Marshall, Norfolk State, @Maryland, Louisiana State, Bowling Green State. West Virginia fans in Baton Rouge? I don’t think I would want to be there personally, but I can imagine there will be some great stories from this mixture of two of the craziest fanbases in college football. If it’s a night game (and by all rights, it should be), Baton Rogue may well be leveled by sunrise. The road game in College Park is just frosting on the crazy cake, but if WVU can sweep this schedule they will have a shot at a darkhorse national title run.
  4. Syracuse (1.25, 1): Wake Forest, Rhode Island, @Southern California, Toledo, @Tulane. At USC is obviously the highlight here. This is why I usually rank the schedules by their averages, because having five non-conference opponents really dilutes schedules in the Big East. Thankfully, TCU will remedy that next year.
  5. Cincinnati (1.25, 1): Austin Peay, @Tennessee, Akron, North Carolina State, @Miami. Yes, USC+Wake Forest beat out Tennessee+NC State. Sorry. Also, that is a road game in Oxford, Ohio. I would imagine there’ll be a lot of Bearcat fans in attendance, though.
  6. Louisville (1, 1): Murray State, Florida International, @Kentucky, Marshall, @North Carolina. Sweet, I can make the “I wish this were a basketball game” joke twice this year for Louisville! Provided what I just said doesn’t count, of course.
  7. Rutgers (0.5, 1): North Carolina Central, @North Carolina, Ohio, Navy, N-Army. Playing both service academies doesn’t really seem patriotic so much as searching for two easy wins. Of course, considering how Rutgers is doing these days, the Navy game could be kind of dicey.
  8. Connecticut (0.5, 1): Fordham, @Vanderbilt, Iowa State, @Buffalo, Western Michigan. Vandy and Iowa State are about as low as you can go and still claim you play two BCS conference teams. I guess Duke wasn’t available, or they would be on here as well.

Next time is still the not Big 12, as the Big Ten is rightfully next in alphabetical order. So, until then!