Monthly Archives: August 2014

Rating the 2014 Non-Conference Slate: Big 12

Our next stop (of two) of our tour of inaccurately named conferences is the Big 12.

  1. Texas (1 legit, 0 FCS): North Texas, Brigham Young, N-California-Los Angeles. The UCLA game is at Jerry Jones’s Intergalactic Space Palace, robbing us of the chance of seeing that always sumptuous looking Rose Bowl turf1. Well, other than for UCLA’s home games. Oh, and while I don’t doubt that it’ll be green, considering the current weather conditions in most of California it could just be paint.
  2. Oklahoma State (1, 1): N-Florida State, Missouri State, Texas-San Antonio. Speaking of the Space Palace, it’ll also host one of the season’s premier inter-conference games right in the first week. Florida State is better than UCLA (well, probably, and the Bruins aren’t supposed to be slouches this year), Texas won out by not having any FCS teams.
  3. West Virginia (1, 1): N-Alabama, Towson, @Maryland. However, Oklahoma State did place ahead of the Mountaineers based on the strength of their one legit game, even if just barely. Besides, while I do give some credit for having multiple Power 5 teams, Maryland is, well, Maryland.
  4. Kansas State (1, 1): Stephen F. Austin, Auburn, Texas-El Paso. Maryland was enough for the ‘Neers to get the nudge over Kansas State, though.
  5. Oklahoma (0.5, 0): Louisiana Tech, @Tulsa, Tennessee. From the looks of it, Oklahoma-Tulsa appears to have been a 3-for-1, but it’s hard to know for sure. Either way, the Sooners did make the trek up to Tulsa back in 2007 and then laid their usual shellacking on the Golden Hurricane.
  6. Iowa State (0.5, 1): North Dakota State, @Iowa, Toledo. Iowa State may not win any of these games. North Dakota State beat Kansas State last year en route to the FCS national title. There’s not usually lines on games against FCS opponents, but the Bison may be the favorites.
  7. Texas Tech (0.25, 1): Central Arkansas, @Texas-El Paso, Arkansas. It’s partly a function of geography, but I do enjoy when there’s some historical conference foe action going on. Which is good, because that’s all that’s going on with Texas Tech’s schedule.
  8. Kansas (0.25, 1): Southeast Missouri State, @Duke, Central Michigan. I should probably save this for the game preview, but I can’t resist. What happened the last time Kansas went on the road to an ACC school, you ask? Well…
  9. Texas Christian (0, 1): Samford, Minnesota, @Southern Methodist. Okay, I’ll go ahead and do the SMU thing here. So SMU this season will play three former Southwest Conference teams in out-of-conference play (TCU, Baylor, and Texas A&M). In addition, they’re still in a conference with Houston. So they’re basically halfway to getting the band back together! Alas. A world where all the Texas schools (and Arkansas) played each other was just too perfect, apparently.
  10. Baylor (0, 1): Southern Methodist, Northwestern State, @Buffalo. One is tempted to think that Baylor scheduled this when they were still awful. And indeed, they last visited the Queen City in 2007. And indeed, they’ve seen had two home against Buffalo, and there are no more future contests scheduled, so one could conclude that it was a straight-up 2-for-2 deal. I suspect that if the series is renewed ever that will not be the case again.

1: Well, maybe if you’re Les Miles, otherwise it probably just always looks nice.

    Rating the 2014 Non-Conference Slate: Big Ten

    Up next is our survey of the big-boy schools of the Midwest, the Big Ten.

    1. Northwestern (1.25 legit, 1 FCS): California, Northern Illinois, Western Illinois, @Notre Dame. It’s pretty bad when a traditional conference patsy tops the list, but such is the case in the Big Ten this season. It’d be even worse except for the fact Cal has been awful the last couple of seasons, decreasing their appeal in terms of the “legit” rating.
    2. Michigan (1, 0.5): Appalachian State, @Notre Dame, Miami, Utah. Michigan tries to exact revenge for their embarrassment seven years ago. For the record, the Miami here is the one in the MAC.
    3. Michigan State (1, 1): Jacksonville State, @Oregon, Eastern Michigan, Wyoming. One of the premier inter-sectional games of the season has to be Michigan State-Oregon. Looking over this schedule, it’ll be the Big Ten’s only shot at another conference’s power team, and Sparty can improve the entire conference’s chances in the post-season with a win.
    4. Wisconsin (1, 1): N-Louisiana State, Western Illinois, Bowling Green, South Florida. Okay, I guess there’s one other shot, with this neutral site game against LSU. I can’t say I like the Big Ten’s odds in either contest, but I like Sparty’s better.
    5. Nebraska (1, 1): Florida Atlantic, McNeese State, @Fresno State, Miami. In this case, it is that Miami, which I guess also falls under the above category. But hey, too late to change course now. Also, while Nebraska-Miami might actually be a good game, it’s hard to see it affecting the national title race.
    6. Purdue (1, 1): Western Michigan, Central Michigan, N-Notre Dame, Southern Illinois. The battle for Indiana’s soul will happen, somewhat appropriately, in Indianapolis. Provided Indiana’s “soul” doesn’t also include, you know, Indiana.
    7. Ohio State (0.75, 0): N-Navy, Virginia Tech, Kent State, Cincinnati. VPI might give the Buckeyes a run for their money, but even with Braxton Miller they should still be able to outscore the Hokies. Otherwise, this schedule presents no obstacles.
    8. Maryland (0.75, 1): James Madison, @South Florida, West Virginia, @Syracuse. Sometimes, when undergoing drastic changes in your life, you need some stability. Something to keep you grounded. For the Terps, their anchors are apparently West Virginia (a team they’ve met 50 times overall, and in each season going back to 2010) and Syracuse (a team they’ve played 35 times and shared a conference with, albeit briefly).
    9. Iowa (0.5, 1): Northern Iowa, Ball State, Iowa State, @Pittsburgh. So, wait, Iowa can figure out a way to play Pitt but West Virginia can’t? Here are asimsports, we’re still all in favor of traditional rivalry games, but such is the reality of realignment.
    10. Indiana (0.5, 1): Indiana State, @Bowling Green, @Missouri, North Texas. I’d say something about this schedule, but there’s not really much to say other than this is an extremely rare trip by a Big Ten team to a MAC stadium. I’m not kidding, either. Since 1920, the current members of the Big Ten have played the current member of the MAC 292 times, and only in 19 of those contents has the Big Ten team been the visitor. But Indiana is just cool like that, they also did the same favor for UMass in 2012.
    11. Illinois (0.5, 1): Youngstown State, Western Kentucky, @Washington, Texas State. Usually, what the deal is with this is I look over the opponents and try to come up with something interesting. If I can’t think of anything, I then go with something like “the last time [team] played [conference] on the road was in [year]”. Noting the away game in Seattle, I figured I could use that here. Nope. Illinois played Arizona State on the road in 2012.
    12. Minnesota (0.5, 1): Eastern Illinois, Middle Tennessee State, @Texas Christian, San Jose State. This totally slipped past me, I guess because I don’t really care that much, but the Gophers’ old home, the Hubert H. Humphery Metrodome, was demolished earlier this year. Now, Minnesota moved out a couple years ago, but the building was torn down to make way for a new Vikings Stadium. So in the interim, Minnesota will share a stadium with the local NFL club again. As part of the deal, they also got some upgrades to their already mostly new on-campus stadium, most notably a heating system for the field to allow it to be playable late in the NFL season.
    13. Rutgers (0.25, 1): N-Washington State, Howard, Navy, Tulane. Not much to see here, unfortunately.
    14. Pennsylvania State (0, 0): N-Central Florida, Akron, Massachusetts, Temple. Well, on the flip side, all these teams are technically in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

    Rating the 2014 Non-Conference Slate: ACC

    First and sporting some pretty beefy schedules, at least the top end, is the ACC.

    1. Florida State (3 legit, 1 FCS): N-Oklahoma State, Citadel, Notre Dame, Florida. This is a pretty strong contender for one of the best schedules in the country. Yes, the meet with the Gators is a rivalry game, but nonetheless there’s two class opponents in Oklahoma State and Notre Dame.
    2. Clemson (2, 1): @Georgia, South Carolina State, Georgia State, South Carolina. Clemson visits Athens for the second part of their series. The 38-35 win last year set the tone for the Tigers’ season, riding a 6 game winning streak until getting dismantled by FSU.
    3. Miami (1.25, 1): Florida Agricultural and Mechanical, Arkansas State, @Nebraska, Cincinnati. Miami-Nebraska is the best kind of non-conference game, the intersectional meeting between two teams who don’t play each other often. Their last meeting the 2002 Rose Bowl, which the ‘Canes won easily. As national powers in the 80’s and 90’s, they met in four different Orange Bowls, with Miami winning three. The last regular season meeting was in 1976. As for the rest of the schedule, it’s pretty standard, though there is that throw-in with former Big East foe Cincinnati.
    4. Virginia Tech (1, 1): William & Mary, @Ohio State, East Carolina, Western Michigan. VPI finds itself playing a potential national title contender again, but I’ll give them kudos for scheduling those kinds of games at least.
    5. North Carolina (1, 1): Liberty, San Diego State, @East Carolina, @Notre Dame. I saved it for this one, but East Carolina is a bit of a trendy pick to be a really good non-power conference team this season, and definitely the sort of team that could make this year’s UNC team like every other year’s UNC team: overrated. There’s also a game at South Bend for good measure.
    6. Boston College (1, 1): @Massachusetts, Southern California, Maine, Colorado State. BC will play UMass in a huge NFL stadium and then play Southern Cal in their much cozier home. (UMass, for their part, will be re-opening their on-campus stadium a few weeks later.)
    7. Virginia (1, 1): California-Los Angeles, Richmond, @Brigham Young, Kent State. Somehow I doubt Virginia will have the same luck against BYU this year as they did last year. Then again, they may need luck just to get past Richmond and Kent State.
    8. Syracuse (1, 1): Villanova, @Central Michigan, Maryland, N-Notre Dame. The ‘Cuse already managed to get former ACC member Maryland on the schedule, which is somewhat impressive. The neutral site for the Notre Dame game is MetLife Stadium. I’m going to guess there’ll be a lot of blue and gold in the stands that day.
    9. Louisville (1, 1): Murray State, @Florida International, @Notre Dame, Kentucky. I know that Notre Dame has a “scheduling agreement” with the ACC now, but geez. This schedule also goes near the bottom for a “wtf?” road game at FIU and the fact that I tend to discount yearly rivalry games a bit.
    10. Georgia Tech (1, 1.5): Wofford, @Tulane, Georgia Southern, @Georgia. Our road game at Tulane, meanwhile, is to open up the return of football at Tulane for the first time since 1975. Other than that, there’s not much else to recommend this schedule. The half-FCS point is for Georgia Southern, which is a transitional team this year.
    11. Pittsburgh (0.5, 1): Delaware, @Florida International, Iowa, Akron. FIU managed to score eight home games this year, which is really good for a team like them. That’s probably one way to line up your 2-for-1 and 3-for-1 deals, but if I were a mid-major AD I’d probably shoot for spreading the wealth a little bit, you know?
    12. Duke (0, 1): Elon, @Troy, Kansas, Tulane. Speaking of called in return games, Duke will venture to Troy. We’ll quickly get an idea if the Blue Devils are working their magic again this year, it seems.
    13. Wake Forest (0, 1): @Louisiana-Monroe, Gardner-Webb, @Utah State, Army. Okay, what the heck? Is the ACC going on on a barnstorming tour this year?
    14. North Carolina State (0, 2): Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, @South Florida, Presbyterian. This might be one of the worst schedules in the country, with two transitional teams, an additional full FCS team for good measure, oh yeah, and then a road game.

    So pretty good at the top, but pretty atrocious at the bottom. What do the other conferences have in store for us? Tune in next time for the Big Ten.

    Rating the 2014 Non-Conference Slate: Prologue

    It’s that time again! We’re less than a week away from the start of the season, so let’s kick it off with our annual take on pre-season previews: a ranking of every major team’s out-of-conference schedule.

    Continuing from last year, we are now only ranking the “Power 5” conferences: the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC. The only non-Power 5 teams with ratings were Cincinnati (0.25), Notre Dame (1), BYU (0.25), and Boise State (0.5).

    What’s that rating, you ask? That’s our basically subjective “legit” appeal rating, essentially we’re trying to capture how excited a theoretical school might be about playing another school. The rating is a number between 0 and 1, with increments in 0.25.

    Last year we gave out a stingy 15 “1” ratings. We apparently felt more generous this time around and gave out 22 “1” ratings. The following schools received a “1”: Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Oregon, Stanford, Southern California, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana State, South Carolina, and Texas Agricultural and Mechanical. For those scoring at home, that’s 3 for the ACC, 4 for the Big 12, 4 for the Big Ten, 3 for the Pac-12, and 7 for the SEC.

    Given that, the average rating for each conference probably won’t be a huge surprise:

    1. SEC (0.661)
    2. Big 12 (0.639)
    3. Pac-12 (0.521)
    4. Big Ten (0.464)
    5. ACC (0.482)

     So that’s that. Next up: the ACC.