Rating the 2015 Non-Conference Slate: ACC

As always, the first to go with the Atlantic Coast Conference. Let’s do this. (Note: FCS teams are marked in italics.)

  1. Virginia (2.25 legit, 1 FCS): @California-Los Angeles, Notre Dame, William & Mary, Boise State. By far the strongest non-conference schedule in college football this year. Though it’s debatable whether Notre Dame is “non-conference” for ACC teams, but that’s something we’ll think about for next year. For now, every FBS non-conference team the Cavs play is rated. Ordinarily, we’d say this doesn’t bode well for Mike London’s job, but we’ve been saying that for what feels like two or three years at this point, so it’s not entirely clear now what would actually get him fired.
  2. Georgia Tech (2, 1): Alcorn State, Tulane, @Notre Dame, Georgia. This also rates as a tough schedule, but even then it feels like a bit of a cop-out because of Notre Dame’s arrangement with the ACC and because Georgia is a yearly rivalry game. That said, this is still one of the toughest GT schedules (overall) that I can recall since I started following them in 2003, so I’d say it deserves some recognition.
  3. Clemson (1.75, 1): Wofford, Appalachian State, Notre Dame, @South Carolina. Of course, the only reason we’re not tied with Clemson is because Georgia is a 1 and South Carolina is a 0.75. If it were tied, I probably would’ve broken the tie by saying Appalachian State is better than Tulane.
  4. Pittsburgh (1.25, 1): Youngstown State, @Akron, @Iowa, Notre Dame. This year it felt like there were a lot of road legs of 2-for-1’s or 3-for-1’s with lesser FBS teams, which hopefully I’ll remember not to harp on too often. I’ll save my other joke on this schedule for the Iowa blurb.
  5. Louisville (1, 1): N-Auburn, Houston, Samford, @Kentucky. First off, good on you folks in the Commonwealth of Kentucky for moving your premier rivalry game to Thanksgiving. As for the schedule, that Louisville-Auburn game could recalibrate a lot of pre-season speculation very, very quickly.
  6. Virginia Tech (1, 1): Ohio State, Furman, @Purdue, @East Carolina. VPI-Ohio State was, in retrospect, the most baffling result of 2014. I… would not expect that again.
  7. Miami (1, 1): Bethune-Cookman, @Florida Atlantic, Nebraska, @Cincinnati. Miami-Nebraska: a match up of two teams that badly wish it were the 80’s or 90’s again.
  8. Syracuse (1, 1): Rhode Island, Central Michigan, Louisiana State, @South Florida. I suggest Syracuse fans take what they can get and treat the game in Tampa as a bowl game, because that’s about as good as it’s probably going to get for them this year.
  9. Florida State (1, 1): Texas State, South Florida, Tennessee-Chattanooga, @Florida. This is usually the point in the rundown when I start running out of things to say, and this schedule is no exception. It is, however, good for a rebuilding reloading Seminole squad.
  10. Wake Forest (1, 1): Elon, @Army, Indiana, @Notre Dame. Deacons versus Priests: the ultimate showdown! (… probably not)
  11. Boston College (1, 2): Maine, Howard, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame. Two FCS teams, good job, Boston College: you now face an uphill road to bowl eligibility!
  12. North Carolina (0.75, 2): N-South Carolina, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical, Illinois, Delaware. This is the first year in a while where I can’t recall reading a swarm of article proclaiming that this will be, in fact, Carolina’s year. Which probably means they’re going to go 9-3 or something. Of course, playing two FCS teams and Illinois helps with that.
  13. Duke (0.25, 1): @Tulane, North Carolina Central, Northwestern, @Army. Army somehow got both Wake Forest and Duke at home this year, good on them! That said, I know Duke is… Duke but still, guys, you’re a Power 5 team, you can’t have two road games both against non-Power 5 teams.
  14. North Carolina State (0, 1): Troy, Eastern Kentucky, @Old Dominion, @South Alabama. Yep, ODU is full FBS this year (along with Georgia Southern and Appalachian State, which I should’ve mentioned earlier). See what I said re: two road games in the above Duke blurb.

Up next: the Big Ten.