Monthly Archives: August 2017

Rating the 2017 Non-Conference Slate: Epilogue

Okay, we’ve gone through each conference, so where does that leave us? Well, first, if you’d like to view them all again, then click here to see all the posts under the “ooc schedules” tag.

Otherwise, we’ve got this part down to a ritual, so let’s get started with the List of Shame, which consists of teams that played more than 1 FCS school. Once again, we have just one member of this club this year: Arkansas, thanks to them playing transitioning FCS-to-FBS team Coastal Carolina.

Ordinarily, this is where I’d put the list of schedules I really like. The problem is this year the only ones that come close are Florida State, Georgia Tech, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. See the problem there? Yeah, they’re all only on there because they have a rivalry game against another team on the list, other than the Gamecocks. I feel like that defeats the purpose of the list. Honestly, while the playoff has given us more marquee out-of-conference games, at the same time conferences like the Big 12, Big Ten, and Pac-12 have gone to nine conference games. While I think that’s great for those conferences, it’s not great for the world of out-of-conference scheduling. That’s basically 36 less out-of-conference games that happen every year, which means a better chance for better schedules. I may need to rethink my criteria for this list, but for now, I’m going to skip it.

Instead, let’s see how the conferences all did a whole. This is an average of an average to account for the differences in the number of games each conference plays.

  1. ACC (0.226)
  2. SEC (0.192)
  3. Big 12 (0.158)
  4. Pac-12 (0.153)
  5. Big Ten (0.151)

Last year the ACC was second on this list, and really it’s more of a case that everyone got worse while the ACC stayed about the same. There’s something to be said for consistency, though, so hopefully the Pac-12 can recover dropping from first to fourth.

And that does it for this year’s preview! Up next, we’ve got the guide for this weekend’s games!

Rating the 2017 Non-Conference Slate: SEC

Do as I did: pour yourself some Bourbon and take some sips of these out-of-conference schedules.

  1. Florida (2 legit, 1 FCS): N-Michigan, Northern Colorado, Alabama-Birmingham, Florida State. Going on the road to play a lesser opponent is something you won’t see the Gators do, that’s for sure, so savor this rare inter-section matchup. Also, this is the first appearance of UAB in our preview, so even though they’re going to get pummelled, let’s give a hearty shout-out to the Blazers: they’re back!
  2. Georgia (1.75, 1): Appalachian State, @Notre Dame, Samford, @Georgia Tech. Georgia’s going to South Bend, eh? Let’s christen that the Unrealistic Expectations Bowl. Oh, wait, does Miami play them this year? Yes they do! Oh, the continuing delicious irony if Richt’s new team betas the Domers and UGA can’t… I actually don’t know if that’s ironic, but it’s something that will make me happy as a GT fan, that’s for sure.
  3. South Carolina (1.25, 1): N-North Carolina State, Louisiana Tech, Wofford, Clemson. Before you get too excited about USC-NCSU, let’s look at the scores from the last three times they played: 7-3, 34-0, and 10-0. Well, we can always hope they’ll lose and beat the Bulldogs they play this year in the most amusing way possible, at least.
  4. Auburn (1, 1): Georgia Southern, @Clemson, Mercer, Lousiana-Monroe. Unfortunately, this isn’t really spicy Georgia Southern anymore, so you mostly have the return trip to Clemson to look forward to. Not that’s a bad thing.
  5. Alabama (1, 1): N-Florida State, Fresno State, Colorado State, Mercer. Well, outside of FSU this doesn’t really do anything for the Tide, but when have they ever needed the boost a good out-of-conference slate can provide?
  6. Texas A&M (1, 1): @California-Los Angeles, Nicholls State, Louisiana-Lafayette, New Mexico. Again, we applaud the inter-sectional matchup, but y’all just got beat out by the returning national champions and a national title favorite for this year. That’s fair, I’d say.
  7. Tennessee (0.75, 1): N-Georgia Tech, Indiana State, Massachusetts, Southern Mississippi. Remember, I ranked Tennessee above Kentucky because Kentucky plays Louisville every year, not because we’re better than Louisville.
  8. Kentucky (0.75, 1): @Southern Mississippi, Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Michigan, Louisville.
  9. Arkansas (0.75, 1.5): Florida Agricultural and Mechanical, Texas Christian, New Mexico State, Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers are moving up to FBS, so Arkansas gets the increasingly rare “half FCS” there. Also thanks to TAMU I had to double check that FAMU was still spelled out in the full name of the school. Oh yeah, they also play TCU which we fully applaud: SWC forever, baby! (Said no one.)
  10. Vanderbilt (0.5, 1): @Middle Tennessee State, Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical, Kansas State, Western Kentucky. Alabama A&M also spells it out. Was that so hard, TAMU? Also, @MTSU is only a road game in the technical sense, as Murfeesboro isn’t that far away. Though there’d probably be more Blue Raider fans there either way…
  11. Louisiana State (0, 1): N-Brigham Young, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Syracuse, Troy State. I wasn’t able to watch it last week, but I hope some time during last week’s national broadcast of a UTC game they replayed the clip of Dan Mullen saying “Uuuuu-Teeeee Chattanooga!”
  12. Mississippi (0, 1): South Alabama, Tennessee-Martin, @California, Louisiana-Lafayette. The people watching that weekend in Berkeley might be spectacular, so we’d like to wholly encourage continuing SEC-Pac-12 matchups.
  13. Mississippi State (0, 1): Charleston Southern, @Louisiana Tech, Brigham Young, Massachusetts. Yeah, I don’t think Dan Mullen is going to be able to make Charleston Southern roll off the tongue quite like he did with their FCS opponent last year. Also, going on the road to Ruston? That’s spicy.
  14. Missouri (0, 1): Missouri State, Purdue, Idaho, @Connecticut. There’s bad OOC schedule, and then there’s… this. Oof.

Okay, that’s it! On to the wrap-up!

    Rating the 2017 Non-Conference Slate: Pac-12

    Okay, moving on to the West Coast, let’s talk the Pac-12.

    1. Stanford (1 legit, 0 FCS): N-Rice, @San Diego State, Notre Dame. This was a tough decision. I have, elsewhere, docked teams for having a team that they play every year, but as you can see from going down the list there’s just not much here this year for the Pac-12. Also, San Diego State should be pretty good again this year, and Rice is still technically better than a FCS school.
    2. Oregon (1, 1): Southern Utah, Nebraska, @Wyoming. Still, though, you could consider the Ducks tied for first. A good inter-sectional game and a road trip to Laramie? I’m down.
    3. California (1, 1): @North Carolina, Weber State, Mississippi. You could even make an argument for Cal, which has the only schedule with two other Power 5 teams on. But then you consider that, well, it’s Cal and you start thinking about their defense that is likely to remain a raging inferno this year (not in a good way).
    4. California-Los Angeles (0.75, 0): Texas A&M, Hawaii, @Memphis. I guess we’re just going to have to get used to these wacky road games, because even considering the vagaries of scheduling other FBS teams these days why in the world would UCLA ever go cross-country to play Memphis?
    5. Southern California (0.75, 1): Stephen F. Austin, North Texas, @Texas Christian. USC usually is the team here with a tough OOC schedule, but instead this year I guess they decided to see if they could go 3-0 against the state of Texas. At least it’s thematic!
    6. Washington State (0.5, 1): Montana State, Boise State, Nevada. If the past two years have taught us anything, Wazzou could very well go 2-1 against this slate in just about any possible combination.
    7. Arizona (0.25, 1): Northern Arizona, Houston, @Texas-El Paso. Both ‘zonas figure to be miserable this year, and the misery could get ramped up real quick-like for the Bearcats. Depending on this shakes out, it could be a race to see which of their coaches makes it out of September.
    8. Oregon State (0.25, 1): @Colorado State, Portland State, Minnesota. I could try to pretend that I don’t know the result of that Oregon State-Colorado State game, but I don’t think it was really that much of a surprise, and it’s hard to take anything away from it as this is still the rebuild phase for the Beavers. That said, the rest of this schedule may not help.
    9. Arizona State (0, 0): New Mexico State, San Diego State, @Texas Tech. Folks have tried to set Arizona State-Texas Tech as a sort of “who’s gonna get fired?” Bowl, 2017 edition, and maybe that’s the case, but the real test for the Sun Devils might be the San Diego State game. That, and Todd Graham isn’t exactly known for letting the situation get to him before he gets out of the situation…
    10. Utah (0, 1): North Dakota, @Brigham Young, San Jose State. The Holy War is back on the schedule, so that’s good. The rest of it? Eh.
    11. Washington (0, 1): @Rutgers, Montana, Fresno State. We’re still scratching our heads at the “@Rutgers” part there, especially since it’s not going to do UDub any favors if they’re on the edge of the playoffs.
    12. Colorado (0, 1): N-Colorado State, Texas State, Northern Colorado. I keep having to remember that Texas State is FBS now and it’s been several years since that happened. Ask me about trying to remember which conference Maryland is in some time…

    All right, we’re trying to truck though these to finish before the season proper starts, so expect the SEC right on the heels of this one!

      This Weekend in College Football: Week 0

      We interrupt our out-of-conference preview to bring up this special preview of ACTUAL FOOTBALL! A quick introduction to the way the weekly previews work:

      • Unless otherwise noted, games are on the Saturday of the week the preview is posted.
      • The network is given in parenthesis. Most are straightforward, but ones that aren’t are ACC (not an actual network (yet), but syndicated content usually on local stations), CBSS (CBS Sports Network, which you may or may not have), and ACC/RSN (ACC games on regional sports networks, like FS South or NBC Sports Bay Area).
      • I give predictions for all the games except for ones involving my alma mater, Georgia Tech.
      • The list of games, generally, will only include matchups between FBS teams. I mostly do this because most FBS vs. FCS games are not interesting, and I don’t know enough about FCS teams to predict FCS vs. FCS matchups.

      As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


      Noon: Texas Southern @ Florida Agricultural and Mechanical (EPSNU): an exception to the above is that I will list FCS games for this sort-of week since there’s not a lot else going on and they’re on national TV. That said, I will just list them without providing commentary.

      2:30: Oregon State @ Colorado State (CBSS): Arguably the most interesting game of the weekend (involving FBS teams, anyway), this will be an early test of both the progress the Beavers have made in year 2 of the current regime and whether or not the Rams will be for real Mountain West Mountain division contenders this year. This one could go either way, so I’m going to give CSU the edge since this is also the debut of their shiny new home stadium.

      3:00: Portland State @ Brigham Young (ESPN)

      6:30: Chattanooga vs. Jacksonville State (@Montgomery, AL; ESPN)

      7:00: Colgate @ California Polytechnical (ESPNU)

      7:30: South Florida @ San Jose State (CBSS): This is also a chance for San Jose State to show they’ve made strides, but I still think USF is going to be too much for them.

      10:00: Stanford vs. Rice (@Sydney, Australia; ESPN): This one could get ugly, most likely due to being a Stanford blow out, or due to just being two rusty teams that flew halfway around the world to play a game in a strange land, under which Rice still won’t have a chance, just the score will be 20-0 instead of 51-10.


      7:00: Richmond @ Sam Houston State (ESPNU): We feel obligated to note that Hurricane Harvey is currently bearing down on the Texas Gulf coast. Football aside, hopefully Huntsville, TX is far enough inland to avoid the worst.

      Rating the 2017 Non-Conference Slate: Big 12

      Okay, Big 12, you’re up!

      1. Texas (1 legit, 0 FCS): Maryland, San Jose State, @Southern California. This is a fun schedule. You’ve got a Maryland team that won’t be good or anything this year, an increasingly plucky San Jose State, and then we go party like it’s 2005. Sounds good to me.
      2. Oklahoma (1, 0): Texas-El Paso, @Ohio State, Tulane. Well, when your conference only plays 3 OOC games, outliers like having an Ohio State on your schedule count for a lot.
      3. West Virginia (0.75, 1): N-Virginia Tech, East Carolina, Delaware State. I already ragged on the game against VPI being in an NFL stadium, so instead let’s focus on, uh, well I don’t think ECU is supposed to be good this year. Also every time I look up and down this list WVU being here just still seems strange. Can the Big 12 and SEC arrange like a Mizzou-WVU swap? I think that’d work better for everyone.
      4. Texas Tech (0.75, 1): Eastern Washington, Arizona State, @Houston. I’ve gone to the “hey Eastern Washington has a red field!” well too many times, and they lead off with these three in the first four weeks, so it’s likely Kliff Kingsbury will still have a job at the end, so I can’t use that either. Houston could (should?) still be good enough this year to make it interesting, so maybe “likely” is a bit too strong there.
      5. Oklahoma State (0.5, 0): Tulsa, @South Alabama, @Pittsburgh. Huh, scheduling two out-of-conference road games out of three is definitely a thing you can do, but it’s not something you see too often. They do get 5 home conference games this year, but it’s still odd.
      6. Iowa State (0.5, 1): Northern Iowa, Iowa, @Akron. I think the Cyclones will go 3-0 or 0-3 against this slate, setting the tone for the rest of their season. After all, they did lose to UNI last year, and if you can lose to your in-state FCS rival, then you can definitely lose on the road to a MAC team.
      7. Baylor (0.25, 1): Liberty, Texas-San Antonio, @Duke. This is certainly a schedule.
      8. Kansas State (0, 1): Central Arkansas, Charlotte, @Vanderbilt. Depending on how feisty Vandy is this year, this may give K-State some trouble, but this slate should be no trouble. Also, as far as I know this marks the beginning of a stretch that will see none of my extended relations playing for the best football team in the Little Apple. I imagine things will be back to normal in 15 years or so.
      9. Kansas (0, 1): Southeast Missouri State, Central Michigan, @Ohio. Most of what you need to know about Kansas football is that they’ll be doing well to go 2-1 against this slate. If they somehow go 3-0, it will be the first time KU has won 3 games in a season since 2009.
      10. Texas Christian (0, 1): Jackson State, @Arkansas State, Southern Methodist. Between games at Houston, South Alabama, and Akron it’s like the Big 12 is trying to do its best ACC impersonation. But they still can’t come close to the champs.

      Up next, we head over to everyone’s favorite mostly-west-of-the-Rockies conference, the Pac-12! See you then.