Rating the 2018 Non-Conference Slate: ACC

First up is the ACC. FCS teams are indicated in italics and a “N-” prefix indicates a neutral site game. Onward!

  1. Florida State (2 legit, 1 FCS): Samford, Northern Illinois, @Notre Dame, Florida. It may top the list, but this isn’t an interesting OOC slate, per se, thanks to Florida being an annual rivalry and Notre Dame being a quasi-ACC member.
  2. Pittsburgh (1.25, 1): Albany, Pennsylvania State, @Central Florida, @Notre Dame. Meanwhile, Pitt gets credit for getting Penn State on the schedule, and that road trip to Orlando could definitely be a thing. This is the sort of schedule that, if they actually had any hope, could actually #PutPuttIn.
  3. Georgia Tech (1.25, 1): Alcorn State, @South Florida, Bowling Green, @Georgia. The Tennessee game last year was fun, but of course wound up being a stomach punch in a way that few other Georgia Tech games have been in the 15 years since I matriculated at MaTech. Suffice it to say, Alcorn State will be much less stressful.
  4. Louisville (1, 1): N-Alabama, Indiana State, Western Kentucky, Kentucky. I took a quick look to figure out if there were any other notable Indiana State alumni other than Larry Bird, who will presumably be mentioned often on the broadcast of that game. The answer, as it turns out, is “no, not really”.
  5. Miami (1,1): N-Louisiana State, Savannah State, @Toledo, Florida International. Strap in, because in addition to UCF and USF above, we’ve got some weird G5 road games coming. First up is the Canes going to… Toledo of all places. Oh, and yeah, they’ve got a neutral site opener with LSU, which should pretty quickly prove whether the current conventional wisdom about both of those teams is correct or not.
  6. Syracuse (1, 1): @Western Michigan, Wagner, Connecticut, N-Notre Dame. See what I mean? Though to Western Michigan’s credit, they’ve done a pretty good job over the years of getting major teams to visit. To be honest, I’ve been expecting this sort of arrangement to become more common for years because it allows major programs to save some money.
  7. Virginia Tech (1, 1): William & Mary, East Carolina, @Old Dominion, Notre Dame. I really feel like I shouldn’t count Notre Dame for ACC teams at all. Maybe next year.
  8. Wake Forest (1, 1): @Tulane, Towson, Notre Dame, Rice. To continue the thought from above, the rating system says this is a more interesting schedule than Clemson’s. Yes, TAMU isn’t rated as a 1, but again Notre Dame is sorta-kinda-basically in the ACC anyway. Let’s just agree that Clemson should be ranked, say, 6th instead of 9th.
  9. Clemson (0.75, 1): Furman, @Texas A&M, Georgia Southern, South Carolina. Since I used up most of my thoughts about Clemson’s schedule above, let’s take a moment to appreciate the actual road game against a Power-5 opponent. That’s a trend I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing take-off, the good ol’ fashioned home-and-home.
  10. North Carolina State (0.5, 1): James Madison, Georgia State, West Virginia, @Marshall. NC State is looking to be the masters of the state of West Virginia, I guess.
  11. North Carolina (0.25, 1): @California, @East Carolina, Central Florida, Western Carolina. Ah, just a South Carolina away from having all of the Carolinas! Alas. That said, this should rate higher for the road trip out to Berkeley, though I suspect that game won’t be quite as much Culture Shock Central as when Ole Miss visited a few years ago.
  12. Duke (0.25, 1): Army, @Northwestern, @Baylor, North Carolina Central. This is about as bad of a rating as you can get with a schedule that features two Power 5 teams, but UNC edged them out with the road trip to Berkeley and a game with the Defending National Champions.
  13. Boston College (0, 1): Massachusetts, Holy Cross, @Purdue, Temple. Am I saying that with this schedule Purdue is a more interesting matchup than Indiana? Yes. Also, Temple is occasionally spicy, so there’s some credit there too.
  14. Virginia (0, 1.5): Richmond, @Indiana, Ohio, Liberty. Liberty is transitioning to FBS right now, so they count as half-a-FCS team. Other than that, there’s another road game. I guess these ACC schedules are going to be stack with home games in a year or two or something.