Rating the 2023 Non-Conference Slate: Intro

Welcome back.

We’re here once again for what will possibly the final season of college football as we know it. Perhaps the best way to explain why is to just show all the conference moves for this year and next.

Big 12

This season, Cincinnati, Central Florida, and Houston move from the American to the Big 12. BYU also joins the party after a stint as an independent.

Next season? Hold on to your 5-gallon hats. Texas and Oklahoma are off to the SEC, but a convoy arrives from the west. Colorado rejoins several of their former Big 8/12 conference-mates, along with fellow Pac-12 refugees Utah, Arizona, and Arizona State.

Big Ten

No moves this year. Next season will see UCLA and USC, and to just further put the “west” in “midwest” Oregon and Washington also join.


So, for those of you scoring at home, that leaves just four schools in the Pac-12 for the 2024 season: Oregon State, Washington State, Cal, and Stanford. At press time, nothing has happened in terms of the Pac-12 either trying to survive or just these four desperately trying to find a lifeboat elsewhere.


As previously mentioned, the Southeastern conference is still staying relatively, well, Southeastern and just adding Texas and Oklahoma. But something is probably going to happen.

But wait, there’s more

Moving around isn’t just a power-conference thing. First, the American had to bring in some teams to replace the schools they lost, and they did so by raiding Conference USA. Charlotte, FAU, North Texas, Rice, UAB, and UTSA all moved for this season. Conference USA responded by adding two independents (Liberty, which heretofore was thought to be too weird to get into a conference, and New Mexico State, which was thought to be remote and poor) and calling two schools up from the FCS level: Jacksonville State (note: located in Alabama) and Sam Houston State. Plus, they’ll add the favorite team of the Atlanta exurbs, Kennesaw State, in 2024. These latter three are subject to FCS-to-FBS transition rules. Note that James Madison over in the Sun Belt is also still affected by said rule this season.

All these changes mean that the only remaining FBS independents are Army, Notre Dame, UConn, and UMass.


The ACC has a media rights deal that lasts until 2036, which means that despite Florida State’s very loud complaints, making the ACC somehow the most stable conference. Well, at least until they poach Stanford or something.

About the Ratings

So now back to the meat of this post. Each offseason, my brother and I rate every Power 5 team on the basis of how excited you’d be to see that team on your non-conference schedule. The possible ratings are “no rating”, 0, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, and 1. “1” is the best, as evidenced by the list of 22 teams that earned a 1 this year: Alabama, Auburn, UCLA, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. The new team for this season is Tennessee, which, well, we really missed that one last year as we had them as a 0.25. Suffice it to say after their season last year, we have fixed this, and they’re back as a 1 for the first time since 2011. Good on you, Vols.

Also, the Big 12 pipped 3 of the Group of 5 teams we rated last year, so now the only ones that earned a rating at all were Tulane (0.25) and Boise State (0.25). This is the first time the Green Wave have ever earned a rating (it tends to help when you, say, beat USC in the Sugar Bowl).

How does each conference fare in terms of the ratings? Well, let’s see:

  1. Southeastern (0.625)
  2. Pacific-12 (0.5)
  3. Big 12 (0.482)
  4. Big Ten (0.464)
  5. Atlantic Coast (0.375)

Okay, so hopefully that whets your appetite to look at these non-conference schedules. We’ll dive right into with the next post. Onward!

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