It’s the Big East. Let’s get this over with.
- Syracuse (2.25 legit, 1 FCS): Northwestern, N-Southern California, Stony Brook, @Minnesota, @Missouri. 4 BCS conference teams out of 5 non-conference games is kind of crazy, even if one of them is Minnesota. Nonetheless, this may say more about Syrcause than anything else. If they were as good as they were in the late-90’s, would their schedule look like this? I doubt it.
- South Florida (1.5, 1): Tennessee-Chattanooga, @Nevada, @Ball State, Florida State, @Miami. USF benefits from playing both FSU and Miami (as in, “da U”). They might be the only major conference team to have three non-conference road games.
- Pittsburgh (1.25, 2): Youngstown State, Virginia Tech, Garnder-Webb, @Buffalo, @Notre Dame. The usual matchup with Notre Dame is in, but sadly, the Backyard Brawl is out. Also, traveling to Buffalo? I assume there’s a 3-for-1 involved here.
- Rutgers (1, 1): @Tulane, Howard, @Arkansas, Kent State, Army. Again, traveling to Tulane? Well, I guess they can sell travel packages for New Orleans or some such.
- Cincinnati (1, 2): Delaware State, N-Virginia Tech, Miami, Fordham, @Toledo. Again, the only thing I can figure for this rash of mid-major road games are 3-for-1 deals. The Big East needs to get to 9 teams if for no other reason than because this 5 non-conference games thing isn’t really working out for them, I’d say. Of course, I just remembered that this is Pitt and Syracuse’s last year in the Big East. Whoops!
- Temple (0.5, 1): Villanova, Maryland, Pennsylvania State, Army. Yes, that’s right, this is your only team in major college football with an 11 game schedule. That’s a heck of a way to dive back in, though. The Owls will play their inter-city rival in Villanova, and then play Pitt in-conference and Penn State at home. Not a bad way re-introduction.
- Louisville (0.5, 1): Kentucky, Missouri State, North Carolina, @Florida International, @Southern Mississippi. The Cardinals go on the road to both FIU and Southern Miss? Color me perplexed.
- Connecticut (0.5, 0.5): Massachusetts, North Carolina State, @Maryland, @Western Michigan, Buffalo. Well, at least they’ll have that 5 game OOC schedule thing fixed soon.
This will probably be the last year I include the Big East in this feature. Next year they will lose Pitt and Syracuse (the last two programs other than Rutgers that have any vague semblance of “tradition” or “history”) and add Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, Southern Methodist, Boise State, and San Diego State. At that point, they’ll basically be what Conference USA was before all these shenanigans started. Provided it even happens at all, which I honestly still have doubts about.
All right, it’s time for the Big East. Remember, these guys have 5 out-of-conference games so their legit scores will seem higher than most other conferences (which is why for my overall ratings I use averages). Anyway, let’s get this over with:
- Pittsburgh (2.75 legit, 1 DI-AA): @Utah, New Hampshire, Miami (FL), Florida International, @Notre Dame. Even accounting for the 5 OOC teams, this is still a pretty good OOC schedule. Going back to the ACC column for a second, we’ll recall that some conferences are looking for legitimacy and the Big East probably needs it more than anyone else. Pitt beating Utah, Miami, and Notre Dame would be a good start.
- South Florida (2, 1): Stony Brook, @Florida, Western Kentucky, Florida Atlantic, @Miami (FL). Well, at least all the major Florida teams will be no more than one step away from the others thanks to South Florida. Nonetheless, while the Bulls probably have a chance in the Big East, they probably don’t have a chance against the two biggest foes on their schedule.
- Cincinnati (1.25, 1): @Fresno State, Indiana State, @North Carolina State, Oklahoma, Miami (OH). I’m not sure whether the Oklahoma game is a neutral site game or not since it is still technically in Cincinnati, it just will be at the Bengals’s stadium instead of the Bearcats’. I guess it depends on how the split the ticket sales. Outside of that, there’s not much to work with here except for the somewhat unusual trip out to Fresno.
- Connecticut (1.25, 1): @Michigan, Texas Southern, @Temple, Buffalo, Vanderbilt. At Temple? Outside of that, this is okay, if not a little pedestrian. The Michigan game will probably be a barometer for both teams, which probably makes most in the maize and blue shake their heads a bit.
- West Virginia (1.25, 1): Coastal Carolina, @Marshall, Maryland, @Louisiana State, Nevada-Las Vegas. When I think West Virginia, I always think about how crazy and wide open they were under Rodriguez, so for a split second I was excited about their trip to Baton Rouge before I remembered that he’s not there anymore.
- Louisville (1, 1): Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky, @Oregon State, @Arkansas State, Memphis. Instead of playing all the teams in Kentucky that they could (no love for Western Kentucky, which is, you know, in DI-A?) they instead to go and play at….Arkansas State? I wonder if that will be on TV because I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen a game broadcast from there.
- Syracuse (1, 2): @Akron, @Washington, Maine, Boston College, Colgate. So the ‘Cuse is probably past the point where they have to worry about losing to Akron, Maine, and Colgate (though I note that Akron game is at Akron). So that’s three wins right there. Though the Quest for Toronto is dead, is this the year the Orangemen make their first bowl game since 2004?
- Rutgers (0.5, 1): Norfolk State, @Florida International, North Carolina, Tulane, N-Army. I’m sorry, this schedule sucks. There’s no two ways about it. Sure, there’s the trip to Miami, and the neutral site game at the New Meadowlands that I really need to come up with a clever nickname for. Jiants Stadium? Hrm.
Anyway, just us next time for a discussion of the extra-conference games of the Big Ten .
And now we venture deep into the land of 5 out-of-conference games. Yes, that’s right kids, it’s The Big East.
- Syracuse (1.75 legit, 1 DI-AA): Minnesota, @Pennslyvania State, Northwestern, Maine, Akron. Even with everyone’s favorite inconsistent Duke guard possibly starting for them at QB this fall, the ‘Cuse could still possibly have a losing record against this schedule. At least they’ll help a couple of Big Ten squads keep bowl eligibility, I guess. For what’s worth though, Otto the Orange is one of my favorite college mascots. I’m not sure why, though it probably had to do with how hilarious it was having a team of anthropomorphic oranges in mascot mode in NCAA Football 2003.
- Cincinnati (1.75, 1): Southeast Missouri State, @Oregon State, Fresno State, Illinois. Dear Missouri State University System: Drop the directional names already! Or at least change them to cardinal directions or something. Anyway, this actually a decent schedule, with Oregon State and the Illinoise. It’ll be a little more respectful if Fresno is decent again this year.
- Connecticut (1.75, 1): @Ohio, North Carolina, @Baylor, Rhode Island, @Notre Dame. UConn brings up a kind-of respectible third place. The matchup with UNC is a potentially interesting matchup for both teams – UConn as much as an established Big East power as anyone these days and UNC projected to be an up-and-comer in the ACC this year.
- Louisville (1.5, 1): Indiana State, @Kentucky, @Utah, Southern Mississippi, Arkansas State. No offense to Sun Belt and Arkansas State fans, but I honestly keept forgetting Arkansas State isn’t a DI-AA team. That said, there’s some meat on these bones, with the traditional early season rivalry bout with Kentucky and a trip out to Utah.
- Pittsburgh (1.5, 1): Youngstown State, @Buffalo, Navy, @North Carolina State, Notre Dame. This is really a tie with West Virginia. That’s really all I can say about this, except wait, a road trip to Buffalo? I know they made a bowl and all last year but still.
- West Virginia (1.5, 1): Liberty, East Carolina, @Auburn, Colorado, Marshall. The more I look at this the more I like it better than Pitt’s, but oh well. I, of course, love the trip to Auburn. Of course, VPI could tell the Mountaineers a thing or two about watching out for ECU early in the year.
- South Florida (1.5, 2): Wofford, @Western Kentucky, Charleston Southern, @Florida State, Miami. Yes, that Miami. It’s the Florida series no one really wants to see but I guess we’re stuck with it anyway. That said, even with two DI-AA opponents this schedule is even weaker than it appears, with USF playing the role of WKU’s only non-Sun Belt DI-A home opponent this year (their first as a full DI-A member, yes that’s right folks, we’re up to an even 120).
- Rutgers (0.5, 2): Howard, Florida International, @Maryland, @Army, Texas Southern. This may be the worst schedule in major college football. Pathetic. I suppose I should be happy they’re playing a BCS team at all, but still, 2 DI-AA schools and one of the FIU/FAU pick ’em? The game at West Point just seems gratuitous with all that. Cupcakes, indeed.
Anyway, that’s all for the Big East. And if you thought that was bad, wait until you see some of the doozies coming up in the other “Big” conferences. Until then, goodnight!
The Land of 5 Out-of-Conference games is next up. (Amazingly, despite having to schedule 5 OOC teams, none of them has 2 DI-AA teams. Huh.)
- Syracuse (2.25 legit, 1 DI-AA): @Northwestern, Akron, Penn State, @Notre Dame, Northeastern. Leaders by half a point, but in a way this schedule really isn’t even that legit since they’re probably being scheduled as a BCS patsy for at least two of these teams. They will probably be favored against Akron and Northeastern, though. Not sure about Northeastern’s similarly named Chicago counterpart, though.
- West Virginia (1.75, 1): Villanova, @Auburn, @Marshall, @Colorado, @East Carolina. Their game down at Auburn is probably one of my most looked-to intersectional matchups of the year. Kudos to both parties for scheduling it. That said, non-kudos to WVU for managing to only get 1 OOC home game.
- Cincinnati (1.5, 1): Eastern Kentucky, @Oklahoma, Miami (OH), @Akron, @Marshall, @Hawaii. Another good set of intersection matchups here for Cincy, though @Hawaii is obviously a shameless grab at a 13th game.
- Pittsburgh (1.5, 0): Bowling Green, Iowa, Buffalo, @Navy, @Notre Dame. Not much to write home about here, other than that none of these teams are in DI-AA! Though Buffalo should count towards that.
- Louisville (1.5, 1): Kentucky, Kansas State, Tennessee Tech, Memphis, Middle Tennessee State. After the disaster that was last season for the Cardinals, this schedule is actually pretty tough. Lucky for them, it’s all home games, and it’s hard to say if Kentucky or Kansas State will be improved from last year.
- Connecticut (1.5, 1): Hofstra, @Temple, Virginia, Baylor, @North Carolina. Two ACC teams, but otherwise not much to write home about. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if the Huskies went 2-0 against them,
- South Florida (1.5, 1): Tennessee-Martin, @Central Florida, Kansas, @Florida International, @North Carolina State. It’s hard to say how good Kansas will be this year, but that’s the only interesting part of this schedule.
- Rutgers (1, 1): Fresno State, North Carolina, @Navy, Morgan State, Army. The last minute addition of Fresno State made this schedule not completely a joke. That said, it’s still pretty pathetic, especially since this is a program trying to “prove” itself.
Anyway, next up on our exciting journey is everyone’s favorite conference that’s not too good with counting, the Big Ten. See you then.
Well, Florida is putting the hurt on UCLA, so I figured I’d bang out another one of these. For guidelines, see the previous post. Remember, Big East teams have 5 non-conference games because they only have 7 league games.
The Big East:
- Syracuse (3 legitimate, 0 DI-AA): Washington, @Iowa, Illinois, @Miami (OH), Buffalo. 3 games against BCS conference teams. Pretty decent schedule, but considering how terrible the ‘Cuse has been recently they may be the ones getting scheduled as a “patsy team from a major conference”.
- Pittsburgh (2, 1): Eastern Michigan, Grambling State, @Michigan State, @Virginia, Navy. The fact this is one of the better Big East schedules is sad. Away games at BCS schools is key, and Navy isn’t terrible.
- Louisville (2, 1): Murray State, MTSU, @Kentucky, @NC State, Utah. Almost 3 legit games, depends on how much weight you give Utah and Kentucky. Helps Kentucky is a rivalry game.
- South Florida (1,1): Elon, @Auburn, UNC, @FAU, UCF. @FAU? The hell? @Auburn is good, and UNC is okay.
- Rutgers (1,1): Buffalo, Navy, Norfolk State, Maryland, @Army. Maryland and Navy are decently selections, not sure if they count as 2 legits.
VirginaVirginia (1, 0): Western Michigan, @Marshall, @Maryland, Mississippi State, East Carolina. Maryland is by far the best team on this schedule. On the road for the rivalry game against Marshall. Miss State may be the 4th worst team on this schedule.
- Connecticut (1,1): @Duke, Maine, Temple, Akron, @Virginia. Duke is technically a BCS conference team. Only legit team is Virginia. Barely.
- Cincinnati (1,1): SE Missouri State, Oregon State, @Miami (OH), Marshall, San Diego State. What a horrible schedule.
Nothing impressive as a group here. Next up, we’ll take a look at the Eleven Who Call Themselves Ten.