Category Archives: OOC schedules

Rating the 2022 Non-Conference Slate: Epilogue

And now, our traditional wrap.

First off, no one plays more than one FCS team this year. Huzzah!

Next up, teams that play more than one Power Five team, excluding Notre Dame and ACC teams as well as traditional rivalries:

  • Pittsburgh (West Virginia, Tennessee)
  • Duke (Northwestern, Kansas) (technically counts!)
  • Colorado (Texas Christian, Minnesota)
  • West Virginia (Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech)

And finally, each conference’s average rating for their collective out-of-conference schedules:

  1. Pac-12 (0.243)
  2. SEC (0.174)
  3. Big 12 (0.15)
  4. ACC (0.141)
  5. Big Ten (0.137)

Oh, how the mighty are fallen! Last season, the Big Ten was up front, thanks to those exciting early season games like Ohio State-Oregon and, um, Michigan-Washington. This year, the Pac-12 gets perhaps one last hurrah thanks to games like Oregon-Georgia, Utah-Florida, and Washington State-Wisconsin.

That’s a wrap for my take on the season preview. But I’ve got one more thing in store before we discuss what’s going to be on TV on Saturday.

Rating the 2022 Non-Conference Slate

As promised, the ACC will be first, followed by the other Power 5 conferences. Each team is (usually) ranked by the average appeal of their schedule. There’s often ties, so there some subjectivity involved in the actual ranking in the end. (I tend to more highly rate interesting, if not necessarily rated, Power 5 or Group of Five opponents, and not playing any FCS teams tends to be worth some bonus points.)

Here’s the key to reading this. Each team will be listed with their in-conference rank in the following format:

  1. Team Name (“Legit” points, number of FCS teams): List of teams, with FCS teams in italics. Then, my desperate attempt to regurgitate what I’ve heard about the team from my college football podcasts and/or a vibe check.

Make sense? No? Well, tough. Let’s go, it’s almost Week 0!


  1. Georgia Tech (2.25, 1): Western Carolina, Mississippi, @Central Florida, @Georgia. Okay, so we’ve rightly been ridden pretty hard in the offseason for how hard this schedule is. Part of it is simply that we didn’t plan to be as terrible and incompetent as we currently are. If we were coming fresh off, say, the 2014 season (which is like when the Ole Miss and UCF games were scheduled, I think) then this looks like a pretty good schedule for the 2nd or 3rd best team in the ACC, right? Maybe it seems obvious it’d turn out this way, but I assure you it wasn’t at the time. And I’m tired of hearing about it. And, perhaps, this actually will get Geoff fired, which I think everyone agrees at this point would be a good thing, so.
  2. Florida State (2, 1): Duquesne, N-Louisiana State, Louisiana, Florida. A lot of folks seem to be waiting to see if the ‘Noles are going to be good again, to which I’d say, well, I’m not sure about this year, and it’s not a certainty. They sort of have to get good again, though? And, woof, that LSU game looks to be setting up for some fans on either side to get way too confident about the way things are going under their new coaches.
  3. Syracuse (1.25, 1): @Connecitcut, Purdue, Wagner, Notre Dame. This is where I have to start making calls about how much to count Notre Dame in terms of the Notre Dame-ACC scheduling agreement. Here, though, the Orange have a B1G team on the schedule, so they still grade out ahead of Miami.
  4. Miami (1, 1): Bethune-Cookman, Southern Mississippi, @Texas A&M, Middle Tennessee State. Canes-Aggies might be a sneaky good time… at least for the Canes?
  5. Pittsburgh (0.5, 1): West Virginia, Tennessee, @Western Michigan, Rhode Island. Despite the score, and even though I sort of already “cheated”, I wanted to rank this schedule higher, because THE BACKYARD BRAWL IS BACK, Y’ALL! And Pitt-Tennessee should be good too! And Pitt might still be good! We’ll see! Exclamation points!
  6. Clemson (1, 1): Furman, Louisiana Tech, @Notre Dame, South Carolina. So, yeah, here’s that Notre Dame-ACC thing again, and also a reminder in what otherwise a fantastic year for the Gamecocks and a down year for Clemson, the Tigers still beat them 30-0.
  7. North Carolina (1, 1): Florida A&M, @Appalachian State, @Georgia State, Notre Dame. I know it’s fun to rhetorically ask “why is [Power 5 team] traveling to [Group of Five team]?” but my main thing is that the rhetorical answer is obvious: because this is a 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 deal, which is more or less what it takes to get any FBS team to schedule you these days. That said, I am a tad baffled at how the Heels managed to have to travel to both Boone and Atlanta.
  8. Boston College (1, 1): Rutgers, Maine, @Connecticut, @Notre Dame. BC is keeping it very North East plus a traditional slash ACC game against Notre Dame, I can dig it.
  9. Louisville (0.75, 0.5): @Central Florida, South Florida, James Madison, @Kentucky. Maybe I should’ve put UCF in the ACC in this thing? Sheesh.
  10. Virginia Tech (0.25, 1): @Old Dominion, Wofford, West Virginia, @Liberty. So I don’t think VPI-West Virginia is a super big rivalry or anything, but I think there is a general consensus out there that they should play more often, and I agree.
  11. Virginia (0, 1): Richmond, @Illinois, Old Dominion, Coastal Carolina. My main reaction to this schedule doesn’t really have anything to do with technically having a Big Ten team on there so much as “oh my, they could lose that Coastal game”.
  12. Duke (0, 1): Temple, @Northwestern, North Carolina A&T, @Kansas. If you want any sort of preview of the 2022 Duke Blue Devils football season, it’s this: they could well go 1-3 or 0-4 in these games. I’m serious.
  13. Wake Forest (0, 1): Virginia Military, @Vanderbilt, Liberty, Army. Meanwhile, Wake should go 4-0 here. Well, at least, please, just… don’t lose to Liberty. Just trust me on this.
  14. North Carolina State (0, 1): @East Carolina, Charleston Southern, Texas Tech, Connecticut. Seeing as how NCSU should go 4-0 on this schedule, it’s going to be really spicy to see how they go 4-4 or 5-3 in conference this season.

Big Ten

  1. Nebraska (1, 1): North Dakota, Georgia Southern, Oklahoma. So why does Nebraska rank ahead of Ohio State when I said above I give precedence to teams that don’t play any FCS teams? Well, for starters UND could probably beat a lot of Group of Five teams. Second, I just mostly want to recognize that Nebraska is playing Oklahoma again and I think that’s the sort of thing I want to encourage here. (And, even better, it was scheduled as a home-and-home, instead of being played in, say, Jerryworld and Kansas City.) Third, well, it’s Scott Frost Day.
  2. Ohio State (1, 0): Notre Dame, Arkansas State, Toledo. I really did wrestle whether to put Ohio State-ND or Penn State-Auburn higher, though. In the end, I feel like Ohio State-Notre Dame is likely to be a playoff eliminator, and plus the Buckeyes aren’t really one of Notre Dame’s traditional midwestern rivals, so this is fun to see.
  3. Pennsylvania State (1, 0): Ohio, @Auburn, Central Michigan. Just so y’all know, there’s a lot of hype out there in my corner of the college football internet that when the Nittany Lions’ trip to the Plains is gonna get Harsin fired.
  4. Michigan State (1, 0): Western Michigan, Akron, @Washington. Last year was a magical season for Sparty and especially Mel Tucker, but there were some eyebrow raising losses (Purdue and the 56-7 Ohio State incident) that to me indicate that pumping the brakes may be wise for this season.
  5. Indiana (0.75, 1): Idaho, Western Kentucky, @Cincinnati. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be easy in any way for the Hoosiers this season, and that’s really before you factor in the trip to Nippert.
  6. Wisconsin (0, 1): Illinois State, Washington State, New Mexico State. Not that it would affect them anyway, but yeah, this non-con slate isn’t going to do anything to hurt Wisconsin’s confidence in what looks like a path back to Indianapolis.
  7. Illinois (0.5, 1): Wyoming, Virginia, Tennessee-Chattanooga. It’s Burt time over in Urbana-Champaign, where there’s probably some real questions if they’re going to get more than 1 win out of this slate.
  8. Iowa (0.25, 1): South Dakota State, Iowa State, Nevada. It would be so funny if Iowa lost to South Dakota State, y’all. They won’t, but it’s totally plausible! It could well be something to watch next weekend!
  9. Minnesota (0.25, 1): New Mexico State, Western Illinois, Colorado. Has the shine worn off for PJ Fleck in Minnesota yet? Well, I’m not sure, but this schedule won’t do anything to hurt him, I’d say.
  10. Purdue (0, 1): Indiana State, @Syracuse, Florida Atlantic. I haven’t heard a lot about Purdue this offseason. Is that on purpose to ensure they remain a bit of a mystery so when they appear once again in October as everyone’s favorite Chaos Team™ we can all act surprised?
  11. Rutgers (0, 1): @Boston College, Wagner, @Temple. I’m not sure if I’m ready for Competent Rutgers, and certainly two road non-conference games doesn’t usually inspire confidence. But that seems to sort of be the consensus? Stay tuned for updates on this throughout the season.
  12. Maryland (0, 0): Buffalo, @Charlotte, Southern Methodist. See what I wrote about North Carolina above, but still, why are you going to Charlotte? Either way, I guess we’ll find out soon if the Terps running it back with Mike Locksley is going to have any sizzle or not.
  13. Michigan (0, 0): Colorado State, Hawaii, Connecticut. Speaking of three guaranteed wins, sheesh, this sure is a schedule that technically doesn’t have any FCS teams on it.
  14. Northwestern (0, 1): Duke, Southern Illinois, Miami (OH). This looks like a great chance for Northwestern to get 3 wins, ’cause Lord knows they’ll need ’em.

Big 12

  1. Texas (1, 0): Louisiana-Monroe, Alabama, Texas-San Antonio. Texas-Bama. The soon-to-be conference-mates will play a neutral in a relatively novel location of these two heavyweights: Tuscaloosa, AL. That said, the ‘Horns would be wise to not lose to the Roadrunners. (Meep meep)
  2. Texas Tech (1, 1): Murray State, Houston, @North Carolina State. I know I started with that rant about people making fun of GT’s schedule at the very top, so this may seem a tad hypocritical but… seriously, playing a spicy in-state rival and travelling to Raleigh? Oof.
  3. West Virginia (0.75, 1): @Pittsburgh, Towson, Virginia Tech. WVU plays two ACC teams, whom, as I mentioned above, should arguably play every year. It’s like the three of them should be in the same conference or something.
  4. Oklahoma (0.75, 0): Texas-El Paso, Kent State, @Nebraska. Brent Venables is the head man at Oklahoma now, in case you’ve been under a rock all offseason. Or are a normal human who does other things than spending every fall Saturday watching college football for 12 hours. You know… like me.
  5. Iowa State (0.75, 1): Southeast Missouri State, @Iowa, Ohio. Hey Cyclones, y’all gonna wake up this year? Given their history, it’s hard to imagine that there’s really “letdown” years for Iowa State, but… 2021 kind of was one? Especially for a team that’s got the coach and opportunity to reset the pecking order in the post-Red River Big 12 in a couple of years, 2022 will need to be a bounce back.
  6. Kansas (0.5, 1): Tennessee Tech, @Houston, Duke. Kansas is probably going to lose to Houston, but unlike in past years, I feel pretty good about saying they’re going to win the other two games on this schedule.
  7. Texas Christian (0.25, 1): @Colorado, Tarleton State, @Southern Methodist. TCU will have ae new head coach for the first time in a very long time, and this may not be the schedule that you’d particular want to start off with. That said, going 3-0 here will go a long way toward moving on from the old guy pretty quickly.
  8. Oklahoma State (0, 1): Central Michigan, Arizona State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff. I was going to make a joke along the lines of Gundy losing to Arizona State and demanding a recount, but I decided not to. Because it’s not a joke.
  9. Baylor (0, 1): Albany, @Brigham Young, Texas State. When my brother and I do the “legit” rankings mentioned in the intro post, we usually have a couple teams that we debate changing the rating. The stickiest wicket this year was the Baylor Bears. I pointed out that they could well be the best team in the Big 12 this year and deserved to be bumped up, to which he had the completely legitimate defense “yeah, but they’re Baylor“. In the end, though, it didn’t really matter because, well, they don’t play any other Power 5 teams anyway.
  10. Kansas State (0, 1): South Dakota, Missouri, Tulane. The wrong Kansas team is playing Mizzou, and, uh, this could actually be kind of a tricky schedule?


  1. Oregon (1, 1): N-Georgia, Eastern Washington, Brigham Young. One of the most exciting matchups of the whole season is going to be Oregon-Georgia in Week 1. I’ll talk about the potential national implications below. Here, I wanted to focus on the Ducks, as it feels like the expectations for their season range wildly from “beat Georgia” to “lose to EWU”. It’ll be plenty interesting to see how they navigate this.
  2. Utah (1, 1): @Florida, Southern Utah, San Diego State. Five years ago, we’d have called Utah-Georgia the Urban Meyer Classic, but, uh, probably not so much anymore. Anyway! The Utes have a pretty brutal non-con here, but they could well be favored in all of these games.
  3. Washington State (1, 1): Idaho, @Wisconsin, Colorado State. Wazzu will take an early fall road trip to Madison. I suspect there will a new found appreciation of cheese curds in eastern Washington. These are the kind of non-cons you love to see.
  4. Arizona State (1, 1): Northern Arizona, @Oklahoma State, Eastern Michigan. Let’s see, I already made the the Mike Gundy joke up above, but fortunately there’s plenty (not) to love about Herm’s tenure in Tempe. Which is to say, he could well have turned himself from “guy who knows the NFL, consider Arizona State!” to a coaching pariah. The reason? ASU is embroiled in an ongoing NCAA investigation (remember those?) where Herm has basically saved his own neck by throwing his (ex-)staffers under the bus. Yeah, that’s a good way to completely ruin your reputation. And why Herm is an early candidate to not be a head coach by season’s end.
  5. Southern California (1, 0): Rice, Fresno State, Notre Dame. So is USC going to keep playing other California schools in the non-con when the move to the Big Ten, or are they just going to go full Midwest and start scheduling exclusively MAC teams?
  6. California (1, 1): California-Davis, Nevada-Las Vegas, @Notre Dame. I’m not sure any school has more violently swung from one strength on a particular side of the ball to the other so much as the Bears. Years ago, they were a whole-hog offensive juggernaut with a defense made of tissue paper, now it’s the oppose. Which may be a problem when the Aggies roll down from Davis across as the Carquinez Strait and then on into Berkeley.
  7. Stanford (1, 1): Colgate, @Notre Dame, Brigham Young. “NIL? Conference dissolving around us? What? We can’t hear you over the sound of our continued efforts to cut Olympic sports to save money even though we have more money than God.”
  8. Colorado (0.5, 0): Texas Christian, @Air Force, @Minnesota. I think this is going to be a pretty tough schedule for the Buffs.
  9. Oregon State (0.5, 1): Boise State, @Fresno State, Montana State. Okay, once again, I’ll reference the top of my post above, except… Beavs what are you doing?!? It’s been a few minutes since y’all were good (unlike us, at least) and you’re playing two of the most successful Group of Five teams (ever!) and, oh yeah, FCS runners-up in 2018, 2019, and 2021 Montana State! I swear, y’all could lose all of these games!
  10. Washington (0.75, 1): Kent State, Portland State, Michigan State. Long time readers of this site (which, let’s be honest, might be just my parents, best case) know that I tend to be in Seattle every Labor Day weekend and part of the fun is sometimes whoever UDub (and, sometimes, Wazzu) play that weekend. Alas, it won’t be Sparty coming to town this time.
  11. Arizona (0, 1): @San Diego State, Mississippi State, North Dakota State. Okay, see above everything I wrote above Oregon State, except sub one of the G5 teams with an SEC team and the “FCS runners-up” part with “FCS Champions”. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?
  12. California-Los Angeles (0, 1): Bowling Green State, Alabama State, South Alabama. See Oregon State and Arizona? This is how you do it. This is three wins for ol’ Chip, and unless things really go south down in Westwood, he isn’t going anywhere. Well, other than future road trips to lovely towns like Piscataway and East Lansing in November.


  1. Georgia (1.25, 1): N-Oregon, Samford, Kent State, Georgia Tech. One of the most exciting matchups of the whole season is going to be Oregon-Georgia in Week 1. The question is, will this one be as consequential as Georgia’s 10-3 win over Clemson? You know, the one where if Clemson had anything resembling their functional, end-of-season offense, could’ve easily gone the other way? Let’s also add in that, yes, while they are reloading and not rebuilding, they are more-or-less replacing their entire starting defense. I mean, look, my biases are plain: I want the Ducks to win, and while I suspect the odds are long and the score’s gonna be like 30-7 or something, I think there’s a chance.
  2. Florida (1.75, 1): Utah, South Florida, Eastern Washington, @Florida State. UGA got ranked ahead of the Gators mostly just because, well, Florida has to play FSU every year, so I deducted credit for that. Nonetheless, the Utes will find their way to Gainesville, and presumably show why Billy Napier has been trying to tamp down expectations for the Gators since the moment he was hired.
  3. Auburn (1, 1): Mercer, San Jose State, Pennsylvania State, Western Kentucky. If you hang out where I do on the Internet, Brian Harsin is basically already fired and the Week 3 game against the Nittany Lions is just a formality. Which, look, let’s be clear, it could be at any other point before the Iron Bowl… a bad loss at home to LSU, getting pants by Kiffin in Oxford a couple weeks later… there’s plenty of chances outside the non-con!
  4. Alabama (1, 1): Utah State, @Texas, Louisiana-Monroe, Austin Peay. If we were just going solely by the helmets, Bama-Texas would be number 1, but this is mostly a reflect of how things have gone for Texas as of late than anything else. Plus, I guess it’s sort of expected that Bama play a team like Texas? I at least find Georgia-Oregon or Florida-Utah more exciting.
  5. Louisiana State (1, 1): N-Florida State, Southern, New Mexico, Alabama-Birmingham. LSU-FSU is definitely a Week 1 neutral site game we’re going to make WAY too many inferences about for a pair of relatively new regimes.
  6. Texas A&M (1, 1): Sam Houston State, Appalachian State, Miami, Massachusetts. Okay, look, A&M’s gonna win all of these games and then mysteriously lose like 3 in the SEC, but oh the mind wonders at how spectacular it’d be if they get pipped by the Canes, or… dare I say… App State?
  7. South Carolina (1, 1): Georgia State, Charlotte, South Carolina State, @Clemson. Yeah, this is setting up pretty good for the Gamecocks to get a full of themselves and then get pasted by Clemson… again.
  8. Arkansas (0.75, 1): Cincinnati, Missouri State, @Brigham Young, Liberty. The Wompin’ was pretty fun last year, but year 2 is here and it gets real, fast, with a visit from Cincy (who are admittedly missing their best players from last year’s run) and then a mid-season visit to Provo.
  9. Mississippi (0.25, 1): Troy, Central Arkansas, @Georgia Tech, Tulsa. Matt Coral pretty much seemed to be the perfect quarterback for Lane’s system, and sure they’ll have more reps, but his replacements for the bowl game last year did not look good for Kiffin’s chances of getting a job somewhere other than Oxford.
  10. Missouri (0.5, 1): Louisiana Tech, @Kansas State, Abilene Christian, New Mexico State. Again, Mizzou, that’s the wrong Kansas team! Ah, pretty good odds I say the same thing next year on the return trip, but fortunately they’ll be making it right in 2025.
  11. Kentucky (0, 1): Miami (OH), Youngstown State, Northern Illinois, Louisville. This is a pretty pedestrian schedule that figures to keep football a pleasant distraction these days in Frankfort.
  12. Tennessee (0.25, 1): Ball State, @Pittsburgh, Akron, Tennessee-Martin. Tennessee playing Pitt just feels right, for whatever reason. They’re not traditional rivals, but they do have that same hillbilly quality that West Virginia does, so they’re sort of rivals by extension?
  13. Mississippi State (0, 1): Memphis, @Arizona, Bowling Green, East Tennessee State. Miss State is going to drop that game to Memphis. I just feel it in my bones. Which will make it that more surprising (to some) when the then go to out to Tucson and throw for 800 yards in the desert.
  14. Vanderbilt (0, 1): @Hawaii, Elon, Wake Forest, @Northern Illinois. Vandy is basically getting their bowl game in at the start of the season, which some may consider wise. This also makes me wonder if the thing where you can play an extra home game if you go to Hawaii is still on the books. Not that Vandy would really want to take advantage of that, mind you.

Okay! Next up, we’ll put a bow on this thing, and then the season is upon us!

Rating the 2022 Non-Conference Slate: Intro

Once again, we’re back. My write-up from last year summarizes the game here, so I’ll just link to it.

If that’s too long for you, here’s the skinny: my brother and I rate every Power 5 team and some notable Group of Five teams on a scale: “no rating”, 0, .25, .5, .75, and 1. Why we don’t just do 0 to 4 is a great question, but it is what it is. The general idea is that a team with a rating of “1” is an appealing team that you’d be excited to play in your non-conference schedule, while “.75” is somewhat less exciting, and so on.

The list of “1”s is the 21 same as last year, but I’ll repeat it here for effect: Alabama, Auburn, California-Los Angeles, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Louisiana State, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, Pennsylvania State, Southern California, Texas, Texas A&M, Washington, and Wisconsin.

We also rated the following Group of Five teams: Central Florida (0.5), Cincinnati (0.75), Houston (0.5), and Boise State (0.5).

Next up, we have our conference ranks, which I suspect may look different in the future (more on that later in the week). This is the rank of the average rating of every team in each Power 5 conference.

  1. Southeastern (0.536)
  2. Big Ten (0.464)
  3. Pacific-12 (0.458)
  4. Big 12 (0.475)
  5. Atlantic Coast (0.393)

The ACC really wishes East Coast bias was more of a thing – after all, no one is more East than them. Alas. But, while they may be last in appeal, they’re first alphabetically, so we’ll examine them team-by-team before anyone else. Onward, to the season!

Rating the 2021 Non-Conference Slate: Epilogue

And now, the OOC schedule preview closing ceremonies.

First, The List of Shame! No one plays more than one FCS opponent this year, so no one’s on it. Huzzah!

Next up, shouting out teams that play more than one other Power Five team (excluding Notre Dame playing ACC teams and yearly/regularly scheduled rivalries):

  • Miami (Alabama, Michigan State)
  • Duke (Northwestern, Kansas)
  • Stanford (Kansas State, Vanderbilt)
  • West Virginia (Maryland, Virginia Tech)

That’s not many! But hey, we’ll look forward to potentially more of these in the future.

And finally, each conference’s average “legit” rating:

  • Big Ten (0.226)
  • Pac-12 (0.194)
  • ACC (0.183)
  • SEC (0.165)
  • Big 12 (0.1)

Fully half of the Big Ten has a scheduling scoring 1.0, which helps bring their average up compared to other conference. The last time we did this for a full season in 2019, the opposite was not true, and so it’s good to see the B1G finish first in something, I suppose.

Anyhow! We’re gonna watch and talk about actual football this weekend! See you then!

Rating the 2021 Non-Conference Slate

All right, let’s do this. The format is as such:

  1. Team Name (“Legit” points, Number of FCS teams played): List of teams, with FCS teams in italics. Commentary.

Ready? Let’s go.


  1. Georgia Tech (2, 1): Northern Illinois, Kennesaw State, @Notre Dame, Georgia. Admittedly a bit of bias here, but both options here had Notre Dame and a traditional rival, so I gave credit to the team that has to go to South Bend.
  2. Florida State (2,1): Notre Dame, Jacksonville State, Massachusetts, @Florida. It’s still hard to figure out how to give ACC teams credit for Notre Dame. Perhaps from next year on I’ll treat it as a conference game and just leave it at that.
  3. Virginia Tech (1.5, 1): Middle Tennessee State, @West Virginia, Richmond, Notre Dame. I’m not sure if the Hokies consider their mountain brethren a rival or not, but the trip to Morgantown definitely is the highlight here. The last time the Hokies went over there was a 34-17 win back in 2005, but the ‘Neers lead the all-time series 28-23-1.
  4. Miami (1.5, 1): N-Alabama, Appalachian State, Michigan State, Central Connecticut. Alabama will be de-emphasizing the neutral site openers in the near future, but in the meantime this will be the latest ritual sacrifice.
  5. Louisville (1.25, 1): N-Mississippi, Eastern Kentucky, Central Florida, Kentucky. Louisville-Ole Miss would be fun except for the fact that the Cardinals are probably going to be very, very, bad this year. They might only beat EKU on this slate, and even then…
  6. Clemson (1, 1): N-Georgia, South Carolina State, Connecticut, @South Carolina. Clemson-Georgia is obviously the highlight of this whole deal, but we have save some content for Week 1.
  7. Virginia (1, 1): William & Mary, Illinois, @Brigham Young, Notre Dame. UVA will take a trip out to Provo, whom the Woos hired Bronco Mendenhall from. There’s also a game against Illinois in here, which gives you the ability to say that you scheduled a Big Ten team without having to be concerned about the outcome.
  8. North Carolina (1, 1): Georgia State, @Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Wofford. Yes, that is in fact a non-conference game against Wake Forest. Why? Because under the ACC’s current structure, the two long-time rivals hardly ever play each other in conference play.
  9. Wake Forest (0.75, 1): Old Dominion, Norfolk State, @Army, @North Carolina. I talked about the North Carolina thing above. The Demon Deacons will also head up the Hudson, the first time a Power 5 team has played in Michie Stadium since 2017. Duke won that game, 21-16.
  10. Pittsburgh (0.5, 1): Massachusetts, @Tennessee, Western Michigan, New Hampshire. Pitt going to Knoxville may not be the actual Backyard Brawl, but feels similar in spirit.
  11. North Carolina State (0.25, 1): South Florida, @Mississippi State, Furman, Louisiana Tech. Well, if the is going to be the year the Wolfpack ever break out, this is a schedule that’d let them do it.
  12. Boston College (0, 1): Colgate, @Massachusetts, @Temple, Missouri. I don’t know about having two OOC road games in a season, but I guess the jaunt to either Hadley, MA or Philadelphia isn’t really that far in the Northeast. Also in researching this I discovered UMass’s home stadium is named after a real-life Coach McGuirk, which amused me. Well, amused might be a bit strong since the first names aren’t remotely similar, but, anyway.
  13. Duke (0, 1): @Charlotte, North Carolina A&T, Northwestern, Kansas. Ordinarily, when a FBS team deigns to play a lesser in-state opponent on the road as part of a 3-for-1 type of deal, it’s a fair bet that it’s a convenient draw that will attract plenty of the big school’s fans. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s not going to be the case for Duke. That said, they managed to balance that with visits from two other teams that are nominally in the Power 5, and they even stand a fair shot of beating one of them!
  14. Syracuse (0, 1): @Ohio, Rutgers, Albany, Liberty. Yeah, these are definitely teams you can choose to play. Hopefully they don’t lose to Liberty.

Big Ten

  1. Ohio State (1, 0): Oregon, Tulsa, Akron. The Buckeyes definitely have one of the premier matchups of the non-conference season, and there’s still a requisite two guaranteed FBS wins here too. Not bad.
  2. Michigan (1, 0): Western Michigan, Washington, Northern Illinois. Well, if it were still the early/mid-90’s that Michigan-Washington matchup would be all rage, but alas for these fanbases, it’s not,
  3. Wisconsin (1, 0): Eastern Michigan, N-Notre Dame, Army. Notre Dame is always fun, but I always give Big Ten teams much less credit (though not as much less as ACC teams) because it feels like they have a traditional rivalry with every team in the conference.
  4. Purdue (1, 0): Oregon State, @Connecticut, @Notre Dame. Pac-12 team at home? Okay, cool, that’s pretty nice Purdue. But going to Storrs, CT on purpose? Not sure about that one.
  5. Nebraska (1, 1): Buffalo, @Oklahoma, Southeastern Louisiana. While everyone at OU was apparently so mad about the scheduling of their revived rivalry with Nebraska that they left the conference, Nebraska is perhaps reconsidering the more-than-likely loss.
  6. Pennsylvania State (1, 1): Ball State, Auburn, Villanova. I think everyone in the college football universe is agreeing that 2020 was an outlier for the Nittany Lions and that the Penn State-Auburn game in Happy Valley will be fun. Right? … right?
  7. Michigan State (1, 1): Youngstown State, @Miami, Western Kentucky. Sparty goes on the road to Miami to see which team will be more disappointing this year!
  8. Indiana (0.75, 1): Idaho, Cincinnati, @Western Kentucky. This Indiana-Cincy game is going to be lit. It’s a no-win situation for the Hoosiers, though. Either they win and preserve the dream of #9Windiana or they give the Bearcats the prestige win they need.
  9. Illinois (0.5, 0): Texas-San Antonio, @Virginia, Charlotte. Well, they’ll probably win two of these games. Maybe.
  10. Iowa (0.5, 0): @Iowa State, Kent State, Colorado State. Kirk Ferentz is apparently so unkillable that even going 0-3 against this slate wouldn’t do it. That’s not likely, of course, but that dude’s been there a long time.
  11. Maryland (0.5, 1): West Virginia, Howard, Kent State. Maryland-WVU, again, not the backyard brawl, but it could be fun.
  12. Minnesota (0.25, 0): Miami (OH), @Colorado, Bowling Green. Can’t say I’m really feeling it thinking about Minnesota-Colorado. I hope I’m wrong.
  13. Rutgers (0, 1): Temple, @Syracuse, Delaware. Not sure I’m prepared for “bowl eligible Rutgers”, but it could happen this year folks.
  14. Northwestern (0, 1): Indiana State, @Duke, Ohio. Northwestern is taking no chances with this schedule.

Big 12

  1. Oklahoma (0.5, 1): @Tulane, Western Carolina, Nebraska. So the Big 12 as a whole isn’t super exciting, but at least we’ll see the renewal of a classic rivalry.
  2. Oklahoma State (0.5, 1): Missouri State, Tulsa, @Boise State. Going on the road to Boise is spicy, hence how OSU ended up up here.
  3. West Virginia (0.5, 1): @Maryland, Long Island, Virginia Tech. WVU playing Maryland and Virginia Tech mostly just makes it stand out all the more how much we all miss the Backyard Brawl. I’m looking forward to putting Pitt in here next year.
  4. Kansas State (0.5, 1): N-Stanford, Southern Illinois, Nevada. Maybe the right question isn’t “why are K-State and Stanford, of all teams, playing a neutral site opener?” but instead, and bear with me here…. why not?
  5. Texas Tech (0.5, 1): N-Houston, Stephen F. Austin, Florida International. No, seriously, why though. Texas Tech-Houston makes sense, and they might even be conference mates in the near future!
  6. Iowa State (0.5, 1): Northern Iowa, Iowa, @Nevada-Las Vegas. Not much to write about here, but Iowa game does slot them ahead of the bottom four teams, and even though they’ll win easily they do get to play in a big time stadium in Vegas.
  7. Texas (0, 0): Louisiana, @Arkansas, Rice. Texas is getting an early start on an SEC road game I guess. Plus, with regards to Texas and Rice, I can dust this post off again. (Also, the sharpest edge on this schedule could well be the Ragin’ Cajuns. I think it feels pretty Texas for all of the offseason power move stuff that’s happened and then to lose to Louisiana.)
  8. Texas Christian (0, 1): Duquesne, California, Southern Methodist. Okay, I like that TCU is playing Cal and their cross-town rival. It’s not flashy, but I can get behind this schedule.
  9. Baylor (0, 1): @Texas State, Brigham Young, Texas Southern. 
  10. Kansas (0, 1): South Dakota, @Coastal Carolina, @Duke. The KU-Duke game could well be most competitive game either team plays all year.


  1. Colorado (1.25, 1): Northern Colorado, Texas A&M, Minnesota. This might be a kinda brutal schedule for the Buffs, but hey, kudos for getting both of your P5 opponents to come to you in the same season.
  2. Oregon (1, 1): Fresno State, @Ohio State, Stony Brook. I might be looking way too forward to the Oregon-Ohio State game. I mean, the expectation is that the Ducks get flattened, especially in Columbus, but hey, you never know.
  3. California-Los Angeles (1, 0): Hawaii, Louisiana State, Fresno State. LSU fans in LA, it’s happening folks.
  4. Washington (1, 1): Montana, @Michigan, Arkansas State. Well, I already talked about UDub and Michigan trying to turn the clock back to the early 90’s. Would wearing flannel in Ann Arbor even be that retro? I honestly don’t know.
  5. Stanford (1, 0): N-Kansas State, @Vanderbilt, Notre Dame. 3 P5 and P5-adjacent teams, and only a 1 for that traditional rivalry game against Notre Dame. Well, you tried Stanford.
  6. Southern California (1, 0): San Jose State, @Notre Dame, Brigham Young. Note to self: check if San Jose State is going to be any good this year before writing the Week 1 preview.
  7. California (0.5, 1): Nevada, @Texas Christian, Sacramento State. Note to self: maybe the same for Cal.
  8. Oregon State (0.25, 1): @Purdue, Hawaii, Idaho. Oregon State-Purdue could be more fun than it might otherwise appear (emphasis on the could).
  9. Arizona (0, 1): N-Brigham Young, San Diego State, Northern Arizona. So BYU is playing 5 Pac-12 teams this year, which I think pretty much makes then a Pac-12 member? I mean, that’s how many games Notre Dame has to play against the ACC this year.
  10. Utah (0, 1): Weber State, @Brigham Young, @San Diego State. Utah even plays two of the same three teams Arizona does! Also, fun fact, SDSU is building a new stadium in San Diego, so this year they’re going to play… in LA. Well, Carson technically, but yeah. Have fun with that Aztec fans!
  11. Arizona State (0, 1): Southern Utah, Nevada-Las Vegas, @Brigham Young. Not much to see here, move along.
  12. Washington State (0, 1): Utah State, Portland State, Brigham Young. Maybe the less said about Wazzu the better. You used to fun and weird, Wazzu. Now you’re just kinda dumb.


  1. Georgia (1.5, 1): N-Clemson, Alabama-Birmingham, Charleston Southern, @Georgia Tech. Georga-Clemson, the Week 1 game to end all week 1 games. Otherwise, well, not many other chances UGA is going to suffer an out-of-conference derailment. But we can, and do, always hope.
  2. Auburn (1, 1): Akron, Alabama State, @Pennsylvania State, Georgia State. I would submit that “LSU in Pasadena” is still the funnier juxtaposition of “SEC fanbase and faraway road game”, but Auburn going up to Happy Valley isn’t too far off.
  3. Arkansas (1, 1): Rice, Texas, Georgia Southern, Arkansas-Pine Bluff. It’s a race to the bottom in the SEC this year between Arkansas and South Carolina, and there could well be two losses on this for the Hogs.
  4. Louisiana State (1, 1): @California-Los Angeles, McNeese State, Central Michigan, Louisiana-Monroe. Oh hey, LSU is playing one of the other in-state FBS Louisiana schools. Huh. I mean, they’re not playing the good one, but still.
  5. Alabama (1, 1): N-Miami, Mercer, Southern Mississippi, New Mexico State. I remember the halcyon days of the pre-Saban era when Alabama did things like “lose to Southern Miss”. But here’s the thing, non-Bama football fans, it can, and will, happen again. Saban won’t live forever, and name a situation where following up a coach of his stature worked out for the guy following him. Heck, even at Bama it took them 35 years in the wilderness to go from the Bear to Saban, doing things like “losing to Southern Miss” and “hiring 3 guys named Mike”. History is not destiny.
  6. South Carolina (1, 1): Eastern Illinois, @East Carolina, Troy, Clemson. Oh man. Oooh man. The Gamecocks could – not implausibly – go 0-4 against this slate, though 2-2 is a lot more likely.
  7. Florida (1, 1): Florida Atlantic, @South Florida, Samford, Florida State. There wasn’t a FBS school in Florida you could schedule, Gators? But as usual, the non-conference slate won’t take them out of the state, and USF isn’t good enough (well, or just “good” in generally really) to make that trip to Tampa worrisome.
  8. Mississippi State (0.5, 1): Louisiana Tech, North Carolina State, @Memphis, Tennessee State. Will still continue to posit that Memphis is the largest city in Mississippi, despite what “geography” and “the Census Bureau” say. Change my mind.
  9. Vanderbilt (0.5, 1): East Tennessee State, @Colorado State, Stanford, Connecticut. Vandy’s bad, but not “close to Colorado State and UConn” bad. Plus, it should be more comfortable in Colorado Springs than Nashville.
  10. Texas A&M (0.25, 1): Kent State, @Colorado, New Mexico, Prairie View A&M. This is definitely a slate of games the Aggies can play, though they do get their own refreshing trip to the Rockies I suppose.
  11. Mississippi (0.25, 1): N-Louisville, Austin Peay, Tulane, Liberty. Lane, all I ask is that you put up like 10 touchdowns on Hugh Freeze. That’s all I need.
  12. Kentucky (0.25, 1): Louisiana-Monroe, Tennessee-Chattanooga, New Mexico State, @Louisville. Three nothing teams and an in-state rival, yep, it’s an out-of-conference SEC schedule all right.
  13. Tennessee (0, 1): Bowling Green, Pittsburgh, Tennessee Tech, South Alabama. I’m talking myself into the idea that Tenn-Pitt could be fun, and I’m not sure why I’m doing that. But it could be!
  14. Missouri (0, 1): Central Michigan, Southeast Missouri State, @Boston College, North Texas. In my draft, I had apparently accidentally typed “Kentucky” here, providing yet another moment of “oh, right, Mizzou is in the SEC”. Seriously though y’all, just call up the Jayhawks and get on with it. And yes, I know it’s on the schedule for 2025, but that’s not 2021.