View Full Version : Top 10 Strongest/Weakest nonconference schedules

07-22-2010, 01:34 PM
Best, worst of nonconference scheduling

All this preseason love is a good thing, you know. Haven't had this much positive talk in years in Tallahassee, and that can only mean one thing.

"We're confident," FSU quarterback Christian Ponder said. "But we also know we have a lot to prove."

Against the nation's toughest nonconference schedule.

Those desperate for Florida State to return to national relevance—and what self-respecting college football nut wouldn't want the 'Noles back?—should get a fairly quick idea if it will all play out this fall.

A glorified scrimmage against I-AA Samford is followed by a trip to Oklahoma and a home game against a BYU team looking for revenge for last year's beatdown. Then the ACC season begins with a home game against Wake Forest, which has beaten the 'Noles (seriously, we're not making this up) three of the last four seasons.

It'll all end with the annual rivalry against SEC heavyweight Florida.

The top 10 and bottom 10 of the BCS non-conference schedules:

Top 10
1. Florida State: Samford, at Oklahoma, BYU, Florida: A split with Oklahoma and Florida would be a huge step in convincing recruits new coach Jimbo Fisher is the real deal.

2. Miami: Florida A&M, at Ohio State, at Pitt, USF: No one has two tougher road games:
at Ohio State and Pitt.

3. Oklahoma: Utah State, Florida State, Air Force, at Cincinnati: This schedule could look much tougher at the end of the season when we know more about FSU and Cincinnati with first-year coaches.

4. Pittsburgh: at Utah, New Hampshire, Miami, FIU, at Notre Dame: Utah game should be one of the most entertaining of the nonconference season, and Notre Dame is quickly becoming a fiery rivalry game.

5. Oregon State: vs. TCU, Louisville, at Boise State: Beavers in a no-win situation. They'll get no credit for beating TCU and/or Boise State, but will get drilled for losing to either top-five team. Imagine that.

6. UCLA: at Kansas State, Houston, at Texas: If K-State makes a move in the Big 12 North Division, this could end up being one of the top three toughest non-con schedules.

7. Washington: at BYU, Syracuse, Nebraska: A statement game early for the Huskies against Nebraska, and a game against potential BYU starting QB Jake Heaps, who chose the Cougars over Washington.

8. Colorado: vs. Colorado State, at California, Hawaii, Georgia: Another year, another top 10 non-con schedule at CU.

9. USF: Stony Brook, at Florida, Western Kentucky, FAU, at Miami: That Stony Brook game is hideous, but the Florida and Miami road games give USF another chance to prove it belongs with the state's Big Three

10. LSU: vs. North Carolina, West Virginia, McNeese State, Louisiana-Monroe: Tigers didn't have to take the UNC game, but will expand recruiting further into Georgia with a win.

Bottom 10
1. Indiana: Towson, at Western Kentucky, Akron, Arkansas State: Can the staff keep the Hoosiers focused all four weeks and avoid a letdown?

2. Arizona State: Portland State, Northern Arizona, at Wisconsin: This is too good a program, with too much potential, to be playing two I-AA teams

3. Virginia: Richmond, at USC, VMI, Eastern Michigan: A gift for first-year coach Mike London: two I-AA teams (including his former team Richmond), the perhaps the worst Division I-A school in the nation and a weakened national power trying to keep its roster intact.

4. Syracuse: at Akron, at Washington, Maine, Colgate, Boston College: Now that's the way you drum up support and impress recruits: Maine and Colgate on the home schedule.

5. Ole Miss: Jacksonville State, at Tulane, Fresno State, Louisiana-Lafayette: The worst of a bad lot in the SEC, the Rebels' only game of significance (Fresno State) is in Oxford. And it won't be easy.

6. Northwestern: at Vanderbilt, Illinois State, at Rice, Central Michigan: Two programs in flux (Vanderbilt and Rice), another with a new coach (CMU) and a I-AA punching bag.

7. Kentucky: at Louisville, Western Kentucky, Akron, Charleston Southern: UK isn't the worst in the SEC because even years mean the Louisville rivalry is on the road. Other than that, Ole Miss and UK are twin ugly.

8. Missouri: vs. Illinois, McNeese State, San Diego State, Miami (Ohio): Four home games (that's right, I'm including Illinois at St. Louis as a defacto home game), four dogs. The reward: eight wins, and a trip to San Antonio.

9. Baylor: Sam Houston State, Buffalo, at TCU, at Rice: Can we really be upset at Baylor scheduling down? Of course we can—within reason.

10. Rutgers: Norfolk State, at FIU, North Carolina, Tulane, Army: A method behind the madness: Coach Greg Schiano plays at FIU, which just about no BCS school will do, because he's selling his program (billboards, and all) in South Florida.