Earlier this week we looked at ten college football teams that may be helped by their schedule. Here are ten teams that may be hurt. It’s worth noting these aren’t the 10 toughest schedules, but toughest relative to their competitors. The round robin through the Big 12 may be a gauntlet, for instance, but every team faces more or less the same one.
Non-Conference: TCU(N), UAB, Kent State, Furman
Home: Auburn, Florida, Texas A&M, Arkansas
Road: at Georgia, at Mississippi St., at Ole Miss, at Alabama
Les Miles was scorned by the scheduling gods, again. The Tigers play Florida for their rivalry game. The other inter-division game is at Georgia. Alabama is on the road. Trips to Starkville and Oxford could also get dicey. Tricky test off the bat non-conference against TCU? Why not. Any dip from LSU’s talent exodus on defense could make this schedule as perilous as social media.
Non-Conference: Toledo, at Miami, Georgia Southern, Florida State
Home: Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia(N), Vanderbilt
Road: at Kentucky, at LSU, at Missouri, at South Carolina
Florida could be just as good as last season, and finish with a much worse record. They only have three SEC home games. Of their five toughest games – Miami, Florida State, Georgia, LSU and South Carolina – only FSU is at home. With a struggling offense, there are potential upsets lying in the weeds. Could get ugly for Jeff Driskel and Co.
Non-Conference: Northwestern, Portland State, Ohio St.
Home: Washington St., Oregon St., Arizona, USC
Road: at Oregon, at UCLA, at Washington, at Colorado, at Stanford
Sonny Dykes receives no favors his first year. Two of the three non-conference games are against top Big Ten teams. The Bears play at Oregon, at UCLA, at Washington and Stanford. That could be the best four teams in the conference. That home slate could be trouble as well. Bedding in the Bear Raid, this may be a brutal write-off year.
Non-Conference: Southern Illinois, Cincinnati, Washington (N), Miami (OH)
Home: Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State, Northwestern
Road: at Nebraska, at Penn State, at Indiana, at Purdue
Tim Beckman needs mediocrity his second year in Champaign to get a third. Their schedule could hurt their chances. Illinois drew Michigan State, Northwestern and Nebraska from the Legends. They will be serious underdogs in all four home games. Add trips to Penn State and Nebraska to that. Throw in two reasonably difficult non-conference games against Cincinnati and Washington. Beckman has two guaranteed wins on the schedule. He may need six.
Non-Conference: Nevada, at Nebraska, New Mexico
Home: California, Colorado, Washington, Arizona State
Road: at Utah, at Stanford, at Oregon, at Arizona, at USC
Those games UCLA played at home last year, are on the road. The Bruins travel to Nebraska. They play five away games in conference, including trips to Stanford and Oregon back to back. The Ducks are a replacement for Washington State. That’s not to mention a difficult at Arizona, Washington, Arizona State, at USC stretch at the back end. Jim Mora may look different at the end of this year.
Non-Conference: at Clemson, North Texas, Applachian St., at Georgia Tech
Home: South Carolina, LSU, Missouri, Kentucky
Road: at Tennessee, at Vanderbilt, Florida (N), Auburn
Last year, Georgia benefited from their schedule. This year, they got screwed. Breaking in a young defense, the Dawgs have Clemson, South Carolina and LSU in their first four games. A potential SEC-title team could have its season derailed before October.
Non-Conference: Austin Peay, Western Kentucky, at Oregon, South Alabama
Home: Georgia, South Carolina, Auburn, Vanderbilt
Road: at Florida, at Alabama, at Missouri, at Kentucky
The process has been prolonged pain. But Tennessee fans must be patient for another year. That five-game FBS stretch of at Oregon, at Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, at Alabama may be the toughest in the country. Winning one of those games would be a coup. The “easiest” FBS game is Petrino’s Western Kentucky on the second week of the season. Butch Jones built momentum. The goal for the 2013 season is not to derail it.
Non-Conference: Louisiana-Lafayette, Samford, Southern Miss, at Rutgers
Home: Texas A&M, South Carolina, Auburn, Mississippi State
Road: at Florida, at Alabama, at Ole Miss, at LSU
This is not a Wisconsin schedule. The Razorbacks drew Florida and South Carolina from the East. Bret Bielema’s first four games in the SEC: Texas A&M, at Florida, South Carolina, at Alabama. They also have trips to Oxford and LSU. Add a possibly troublesome away trip to Rutgers for a team in transition. Good luck.
Non-Conference: at Cincinnati, Indiana St., Notre Dame, Northern Illinois
Home: Nebraska, Ohio St., Iowa, Illinois
Road: at Wisconsin, at Michigan St., at Penn St., at Indiana
This is not the toughest schedule, but it’s tough for Purdue and tough by B1G standards. The Boilermakers have three iffy non-conference games against Cincinnati, Notre Dame and Northern Illinois. They drew Nebraska and Michigan State from the Legends division. It’s not inconceivable this is their worst W-L season since Joe Tiller arrived.
Non-Conference: Utah St., Weber ST., at BYU
Home: Oregon State, UCLA, Stanford, Arizona State, Colorado
Road: at Arizona, at USC, at Oregon, at Washington State
The Pac 12 won’t get any kinder for the Utes. They play the two in-state rivals non-conference. They add both Stanford and Oregon to the Pac 12 slate this year. They also have to play at Arizona and USC. Home against Colorado may be the one guaranteed conference win.
[Photo via USA Today Sports]