Every 2016 Power 5 schedule has been made public. Here are five that could cause contending teams problems.
Clay Helton’s era of good feelings will be tested. The Trojans play Alabama, Utah, and Stanford away from home in September. They close in November with a hairy four-game stretch – Oregon, at Washington, at UCLA, and Notre Dame. The weakest opponent over 12 games may be Colorado, who nearly upset USC in 2015. Should things go awry, USC could be fighting to reach a bowl game.
Stanford faces another ambitious slate. They play six road games – UCLA, Washington, Notre Dame, Arizona, Oregon, and Cal. They have a tricky opener against Kansas State and a useless bye week in Week 2. Add in one of the toughest five-games stretches – USC, at UCLA, at Washington, Washington State, at Notre Dame – any team will face this season. Feels like a season that impresses more in the SRS standings.
Wisconsin’s schedule stinks most years. Here comes the payback. The Badgers open with LSU at Lambeau, which is almost as cool as playing at Wisconsin. Their first three B1G games are at Michigan State, at Michigan, Ohio State. They follow that with their three toughest division matchups – at Iowa, Nebraska and Northwestern. We’ll find out whether they belong in the Top 25 quickly.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State plays its first real football schedule of the Urban Meyer era. The Buckeyes travel to Oklahoma outside the conference. They drew Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Northwestern from the West. They play road games against Wisconsin, Penn State, a potentially plucky Maryland, and Michigan State. Guessing Jim Harbaugh puts up a better fight in Year 2. Tough test for a depleted roster.
BYU scheduled for TV appeal, not for the team playing. The Cougars’ first nine games – Arizona (N), at Utah, UCLA, West Virginia (N), Toledo, at Michigan State, Mississippi State, at Boise State and at Cincinnati – are against solid bowl teams or better. Six are away from home. Two of the home games are short week Friday nights after road trips. That’s a rude welcome for Kalani Sitake.