College Football: Teams and Conferences with embarrassing schedules

News Joshua L Jones
News Joshua L Jones /

There is little to no accountability in college football scheduling. Despite that, the strength and weaknesses of schedules are always hotly debated. As seen from a preseason perspective, there are teams and conferences that should be embarrassed by the lack of strength in 2023 schedules.

For the purpose of this discussion, a single source for Strength of Schedule (SOS) is used. It is the latest calculation by ESPN’s FPI algorithm.

According to the ESPN calculation, the Alabama Crimson Tide has the 10th toughest schedule among SEC teams. Six of the nine SEC teams above the Tide must play Alabama and seven of them play Georgia.

Even at 10th in the SEC, Alabama Football still has a top 20, toughest schedule at No. 18. A total of 18 of the top 20 toughest come from Big Ten and SEC teams. No conference comes close to the SEC with it having 11 of the top 20 toughest schedules.

College Football SOS (not SEC or Big Ten)

  • The Big 12 has one of the 20-toughest schedules. It is the Texas Longhorns at No. 12.
  • The toughest ACC schedule is the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets at No. 22.
  • The Utah Utes have the toughest Pac-12 schedule at No. 30
  • The toughest schedule among FBS Independents is the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at No. 19.
  • In Conference USA, the toughest schedule is held by the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at No. 32.
  • In the MAC, the toughest schedule belongs to the Ball State Cardinals at No. 49
  • The toughest American Athletic Conference schedule is UAB at No. 51.
  • In the Mountain West, the toughest SOS is the Wyoming Cowboys at No. 74
  • The Sun Belt has 10 teams at No. 102 or higher in SOS, with the toughest in the conference being Georgia State at No. 82.

Easiest Path to CFB Playoff among Top Power Five Teams

  • ACC – Clemson with SOS of No. 59
  • Big 12 – TCU with an SOS of No. 38
  • Big Ten – Wisconsin with an SOS of No. 25 and Ohio State with a No. 23 SOS
  • SEC – Georgia with an SOS of No. 31 and 14th toughest in the SEC. An interesting point about the Bulldogs is Georgia’s SOS is almost equal to Western Kentucky at No. 32.
  • Pac 12 – Oregon Ducks with an SOS of No. 45 and Southern Cal with an SOS of No. 42.

Easiest College Football Schedules among Power Fives

  • ACC – Boston College Eagles at No. 86
  • Big 12 – Oklahoma State at No. 70
  • Big Ten – Northwestern at No. 61
  • Pac 12 – Oregon State at No. 68
  • SEC – Georgia at No. 31

Another item for consideration is Tulane’s momentum for 2023, having beaten USC in the Cotton Bowl. The Green Wave should have a gaudy record in 2023, given its SOS is No. 103. They may be the next college football hyped and popular underdog story.

Grading Offseason Offensive Position Groups. dark. Next

Based on the ESPN algorithm, the SEC’s toughest schedules belong to Ole Miss at No. 1 among all FBS teams; Florida at No. 3; Auburn at No. 5; Arkansas at No. 6, and Tennessee at No. 8.