Phil Steele’s 2008 Toughest Schedule

Say no more. The Preview is coming out and Mr. Diet Mountain Dew is dribbling out a few tasty bits on the website for us.

Here’s how he does the accounting:

… my rankings for the nation’s toughest schedules this year. These rankings take two major factors into account. The first is my 8 sets of Power Ratings. This ensures that a IAA team is rated much lower than South Carolina, which was 6-6 last year but will be an SEC bowl team this year.

The second factor is the amount of home and away games played. As an example, this year some teams will have as many as 8 home games, while others play as many as 8 on the road.

According to Steele, Georgia comes in with the third toughest schedule this season, behind Washington and Arkansas. What’s interesting is that all of the teams mentioned in the preseason mix to make a run at the BCS title game show up well in Steele’s rankings – none are outside the toughest 35.

And I see why he ranks Clemmins in his preseason top 10.

Phil’s got some good news and some bad news for us Dawg fans. First, the bad…

If you go to my website ( you will find out that teams that play a top 20 schedule normally do not fare well. I mentioned earlier about the poor records for teams that took on a top 6 schedule last year but of teams that took on a top 20 slate, ELEVEN were not bowl eligible and ZERO were in the Top 10 at the end of the year. Only two of the 20 even managed to be ranked in the Top 20!

But we can take some solace in this:

… Here are this year’s teams in which one or more sets of my Power Ratings forecast a perfect season as a possibility. This year the teams are Florida, Ohio State, USC, Oklahoma, Georgia, Missouri, West Virginia, USF, Clemson, Utah, BYU, Virginia Tech, Tulsa and Ball St. Keep in mind that good health, a positive turnover ratio and a little luck are needed to go unbeaten. I hope your favorite team has a favorable schedule.

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