Now it’s Mark Schlabach’s turn to weigh in on non-conference scheduling. He’s posted his lists of toughest and easiest OOC schedules this year.
Georgia checks in at #2 on the “most difficult” list.
The Bulldogs played arguably the country’s toughest schedule last season and their 12-game slate isn’t much easier this year. Georgia is one of only three teams from BCS leagues (Georgia Tech and Syracuse are the others) to play three nonconference games against fellow BCS foes. The Bulldogs’ Sept. 5 opener at Oklahoma State seems especially treacherous, as they’ll face one of the country’s most prolific offenses with a pretty young Georgia defense. The Sept. 26 home game against Arizona State at Sanford Stadium is a potential trap; it comes only a week after a road trip to Arkansas and a week before the Bulldogs play LSU. Georgia also hosts FCS opponent Tennessee Tech on Nov. 7. The Nov. 28 game at rival Georgia Tech, which defeated the Bulldogs 45-42 last season, comes at the end of a five-game stretch with no bye.
For yuks, compare that with the number two entry on his “easiest” list.
2. SEC contenders
Florida will be gunning for its third BCS national championship in four seasons. LSU might be a dark-horse candidate after winning a national title in 2007. Alabama and Ole Miss might both be in the BCS hunt, too. But none of those SEC teams’ nonconference schedules looks like championship material. Give Alabama credit for opening the season against Virginia Tech in Atlanta. Don’t give the Crimson Tide credit for playing Florida International, North Texas and FCS opponent Chattanooga at home. LSU opens the season at Washington, which didn’t win a single game last season and probably couldn’t beat Appalachian State, which opened the 2008 season in Baton Rouge, La. The rest of the Tigers’ non-SEC slate has a distinct Cajun flavor: Louisiana-Lafayette, Tulane and Louisiana Tech (all at home). The Gators open the season against FCS foe Charleston Southern and probably won’t have to play much better to beat Troy or Florida International. At least Florida closes the regular season Nov. 28 against rival FSU. Ole Miss opens the season with an 85-mile road trip to Memphis, and plays UAB and two FCS opponents — Southeastern Louisiana and Northern Arizona — at home.