We've been talking a lot about scheduling lately and one of my favorite aspects to laugh at in college football is how some Power 5 programs take easing themselves into their season to hilarious levels. Every single year we see several teams start 3-0, or 4-0, or even 5-0 without anyone really ever noticing. The best is when you get an undefeated team a game or two into the meat of their conference schedule and still unranked.
College football! Ah, it warms my heart when ridiculous stuff like this happens.
While things may be getting better and some programs are reluctantly scheduling a strong team early in the season, or to start the year, not everyone is giving in just yet.
Let us point and laugh at the Power 5 programs who are looking to get to October without a loss. In the middle of the season they'll be like...
But if their resume is combed over by the playoff committee they will be like...
Start: Troy, Eastern Kentucky, Old Dominion, South Alabama
Fun fact: The last two games here are actually on the road. Whoa, bonus points for difficulty! Actually, if you want to really talk about bonus points how about scheduling ODU and South Alabama who are recent (2014 & 2012 respectively) additions to the top level of Division-I football. That's truly impressive maneuvering.
Start: SMU, Lamar, Rice, Texas Tech, Kansas
Pound for pound Baylor has the easiest schedule, maybe of any team in the entire country, when you look into early November. Following this daunting 5-game start comes homes games against West Virginia and Iowa State, followed up with a bye. The remaining schedule is hard (@ K-State, OU, @ Okie State, @ TCU, Texas) and it'll have to be because we won't learn a single thing about Baylor until then.
For the record, the only Power 5 OOC team scheduled by Baylor until 2023 is Duke for a home-and-home. In 2023-24 they play Utah so you get a good sense of how Art Briles is really trying to win everyone over when the Bears get left out of the playoffs.
Start: South Dakota, San Antonio, Louisiana Tech
With this group capped off by the first of 2 bye weeks the Wildcats will get to coast into October with a perfect record. UTSA is another recent addition to the absurdly growing collection of FBS teams.
Start: Central Michigan, Central Arkansas, San Antonio
UTSA on another schedule to keep some regional flavor. This is pretty much how you get it done. Add a low FBS team, a FCS team, and a new FBS team. Hey, their only playing a single bad team can you blame them? You'd think these Big 12 teams with only 3 opportunities to make some noise out of league play would try something bigger, but not all of them believe in such things.
Start: Southern Illinois, FIU, Western Kentucky, Wake Forest
WKU is a pretty good program let's give them that much. Otherwise, damn. This is followed up immediately by Ohio State and a trip to Happy Valley so let's hope it's good training for the Hoosiers.
Start: Richmond, Bowling Green, USF
The Terps do get their return trip to Morgantown in their fourth game, plus Michigan and Ohio State right after, but decided there can be nothing but fluff to begin the season. All three are noon home games, too. That is doing things the Big Ten way.
Start: Temple, Buffalo, Rutgers, SDSU, Army, Indiana
This is not a typo. This is a real schedule through October 10th for a tradition rich football program. SIX GAMES.
It's followed up by a trip to Ohio State but then Maryland, Illinois, and Northwestern come up before a bye week allows rest for a finish against both Michigan schools. Using ESPN's FPI, the Nittany Lions would be favored to go 9-1 while beating no one inside the Top 50 rankings.
Start: Southeast Missouri, Arkansas State, UConn, Kentucky
No Alabama. No Auburn. No LSU. No Texas A&M. No Ole Miss. They miss all that mess in the SEC West with South Carolina, Florida, Miss State, and Tennessee at home.
Schedule another press conference to talk about other teams or celebrate your tough schedule?
There you go!