Toughest Schedules for 2020 Updated

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This has been the most unusual year in college football history, but it seems to be stabilizing with football kicking off and many schedule changes. If you check out the archived blogs, you can print off an updated schedule for each team and paste them in the magazine. There are 76 teams playing football this fall. I have printed off and pasted up the SEC, Big 12, and ACC as those three conferences had some drastic schedule changes. The AAC, CUSA, and Sun Belt mostly kept their conference schedules the same, and so your book does not get too thick, I would recommend just writing the few changes on their pages. If you put all the conferences in your book, it would look something like this picture below. (Thanks, Katie!).

 

Going through the schedules, there are some drastic differences. BYU and FIU both play just eight games this year, and numerous teams play a full 12 game schedule. I have also cut the home edges in half from what I posted in the magazine for this schedule as I cannot imagine full crowds and full crowd noise at any game. There are still benefits from playing at home with the stadium’s familiarity and not having to travel, but crowd noise is a big part of the home edge.

The schedule maker did not do Arkansas any favors as the Razorbacks originally faced my No. 6 toughest schedule, but Nevada, ULM, and Charleston Southern dropped off the schedule, and Georgia and Florida were added, and they now lay claim to the dubious title of the nation’s toughest schedule. With the SEC being the nation’s toughest conference and playing ten league games with zero non-conference games, it is no surprise that the eleven toughest schedules are all from the SEC. Georgia Tech has Georgia drop off the schedule and is the only non-SEC team to face a top 12 schedule. LSU actually plays the “lightest” schedule in the SEC at No. 25 as they face Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Missouri, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Ole Miss. Those teams are arguably the bottom six in the SEC this year, and LSU plays all of them in their ten games.

If this were last year, all of the ACC teams would be at the bottom of the Power 5 schedules as it was the weakest league. This year they are the most improved league, and with the addition of Notre Dame and the subtraction of the Big Ten from the season, the ACC is the 2nd toughest conference. Clemson plays the easiest ACC schedule at No. 42, thanks in part to not playing themselves.

The Big 12’s toughest schedule belongs to Kansas (#13), which is the only Big 12 team that does not get to play…Kansas. Oklahoma takes on the lightest schedule in the league at #43 as they do not have to face themselves and draw Missouri St in the non-conference.

Teams were not lining up to play a powerful UCF team, and the Knights have just nine scheduled games this year and face the No. 44 schedule. I rated the American conference as the fifth toughest conference last year, and Temple takes on the league’s toughest schedule (No. 35) this year as they are playing just eight conference games with no non-conference games.

The biggest beneficiary of the new schedule may be BYU. In the old schedule, BYU was facing six Power 5 teams plus Boise State, San Diego State, and Houston. The new schedule has ZERO Power 5 teams on it, and six of their eight games are at home.

 

Here is the updated Strength of Schedule rankings for the 76 teams that are playing this year.

1 Arkansas
2 Vanderbilt
3 Auburn
4 South Carolina
5 Missouri
6 Mississippi St
7 Mississippi
8 Tennessee
9 Alabama
10 Kentucky
11 Texas A&M
12 Georgia Tech
13 Kansas
14 Baylor
15 Miami, Fl
16 TCU
17 Florida
18 Iowa St
19 Kansas St
20 Wake Forest
21 Florida St
22 Boston College
23 Georgia
24 Oklahoma St
25 LSU
26 Syracuse
27 Pittsburgh
28 Virginia Tech
29 Louisville
30 Temple
31 West Virginia
32 Tulsa
33 Virginia
34 Houston
35 USF
36 Texas Tech
37 Duke
38 North Carolina
39 Texas
40 Notre Dame
41 NC State
42 Clemson
43 Oklahoma
44 Tulane
45 Memphis
46 East Carolina
47 Navy
48 UCF
49 Cincinnati
50 SMU
51 Charlotte
52 WKU
53 Texas St
54 South Alabama
55 Florida Atlantic
56 Georgia St
57 Arkansas St
58 Louisiana
59 UTSA
60 Marshall
61 ULM
62 Middle Tennessee
63 Rice
64 Liberty
65 FIU
66 Army
67 BYU
68 Troy
69 North Texas
70 Coastal Carolina
71 UAB
72 UTEP
73 Georgia Southern
74 Appalachian St
75 Southern Miss
76 Louisiana Tech