2024 Toughest Opponent Win %

In the middle of February. So far only the SEC, Big Ten, ACC, Big 12, Pac 12 and CUSA have announced their schedules with dates for 2023. Last year I waited until April when all the conferences had their official schedules updated. The good news is that for the remaining 4 conference’s they have announced their opponents for 2024 just not what dates the games are on. I would like to thank FBSSchedules.com for having the matchups. I also would like to thank Ken Willinger who proofs the schedules and records for me every year.  All schools have a full 12 game schedule.

Now that all have been released the debate over which team plays the toughest schedule can begin.

There are many ways to calculate schedule strength.  The most used method is to combine opponents’ records from the previous season. Using this metric the toughest 2024 schedule belongs to Florida, whose opponents won 67.9% of their games in 2023. USC (66.7%) comes in at #2 and Northwestern (66.2%) is number three. You can see by using this measurement Florida Atlantic (37.2%), Connecticut (41.2%) and Tulsa (41.3%) have the easiest schedules for 2024 based on using 2023’s final records for opponent strength.

I want to remind you that this is the NCAA’s method, not mine. My schedule strength is based on my 9 sets of power ratings for THIS years’ teams and not last years. Prior to 2019, the method used for this article said that Arizona St was facing the 113th most challenging schedule (17th easiest) as their opponents won only 45.3% of their games in 2018. I had Arizona St 64 spots higher in my strength of schedule rankings in the magazine and 7 of 12 of their opponents went on to play in bowl games, they faced four ranked teams and ended up taking on the 44th toughest schedule. It is clear that there were not 112 schedules tougher than Arizona State’s.

In an upcoming blog I will break down what each teams schedule strength was using last years records vs the actual schedule of teams they faced that year.

There are other ways to measure schedule strength. Who plays the most teams that had a winning record last year? Well, that method came up with four teams at the top. #1 on that list are Florida, Georgia Tech, Minnesota and Virginia which each play 10 teams that had winning records in 2023. There are 10 teams that face 9 teams that had a winning record last year in Alabama, Duke, Florida St, Iowa, Louisville, Northwestern, Oregon, USC, Vanderbilt, and Washington. Six teams are at the opposite end of the spectrum facing just 3 teams that had a winning record last year and those lucky teams are Army, UConn, East Carolina, FIU, Tulsa and UTSA. Florida Atlantic faces just two teams that had a winning record last year.

Another way to measure schedule strength is to see how many opponents made the post season the previous year. Two draw ELEVEN opponents that qualified for the postseason last year and they are Georgia Tech and USC. Six teams face TEN opponents that qualified for the postseason last year and they are Alabama, Florida, Florida St, Georgia Southern, Nevada and Virginia. The teams at the other end are FIU which faces just 3 teams that were in bowls and once again FAU is fortunate facing just two teams that were in bowls last year.  

Another way to look at schedule strength would be how many opponents that finished in the Top 25 the previous year does a team face?  In 2021 Florida St, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Purdue, Kansas, and Baylor all led the way with five games vs teams that finished in the Top 25 in 2020 and only ONE of the six teams managed to have a winning record in 2021 (Baylor)! In 2022 six teams faced five teams that finished 2021 ranked. Those six teams were Mississippi State, Texas Tech, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, BYU, and Louisville. Those six, fared better with 5 making it to a bowl. Last year there were six teams who face SIX teams that that finished ranked in 2022. Those six teams with rugged schedules are Arizona, Arizona St, California, Colorado, Florida and Stanford. Arizona had great success and Cal managed to get to a bowl but the other 4 teams all missed out on a bowl. This year 4 teams face 6 teams that finished 2023 ranked and those four teams are Arkansas, Florida, Oklahoma and South Carolina.

Interestingly there are 24 teams that do not face a single foe that finished ranked last year including Coastal Carolina and Southern Miss which are both #57 using the method of opponent’s records for 2023.

I will have MY final schedule strength for 2023 in this year’s magazine. I send the last page of the magazine to the press on June 6th this year and it should hit the newsstands by July 4th.

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Here is the complete list of all 134 FBS teams (Welcome Kennesaw St!) with their cumulative record for each opponent they face this year, the total amount of ranked teams, bowl teams, and teams with a winning record.


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